A message from our Rainmaker, Lindsey Shepard

Dear friends,

I’m thrilled that so many of you have seen our recent video, but it’s hard to tell the full story in 90-seconds. There’s so much more we want to say.

As parents, the toys that we offer to our children come to represent our family values, whether we like it or not.

When we give our kids crayons and paper, it tells them that creating art is a valuable way to spend their time. A new bike or a pair of cleats says that physical activity and teamwork are important. In the best scenarios, these offerings are varied, and the message is “Hey, try a bunch of stuff! You can do any or all of this. You have options.”

Play matters.

The problem, of course, is that not all girls have the benefit of these options.

Big toy companies have the corner on the market, and they spend a significant amount of money to promote the idea that their toys are best for girls. They can afford to get their products in front of your daughter. They can afford to make sure she wants to play with their toys.

They are making decisions about what is available to your daughter, and these decisions don’t always have her best interests in mind.

We assume that everything is okay, because young girls have been playing with the same toys for decades.

The same girls that think boys have brighter futures than they do.

The same girls that suffer from insecurity, and dissatisfaction with their bodies.

The same girls that receive a new fashion doll every 3 seconds.

It’s impossible to ignore these stats.

It’s impossible to pretend that they exist in a vacuum, that there’s no correlation between them and the fact that our girls are losing confidence in male-dominated fields of study as early as age 8.

At GoldieBlox, we don’t believe that any one statistic or issue is the clear winner in the finger-pointing game. This problem is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s not just the fashion doll we have a problem with; it’s the impossible standards that that doll represents. It’s not the individual princess movie, it’s the constant barrage of princess culture.

It’s the lack of options that keeps us up at night.

Sexism is sneaky; it shows up where we least expect it. Gender equality is a huge issue, and we’re focused on one small facet: your daughter.

Nothing else matters to us.

We believe your daughter deserves a positive role model that she can relate to, one who prefers high-tops to high heels. One who prides herself on engineering her way out of any problem. One who’s not afraid to get messy; she tries new things, and tries again if those things don’t work out. She likes her dog and eating waffles and hanging out with her friends.

Sounds like a kid, right? Right.

We are dedicated to helping young girls see beyond the all-encompassing, sparkly allure of the pink aisle to discover their true potential. We are committed to the idea that girls deserve to have options for play that don’t have negative side effects.

We’re committed to your daughter, no matter what she looks like, no matter what she wants to be when she grows up, no matter what her favorite color is.

We don’t care about those things; we know she’s perfect, just the way she is. We know she has something special inside of her, just waiting to change her world for the better. We want to encourage her to discover that piece of herself. And we honestly believe that Goldie can help.

Our new action figure is a small step, but it’s a step. It will get bigger.

This is just the beginning, I promise. Stick around.

And, hey, if your daughter decides to be an engineer? I’d be pretty stoked.

Girls FTW,

Lindsey

Our letter to the Beastie Boys

Dear Adam and Mike,

We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans.

When we made our parody version of your song, ‘Girls’, we did it with the best of intentions. We wanted to take a song we weren’t too proud of, and transform it into a powerful anthem for girls. Over the past week, parents have sent us pictures and videos of their kids singing the new lyrics with pride, building their own Rube Goldberg machines in their living rooms and declaring an interest in engineering. It’s been incredible to watch.

Our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats that we took very seriously. As a small company, we had no choice but to stand up for ourselves. We did so sincerely hoping we could come to a peaceful settlement with you.

We want you to know that when we posted the video, we were completely unaware that the late, great Adam Yauch had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising. Although we believe our parody video falls under fair use, we would like to respect his wishes and yours.

Since actions speak louder than words, we have already removed the song from our video. In addition, we are ready to stop the lawsuit as long as this means we will no longer be under threat from your legal team.

We don’t want to spend our time fighting legal battles. We want to inspire the next generation. We want to be good role models. And we want to be your friends.

Sincerely,

Debbie + Team GoldieBlox

One Year Later

MayaLast year at this time, I was sitting cross-legged on the floor of Debbie’s apartment in San Francisco, which was also dubbed as GoldieBlox headquarters. There was a charm in working out of her Lower Haight apartment: running up and down three stories of staircases to move our cars before the street-cleaners came and ticketed, frantically shutting all the windows as the blaring siren of a firetruck drove by while Debbie was on a call, taking turns using the laptop chargers and wall plugs.

