Aren’t toys for everyone?

If aliens were to come to Earth and land in any store that sells toys and have to base their observations of human life solely on that, I don’t think they would find our world as complicated as it is. (They also might believe we all have superpowers and a vast number of royal families.) We put kids in boxes: this toy is for boys, this toy is for girls, and ne’er the two shall meet. You can tell because we’ve painted this aisle blue and this aisle pink (not that we really need help with that, because the toys all speak for themselves). What would these aliens think of us, looking at guns for boys and crowns for girls? Who made these decisions, anyway? It certainly wasn’t us – the caretakers, the parents, the teachers. We know that the interests and abilities of children are as varied and multi-faceted as their names.

This problem is not one that will get better if we keep churning out the same toys over and over again. It’s also not one that will get better only if the toys change, because as any parent will tell you, kids are as influenced by what they see and watch and what their friends think as anybody else is. We didn’t get to a world in which only 13% of engineers are women without having a much bigger problem than toys. But the toys are a start – and a good one, if you ask us (though we are, of course, pretty biased).

It would be incredible if tomorrow we could do away with gender-specific toys, categorize things by type instead of gender as some toy stores have done, and remove the stigma from boys’ emotionality, their compassion, their gentleness, and from girls’ ambition, their drive, their strength. We’re getting there – amazing people doing equally amazing work are getting us there. The world in which the Internet can launch a company is the world in which individual people can decide what’s on the shelves for themselves and their families, and that’s a powerful and empowering thing. But as we work for that world, how does it get better?

Our goal is to be a bridge between this hyper-gendered world of toys and a world in which the blue and pink aisles are obsolete. We are primarily “for” girls because girls don’t have much like us, yet (big shout-out to Roominate, littleBits, Hopscotch, and all the other great toys making strides in this space). This doesn’t mean boys don’t like our toys (they do!) or that they shouldn’t play with them (they should!), but that given the wide array of toys and characters marketed to boys that focus on building, girls and boys have begun to think that building is only for them. If boys see a silly, smart, ambitious engineer who also happens to be a girl, they will be more accustomed to seeing girls like her as they grow up. If girls see a silly, smart, ambitious engineer, wanting to be those things becomes normal – just as normal as wanting to be a princess.

“Better” is relative. And better is what we’re working for – not alone, and not without one heck of a lot of learning along the way. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the It Gets Better Project for this piece of their “illustrations” campaign, which speaks to us deep in the cockles of our hearts. We hope you’ll join us for the ongoing conversation here – and remember, it’ll get better as long as we’re working to make it so. You, me, and everybody who loves their kids, or loves the kid they once were. We’re getting there, everybody. We’ve got this.

Why Girls?

I’m Reshma Saujani, and two years ago I founded the national non-profit organization Girls Who Code to teach teenage girls the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities and close the gender gap in technology.  We started out as a single pilot program in New York City — an 8-week summer program that paired intensive computer science education with female mentorship and tech industry exposure.

After watching our first class of 20 girls graduate from the program and go on to get internships at companies like Gilt, take the AP Computer Science exam, launch Girls Who Code clubs in their high schools, present their projects at the White House Science Fair, and otherwise blow my mind, I knew we were doing something right.

This year our Summer Immersion Program is gearing up to reach 320 young women across the country, and our Girls Who Code Clubs will reach thousands more.  Watching the incredible things 16 and 17 year old girls create and build, the friendships they form, and the passion they have for what they are learning, I never have to ask myself, “why girls?” The results of our programs speak for themselves.

But even two years after launching, the question still seems to follow me.  Whenever an article is written about Girls Who Code, I head straight to the comments section.  Inevitably, one of the first posts (usually meaning it’s the most popular) is some frustrating variation of, “Singling out girls is sexist,” or “Everyone knows girls just don’t like computer science.”

To be fair, a more productive perspective occasionally makes its way into the mix, asserting that all kids – boys and girls – should have access to high-quality computer science education.

That’s true. But as someone who has come to see this issue up close and personal, I am more certain every day that we need to do more to empower our girls in computer science and engineering.

Why?

Well, it’s not because they need extra help, or are inherently worse at it than boys are. In fact, girls are better at it.  Last year, a study found that 15-year-old girls around the world outperform boys in science, except in the US, Great Britain and Canada.  Similarly, math scores between boys and girls don’t diverge until adolescence.

