We think this might be one of the coolest sweepstakes opportunities since Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. We’re biased of course, but we’ve got a few parents on the Tegu team here, and it seems that our grand prize — the chance for your child to help us design Tegu’s next Mobility car — is bound to be something you and your child will never forget. And, if you look closely, you’ll see that the grand prize winner can choose to come see his or her amazing Mobility creation being produced in Honduras when it starts rolling off the production line. If that’s not Willy Wonka memorable, well, we don’t know what is.
Charlie Bucket’s golden ticket = Memory of a lifetime.
BUT, it get’s better!
We’re doing more than just one grand prize; we’ve got a bunch of other really valuable giveaways that are sure to delight any youngster around.
AS A SUMMARY, HERE ARE THE PRIZES: One (1) Grand Prize: The design experience of lifetime for your child. Design, Name, Package, Produce, and Share the next Tegu Magnetic Wooden Car (watch video for more details)
Two (2) First Prizes: $480 value for you and three friends. One each of the Tegu Mobility line: Dart, Hatch, Maddy Micro, Riley Roadster
Five (5) Second Prizes: $194 value. One Mahogany Original Set + Wheels + Travel Tote
Well, the entire team at Tegu has been waiting for this moment for quite some time: Mobility has launched! And yes, not long after attempting to re-invent the wooden block, we’ve also done our best to re-invent the wheel, too.
Tegu’s Magnetic Wooden Wheels attach to any block in the Tegu universe, turning every block creation into a mobile masterpiece. Seriously, it’s fun to throw two wheels on one cube and zip it across the floor. It’s also fun to get acquainted with our newly packaged runabouts: Dart, Hatch, Maddy Micro and Riley Roadster. Dart and Hatch make up the two newbies of the Mobility Compacts family (block building + wheels) while Maddy and Riley constitute the Mobility Silhouettes (collectible sleek profiles + wheels). They’re available this holiday season in limited quantities.
Today, half of our business — the US-based team — will celebrate Thanksgiving with its friends and loved ones. We’re delighted to take a step back and recharge before the holiday season gets going in earnest first thing tomorrow, on Block Friday (yes, there’s no typo there). We’re also pumped to say that we served pumpkin and pecan pie at the factory today for lunch even though most of our workers have never heard of Thanksgiving, nor understand the reason for celebration.
Tegu is not just a toy company; Tegu is a social enterprise.
We’ve had another incredible year, and we owe so much of this success to the hundreds of retailers out there now carrying our products. And, we owe thanks to you, our faithful, loyal customers who have chosen to invest in Tegu for yourself or the little ones in your life. We consider it a tremendous honor and joy to design children’s products and we wish we could share with you now all of our plans for the future, but, alas, that’s not what today’s message is about.
Today we say thank YOU, because without your support, our social mission wouldn’t be possible. As many of you know, beyond designing and manufacturing inventive new toys, Tegu has a deep social priority at its core: we were founded to help the nation of Honduras by creating jobs for the unemployed and underemployed. We’ve invested directly in the poor, and we’re proud to say that this investment is paying off in so many wonderful ways. At 50 fantastic factory jobs, our family in Honduras is growing, and the impact we see each day is increasingly so encouraging. So, from the folks in Tegucigalpa to the team in Darien, Connecticut, we say thank you. We hope you’ll enjoy this video glimpse of the impact you’ve helped make possible. Thank you for helping us make a difference; now let’s move from strength to strength. We wish all of you a fantastic holiday season. May it be your best one yet!
Without sharing all the details now, we have a TON of folks descending upon the Tegu factory in Tegucigalpa this coming week. It’s a joy from so many angles: our USA team gets to connect directly with our process and our workers, our partners are here helping insure the factory is poised to function better and better, and all of us get to know each other better. We came bearing some goodies — see below — to commemorate the trip. Oh, and we call Tegu Honduras the “Central Command” because it’s in Central America, sits geographically between our West Coast design center and our East Coast Sales and Marketing office, and because it’s literally the life source of the Company. Our workers started a soccer team, Deportivo Tegu, and we’re commemorating that, too.