I cannot stress how much has changed. I’m currently typing away in a beautiful brick office in Oakland, sitting in front of a sunshine yellow wall plastered with one hundred pictures of adorable little girls playing with GoldieBlox. Last year at this time, there was one single GoldieBlox prototype. Here at the office, there’s a room devoted entirely to storing GoldieBlox toys (in addition to the warehouse!), and there are thousands of toys in the hands of little girls all around the world.

Thankfully, not everything has changed: we still listen to Pandora in the background, drink alarming amounts of coffee, and share one laptop charger. We love playing with the GoldieBlox pieces and showing each other our creations, whether it be Goldie the Ninja Skier or the Goldie Gate Bridge. Yet just as we play hard, we work harder.

The Goldie Team is incredible, not only because of the amount of work everyone gets done, but also because each member is working for something beyond the company. The Goldie Team works for the mission, to inspire the next generation of female engineers, and it couldn’t be more apparent. Just look at the gold wall behind me.

Kickstarter: Lessons We’ve Learned

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for your patience.  We’ve finally shipped the last of our pre-orders of “GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine.” We’re rolling out into retail stores across the US and Canada. We’re up and running. Our team is expanding. We’re moving a million miles an hour, and now we are taking a moment to pause and reflect on this wild ride.

While everyone here at GoldieBlox is over-the-moon thrilled with what we’ve accomplished and, more importantly, where we’re headed, we know that with growing comes lessons and with lessons comes a little pain.

We’ve learned a lot in a fairly short amount of time and, since sharing and making learning fun is core to our mission, we figured you deserve to hear some behind-the-scenes stories of how everything unfolded.

Let’s take it back to the beginning.

As you all know, we reached our goal on Kickstarter back in October (hurray!)  What you may not know is that two weeks after our Kickstarter campaign ended, we went viral.  How do you know when you’ve gone viral?  When your video spikes from 9,000 views to over 1 million views overnight.  Luckily, we’d created a website (www.goldieblox.com) to let all the people who had missed our Kickstarter window continue to pre-order the toy. I had an email alert on my phone that would buzz every time we made a sale.  We were getting a handful of orders a day, high-fiving each time.  That is, until we went viral.  My phone started buzzing so quickly I had to shut it off. I didn’t know what was going on, I thought my phone was malfunctioning. Turns out, we pre-sold over 20,000 toys in addition to our Kickstarter orders in about a week.  While we were so excited to have so many girls to share GoldieBlox with, we were freaking out. At this point in time, GoldieBlox, Inc. consisted of two people: myself, and my very first hire, Lindsey (aka “Rainmaker”). We were inundated with hundreds of emails from various requests like changing addresses to cable news channels inviting me to speak on their shows to stores around the world who wanted to carry the toy. And while Lindsey and I were on a marathon burning the midnight oil, it became increasingly difficult for us respond to everyone.

On Thanksgiving weekend, I drove down to Santa Barbara to spend the holiday with my family.  They were worried about me because they’d never seen me more stressed.  All I wanted to do was respond to each email, one by one. Luckily, my family decided to help out.  So instead of “pass the turkey, Uncle Mort,” we spent our entire holiday responding to emails.  I even ended up hiring my sister, Stephanie, to take on customer service full-time. She dropped everything, packed her bags, and moved up to the Bay Area to help me.  I love working with my sister.

But even after hiring my sister, our mighty team of three was not enough to figure out all the logistics.  This is when I begged my husband, Beau, to lend a hand.  Let’s just say while I’m the messy, disorganized type, he’s the guy who knows how to run a ship.  The thing is, he’d never done anything like this before.  So we all had to learn from scratch.

Ultimately, we hired a fulfillment company to help us ship all of the toys.  Like most fulfillment companies, they specialized in wholesale orders, but lacked the knowledge of shipping individual orders.  This ended up in a catastrophe.  Our worst fears came true when retail stores started getting their toys before some of our earliest customers: you guys.

When we found this out, I had a panic attack.  We rushed over to the warehouse to pack the boxes ourselves in an effort to speed up the shipping process. (I still have packing tape in my hair.) For those of you who were affected by this, I am truly so sorry. It was not our intent and it was a hard lesson learned.

Now that you sort of get the idea of how everything came about, know how we spent our Thanksgiving, and that we have an Uncle Mort – we wanted to share with you our takeaway points.

Communicate Consistently, Honestly, and Openly.