And it’s not because girls aren’t interested in it. The reality is that girls consume technology more and at an earlier age than boys do, and women are the majority of users on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

We need to focus on girls because girls, unlike boys, are taught from an early age that computing fields are not for them.  They are inundated with media portrayals of the boy genius, the tech tycoon, and the mad scientist. (You know, the Albert Einstein-looking guy in a lab coat). Growing up, girls are handed a fashion doll who says, “Math Sucks” and sold  T-shirts that say, “Allergic to Algebra.”

Girls Who Code, GoldieBlox, and others are working to change those perceptions, and we need to see much, much more of that in years to come to ensure young women are on track to filling the more than 1.4 million jobs that are expected to be open in the computing fields by 2020.

But most importantly, we need to focus on girls because girls want to change the world.  It is in all our best interest to give them the tools they need to do it. Girls Who Code is leading a movement to reach 1 million girls with the skills and inspiration to become engineers and entrepreneurs, and if we bring everyone to the table–educators, CEOs, policymakers, parents, girls, even celebrities–I have no doubt we will succeed.

Holy axles, we won!

We won Intuit’s Small Business, Big Game Challenge, and we’re going to have an ad in the biggest game of the season! THANK. YOU. SO. MUCH.

We can’t repeat it enough: thank you, thank you, thank you, muchas gracias, merci beaucoup, gratias tibi. We are just so grateful that you — yes, you — helped us get to the Big Game.

We’re just 15 people, but 18 months ago we were one person with a dream. And now we’re going to have a 30 second ad spot in the biggest game of the season? What? How? AHH?

And the most gratifying thing is that we’re here because you want us to be. You voted, and many of you voted every day, and here we are. We’re just floored by that.

We’ll see you on Sunday! Are you ready for this? (We may not be ready for this, emotionally. I suspect there will be abject joy-gratitude-ohmygosh-feelings-weeping.)

1487364_609643532439885_1453753610_n

 

Read about it on AP, and see a fantastic profile of all Top 4 finalists on Inc. The story is also on CNN, ABC, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Huffington Post… really, anywhere you’d like to read about it, you can. Pick your favorite publication!

We’d be remiss if we didn’t thank Intuit, the makers of such wildly helpful software like QuickBooks and TurboTax, for even giving small businesses this huge opportunity. We’re thrilled to be the first small business to be able to be seen at the big game alongside big brands, and can’t wait to see what you do with this initiative next year!

And please, if you have a second, go check out our fellow Top 4. Barley Labs, Locally Laid Egg Company, and POOP (you heard us — POOP) are amazing companies doing incredible work, and their founders are just as awesome as their company initiatives. We can’t wait to see what they do next!

One more time: thank you!

Love,
Team Goldie

Introducing GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank!

We get a lot of questions here at GoldieBlox, but by far the most fun one to answer is “how’d you come up with this idea?”

While we’re pretty sure most people know how the story goes with the company, what’s just as fun to talk about are individual toys. We’re still small – fifteen people and counting – so we don’t have the kind of advanced research and development rooms that some other, bigger companies do. One day!

For now, it’s all of us in a room, being louder than usual (this is… well, a lie, we are almost always loud) ripping toys apart and rearranging them. One of the best things about being this small is that everybody on the team has input, which makes for some fantastic brainstorming. And that’s how the dunk tank was born.

We pretty much knew we wanted a water element in the next kit because, frankly, who doesn’t love playing with water? And we sort of knew that we wanted it to be a water element that anybody who played with the toy could add themselves, because, frankly, who doesn’t love incorporating splashing in puddles into every possible scenario?

We tossed around a bunch of options – water slide? Diving board? – and eventually someone said, “What about a dunk tank?”

Nobody can remember who that someone is. Four different people are saying they are. Truly a team effort, then!

So… what about a dunk tank? It’d need a target, and it could teach the hinge and lever concept in a way that also created a small mess when used effectively. But could we put it together using some of the pieces we already had?

Somebody took apart a peg board and the answer was… well, yeah. Yeah we could! Here’s a photo of what it looked like on that first day:

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For a handy comparison, here’s what it looks like now:

BT003_Nacho_PreSplash

 

A little bit different, no?

