Last Updated on December 26, 2019 by Danielle
GoldiBlox inspires girls to become engineers.
Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of GoldiBlox, encourages young girls (as early as 4) to tinker with toys and build simple machines. According to research, only 14% of engineers are women. The Stanford graduate is attempting to make a change. GoldiBlox has sold more than 1 million sets of story-driven construction toys. According to Sterling, getting girls interested in engineering at an early age was easy, but changing their attitudes about girls’ capabilities in STEM was more challenging. There are clear frustrations over the lack of women in STEM and the lack of engineering toys for young girls.
After conducting research Sterling discovered that construction toys develop spatial skills and serve as a strong foundation for engineering. The only problem is that construction and engineering toys have been marketed to boys for over 100 years. To create a lasting product, she would need to tailor construction toys for girls instead of simply repaint boys’ toys pink. Because girls have naturally inherent verbal skills and they love stories, she knew she could engage the target audience with narratives.
In 2012, Sterling founded GoldieBlox with a vision of creating a character franchise – spanning toys, cartoons, video games, merchandise, and apparel. Her quest was to disrupt the pink toy aisles. Everyone knows what to expect but she wanted to shatter those expectations and defy the status quo. Goldie was her first character, introduced in a story book/construction set that taught girls to build a drive belt. The Spinning Machine eventually took home honors of Best Toy of the Year in 2014. Sterling was told by retailers that construction toys for girls won’t sell when she pitched GoldieBlox. Nevertheless, she was determined to crush the stereotypes. So she took to Kickstarter to share a video of GoldieBlox that eventually went viral. People really connected with this video. Girls are just as capable as boys at math and science and they shouldn’t be placed in a box or told that they can’t do something.
GoldieBox had an opportunity to spread its empowering message via a 30-second Super Bowl ad. The company was adamant about sharing the company’s social mission and initiating a moment rather than selling their product. Its ad deviated from norms and encouraged girls to play with toys beyond the typical dolls and princesses.
Girls are multi-faceted and have enormous potential and GoldiBlox is inspiring girls to find a passion that was not necessarily front and center.
Four years after its launch, GoldieBlox has 17 products available in over 6,000 retailers across the globe. In addition, they have a growing library of over 100 videos, teaching engineering and problem-solving skills. These toys and videos empower girls and provide them with the confidence to explore the interesting disciplines of science and engineering. Every toy follows Goldie’s story and her group of friends.
Diversity is an important aspect to the company, as it is one of their core values.
GoldieBlox will release a new app teaching coding principles this summer. Just like their construction toys, the new app is based on the fact that girls engage with engineering through story and narrative. The coding app is unique in that it follows along with the GoldieBlox story and further gives girls a reason to code.
GoldieBlox has a wonderful social mission and they are helping to build and empower the next generation of engineers.