Joshua Bauder is the President of Marketing & Advertising of Happy Toy Machine. He is effectively bringing new technology to a traditional industry: stuffed toys. Joshua’s award winning company is named Happy Toy Machine and is on it’s way to great success.
Happy Toy Machine allows customers to easily create custom stuffed plush toys on a 3D creator. These toys can be made any way the customer wants. Once the toy is created online, Happy Toy Machine takes over and makes it come to life as a plush fabric, one of a kind toy. All of Happy Toy Machine toys are built here in the United States of America in the heart of Silicon Valley.
MO: What does winning the Audience Choice Award for the 2011 TechCrunch Disrupt New York event mean to your company?
Joshua: Since it was the first time that we had presented Happy Toy Machine to the public, TechCrunch Disrupt really let us see the publics reaction to our product. We were honored to see that the audience at TechCrunch Disrupt thought that we deserved the award. So winning the Audience Choice Award was a huge honor to everyone at Happy Toy Machine.
MO: Tell us about the user experience of creating a toy on Happy Toy Machine?
Joshua: Creating a toy on Happy Toy Machine is an experience that is brand new and revolutionary in the toy industry. The ability to pick and choose every element that you want to appear on your toy has never been done before. Our customers’ rave about how much fun it is to play with our 3D toy designer. Our toy designer allows our customers to allow their visions and ideas come to life right before their eyes. Being able to see the toy in 3D before it’s made is an experience unlike any other because you know that what you see on the screen will be the exact look of the toy in real life.
MO: Do you target the children or parents and grandparents? What age category comprises most of your business?
Joshua: We target both children and their parents. The reason for this is that when a child sees a toy that they want to get then they’re going to tell their parents about it and then on the parent side by targeting them we allow them to take part in the experience of designing a toy with their child. The two main age categories that we target are newborn to about 9 years old and then parents 20-35. It’s really hard to place an age on the parents because we mainly target parents within our children age range and nowadays the age of their parents can vary greatly.
MO: Do you have any new ideas or features for the toys?
Joshua: Happy Toy Machine has lots of amazing features in the pipeline right now. Some of those features that are in the pipeline are an MP3 chip which will allow users to upload MP3 files or record their voice on it, hair, different fabric options, more colors, more body shapes, clothing and accessories for the toys, and lots of other cool additions to really allow our customers to create the toy of their dreams.
MO: Gaining traction is always difficult for new online commerce businesses. How did you initially get the word out about Happy Toy Machine?
Joshua: In the beginning it was mainly friends and family but since we came out of private beta in August of 2011 we have been ramping up our marketing efforts. Right now we mainly have been working with bloggers that are an expert in our targeted markets to really help us get the word out to their users and that has worked amazingly for us.
MO: What in your background inspired your CEO to create Happy Toy Machine?
Joshua: Our CEO and Founder Scott Schube, has a mixed creative and technical background – He is a former English major, played in a number of bands, worked in the music industry in Hollywood, and produced an independent feature film before going back to graduate school in Electrical Engineering, working as a hardware developer and then product marketer at Intel and other companies. Happy Toy Machine is a melding of these creative and technical interests. He has always had an interest in custom manufacturing and mass customization, and has four kids, so the idea for Happy Toy Machine seemed a natural one to him.
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