How MDH Toys Began
Once upon a hot summer's day, not so very long ago in 2010, there was a craft fair in Westlock, Alberta. Deep in the back corner of the craft fair sat an artisan selling her handcrafted jewelry and mixed media art canvases. She was having a great time talking to the few customers that came by now and then. But one particular customer caught her attention.
This particular customer was a little boy around 5 or 6 years old. His face looked so sad, his eyes downcast and his mouth about to quiver. He held his mom's hand while she went from table to table looking at wares.
The more tables she stopped by, the sadder he got. There were hair clips and headbands, tutus and jewelry and lots of things that little girls, especially his sister, would love. It was all too much for him and big, fat tears started rolling down his face.
"Mom," he whispered, "why isn't there ever anything for boys at these places?"
"Hush", his mom said very worried that someone would overhear her son complaining. "All these people make these things. I don't know why no one makes things for boys. But don't worry, we will stop at the store to get something for you." And they hurried along their way.
That night when the artisan got home, she sat down and did a little soul searching. She was a mother of 2 young boys and she too could never find anything to bring home to them. She took out her pencil and sketch pad and started brainstorming. She knew someone had to start making items for boys and she also knew that she was that someone.
Flash Forward to Current day:
I took some time off to do product research and to familiarize myself with Canadian & American toy manufacturing laws and toy safety laws.
Armed with new designs, I recruited a team of independent woodworkers and wood turners to help turn my designs from sketches into wooden toys. They send these pieces back to me, ready for me to paint. I love the personal touches I get to do while painting by brush with acrylic paint.
When my middle child was diagnosed with autism, I searched for tactile quality wooden educational toys to assist him with hands on learning. Because he had a lot of accidents with spilling milk or juice plus he still mouthed his toys, I needed something that was high quality and durable, yet safe to put in his mouth. There was nothing available in Canada except for big brand name toys with paper fronts or made in China products that were possibly toxic. The only option I had was to design and make items for his education.
The toys started to help him learn and I showed his occupational therapist, speech therapists and physiologist what I was creating for his learning. They made inquiries and placed order requests from other families with special needs children. This steered my toy making company in the direction of creating heirloom quality educational learning toys for toddlers through grade 4.