How it all began: Ben and Joseph are business partners who run a successful online business, that has nothing to do with toys. In his downtime, Ben enjoyed watching his kids plan with building toys, and even joining in sometimes! He couldn’t help but think that there might be an ideal building toy that was even better than the different kind of building toys they already had. After long conversations with his partner Joseph, and lots of sketches, they knew they had a real concept on their hands.
Creating a toy is harder that it might seem. You need engineers and manufacturing experts. We wanted these to feel like heirlooms - well-crafted and unique so we wanted them made out of wood. Not an easy feat.
We got off to a false start, with an engineer and developer that didn’t get us very far after several months of prototyping. After many thousands of start-up dollars already spent and lots of time, we had to scrap everything.
The naysayers said, “Ain’t gonna happen. No one wants to play with basic building toys anymore. You’re competing with Fortnite, Minecraft and World of Warcraft.” But as parents, they knew that a toy like this was really FUN and was good for the developing mind (think STEM skills). These were simple, yet complex - easy to learn and hard to master! Even the teens loved it.
Did anyone ever tell you starting a toy company was easy? Books in the red, mood in the grey, but our imaginations still shone vibrant colors. We forged ahead.
Then we met David, the engineer who brought Zenius to life. With the latest 3D modeling and CAD technology, he enthusiastically went to work. As a dad himself, David thought about how kids might use the tool, screws and fittings.
Eric soon joined the team as project lead, and using his analytical process-oriented style, he moved the project from dream to reality in record-breaking time.
Countless small details were accounted for so that the toys would be easy enough for young hands to maneuver, while remaining the idealistic building block system even older kids would love to build with. For example? The “little Zeni” nut was incorporated into the Zenius system just so little hands could align screws and blocks more easily.
Finally production samples arrive from the factory. But the quality was not good… the plastic fittings were popping out, stuff just wasn’t where it needed to be. Had we failed again? With a painstaking fact-finding process we traced back from production to computer models to see where the issue was. Eventually we smoothed out the issues and a final production sample was approved!
The result? Zenius - a building system that is beautiful, tactile and versatile in the ways it can be put together.