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Quam says Fat Brain Toys keeps these elements separate—only letting components come together at the facility of the agent it has a long relationship with—for security reasons. "In the toy industry in particular [there are] problems with knockoffs," Quam says. "Breaking up the components gives us peace of mind." Carson and Quam also visit annually manufacturers that make Fat Brain Toys' products.
Fat Brain Toys also rethought pricing to make the item appealing to consumers. It originally envisioned a 100-piece set, but at about roughly $1 per piece retail, a $100 price point for a construction play product wouldn't get much traction in the market, Quam says. Instead Fat Brain Toys markets a "starter" set (25 pieces for $24.95) and a "deluxe," 50-piece set for $49.95. Add-on packs of two to five pieces are also available for $4.95. All told, the process of taking Squigz from concept to finished product took about 18 months.
The results: Fat Brain Toys began taking presale orders for Squigz in February, and began shipping it in June. It has picked up "best new toy" awards at numerous toy industry trade shows and from magazines like Parenting. Fat Brain Toys has taken wholesale orders for Squigz from about 750 specialty toy retailers. It was the No. 4 best-selling toy on FatBrainToys.com (of the 7,000 it carries) in August, and the early success prompted the retailer to work on a new, larger iteration of Squigz called pipSquigz suitable for toddlers. That product is expected to arrive this month.