One of our advisors, Terry Langston (one of the founders of Pictionary), was there on the day we were coming up with the idea. We asked him what he remembered and he said, “Aha moments are rare, and very few are followed up with great execution. Such is the case with Goldie’s Dunk Tank. The moment Nacho splashed in the dunk tank we all knew an exciting new Goldie product was alive!”

But we wanted it to be a little different than our other kits, and ideally on the less expensive side. Turns out that the books are what cost us the most to produce, and we wanted to do something that still told a story, but that also added a new element to the kit as a whole. Andrea and Trevor, our intrepid illustrators, have created a gorgeous backdrop for the toy that you can attach to it once it’s built! Hopefully you’ll love it as much as we do.

While we were figuring out what we wanted the illustration to look like, we were holding play dates where children could come (with their parents, of course) and play with the prototype. These are incredibly useful and interesting for us (and hopefully for the kids!) because they let us see whether or not we’re on the right track, or if parts of the toy or instructions need improvement.

If you get the kit, you’ll see that one of the pieces that creates the platform for Nacho to sit on rotates entirely around; the target is on this piece, and you throw one of the bouncy balls and try to hit the target. The target swings out, dropping Nacho into the glass of water/bath tub/puddle below. One girl who was at one of our play dates built the target in such a way that it looked like it was on backwards. She could have just rotated it all the way around, but instead, she disassembled and reassembled it so it was on the right way. Her dad told us that he was astonished – he could see that she was learning about rotating objects in space, and with another couple of tries, would have an understanding of how that worked. Watching her learn spatial skills as she played was incredibly rewarding to him, and to us too!

The Dunk Tank — as well as the Spinning Machine and the Parade Float — will be available in Target locations nationwide starting at the end of this month. We hope you’ll have as much fun playing with it as we did building it!

Love,
Debbie and Team Goldie

P.S. Don’t forget to collect all the fish!

Dunk Tank Fish

What We Did (And Learned) In 2013

January:
We kicked the year off with a team of four, crammed into a tiny one-room office near Jack London Square in Oakland. Our staff included myself, my best friend, Lindsey, my sister, Stephanie and my husband, Beau. Not a single one of us knew how to produce or ship toys, yet we had tens of thousands of pre-orders to fill. In between moving our cars every two hours to avoid parking tickets, we reached out to as many advisors as we could to learn about supply chain and fulfillment logistics. We learned it all from scratch. We set up systems, built elaborate excel spreadsheets and searched for warehouses. We prepped our Kickstarter backer rewards, and quickly learned that the tools-on-the-pockets of the hoodie design was extremely difficult to source. So we ironed decals onto hundreds of hoodies ourselves. We were as resourceful as it gets, and learned the true meaning of DIY.

01Jan

February:
We moved into our first “real” office – 1500 square feet of creative space in Oakland. It seemed enormous! Each of us took a room to ourselves, but quickly got lonely and decided to sit together at a large conference table in the main room. We decorated the office with old school (extremely heavy) video game consoles we found outside. They quickly made the entire office reek of cat pee so we had to discard them. This month also was the debut of GoldieBlox at the NY Toy Fair. Our booth was literally the smallest booth at the entire show. We built it ourselves out of Ikea furniture and foam core. We met with toy stores and started writing our very first retail orders. We worked so hard that week; Lindsey actually fell asleep at the dinner table with her head in her plate. At Toy Fair, we learned we were a total oddball in the toy industry…in the very best of ways.

02Feb

March:
We shipped our first production run of toys. We rented a big warehouse and convinced our friends and help us pick and pack. We blasted Stevie Wonder and took turns riding around on a forklift. In just a few days, we shipped our toys to thousands of girls around the world. Then, we waited (very) anxiously to hear the reaction. Emails, photos and videos started pouring in with happy faces, funny anecdotes and amazing stories about how the toy had made an impact. It was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life hearing how girls were starting to call themselves “engineers” and using words like “axle” in their everyday vocabulary. We learned that this idea, this dream, was going to work. And we learned that we needed third party logistics.

