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August 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 8




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Brainy Baby Gets Smarter By the Year

Loyal Moms and Educational Edge Keep Company Strong


“We have a strong, loyal customer base that’s constantly referring our product to other moms.” Dennis Fedoruk
For parents who want their children to learn the ABCs, 123s, animals, shapes, colors, Spanish and French, Brainy Baby makes toys, games, music, books, videos and more so that babies, toddlers and preschoolers can do just that. Dennis and Stephanie Fedoruk launched Brainy Baby with two videos in 1995, after they couldn’t find educational videos for their young sons. Dennis, president and CEO, talked to TDmonthly Magazine about how he got the company to thrive.

MAKING IT “EDUTAINING”

My wife and I looked for early childhood films and videos that were educational and entertaining, to supplement other products. We couldn’t find any, so we decided to make “edutainment”-oriented products.

In the beginning, although we were fulfilling a need in the market, it was a labor of love because we already had a company that produced TV commercials and documentaries. It started with just two videos for our two children; then, friends and neighbors borrowed our stuff and begged us to make more.

We got a big push when we started because the manager of a small chain called Media Play in Atlanta, a single mom with a preschooler, gave us shelf space and exposure. PR, through a great publicist, also played a big part in our success. Newspapers and magazines wrote a lot about us, catapulting us to where we are today — with 15 employees, and, in terms of dollars, having seen a 10-fold increase.

The business was initially self-funded. Later on we realized we had a category when venture capitalists and strategic partners came along and that took us to the next level.

REACHING BY TEACHING

Our products are the only ones that use a lesson-plan format designed by educators that any teacher would use. They’re non-character-based, simple and unique. Similar competitive products are entertaining and popular but not educational.

Preceding Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby was the first video product to open up the educational toy category. It was a million-dollar category before retailers took notice. Before that happened, we went directly to the consumer.

Nearly 14 years later, we have a strong, loyal customer base that’s constantly referring our product to other moms. We do e-blasts and largely rely on word-of-mouth marketing. If you have a good product, parents refer your products to other parents.

We had a website when we started, but it was a small part of the business because people didn’t have enough confidence to use their credit card over the Internet.

DEVELOPING STAYING POWER

Many products look the same to busy storeowners, so they aren’t necessarily going to supply the best. With everything so character- and brand-focused, storeowners will go with the status quo rather than with what consumers are really seeking. We overcame that norm by sheer staying power.

Retailers see that Brainy Baby is still here — consumers are supporting it and we’re supporting it while other products have come and gone — and that says something. If Brainy Baby wasn’t embraced by the consumer, it wouldn’t be on store shelves today.

Our toys and books are handled by licensing partners. We offer our brand, expertise and educational guidance on these products, which frees our human resources and capital to invest in the puzzles, games and DVDs. We attend the New York Toy Fair and the Licensing Show, but it took awhile to get on track with the right shows for our line.

CONTINUING TO GROW

Brainy Baby has grown to 110 video titles and 100 related books, games, toys and puzzles. The entire brand is sold in 60 countries internationally and has won more than 50 awards.

Our focus has been primarily the specialty market as opposed to mass because we’re not selling DVDs or toys — we’re selling an education. What price tag can you put on your children’s education?

People still want quality product for their kids, and our growth continues, even in the economic downturn. Our products are evergreen — they have no season. In the United States, 4.5 million babies are born each year. Every one needs to learn the basics.

See some of Brainy Baby’s products below:




Launch Date: February 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Educational
Preschool
Kits



The set comes with a variety of items to help children learn their numbers, ABCs and more. The contents of the set are powered by the cipher pen, which will translate anything on a piece of paper for a child. Launch date: February 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18345      (added 4/11/2008)
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AD


Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Audio & CD



Brainy Baby offers six outstanding CD collections. "Sleepy Baby," "Playful Baby," "Cheerful Baby" and "Peaceful Baby" are a compilation of instrumental melodies with a variety of tempos for the many facets of baby’s day. "Classical Tunes" and "Sing-Along Songs" are enjoyable collections of music taken from the Brainy Baby DVDs, along with some brand new originals.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9938      (added 11/6/2006)
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AD


MSRP: $14.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Videos & DVDs
Preschool



  • Brainy Baby has more than 10 exciting electronic toys to educate and entertain infants and toddlers.
  • Number Bug, Baby Face, Where Can We Go Wheel, ABC Roll & Go and many more!
  • For ages 6 months and up
  • MSRP ranges from $14.99 to $23.99
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9933      (added 11/6/2006)
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AD


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Elizabeth GreenspanWriter's Bio: Elizabeth Greenspan edits and writes for trade and technical publications. She has interviewed and collaborated with some of the top practitioners in their fields. She lives in Philadelphia and travels extensively for her work. Read more articles by this author

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