To celebrate, we’re sharing a couple highlights from the year at our factory in Honduras.
Ever wonder how Tegu Blocks end up in your neighborhood toy store or get delivered to your doorstep? It all comes down to our incredible team that allows us to create, sell, and distribute Tegu Blocks to places all over the world (we are now sold in all continents! except Antarctica… that one is tricky). We would love for you to get to know some of these fantastic people – you may have even talked to some of them yourself, and it’s always nice to put a face to name.
We look forward to highlighting different Tegu Team members, so that you can get to know them a bit better. We certainly think they are fantastic people, and we hope you do, too!
Full Name Marged Hernandez Martinez
Location Tegucigalpa, Honduras
University and major UNITEC (Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana)Finance and Marketing
Job at Tegu Account Manager (Mainly focus on US and Canada)
Job before Tegu Coordinator of Volunteer program at National Industry Association (ANDI)
Started at Tegu December 10th 2014
Favorite Tegu toy Love the classics! Especially the 42 Piece set in Sunset for 2 reasons: It has the right amount of blocks & shapes to build lots of fun creations and the beautiful colors! One of my favorite things to do is to watch the sunset, it reminds me that no matter what happened that day, it can end beautifully 🙂
Favorite Tegu Fun Fact Did you know that the one of the most difficult shapes to produce is the torso of Magbot and Magnetron?
Tegu employees describe you as Funny and Sweet
Biggest surprise working at Tegu The mix of cultures between US/HONDURAS/UK, it’s so fun to learn from all of them!
Best part about working at Tegu I work in the toy industry, giving smiles to kids! how cool is that? plus I get to work with the nicest people ever!
Fun fact about Honduras Two European reality shows were filmed at “Cayos Cochinos” both very similar to the reality show “Survivor”
People you work with most at Tegu Cinthia and Karla, both in Honduras.
When not working, we can find you…walking my dogs 🙂
Favorite food and drink It’s so hard to choose just one, I’m a food lover! But… today I feel in the mood of Mexican food, mmm tacos… and a coke of course!
What’s your vision or hope for Tegu? To keep growing as a remarkable and admirable company, full of innovation and the heart to always help the needed.
The Tegu Team
The holidays are stressful. Finding great toys for kids isn’t rocket science.
Keep it simple and look for play value that’s endlessly new.
Bracing For The Holidays
Well, it’s here. The holiday season begins in earnest this week. Brands are already clamoring for your attention, and we can feel it: Black Friday has devolved into a discount frenzy often starting weeks before the end of November. Frankly, the consumerism can be a bit nauseating. Worse, our research shows that finding a “wow gift” can be a major source of stress for parents, and this is regrettable. But, we get it, and we hope we can breathe a little peace into your holiday this year.
As parents, we know a great toy when we see it. Children engage with certain toys more emotionally, more enthusiastically, and usually, more often than the others. We all know those toys that have gone the distance, providing hours and hours of play, capturing her imagination, love and affection throughout years, not days or months. And when siblings play together, well that’s a home run. Great toys are those that nail the “play value”, and at Tegu, we’ve been obsessing over this aspect of toy design since before we launched our business in 2009.
Q: How do you know if a toy will have high play value?
A: Look for toys that play consistently, but differently every time. These are toys that have some predictability to them – known “rules of engagement” – and yet leave enough freedom for expression that they can be manipulated in new ways every time the child begins to play.
How We Do It
Tegu’s magnetic wooden building system was made to go the distance by being super durable and high quality and also by offering a play pattern that’s endlessly new. We see evidence of this type of play all the time as we receive photos and stories from the field. And to give you a glimpse into how we work to get this right, we’re sharing here three simple criterion required in Tegu’s product design process:
We like to think that it is this toy design discipline that makes Tegu “the gift that keeps on giving.” And we stand by this belief so much that we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee for the life of the toy. And, by the way, when we say “life of the toy,” we’re talking about multiple generations of play.
And don’t miss it! At Tegu, there is another way your toy “keeps on giving.” When you purchase Tegu, you are supporting our mission to bring lasting economic change to the less fortunate through job creation and career opportunities at our factory. Tegu now employs over two hundred hard working people supporting their families with their wages; it’s the founding mission of the Company, and it’s simply and naturally supported by your purchase.
