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Reinventing Girlhood: How GoldieBlox Fights Stereotypes From The Toy Aisle

March 27, 2019 Victoria Pallien

Debbie Sterling reached high school before she learned what engineering was. She pursued Mechanical Engineering and Product Design at Stanford University and was immediately faced with disappointment: there were very few women studying her major.

The Toy Aisle: Where The Love Of Engineering Starts

Sterling went to the root of the problem. After much research, she realized girls are steered toward toys that reflect a damsel in distress message while boys are given kits that allow them to build, grow and learn.

Girls need to be introduced to engineering early on to fight stereotypes of what women can and can’t do, believes Sterling, so she founded GoldieBlox, a toy company dedicated to “disrupting the pink aisle” and “reinventing girlhood” with engineering-focused toys.

The Industry-Disruptor: GoldieBlox Forged Ahead With Crowdfunding

Sterling’s idea was met with skepticism. She said, "Everyone I spoke to told me even though it was a noble cause, it would never go mainstream and it wouldn't sell because boys like building and girls like dolls — and that you can't fight nature."

Sterling ended up funding GoldieBlox with her own money and then turned to Kickstarter for a crowdfunding campaign. After her concept went viral, Sterling was able to raise nearly $1 million in pre-orders. A short while later, GoldieBlox products were in Toys R Us storefronts.

Mondaq recognizes that Sterling struck a nerve with parents who were worried their daughters would fall behind with the changing times. GoldieBlox offered a solution, which sparked plenty of success for the toy brand. In 2014, GoldieBlox released a Super Bowl commercial. The next year, they had a branded float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

STEM With A Story: Content Marketing Elevates GoldieBlox Toys

After pushing out science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related toys, Sterling noticed the shift in the market. "The way kids play today, it's rare they'll fall in love with a toy. They fall in love with characters and brands and stories, and they want to play the story,” she said. “If you want to compete, you have to provide an offering in the way that kids expect.” So she turned to YouTube for GoldieBlox content marketing.

On YouTube, GoldieBlox posted do-it-yourself (DIY) videos that had "a little STEM baked in,” so the brand could reach girls and deliver popular content. With topics like edible crayons, leprechaun traps and rose candles, GoldieBlox crafted their main character, Goldie, an ambitious, science-driven young girl, and their YouTube channel hit 600,000 subscribers.

Goldie Blox and the Best! Pet! Ever!

The brand also published chapter books about Goldie. Goldie Blox Ruins Rules the School!, Goldie Blox and the Best! Pet! Ever! and Goldie Blox and the Three Dares, all of which were written by Stacy McAnulty, an author and mechanical engineer, feature Goldie as she navigates middle school with the help of STEM. The toy brand also released an app, empowering girls to learn coding and animation, which has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times.

"Our content has a mission: to nurture the next generation of girls to get into science and math,” Sterling said. With the power of content marketing and a strong toy concept, Sterling is getting young girls excited about engineering and the GoldieBlox toys.

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About the Author

Victoria Pallien

Victoria Pallien is a Marketing Communications Writer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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