In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Faith Harrison, founder of Goodfaith Toys. Goodfaith Toys sells handmade wooden toys, is based in California’s Bay Area, and has been in business for three years.
Robin: Why did you decide to start this business? Why this business and not a different one?
Faith: I decided to start this business so that I could stay at home with my little ones. I was already making their diapers, lotions, and toys, so focusing on the toys was a natural fit.
R: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
F: I make wood dolls, animals, cars, houses, magnets, and more so my prototypes all have different challenges from finding the right saw blade to eco friendly paints and finishes.
When I decided to list my moon magnets on Amazon, they alerted me that the magnets I was using were a safety hazard and now I use safer magnets.
R: How do you make your product? What’s your process like?
F: Currently, I am the only employee, which means I set my own agenda for the day. I require lots of lists to keep me focused as there are myriad tasks that need to be done in order. I have cutting and sanding days, painting days, sewing days,etc.
R: How do you decide which designs to make?
F: My toy designs are inspired by nature and educational philosophies that encourage open ended play. Open ended play allows children to express themselves freely and creatively, not bound by preset parameters.
My goal is to make toys that meet a child’s sensory and creative needs. Rhythm and the passage of time are also central to my design choices, such as my moon phases gnomes that help children track and learn about lunar phases.
I am a third generation artist, my mother and grandmother are both painters. I majored in fine art and have always worked in creative fields. I am a self taught woodworker, everything I know, I learned through YouTube tutorials. And yes, I learned for my business.
R: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
F: My day to day is making batches of toys, packaging orders, photo shoots, working on prototypes and online marketing.
R: What was your initial investment? How did you get the money?
F: My initial investment was $100 for a printer, shipping materials, wood and paint.
R: Where was the first place you started selling your product?
F: I first started selling my products in a Facebook parenting group and did well enough to consider starting a business.
R: Where do you sell your product now?
F: I sell online and in a handful of toy stores across the country.
R: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
F: I would love to see my products in more high end toy stores, especially in my region.
R: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of your business? If so, how?
F: I use social media for most my advertising, such as Google ads. I also donate to Montessori and Waldorf schools and they promote my products.
R: How did you decide to advertise using Google ads? What was the process like of getting them to work?
F: My process for using Google ads started with my use of Google Analytics and obsessing over my SEO. Google sent me a credit for ads and I’ve been using it for about 3 months, with some success but I know that it takes time to increase the quality of my listing presence.
R: What are some of the most frustrating challenges and/or moments you’ve had with Goodfaith Toys?
F: My most frustrating challenges are failed or abandoned prototypes. Committing early on to eco friendly materials has also been challenging as they are often not as durable.
R: Why did you decide to focus on eco-friendly materials?
F: Because I started making toys for my kids in my home, it was important not to have toxic materials in the house. My paints and glue are non toxic and American made. Plywood and certain species of wood are toxic and shouldn’t be used in children’s toys.
Wood imported from China or Brazil are examples of countries who don’t practice sustainable logging. But my reason for sourcing local wood has more to do with the impact on climate change that transporting materials halfway across the globe contributes to.
R: What are some of your greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with Goodfaith Toys?
F: When my moon magnets were featured on Etsy’s Instagram account and I started getting orders every 5 min. The moon magnets were also featured in Better Homes and Gardens diy magazine, which I framed. My greatest victory is yet to come.
R: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
F: Be passionate about the process not just the end result, and think big.
R: Is there any business advice or quotes you’ve heard that you think about often?
F: “Failures are just brilliant ideas that needed some adjustments.”
R: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
F: My favorite thing about being a business owner is having more time with my family. Creating my own schedule and working at my own pace allows me to be more creative and passionate than I would if wasn’t my own boss.