03Mar

April:
We won the Shopify Build-A-Business competition, where we received a cash prize of $50,000 and a trip to New York to get mentored by Tina Roth Eisenberg, Tim Ferriss, Noah Robischon and Daymond John. This month, we also welcomed Jan Hanson, the former VP of Operations at Cranium, to our team to help us scale. This was our first hire that wasn’t someone I’d known for years or was related to. Jan instantly became indispensable to our team, and a ton of fun too. April was also the month of the “dog and pony show”, where we met with about ten different banks. Somehow, our pitch got better and better the less we prepared. In addition, this month I was honored to give talks at the Stanford Women’s Leadership conference, the She++ Conference, Google’s ‘Bring Your Child to Work Day’, the Seattle Rotary Club, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers AND Microsoft. We learned that our mission was resonating with some pretty amazing people who could open doors for us. So we let them.

04Apr

May:
We exhibited at the Bay Area Maker Faire, where we got to play GoldieBlox with hundreds of kids all weekend long. We also got to meet some of our Kickstarter backers in person, which was such a treat. It was an incredibly inspiring event and we walked out of there with mile-long lists of inspiration for future products. This month, we were thrilled to be awarded the Parents’ Choice Gold and Oppenheim Toy Platinum Awards for “GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine”. We also had our first company morale event at Six Flags. We ate at Applebee’s, went on rollercoasters and drove go-karts. We learned that we are all still kids at heart.

06May

June:
We saw GoldieBlox on the shelves of Toys”R”Us for the first time. It was a pinch-yourself-to-believe-it moment that I will never, ever forget. Also this month, we headed to Nashville to attend the ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailer Association) tradeshow. Yee-haw! There, we met with mom & pop toy retailers from across the US and convinced many new stores to carry GoldieBlox. We also extended full-time job offers to Andrea and Trevor, two incredibly talented illustrators who we found to re-illustrate Goldie and help take our artwork to the next level. Despite offers from Disney, they joined our team and we couldn’t be more grateful. After launching at Toys”R”Us this month, we learned what it feels like to be one tiny box on a mile-long store shelf, and how much work we had cut out for us.

05Jun

July:
We celebrated our debut in Toys”R”Us with a viral video, where we filmed a horde of little girls “disrupting the pink aisle”. When we filmed the video, we invited our Kickstarter backers to be a part of the video shoot. We had over 50 people at the Toys”R”Us parking lot, with no permission from the store to do the filming. Luckily, the store manager was so happy to see all the kids, he had someone dress up like Jeffery the giraffe and give everyone gift bags. The fact we were able to capture the video was a miracle in and of itself. Over a million views later, people started looking for us at Toys”R”Us, and girls may have started nailing their ballet slippers to skateboards. Also this month, we took a company trip to SpaceX, where we took a tour and learned how spaceships are made. It was an engineer’s paradise. We also attended Adobe’s ‘Bring Your Kids to Work Day’, where we played for hours with kids building all kinds of amazing GoldieBlox contraptions. This month, we learned about the power of a building community.

07Jul

August:
We welcomed Marjan, our eighth employee. Her title is “Dr. Do-It-All”, and it’s been amazing to see all the challenges she takes on, learning everything on the fly. We were lucky to have Terry Langston, found of Pictionary and loyal GoldieBlox advisor pay us a visit this month. After hours and hours of playing and prototyping, we came up with the idea for our third toy, which is launching in a couple weeks. Terry captured the moment of discovery on video. We learned that every team member has many unexpected talents, and that each voice helps make our products that much better.

08Aug

September:
We welcomed three new team members this month. First was Ryan, a PR-savvy transplant from D.C. and childhood friend. Second was Kaye, a social media superstar from Upworthy and passionate feminist. Third was Clint, a very experienced industrial design engineer with a newborn daughter nicknamed Katinka! All three are total rock stars and fit right in to GoldieBlox culture. Also this month, I was lucky enough to give a talk at Google Zeitgeist, where I got to meet amazing people like Malcom Gladwell, Morgan Spurlock, MC Hammer and Fauzia Khoofi. We had our Midwest launch of GoldieBlox at the Cassandra Voss Center for Gender Research in Wisconsin. We also attended the NY Maker Faire, where we got to hang out with Geena Davis, who is a big advocate for getting more girls into STEM. This month we learned about growing our team and figuring out how to get into a groove with great new people.