So whether you’re finished shopping already, about to get started, or trying your best not to get caught-up in the holiday rush, try not to let the pursuit of the perfect holiday (gifts) stand in the way of the simple joys to be had in the beauty of the season. Most of all, we wish you a holiday season filled with lots (and lots) of playful moments.
Yours in play,
It’s been almost exactly 5 years since Tegu Honduras sent out its first shipment of Magnetic Wooden Blocks to stoke the fires of our entrance to the USA toy market. That shipment had one and a half pallets of Tegu toys in it and took almost 3 months from production startup to get made and packaged! As a measure of our growth, just yesterday Tegu Honduras shipped a full container of product (20 pallets’ worth) to our operation in Europe, which is growing in leaps and bounds. Those toys will end up in stores, classrooms, playrooms and museums across the UK, Germany, Scandinavia and a handful of other countries.
All that to say, our factory has grown incredibly, from the first 4 people hired at the end of 2009 to whip machines into shape and start production to the 150+ people that now make up our Production, Maintenance, Supply Chain and Administrative teams. We are incredibly proud, excited, and humbled at the same time to see our mission of job creation in Honduras come to fruition and to be able to continue to deepen our impact. In fact, the growth continues, and we are looking for a fresh group of strong functional leaders and team members to join our team at the factory. We would love to entertain applications and interest from experienced, capable and hungry Hondurans looking to contribute to a meaningful enterprise in their country and have the opportunity to grow and take on new professional challenges together with Tegu. Note that we’d also be happy to entertain interest from folks living outside Honduras, but they would need to want to live in Tegucigalpa and of course robustly meet the other requirements of the roles (which in almost all cases includes fluency in Spanish).
These positions range across the functional areas at the Tegu factory, from Production to Engineering to Supply Chain to Administration. In some cases, certain roles involve significant interaction with our broader global team in the US and Europe. We’re excited to be expanding so significantly, and without further ado, please find below the positions for which Tegu Honduras is currently seeking qualified and highly motivated candidates:
Finally, we are currently also recruiting for the following positions which would most likely be located with our team in the USA:
Thanks in advance for your personal interest and/or forwarding any of these positions to folks you know either in Honduras or with connections to Honduras who can pass the word on to the right people.
Hooray! The TeguElf is back!
This year our beloved holiday merry-maker is joined by friends from the FUTURE: Robo, Magbot, Circuit Racer and Magnetron.
On a mission to deliver cheer to those far and near, TeguElf and FUTURE friends have concocted…
The 19 Days of Play, Cheer & Giveaways!
What’s in store?
Play : TeguElf loves to play and invites you to join along each day.
Cheer : TeguElf knows the holidays can be a joyous, yet stressful time. TeguElf and FUTURE friends will be on the look out for ways to spread some unexpected cheer and kindness. What to do to catch the TeguElf’s attention? Hint: Use #TeguElf in social media posts 😉
Giveaways : The ever generous TeguElf is eager to pass out gifts and special offers to help with your holiday gift-giving. Each day will offer a chance for you to win and save!
The fun begins on Monday, December 1st!
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
– Primarily responsible for improving, growing and extending Tegu’s established Wholesale selling efforts
– The Company will look to you to develop great reach and coverage across the United States in the Specialty Channel
– Use your sales abilities to help the Company reach its brand, product and financial objectives
– You will also be expected to familiarize yourself with Tegu’s social impact objectives, and all selling efforts will be expected to conform to those standards and values as well
– Make phone calls, take inbound calls, send out e-mails to secure sales with existing customers and new customers
– Must have excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
– Confident and persuasive in oral communications
– Must be proficient in Excel, Power Point and Word
– Must be a Team player and adapt to change
Location: Darien, CT
Send e-mail with resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Principal only. Recruiters, please do not contact this job poster
On a large rug in a kindergarten classroom, Chris Haughey watched a group of children play.
There were about a dozen of them, and they were busy building – houses, trains, airplanes, boats. Some were making up stories and narrating as they went along. Most of the time, Haughey quietly observed, but here and there, he would ask the youngsters about the toys they were playing with. What did the children like about them?