Brett, Lesly and Brandon before we head to the rainforest for some fun.
We’ll be sharing much more with you here this week, and we hope you’ll enjoy this glimpse into what it means to be building a vertically-integrated manufacturing sales and marketing consumer brand come social venture! Enjoy the clips below and we’ll be back here soon!
Tegu has a fútbol team…and now a shield
We\’ve Commemorated the Central Command Summit w/ Hoodies!
We recently got acquainted with Journey of Action, an initiative led by sibling journalists Ryan and Kassidy Brown. They’re on a heck of a road trip traveling from Alaska to Argentina highlighting change-makers via short-form videos. The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Planet Green, GOOD, and many other publications have done feature stories on JoA. We figured we’d chime in, too!
You can read more about their work on their website, but they flicked us video this week that highlights Tegu’s work in Honduras, and, per the Brown’s mission, we boldly believe it entertains, educates, and can inspire our generation by highlighting Tegu’s work toward economic and social progress in Honduras.
In their words, we are a generation of doers, who do not care about the status quo. We are less concerned with how much money we earn and more with how much positive impact we can have. Our generation is bold, innovative, and understands the benefits of collaboration.
Thanks, Ryan and Kassidy, for helping us tell our story. We’re kindred spirits and hope to exemplify what’s possible when change-makers collaborate. Safe journeys!
It’s been far too long since I updated everyone on Tegu’s developments. Last year was mad scramble, and keeping up with orders and opening Tegu up to the retail store market was both exciting an exhilarating. In meeting the holiday 2010 rush, Tegu’s factory ballooned to 50+ workers and our little team here in the States was taxed to the hilt. And then there was New Year’s and the calendar started anew.
Tegu Fire Hydrant – Tribeca, NYC
We’re psyched to say that Tegu blocks made their debut all over the world last year, and, as you can see below, they even hitch-hiked their way to South Africa last summer for the World Cup.
Tegu blocks on a VW Beetle in downtown Cape Town, SA
Tegu blocks watch the Spain-Portugal match. Spain stuck it to Ronaldo & Co.
Today, it is April 2nd, 2011. With 5 trade shows (ATL Gift, CA Gift, NY Gift (winner, Best Toy), Nuremberg Toy, NY Toy) already notched in our belt for the year, our team in the States has necessarily grown, and we’re on the verge of taking real office space in Darien, CT. Yes, we’re sad to be leaving my modified sun porch in Rowayton, CT, but duty calls. Once we open the space, we’ll do a launch party of sorts and we’ll be sure to post here the details of that event. We’re incredibly grateful for the support of our fans, our friends, our family, and we’re totally stoked to be working on some new products for you and your children. We’d love to share more with you about them now, but we’ll keep that for another post.
Tegu at Toy Fair NY 2011
Suffice it to say, the Blog is once again live (RSS it if you haven’t), and we’re delighted to use it for keeping all informed of our progress. Of course, please do visit us on Facebook and Twitter, where we offer specials and promos and announcements that you might not find on Tegu.com. See you soon!
Welcome! This account is part one (1) of two (2), which will be posted to our blog, sharing with you the year in review. Part one — mostly a review of the start-up itself — is published today, New Year’s Day, by Will Haughey, one of Tegu’s founders and its “Chief Blockhead”. Part two — mostly a message about our social impact in Honduras — will be published later in January by Chris Haughey, Will’s brother, co-founder and Tegu’s “Head Elf”. Will lives in the comfort of suburban CT, heading up the USA operations and working with an incredibly talented team to build the brand. Chris, a true hero, lives in the turmoil that is Tegucigalpa, Honduras, making the world’s most advanced wooden blocks in the third poorest country in the western hemisphere.
From left to right: Chris, Dad, Will. Partners in crime since a young age.