010Sep

October:
We launched our new illustration style, showcasing Trevor and Andrea’s amazing artistic talent. They had spent countless hours re-illustrating Goldie and breathing emotion and humor into the characters and scenery. It was incredibly exciting to unveil it to the world, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. We also launched our new website in October, where we featured girl inventors with stop motion tutorials of their contraptions. We invited girls to submit their own inventions, and were thrilled when the submissions started rolling in! Also this month, we attended the Dallas Toy Fair, where we met with major retailers for the first time, partied with our buddies at Amazon and made new friends with other toymakers. We welcomed two new team members: Chris, a sales dynamo from New York and Priya, a Bain analyst from Atlanta. We had them line-dancing and singing karaoke on their very first day at the office. Late in the month, I spoke on a panel at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, where I was lucky enough to hear Hillary Clinton give the keynote address. I also attended Fat Brain Toys’ Celebration of Minds event in Omaha. There, I was surprised and delighted to receive an honorary membership to the Society of Women Engineers. This month we learned that our new girl Goldie had what it takes to become a hit.

09Oct

 

November:
This month we shot, edited and launched a video featuring a Rube Goldberg machine made out of princess toys. In one week, the video received over 8 million views. It was featured on the TODAY show and Good Morning America and tweeted by Ellen, Barbie and Pee Wee Herman. Girls from around the globe got inspired by the video and started building their own Rube Goldberg machines in their living rooms and backyards. Right after the launch of the video, I attended the Chicago Toy and Game fair where I was received the “Rising Star” inventor award. At the show, we donated one hundred GoldieBlox toys to local Girl Scout troops. Also in November, we hosted our first-ever “Junior Hackathon” event at Facebook, where employees brought their kids to participate in building activities with GoldieBlox. It was an enormous success and our whole team got to meet Sheryl Sandberg. I gave a talk at at a Women@Google event and the women at GoldieBlox joined, which was a blast. We also got the news that we were a top four finalist in Intuit’s “Small Business, Big Game” competition to win an ad in the Super Bowl. This month, we truly learned that anything is possible when you work hard and dream big.

011Nov

December:
We welcomed Jill Waller, former VP at Leapfrog, as our new CMO. Jill was an instant cultural fit – after day one, we felt like we’d all been working with her for years. In December, we finally launched our sequel, “GoldieBlox and the Parade Float” featuring a new character, Ruby Rails. We also launched our “More Than Just a Princess” t-shirts, hoodies and onesies, after receiving hundreds of requests for them since our Kickstarter campaign. We also launched an expansion pack called “Blox + Bits”. Everything sold out. This was a wonderful sign that kids wanted to build taller, bigger, more complex designs with their sets – a dream come true! I toured the US and Canada this month with media events almost every day. The highlight was getting to meet Charlie Rose. Our entire team worked around the clock and through the holidays to fulfill all of the orders. December was an absolute grind. The late nights and steadfast commitment from every single person at GoldieBlox was truly incredible. We were like a group of toy soldiers, experiencing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. After getting through this roller coaster of a month, we learned that we aren’t just co-workers anymore, we are family.

012Dec

Reflecting upon 2013, it’s hard to believe that all of this happened in one year. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to all of the people who have made this journey possible.

I want to thank our fans for believing in us. For taking us from a Kickstarter project to the shelves of Toys”R”Us in less than one year. For being patient as we worked out the kinks and figured out the logistics. For sharing your stories, photos and videos with us – we cherish all of them. For giving us feedback – both positive and negative – we read it all and we incorporate it every day as we work to improve on everything we do. For sharing our passion. For believing in our girls and what they are capable of. For believing in us and what we are capable of. This is only the beginning and we can’t wait to keep building this dream with you in 2014.

2013

2013: The Year of Hackathons and Karaoke

Hey everybody! This year has been a pretty incredible one for us. It was only last November that the original Kickstarter went viral. It feels like ages, and though the last couple of months have been busy, we wanted to stop and take a second to reflect on the year we’ve had and share some of our favorite memories with all of you. You’ve been integral to them, after all!

“One of my favorite memories is when our video went viral and the orders we’re pouring in. We sat in a circle entering orders from literally 8 am up to 11:30 pm on a Friday night. The team work was incredible and it felt so good to be working so hard together. We then watched  a midnight showing of Catching Fire and it was awesome! We felt like a true family.” — Marjan

“My favorite GoldieBlox memory from 2013 was the Facebook Junior Hackathon! We partnered up with Facebook employees to host the first ever Junior Hackathon at Facebook HQ. Almost 100 three to twelve year olds came and built parade floats out of GoldieBlox parts and DIY materials. It was amazing to see all of the creative things they came up with! And to top it off, Sheryl Sandberg came and brought her kids! ” — Priya

