One day in the fall of 2003 my Mom asked my Dad what to buy my brother for Christmas. Little did she know that her innocent question would lead to the formation of Bridge Street Toys. The reason my Mom asked this question is because, as I’m sure anyone who has gone shopping for a then 7-year-old boy, or any one else for that matter, is usually pressed with the question "What should I get them?" and "Will they really like it?" My Dad instantly knew what he wanted to get my brother; a girder and panel building set. My Mom searched around for a while trying to find a set. Eventually she resorted to ebay.com, where she found many collectors trying to find these old sets because they enjoyed them so much. Now an interesting thing happened whenever my Mom and Dad talked about the Girder and Panel sets. My Dad, who is an engineer and normally is a very calm, unexcitable person, would get all animated. My Mom watched this and quickly decided to buy an old Hydrodynamic set for my Dad for Christmas. My Dad loved the Hydrodynamic set so much as a kid in the 1960’s, he was set on having a "set #12" something he always wanted as a kid. Set #12 had two pumps and lights! When he was a kid he only had set #11 which had one pump and no lights but he saw pictures of set #12 and always wanted one of his own. Well, when the Hydrodynamic set arrived in the mail, it was an early Christmas! The entire family set it up and started checking it out. What a cool toy, my Mom thought. Over the next couple of weeks as she watched our friends’ reaction to the Hydrodynamic set, she decided that this was truly a unique, engineering toy. My Dad tells everyone that he had to wait 40 years but he finally got a set #12, the one he always wanted as a kid. He’s been waiting for a long time! My Mom is a business lady as well as an engineer. She quickly started talking to the family about how much fun it would be to have a manufacturing company and make these building sets again. She had it all figured out. She thought Ruth (then 9), i.e. me, has a natural ability for sales and so I’d be perfect as the Vice-President of Marketing. Paul (then 7) is going to be an engineering whiz when he grows up and so he’d be perfect as the Vice-President of Product Development. My Dad, who is an engineer and has an MBA from Carnegie-Mellon, was talked into being President and in-charge of everything! Mom is our coach and tells all of us what we need to do to get the business going. At first my Mom wanted to have it be a company where we manufactured our products in our barn. She had visions of teaching Paul and I about kanban systems and SPC and other geeky, manufacturing stuff. She scouted around and found used plastic injection mold machines for a very reasonable price. My Dad, the more practical of the two, quickly put the kaboosh on this idea! "We’d have to get a huge crane to move dies around and have railroad tracks go to the barn, we’d have to have the whole neighborhood re-zoned and then talk the electric company into putting in industrial grade power lines and find a source for compressed air." Paul and I were very excited to have a business making and selling toys. This was going to be fun. My Dad was a little more thoughtful about the idea. He knew that he was the one that was going to have to make it happen because my Mom works full-time.
So this is the story of how our company came to be. Over the rest of the summer I plan on writing about how our company has progressed since 2003 and the challenges and fun we’ve had in starting the business.