Tegu is a socially-motivated business and was created to effect change in poverty-ridden Honduras by connecting it to the rest of the world through inventive, winning products. We call these products “relevant goods,” or those which matter to sophisticated consumers the world over. To be clear, despite being fueled by a social motivation to help those in need, we are not seeking compassion-driven purchases; our model doesn’t hold up unless we can go head-to-head with the brands you already know and love. In short, the more toys we sell globally, the bigger the social impact in Honduras (for more info on why we chose Honduras, see here).
Consequently, as an existing or potential Tegu customer, you’re not being asked to dig deep when considering the purchase of Tegu toys; in fact, we’re asking you to do what you always do: buy a product that might improve your — or your family’s — life. Without getting in over my head in psychoanalysis, I do think it’s important to admit that we do this every day. We buy gas so we can travel to see our friends, take our kids to school, and go on vacations with our family. We buy iPhones so we can communicate with loved ones, stay connected and have fun with technology. We buy good food because it tastes better than bad food. Some of us seek out great coffee because our morning ritual helps us prepare for stressful days at work (and because it tastes a heck of a lot better than bad or even mediocre coffee ). In short, we search, often unknowingly, for products that are unique, better made, and likely to bring us (or others) joy. In order for us to successfully convey to you the basis of our approach, we urge you to admit that, regardless of your income level, unique spending habits or consumption patterns, you buy products that have the potential to deliver delight.
Our effort at creating a “relevant good”. We’ve purposefully chosen to make ours in Honduras.
In the winter of 2008, Chris and I paid a visit to Treebones Resort on the Big Sur coastline in California. An awesome yurt resort with stunning views, Treebones was created by John Handy (and his wife, Corinne), a former Mattel executive who’d spent 25 years establishing and growing multi-million dollar household names like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Hotwheels. He was the head of product design at Mattel and, as such, a revered industry icon. Honored that he would spend an hour with us, Chris and I arrived with notebooks, pens, and a small brown sack containing some fairly crude magnetic wooden block prototypes, created for us by a model shop in Palo Alto. Although Chris and I wouldn’t fess up to it at the time, we were nervous that John might — albeit politely — shut us down and frown upon the simplicity of our concept. He had, after all, somehow helped mastermind the worldwide stardom of goofy looking turtles who ate pizza for strength. We had arrived with rectilinear wooden blocks which incorporated magnets.
However, what ensued over the next 90 minutes was nothing short of inspiring, uplifting and energizing. After exploring the prototypes, testing their limits and listening to our vision for Tegu, John concluded that our toys possessed a critical “delight factor.” As he explained, it was that certain “je ne sais quoi” that some products possess and others don’t, that certain something that compels us to spread the word (”Here, try this!”). You may have experienced this delight in the gratifyingly solid click of a Montblanc pen, or, since 1949, the perfect degree of tactile friction between two LEGO bricks (not too loose, not too tight).
In the case of Tegu blocks, it was the surprisingly animated experience of wooden cubes snapping together by an invisible magnetic force. The blocks’ attraction to one another culminated with a consistent “clack.” The delight factor was further reinforced when north met north and two of our blocks thrust themselves away from one another, as if to say “no way, try again.” As he predicted, these blocks, although simple, would attract evangelist owners, or those who can’t wait to share them with their world. Thus far, it seems he was right.
Emboldened to accelerate the introduction and proliferation of this delight factor, Chris and I ran the numbers, finalized the business strategy (become the Apple of toys, go direct to the consumer through the web), and started meeting with anyone who would hear our story. For more background on how we raised the money needed to get launched, see this blog posting which describes the process and our pitch in greater detail. By God’s provision (and I really mean that), we launched with the needed capital at the end of March 2009, excited to bring our high price point discretionary item into the worst consumer recession in decades. I trust that many of us can speak to this experience, but when the cards gets stacked against you, the fight gets a lot more fun…and stressful.
In April, I flew out to meet Chris in LA, packed his 4Runner to the brim and took off for the border. We spent the next six days (and thousands of miles) on the road, snaking our way along the western coast of Mexico and then on into Guatemala. Having punctured a tire on the ridiculously bad Honduran roads, we limped our way into our city of destination, Tegucigalpa, and Chris began to setup shop (more coming on this topic from Chris later in the month). For a video snapshot of the road trip, click here.
