By Madison Alworth
In a market without Toys "R" Us, the biggest toy makers are looking for a new home.
That's where direct-to-consumer toy brand Little Passports claims to have an advantage. CEO Amy Norman told Cheddar in an interview on Friday that her company has the ticket to succeed in a market without the iconic big box toy store.
"What we’ve developed is a direct-to-consumer, e-commerce experience with all Little Passport’s branded products," Norman said. "And so that’s our vision: to build the next great children’s brand."
Little Passports creates toy kits for kids ranging from age three to 12. The kits encourage kids to explore science, geography, and different regions around the globe.
Norman believes Little Passports' ability to connect directly with customers is the key to her brand's success today ー and will ensure its future in an uncertain toy market that is testing even the biggest players.
"There’s Amazon ($AMZN) on the one hand, which has tremendous breadth, but it’s really hard to know what to buy a child, there’s no curation," she said. "On the other hand, you see Toys "R" Us disappearing, Barnes & Noble ($BKS) may be up for sale, and then you have this incredibly fragmented industry of a lot of specialty stores."
Hasbro ($HAS) is among those struggling. After reporting third-quarter earnings on Monday morning, the toymaker announced that a "single digit percent" of its workforce will be laid off after a 12 percent decrease in sales ー and placed blame for the cutbacks on the recent loss of Toys "R" Us.
Little Passports, meanwhile, is doubling down by expanding its offerings. The toy company is releasing new plush toys and a board game on Nov. 1.
Norman argued that even Little Passports' subscription model is unique. Consumers grow with the products ー phasing out of one category directly into a new one.
Norman reports that as a result of that cycle, churn is low.
"We have world-class customer retention, " Norman said.
"The primary reason is the product. The product is phenomenal. So unlike a subscription service like a BarkBox or a Birchbox, we have four subscription lines for kids, three around geography and one on science. So we see ourselves as a lifestyle brand. You come into our early explorers for preschoolers and then you can move through products for kids at older ages."
For full interview click here.