“My favorite was just about a week ago — we’ve all been completely swarmed with the inbound since the video has gone out… and since we’ve become sold out we’ve unfortunately had to tell a lot of people we couldn’t get them toys in time for Christmas. I had one wholesale customer write me though… in response to me advising her that the best we could do is back order her goods until 1/15 (before our next viral campaign) and she wrote back and told me that, that would be wonderful. She told me that she must imagine we are all working ourselves to the bone trying to stay up with all of this demand from the press we’re receiving, and that I/we should make sure to take some time this holiday to come down from the pressure, relax, enjoy time with loved ones, and to consciously take good care of ourselves. It was such a sweet, generous gesture on her part, and really made my day.” — Chris

“Cecelia Vega from ABC News was in the office, and we had invited a group of little girls to be here playing with GoldieBlox while the camera crew was filming.  Cecelia got down at the table and was playing with the girls and asking questions, completely unscripted.  She asked something like ‘what if the thing you build doesn’t work?’ and Keilese gave the most articulate, perfect answer.  I don’t remember her exact words but the gist was that it was OK if your invention didn’t work because building one thing often made you think of something else you wanted to build.  Her answer embodied the essence of innovation and trial and error and hearing it from a 7-year old made my jaw drop and brought tears to my eyes.” — Jan

“Being in my third week at GB HQ (lucky employee #13!), it’s amazing how many fond and funny memories I already have. Certainly one favorite memory is the time spent with Debbie, Lindsey and Beau sitting on the floor at the airport on my third day, together building Goldie-inspired contraptions out of our Happy Meals.” — Jill

“I’ll never forget the Maker Faire earlier this year. It was one of the first times I was able to actually watch kids play with GoldieBlox. It was so inspiring to see all of their creations and how proud of themselves they were. It reminds me why we’re here in the first place!” — Steph

“One of the highlights of 2013 was receiving this handwritten note from a little girl. I was giving a speech to a group of 200 middle school girls at an event run by Expanding your Horizons, a non-profit devoted to getting girls interested in STEM. You never know what aspects of your story will resonate, or what little tidbit or piece of advice might spark something. Apparently, this one did. The moment I read this piece of paper, I wiped a tear from my eye knowing this is all worth it.” — Debbie

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“My favorite memory is actually a series of memories all wrapped up into one big happy feeling. I’ll start at the beginning, Beau – our Lightning Bottler – penned what may be the world’s most heartfelt letter to his future daughter. In it he captured the essence of that big-picture that eludes us from time to time. The drive behind what it is we do. Sure it’s easy to get bogged down in emails and coordinating calendars, but Beau’s letter really slowed down time long enough to remind me of the heart behind this mission. Now, combine that with the giant hug I got from a little girl after hosting Facebook’s Junior Hackathon and you’ve got me in tears. Happy tears of course.” — Ryan

“When we had a company-wide brainstorming session at The Forge in Jack London Square — It was a very cool & crisp day. We had lunch and some beverages aside their outdoor fire pits and came up with some really cool girl-power-themed ideas.  It was great to see how our our entire team at GB has a palpable energy when we get together.” — Clint

“My favorite day or should I say night at Goldie Blox was my second week here. We decided to re-arrange the entire office on a friday night, I’m not sure why but it had to be done! We were all here till 10 at night re arranging furniture, laughing and eating pizza. I had so much fun and knew right away that I was gonna love it here, if they could make rearranging the office on a friday night fun then I figured there was way more fun in store for us.” — Andrea

“Shopping for christmas decorations for the office, getting the tree and decorating with everybody!” — Trevor

“When we first moved into our office, we were pumped. We finally had a space for desks and chairs and a stapler…. and wait what’s that…. old school arcade video games??? YES!!! Abandoned on the street corner was a collection of glorious original Space Invaders, Pac Mans, Street Fighters, and even racier Mortal Kombats. I approached the nearest authority figure – it turned out our former neighboring tenant was a hoarder and these prized possessions were abandoned and about to be trash. What? I tried to contain myself, immediately blocked off the next 4 hours, borrowed a hand-truck, rallied Lindsey, and somehow we moved 6 of these behemoths into our office. I was ready to be the hero. Never mind that none of the games worked, that upon closer inspection many were filled with garbage, and upon closer inspection they all smelled like cat pee. I still had grand visions of them becoming GoldieBlox display cases, video game prototypes, and even an office kegerator. But then the cat pee came back. The smell kept interrupting my dreams and as much as I tried to ignore it, the others in the office were catching on and becoming vocal. My hero lustre quickly wore off as we all began working from the Kitchen, which was the only room that didn’t have a video game in it. Needless to say we no longer have the video games in our office. But if anyone wants ‘em, let me know, because I may have hidden them somewhere for the future…” — Beau