Over the next few months, Chris negotiated the lease of our facility space and darted all over Honduras to find used equipment at bargain prices. Machines that couldn’t be found in Honduras were sourced in the USA and prepared for container shipment in July. Meanwhile, the team we had recruited for the USA operations was starting to join in a full time capacity. Nate Lau — our Lead Creative shown below in his product introduction video — helped us put meat on the bones of the brand. Tegu.com went into development with the great team at Inspired Environment, and we started plotting our market entry with other Tegu advisors. One of our recruited advisors, Kari Boiler, was the woman responsible for bringing the ubiquitous Bugaboo stroller to the USA from Holland. She introduced us to Unlock PR, Kerry Fitzmaurice’s LA-based outfit, which is, unequivocally, the strongest launch partner in modern parenting. The Tegu family began to emerge.
In September, we went live on tegu.com (taking pre-orders) and had a really solid start with a feature on DailyCandy Kids. Later that month, we encountered some manufacturing challenges that unfortunately capped the amount of inventory we could build and sell this year. Developed over the last two years, our manufacturing process of precisely getting the magnets into the blocks is patent pending. That said, we started to get picked up across the blogosphere and eventually in mainstream periodicals like New York Magazine, Interior Design and US Weekly (thanks to Nicole Richie). In November, we made the decision to stop taking orders on the website for fear that we wouldn’t be able to fulfill them by Christmas. It was a tough decision, but we made the most of it; and again, thanks to some heavyweights in the blogosphere like Gizmodo and CoolHunting, our waiting list exploded. The positioning for 2010 is fantastic; we’re wondering if we can find a way to make enough for the demand we’ve seen and will see.
Like everyone these days, Tegu is active on Facebook, growing a nice and supportive family of followers. We’re a bit lazy on Twitter; but, of course, you can follow us there as well. We encourage you to join the movement, support the cause and spread the word. You can do this out of compassion for the people we serve in Honduras; however, as I mentioned above, there’s a Tegu delight factor waiting for you, so why not join the waiting list and line up for your first set?
In summary, it’s been an incredible year for our little block company, and we‘d like to say thank you to everyone who has played a part. There are tremendously exciting things in store for next year, but we’ll keep you in suspense just a little while longer. Let’s just say that our four wooden block shapes are just the beginning…
We are delighted to share the news that Tegu is being considered for a sizable video grant from Free Range Studios. These guys are the makers of the tremendously successful, multi-million viewed piece “The Story of Stuff“. READ: Please resist the urge to dismiss this posting — we need YOUR help.
In true web2.0 style, the winners will be selected by public vote. This is where YOU (yes, you) come in. If you’re reading this posting right now and you have less than 1 minute to spare, you can do our toy company a huge favor by casting THREE (yes, 3) votes for us to be the winners. Currently, we’re top of the charts on the voting scale in the Socially-Responsible for-Profit category with 520 votes.
Go to Free Range’s Voting Portal and click the “VOTE NOW” button. You’ll be directed to the Environment and Conservation page (see screen shot below). Find the categories list on the right-hand margin of the page (highlighted in blue on the screen shot). Scroll down to “Socially-Responsible For-Profit“. When that page loads, you’ll see “Tegu: Toys to Change a Nation“. Underneath the voting counter, click “vote” 3 times to give us your 3 (no pressure!!). If you haven’t already done so, the site will ask you to sign in. This is actually really simple, especially if you already have a Facebook or Twitter account.
Vote for Tegu (Thrice over)
Then, if you’re really feeling generous, help us spread the word through your friends, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Here’s a blurb you can copy and paste:
I’m requesting a favor: I’d love YOUR vote to help an awesome new toy company fulfill its unique poverty-fighting mission in Honduras. Click this link to vote now: http://bit.ly/rOXLU