Does your child often surprise you with funny and insightful comments? If so, perhaps you ought to share them with B., the award-winning toy company who wants to share them with the world. We’ll tell you how in a moment.
If you’ve ever purchased or received a toy from B., you know what comes in the box besides that distinct-looking toy, its striking colors and memorable designs the brainchild of chief toymaker Gisela Voss. Unlike other companies, B. doesn’t include promotional materials along with its product. Instead the small, family-owned company includes a booklet of insightful and funny quotes — contributed by adults yet spoken by children. The quotes are submitted via the company’s website, and here are but a few examples:
“Mommy, when is Abiel going back into your tummy???”—Angel, 3, talking about his 4 week-old little brother
“Mommy, please can you help me tie my shoelaces because they are just not doing a good job cooperating today?”—Maxwell, 6
Uncle P. “Well that just doesn’t seem possible.”
Blaise, who is 9: “But is it plausible?”
Initially the quotes came from the family and friends of people working at B. But what began as a quirky way to distinguish B. from other companies blossomed into a popular back-and-forth between the toy company and its appreciative patrons, who took the initiative and began sending in quotes culled from the conversations they’d had (or perhaps overheard) with their own children. As a result, B. created a “Quote Gallery” on their website where parents can create beautiful art out of their own kids’ quotes and share them on Facebook, Twitter or across email or even print them out to make cards or frameable art. (Great gift idea for Mom, by the way.) And they started including these quotes in the quote booklets that come with the toys as well.
“We wanted to give a present to moms and dads,” says Amy Flanagan, who, with her partner Andrea Gavin, handles marketing for B. “Most companies put a little leaflet that advertise other toys. We wanted something that would put a smile on people’s faces, that wasn’t so self-serving. A gift for Mom and Dad. And so many people started sending us in quotes that their kids had said, and we were like, ‘Wow, we really need to set up a community around this, a place where parents can enter these quotes in.’ And it puts a kind of face on things, that these are the people who are playing with B. toys.”
B. is a family-run company from Montreal that works in association with Gisela and her team of toymakers in Massachusetts. The “B” in the name can stand for “Battat,” but they’d just as soon it stand for “justb-byou,” a reflection of the company’s appreciation for individuality, particularly as it applies to children. For every toy the company sells, 10 cents is contributed to Free The Children, a worldwide organization of children helping children that was started by 12-year-old Craig Kielburger in 1995. And for every toy B. sells, there’s also the inclusion of that booklet of quotes.
Has your child said something wise, witty or unexpectedly brilliant? If so, go to the B. website and enter your child’s quote. At the end of the quote submission process you will be given the opportunity to email the quote. Email it to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The first 50 Good Men Project readers who submit a quote will receive a set of magic markers — with color names such as B. fiery, B. sunny, B. deep — as always in celebration of all the personalities that make kids (and grown-ups) unique, and loved. Then, each week in June, the best and wittiest quote will be selected by Good Men Project editors and receive a surprise toy gift from B.