Not having kids of their own, Haughey and his brother, Will, then 27 and 26, had come to this classroom to get to know their potential audience better. Chris Haughey, a Stanford mechanical engineering graduate, tapped his connections with the university’s design school and was introduced to a kindergarten class at the Nueva School in Hillsborough. Though the 5- and 6-year-olds taking part most likely didn’t realize it at the time, they helped shape a new toy company, Tegu, a maker of magnetic wooden blocks.
Now, several years later, Tegu has become one of the latest companies to challenge Lego and the other giants of the $16.5 billion U.S. toy industry. In an age of plastic, character-branded toys, not to mention video and mobile games and other electronic toys, Tegu has carved out a niche with a set of simple, magnetic wooden blocks that can be stacked and stuck together to build any sort of imaginative plaything.
“We are going up against big budgets and big companies that have been around,” said Tegu co-founder Will Haughey. “Our view is that we’re building something to last. Wooden toys are not going away. There’s always going to be room for them. There’s always going to be a place for building something.”
Quitting their jobs
Chris and Will Haughey hadn’t intended to dive into the toy business. Chris Haughey was a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group and Will Haughey was an investment analyst at Goldman Sachs when they decided to quit their jobs to become entrepreneurs.
“We were accidental toy makers,” Will Haughey said.
Inspired by a missionary trip to Honduras, the brothers wanted to start a company that could help the local economy and take advantage of one of the country’s resources, its timber. They considered making furniture, but during a trip to Europe, where toys are less often mass-produced, they were inspired to develop a line of wooden toys.
With the help of friends from Stanford, they came up with several ideas, which they field tested with the Nueva School’s kindergarten class.
The wooden magnetic blocks were a clear hit. They saw that the children could tinker with the blocks however they liked, using what they built as part of their fantasy worlds and games.
With funding from family and friends, the brothers established a 15,000-square-foot manufacturing facility near the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, from which the company gets its name. It employs about 90 people there, including Chris Haughey, and has been ramping up as the magnetic blocks draw more interest. It uses a portion of its revenues to replant trees, replacing the ones they’ve used.
The timing has been right. There’s been a shift toward retro and classic toys, according to the Toy Industry Association’s look at the latest trends in February. Citing NPD, a market research firm, it also said that sales of construction and building toys increased nearly 20 percent last year and predicted that they would be even hotter this year.
Sold online and at specialty toy stores, Tegu’s blocks are for parents and educators who are looking to steer children to classic toys that inspire them to be creative – and who are willing to pay a bit more to do so. A small set of six blocks retails for $30 and larger collections of about 50 blocks cost upward of $150.
Tegu has its share of competition. The Melissa & Doug brand is widely recognized for its classic toys, such as its wooden puzzles, blocks and trains. Haba, a German toy company, also has made inroads in the United States with its collection of classic European-inspired wooden and plush toys. There are also other magnetic building toys, such as Magna-Tiles, construction toys such as Lincoln Logs and, the biggest juggernaut of them all, Lego.
Still, Tegu’s small size can be an advantage, said Stevanne Auerbach, an industry expert known as “Dr. Toy.”
“You don’t have to be a monster company” to succeed in the toy market, she said. “You have the opportunity to be more innovative as a small company.”
That’s certainly Tegu’s aim, as it looks to expand to schools, other educational spaces, and additional toy stores in the United States and around the globe. And in their wildest dreams, the Haughey brothers imagine Tegu blocks finding a role in another edition of the “Toy Story” films.
At Creativity Museum
Tegu recently invested $4,000 in an installation at San Francisco’s Creativity Museum. There, children can use about 200 magnetic blocks at a time to build bridges and other structures.
“Children as young as 3 and 5 are exploring the world around them, touching and feeling different materials,” said Michael Nobleza, executive director at the Creativity Museum. “Tegu gives them the ability to explore the world through magnets and spatial design and building. It’s about learning about the materials and about what they can do with the materials.”
Founders: Chris Haughey and Will Haughey
Product: Magnetic wooden blocks
Headquarters: Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Ellen Lee is a freelance writer. E-mail: email@example.com