We’ve learned that you guys, our biggest supporters, deserve to hear from us more.  It would have been helpful for us to give you a weekly behind-the-scenes look into our world while providing you with honest insights into our progress: the good, the bad and the ugly.  We’re committed to getting better at this. We are now updating on FacebookTwitterYouTube and our blog constantly, so please subscribe to stay in the loop.

Shipping is a beast. (Like Creature from the Black Lagoon, scary.)

We’ve learned that shipping internationally is way harder than we thought.  We even had to remove the option from our website until we can become a great fulfillment partner.  This doesn’t mean we’re giving up. We just need to beef up on a few things before we attempt to tackle it again. We’re starting with Buffy on DVD and plan to go from there.

Kickstarter is tricky.

The Kickstarter platform also caused some issues.  The process of sending out surveys to collect your addresses proved incredibly difficult to manage. We hear they’ve upgraded their tools since our campaign. Unfortunately, we were stuck with an incredibly complicated system that made it a huge challenge to collect everyone’s data.  In fact, we’re still catching up on this!  If you have not received your toy yet, it is because we don’t have your address. Please email Stephanie (my sister) at service@goldieblox.com.

This is our passion.

We put our heart and soul into this initial toy production.  We learned how logistics work using ugly crayon drawings. This Kickstarter project carried that passion over to all of you backers, making it an unforgettable experience.  It took a while, but we’ve still got our soul. There’s nothing like the first time.

The world is ready.

Ultimately, we’ve learned that the world is ready for this idea.  Engineering toys for girls are here to stay. We’re working hard on our product development, making improvements to the first toy, getting the next ones ready to ship, and dreaming up new adventures for Goldie.  The good news is that we are now up and running.  There’s so much in store for our company and more importantly, for your girls. The future is bright.

Thank you for sticking with us.

Love,

Debbie

GOLDIEBLOX HAS LANDED!

Whoa! Did you see that? It all happened so fast and with a whirling blur of gold, but there’s little doubt that GOLDIEBLOX HAS LANDED!

From San Jose to the south of France – everyone is talking about the new toy that will inspire future generations of engineers. Everyone.

Even here in tiny Rhode Island, Goldie has popped up in newspapers, on Facebook, in videos and even in conversations with strangers. It’s incredible! It’s exciting! It’s a little creepy…

I mean who is Goldie exactly? And who are these pals of hers? How did she make it through customs with a veritable zoo of friends and a belt full of tools? Just what are they up to with this spinning machine?

Also, how is it even possible for a relatively unknown girl to suddenly be everywhere? Is Goldie going for Santa’s job? Is this some sort of surprise spring attack? New toys in March? Madness!

PLUS she’s stepped onto the scene and has promised to shake things up. It’s no longer just pink or princesses or fashion frills for girls.

I’ll tell you this, if I hadn’t grown up with Debbie and Steph, I’d be rounding up the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa and Cupid screaming “HELP! INVASION! GOLDIE’S COMING AND SHE’S CHANGING EVERYTHING!”

In light of these very well tempered and well-reasoned concerns, I decided to look around for some answers.

So I asked my friend Dr. Magee.

You see, Dr. Magee is not only an experienced educator; he’s also a father of three girls. When I asked him what he thought about GoldieBlox he didn’t hesitate:

“I was thrilled to find not just a role model for girls interested in science, but a path to generating that interest and actualization in the first place. Great game, even greater cause!”

Fine, I thought, but what about this cast of characters she’s associated with? Surely they’re up to no good – especially this Nacho guy.

Dr. Magee said he would provide me with some footage that may help my case and sure enough Nacho was no where to be found:

Image

Goldie and the rest of the gang have a pass for now but I’ve got my eye on Nacho and I’m keeping watch here on the East Coast for any more signs of total Goldie domination.

Until next time…Hammer on!

Ships Ahoy! GoldieBlox is on the boat…

Out on the ocean, far from all the commotion… GoldieBlox is on the slow boat from the factory!

Goldie

Mark your calendars; the toys will arrive on or around February 26th (which is also Debbie’s 30th birthday!)

If you are expecting a toy in February, the wait is almost over. Once the boat clears customs, the Goldie team will be hustling to pack up the toys so they will arrive on your doorstep in a matter of weeks! We could not be more thrilled that all of your girls finally get to play with Goldie, and we’re so excited to see all of the creativity that erupts from their imaginative minds. Thank you all again for your patience and support, this wouldn’t be possible without you!