“I work remotely from New York, so any time I come to visit the office in person is a good memory! Probably my favorite was just after I was hired, when Ryan and Steph came to pick me up at the airport and I was practically delirious with exhaustion and nerves (I wanted to make a good impression, after all). It was only the second time I’d been to San Francisco. We talked about cats for the entire drive from the airport to the office and they got me an IV of coffee, and I was like, ah. Yes. I have made the correct decision in workplaces.” — Kaye

“Back when GoldieBlox had a staff of four, we took a trip to NYC. After a long day of meetings we ended up at a karaoke bar. This is not unusual. When it was our turn to sing, we took a pretty big risk, and our small but mighty Golden Quartet gave it everything we had.

Musical intro. Deep breath.

‘Show me that smile again…’

We hit every note, arm in arm, the laughter and love swirling around us like Kirk Cameron’s velvety corkscrew curls.

‘As long as we’ve got each other…’

Indeed.

We brought the house down, the world and the mic spinning right in our hands.

Team Goldie left, victorious, and walked back to our hotel in companionable silence. Our footsteps were strong and solid, full of energy and excitement.

It seems we knew it that night; despite the inevitable growing pains, the best was ready to begin. ”  — Lindsey

Three (Holiday) Cheers For This Amazing Family

Hey everybody! Kaye here! I’m the Community Manager, and wanted to give everybody an update about the Girl Power Costume Contest we had back in October. For those who are just joining us, check out this blog. After a very close poll, awesome Elsa in her Rosie the Riveter costume was decided as the victor. So I emailed her family to tell them. And that was that, right?

Well, it turns out Elsa’s family is one of the most generous we’ve ever come across. Here’s what they wrote back:

We are thrilled to win in a field of awesome candidates — particularly Stella who is beyond Stellar as Captain Marvel. It’s also pretty neat that the close of this competition follows the announcement of a new Ms. Marvel. Stella and her family must be pretty excited! 

We had so many friends, family and colleagues (and all of THEIR friends, family and colleagues!) from all over the world sharing the contest and, in turn, the GoldieBlox story. We were also fortunate to have a very cool Rosie the Riveter campaign in our area as part of an effort to save a Metro Detroit bomber plant. http://savethebomberplant.org/ 

So Rosie was a hot topic around here! :)

The day Elsa was announced as a finalist, we had a very specific plan in mind if she were to win. We hope your team can facilitate. 

We would love to use the $1000 gift certificate to purchase GoldieBlox and donate those to Toys for Tots. It would be a pleasure for us to help get these amazing toys in the hands of those less fortunate. My husband and I believe strongly in your product and its potential to help create a generation of girls who inspire, support and challenge each other. Our little Rosie the Riveter could use that a lot more than $1000 worth of toys. :)

What do you think? I know the logistics can be a little complicated, so I’ll defer to your expertise. Even if we can’t specifically donate GoldieBlox, we’d still like to donate the $1000 to Toys for Tots.

Thank you again!

Stacey, Marc and Elsa

When I got this email, first I forwarded it to the staff, and then I was IMMEDIATELY OVERCOME WITH TEARS. I live in Brooklyn. Brooklynites don’t cry!

(This is a lie. I cry probably too often).

After the whole staff sniffed back some tears and swapped a box of tissues around, we immediately set up a Skype call with Elsa and her family to thank them.

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During the call, Elsa’s mom Stacey told us,

“We’re really really proud to be woven into the GoldieBlox story. We’ve been following you guys since the Kickstarter campaign, it’s been such an exciting ride, and we’re very proud to be able to connect a product we really believe in with a group like Toys For Tots. It’s just amazing, and deserves endless support. We did the easy part, you know, we put her in a costume and took a picture, and now we get to do the really fun part of connecting you guys with Toys for Tots… And I just want to say we were so proud to be in a group of those fierce little girls! They’re amazing and totally role models for our little one, we hope she’s going to be exactly like that in another 4, 5, 6 years. We’re so proud to be in that group, they’re amazing!”

