Founded by professional extreme athletes in North Lake Tahoe, California, NSM Resources/HuckDoll (ToyDirectory) is one of the leading companies specializing in athletic figures. Back in 1999, their goal was to create and market a flexible action doll suitable for collectors interested in extreme sports such as mountain climbing, skiing, skateboarding, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and surfing. They succeeded.
Inventor Jay Peters used his degree in product design to create a demo doll. Co-founder Zane Murdock, who has a strong economics background, attributes "passion" as the greatest influence on their success, adding that "Intelligence only gets you so far."
The HuckDoll has been available to the general public since March 2001. The original figures, which are not attached to specific athletes´ names, are the company´s best sellers. FreshTrax, a board game with a skiing and snowboarding theme, is so successful that plans are in the works to release two new games this year. T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, and beanie caps with the HuckDoll logo, "Be the Doll" slogan, and FreshTrax logo are offered in children´s and adult sizes.
Inspired by Gumby, each figure is 5 inches tall, flexible, and suitable for play or demonstrations of stunts, special moves, and aerial maneuvers. Each figure comes with its own equipment and appropriate clothing. Sports celebrities such as skiers Jonny Moseley and Shane McConkey, snowboarders Ross Powers and Tara Dakides, and rock climber Tori Allen are featured.
Five percent of sales are via the Internet; the HuckDoll is available in over 1,000 stores worldwide, targeting 8- to 14-year-olds. The dolls appeal to adults as well.
Action sports figures as a toy category aren´t much older than ten years. Murdock believes all sports have the same sales potential for the future. "More importantly, they have a cult following."
When asked whether most of their customers are athletes, Murdock replies, "Probably, but the moms do all the buying."