Another update… Team Goldie has moved! We found the perfect office…we can even walk around without bumping into each other.  And this office actually has windows (see below).  We painted our walls Goldie yellow, and the team already feels so inspired. We anticipate lots of creative ideas to flow in this office, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the best (and maybe the worst!) of them.

photo-2

Keep your fingers crossed for us this weekend.  Goldie’s headed to the big apple and the team will be showing her off at Toy Fair.  This is Goldie’s coming out party, the toy industry’s first chance to see the toy in person.  We’ll let you know how it goes, but we have a feeling it’s going to be amazing.  You’ve given us faith that so many people out there want more for their girls.

Until next time…

Yours,

Team Goldie

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…poopy diaper?

Here at GoldieBlox HQ, our team is super-charged, super-motivated, and we like to approach challenges by playing to our strengths; things we refer to as our “Superpowers”

You all know Debbie by now. She’s intelligent, driven, charming and wickedly funny. Her enthusiasm for the ideas she embraces is infectious, and she’s almost impossible to say ‘no’ to. She can parallel park during rush-hour, drinking coffee, with one hand on her iPhone while singing the rap from “Waterfalls”. But none of these things are her super-power.

No, her super-power is irreverence. Debbie is completely irreverent, and it adds magic to everything she does.  From punch lines to PowerPoint presentations, to the very concept that brought us all here in the first place.

Engineering toys for girls don’t sell? Who cares?!

Girls only like pink and frills and fairies? Says who?!

I love this about her; we all do. It keeps us on our toes, and prevents us from slipping in to the dangerous, crippling world of “I’m doing it this way because it’s been done before. I’m doing it this way because it’s safe. I’m doing it this way because I know how.”

In Debbie’s case, irreverence fosters innovation.

So, what about me?

I’m Lindsey. My official title here is “VP Sales”, but I’m considering changing it to “number 2” because I was Debbie’s first hire, and I like poop jokes.

As the VP of  Sales, you can rightfully guess that I’m an extrovert, that I connect well with people , and that I can be pretty persuasive. These things are true, but not my super powers.

My super power actually has a lot more to do with those poop jokes.

S+P

 

Meet Stone and Paolo.

Yes, I have two boys. Alanis, eat your heart out.

They change everything, don’t they? Nothing ever looks the same again. Kids turn Pyrex to platinum, an improperly sliced hot-dog in to a lethal weapon, and a dirty diaper in to a comprehensive health report.  I read somewhere once that these changes can be credited to something called “The Mommy Prism”. That term is a little cutesy for my liking, but the premise is that we can never see things again without putting them through the shape-shifting filter of motherhood, and I believe this premise to be sound.

I call it “parent-noia”, and it’s the reason that you’ll never see me without my cell phone.

It comes on slowly, but the effects are undeniable.The first time you’re handed your new baby, tender and vulnerable, you can’t imagine that you’ll ever have the confidence to bring that sweet creature outdoors, much less put them in a moving vehicle. We learn to diaper, swaddle and nurse. We forget to check the temperature of the bathwater. We find out, too late, that there was peanut butter in that cupcake.All the while, we’re reaching out; calling our mothers, texting our friends, scouring the internet for advice and validation.

Am I doing this right? Am I screwing up? Yes. You are. On both counts. We all are.

This is a hard pill to swallow, the hardest. There’s nothing we want more than to do it perfectly, to earn an A+. We want to nail this one. They deserve it, these babies, and the thought of making a mistake is paralyzing.

The reality, though, is that these mistakes are the good stuff. The nap-times where we’re so tired that we put their pajamas on without a diaper. The night you rush him to the hospital for a particularly bad case of gas. The time I snipped off the tip of her finger with the nail clippers.  The “oops” moments that act as the great equalizer…they happen to all of us, and they make us stronger, better, braver, more cautious and more forgiving all at once.

You can’t learn without failing, and they won’t thrive if we don’t learn. And so, for our babies, we learn to fail with grace.

Enter GoldieBlox. I’m the VP Sales at a start-up. We make toys; toys that have never been made before. I’m doing things that I’ve never done before, and it’s scary. I want so badly to do it right; I want to nail this one. I can’t imagine taking this sweet creature to market, much less placing her on the shelf. But I will, our girls need me to, and I’ll make mistakes along the way.

It’ll all work out. Someday, the original members of Team Goldie will laugh about the stupid things we did this year, and I’ll laugh the hardest.

Because that’s my super-power.