DANBURY, Conn., May 6, 2014 – Luke’s Toy Factory – a Connecticut startup founded by father and son team, Jim and Luke Barber, today launched a KickStarter project aimed at raising funds to prove the viability of manufacturing eco-friendly, sustainable and safe children’s toys in the United States. The “Eco-Truck” – a toy fire truck designed with five interlocking parts – represents the culmination of over two years of research & development conducted by the Barbers into the incorporation of organic materials such as sawdust and wheat straw in injection molded plastics.
These materials are the by-products of industrial farming and manufacturing operations here in the United States. In the past they would have been discarded, but their use as fillers not only gives them a second life, but enables the production of toys that are sturdier than plastic products. The organic material allows the toys to be injection molded like plastic, while retaining the look and feel of traditional wooden toys. Furthermore, toys made with this new composite material will not contain any surface paint, glue or chemical additives such as phthalates or BPA, significantly increasing the safety of the products. Instead, the toys will get their color from, FDA-approved pigments mixed into the composite material before molding, eliminating safety issues such as tainted paint, flaking and splintering that have long plagued the toy industry.
“The innovative material and manufacturing process we’ve developed allows us to create traditional toys that are truly products for the 21st century. This has the potential to help bring the toy industry back to America.” said founder Jim Barber.
He continued, “It no longer makes sense to make toys out of either wood or plastic in China, where 85% of the world’s toys are made, and ship them to the United States. The cheap labor that once made Chinese toy production cost effective has shifted so much that brands are now sacrificing design quality and in turn, safety, in an effort to protect their margins. We started researching this process two years ago, because we thought we could offer parents a better, safer option – competitively priced toys made 100% in the United States from organic and recycled material.”
Using a Connecticut manufacturer with over 40 years of experience in the injection molding field, Luke’s Toy Factory will be able to oversee all aspects of production and material sourcing. This direct oversight ensures that only the highest quality products reach children’s toy boxes.
“This KickStarter project is just the beginning”, said Luke, the toy designer. “The Eco-Truck will allow us to prove the viability of this type of manufacturing and refine our processes going forward. We have designed a line of vehicles with interchangeable parts to complement the firetruck, so kids can assemble them in different combinations and we expect to make those available soon.”
Echoing his father, Luke added, “We view this not just as changing the status quo, but hopefully starting an industry wide revolution in how toys are made. We’re very much looking forward to support and feedback from the KickStarter community – especially parents who take a genuine interest in where and how their kids’ toys are manufactured.”
About Luke’s Toy Factory
Luke’s Toy Factory was founded by father/son team Jim and Luke Barber on the belief that parents and their children deserve better, safer options when it comes to toys. The company utilizes an innovative process and sustainable, recyclable materials to make toys here in the United States.
To learn more about and support the Eco-Truck project, the KickStarter page can be found at: http://kck.st/1s8FyKm
Jim Barber, Founder, Luke’s Toy Factory
phone: (212) 598-4500
Co-Founder, Media Relations & Business Development, Luke’s Toy Factory
phone: (914) 523-4279