We absolutely agree that Toys for Tots deserves endless support, and we’re so glad we can contribute Elsa’s prize to the organization! Also, seriously, those costumes were amazing.

But it doesn’t stop there — the company Stacey works for, Crain Communications, matched her donation to Toys for Tots!

All this generosity got us talking about you all, and we just want to tell you directly: We are so incredibly grateful to have the fans that we have. We see over and over again on our Facebook and Twitter, and in the emails you send to us, that you are a bunch of smart, generous, wonderful people. We don’t know what we’d do without you all! Thank you so much for all the ways you help your families, your friends, and your local communities.

And thank you again to the Andres family — you are superstars!

AndresFamilyLovesGoldieblox

If you’d like to make a donation to Toys for Tots, you can find a dropoff location in your area or make a monetary donation on their website.

Happy holidays, everyone! We’re sending love to you and yours.

Our letter to the Beastie Boys

Dear Adam and Mike,

We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans.

When we made our parody version of your song, ‘Girls’, we did it with the best of intentions. We wanted to transform it into a powerful anthem for girls. Over the past week, parents have sent us pictures and videos of their kids singing with pride, building their own Rube Goldberg machines in their living rooms and declaring an interest in engineering. It’s been incredible to watch.

Our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats that we took very seriously. As a small company, we had no choice but to stand up for ourselves. We did so sincerely hoping we could come to a peaceful settlement with you.

We want you to know that when we posted the video, we were completely unaware that the late, great Adam Yauch had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising. Although we believe our parody video falls under fair use, we would like to respect his wishes and yours.

Since actions speak louder than words, we have already removed the song from our video. In addition, we are ready to stop the lawsuit as long as this means we will no longer be under threat from your legal team.

We don’t want to spend our time fighting legal battles. We want to inspire the next generation. We want to be good role models. And we want to be your friends.

Sincerely,

Debbie + Team GoldieBlox

And the winner is…

And the winner of the 2013 Goldie Girl Power Halloween Costume Contest is…

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Elsa Andres as Rosie the Riveter!

Congratulations, Elsa!

Whew, that was some stiff competition. I dunno about you guys, but I was sweatin’ it down to the wire. 6,190 people voted, and the margin between the winner and the runner up was only 346 votes. DANG. I think that says all that needs to be said about how wonderful these costumes and these amazing girls are, don’t you?

We’d like to thank Stella Marcotte and her awesome parents for getting Kelly Sue freakin’ Deconnick to share the post (for those of you who don’t know, she writes the current Captain Marvel arc for Marvel Comics). We would also like to thank the parents of Lilia Boukhris for bringing the contest to the attention of Ben Hatke, the creator of Zita the Spacegirl! You all are superstars.

Thank you a thousand times to all of our amazing fans who participated! Your costumes were all incredible, and they will all be featured on our Facebook page in an album of entrants later today.

Love,

Team Goldie

And the finalists are…

Good morning! Did everyone have a good Halloween?

Now, what were we going to do here… I know that there’s a reason for this blog post…

OH RIGHT. Time to announce the Top 4 5 finalists of the Goldie Girl Power Halloween Costume Contest! We were going to have four initially, but everybody’s costumes were just so fantastic that we couldn’t narrow it down! (No, seriously. We just spent all weekend debating this. Hashtag the struggle.)

And the top 5 are…

Stella Marcotte as Captain Marvel!

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Elena Kallenberg as Wonder Woman!

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Tegan and Tatum Thompson as Super Goldies!

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Lilia Boukhris as Zita the Spacegirl!

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Elsa Andres as Rosie the Riveter!

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Congratulations, superstars! Each of you will receive a GoldieBlox gift basket.

But as for the finalist and the winner of our grand prize Toys “R” Us Shopping spree, that’s up to all of you…

Vote for your favorite!
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Voting will be closed on Wednesday and the winner announced that same day! Share this post to get the word out.

Thank you to all of our incredible entries! We were overjoyed to see so many amazing costumes, and so many totally thrilled wearers of said costumes. Check out the other costumes by scrolling through our Facebook wall, and be sure to comment on the ones that you like best :) We’ll be putting up an album of all of the entries after the contest is over.