August 14, 2018

TDmonthly Magazine

March 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 3

How HABA Stays Fresh

Quality Takes Time, Innovation and Communication

By Patrick Silas
March 2007

“As a mother of two children, obviously the safety of our products is of utmost importance to me, both personally and professionally.” Lea Culliton, Haba USA
Lea Culliton started in retail and worked her way up to become the vice president of sales and marketing at HABA USA (Habermaass) (ToyShow), a German toy maker that she helped successfully expand into the United States. HABA’s emphasis on ecologically sound production, high-quality materials and safety makes the company a favorite of specialty toy retailers.

“As a mother of two children, obviously the safety of our products is of utmost importance to me, both personally and professionally,” Culliton told TDmonthly Magazine.

Teamwork Brings Success

Originally working with HABA’s school-furniture line, Culliton decided within five years to jump-start the company’s wholly owned toy distribution in the USA. She communicates constantly with the German management team, headed by Mr. Habermaass himself.

“All of our games are designed by our in-house staff in Germany based wholly on European concepts and game ideas,” she shared with TDmonthly.

To achieve her goals for the company, she must balance the needs of customers, employees and HABA’s sales force.

“Mutual respect and trust are obvious keys to success that oftentimes get overlooked,” said Culliton. She’s always careful, for example, not to promise more than she can deliver.

More Time = Better Products

HABA generates between 300 and 400 ideas a year to compete with the larger toy companies. Popular toys include the Amelie doll, an animal version of Yahtzee, and pretend-play wooden fruits and vegetables that are made in proportion to children’s small hands.

Ideas may take up to 18 months to reach the market. But the investment in time pays off richly: “Both the USA division and the HABA Germany companies have earned countless awards for our products,” she said.

It’s that kind of news that helps Culliton and her team sleep well at night.

Following are some of HABA’s new and popular toys:

To read more about Culliton, click here.
To find out what kids and their moms think of HABA’s products and other wooden toys, click here.

Fantasyland Jigsaw Blocks by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.

Fantasyland Jigsaw Blocks by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.The charming shapes, patterns and motifs will guide children into Fantasy Land. Mouse, bear, lion and the other blocks can be arranged into a jigsaw picture or piled like constructing blocks. With a kaleidoscope block, mirror and little bell, these constructing blocks of beech wood have a foil coating. It is ideal for ages 18 months and up. “This creative block set offers the unique feature that it is a 3-D puzzle also — it may be constructed vertically or horizontally on a table. The multi-faceted colors, textures and optical effects create a one-of-a-kind set for specialty stores,” Lea Culliton of HABA USA told TDmonthly. It was named one of the 100 Best Children’s Products of 2006 by Dr. Toy. (Watch the Fantasyland Jigsaw Blocks Video Watch Video) 5/22/2006 (MSRP: $55.00; Age: 2 and Up)


Soft Doll Nelly by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.This soft, washable doll comes with a flower that serves as an elastic hair band, and features a padded body, chenille hair and a cotton/polyester and velour dress. “Her bracelet also does double duty as a hair band for the doll or for the little girl who is her owner,” Lea Culliton of HABA USA told TDmonthly. (Watch the Soft Doll Nelly Video Watch Video) 11/22/2006 (MSRP: $35.00; Age: 2 and Up)

Biofino Store Buon Appetite Pizza by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.

Biofino Store Buon Appetite Pizza by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.Each yummy item in this gourmet line comes apart and then kids have a blast putting them back together. Want a slice of pizza without pepperoni? No problemo! Just pull it off. Now you canít tell your kids to not play with their food! Recommended for children ages 1 year and up. 12/20/2006 (MSRP: $20.00; Age: 1 and Up)


Amelie by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.Amelie the Doll will quickly gain a place in the hearts of toddlers and preschool-aged children. Her cheerful, embroidered face, bright red hair and slightly weighted body make her fun to cuddle, hold and carry about. They'll love her removable (and reversible) jacket, and coordinating, capri pants. Amelie's removable, blue canvas shoes are especially cute. Amelie makes a wonderful first doll or gift for a child's first, second or third birthday. She comes in a sturdy, clear vinyl case with a handle. 11/30/2006 (MSRP: $44.99; Age: 1 and Up)

The Rolling Gang Game by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.

The Rolling Gang Game by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.The game board, a farm scene, is painted on the inside bottom of a box. The goal of the game is to roll a ball through the legs of six animals that are positioned on the magnetized playing surface. Each player in turn holds the box and tilts it forward, backward and sideways to guide a ball between the animals’ legs in sequence determined by random placement of cards showing pictures of the animals. Launch date: Fall 2006. 1/3/2007 (MSRP: $35.00; Age: 5 and Up)


Apple by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.These delectable looking Granny apples are made of polished wood. The apples are sized just right for little fingers. Add a wooden fruit crate for a great gift. 5/24/2006 (MSRP: $2.00; Age: 4 and Up)


Zealous little hands arrange the flowery pieces into a friendly summer garden as a butterfly floats on top. 25 pieces of solid beechwood, still made in Germany! Includes 3 pc pegging board. 12/20/2006 (MSRP: $50.00)


Eight beautifully adorned sea creatures are a delight for little girls to try to best use their fine motor skills and dexterity to make a pretty design. Each piece is approximately 2.5”. 12/20/2006 (MSRP: $20.00)

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