Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to tour the Fisher-Price Headquarters in East Aurora, New York. Along with three other #FisherPriceMoms, we were offered the chance to go behind the scenes and witness everything from the history of the company, child photos shoots, the famed Fisher-Price Play Lab (a toy testing facility) and the design and innovation behind the brand.
(We also stayed at a “haunted” hotel. No kidding. The concierge had a few stories he was dying to share with us; I opted not to hear them, but fellow bloggers had a great time learning about the Roycroft Inn’s colourful – and sometimes eerie – past!)
Going through hundreds of photos, I couldn’t decide how I best wanted to sum up the experience. Should I spend time chatting about the Play Lab? How about the competition surrounding “Making a Box?” And I definitely wanted to touch on how Fisher-Price always puts child safety first – above and beyond any other toy company. In the end, I decided to divvy up the posts for a later date, and let the pictures do the talking for now (with a little help from photo captions).
You should know: Photography was forbidden in many areas of Fisher-Price HQ – understandably – as they have trade, patent and design secrets that they don’t necessarily want to make public. So although I’ve alluded to several awesome aspects of the tour; alas, it will remain for #FisherPriceMoms eyes and ears only :)
And so, without further ado, I welcome you to the Fisher-Price Headquarters…
Meet the #FisherPriceMoms: L-R Lisa (@growingyourbaby), Moi, Tammi (@MyChaos) and Caroline (@ParentClub) posing in front of the Fisher-Price staff daycare. Only four of us on this trip, we missed the others!
Coolest door signs ever. This one is announcing entry into the design studio. Creative geniuses at work!
LOVE that they rolled out the red carpet (er, white sign) for us! Check out our new logo – my button has been updated!
The history behind the brand; with founding father Herman Fisher, then-mayor of East Aurora Irving Price, and Helen Schelle, Mr. Fisher’s right hand.
Helen Schelle’s handwritten accounting of the budget for the 1935-1936 pre-school toy program. This piece of history made me incredibly emotional.
WAY cool cushions. Ryder would love if we had these at home! But then I’d need poppy-red couch to go with them :)
And so it begins… the very first Fisher-Price toys from the 1930′s. Made of all wood; they are delivered across western New York via delivery truck driven by Mr. Fisher himself.
Pictured top center: The very first building blocks. Such a simple concept – hours of fun.
On to the 1940′s… wood is still key, but notice the licensed Disney characters #winning
A new idea takes flight: The very first piece of plastic on a Fisher-Price toy (yellow wings).
Plastic toys from the 1960′s. Fair warning: I love this decade in toys and spend much time reveling in it.
I would do evil things to have a chance to play with this vintage playhouse.
Cash register circa 1960. I can’t even fathom a cash-only society.
Hands up if you DIDN’T have a Roly Poly Chime Ball. Wonder if mine was new – or a hand-me-down from the 60′s.
Introducing: the new face of Little People! Again, 1960-ish (NOW do you see why it’s my fave decade?)
He definitely doesn’t fit in the palm of my hand. #notsolittle
Did I say evil? I meant criminal. I would do criminal things to play with this Children’s Hospital playset from 1976.
Toys from the 1990′s. Recognize any? I was a teenager in the 90′s, so I bypassed knowledge of these toys altogether.
Ta-da! Spotted: the VERY cool Cadillac Escalade. Big pimpin’, indeed!
The Fisher-Price nursery. So sweet.
Along the tour, found the set where a lot of the product packaging images are photographed. We were actually able to see a live photoshoot (the baby was scrumptious!).
The elaborate Little People Village. I fully admit to pressing my nose up against the glass.
Wish I was invited to this picnic!
Okay seriously? HOW can I replicate this village in my home? I need a new hobby!
Step 1: Start by buying all the Little People you can get your hands on. In the Fisher-Price store, just $2 a pop!
Ah, the wall of Power Wheels. Keeping my sons far, FAR away from here.
The Joy of Learning: The Ballcano, from concept to production. We received an in-depth education on what it takes to bring a toy to the market.
Some of my fave ladies EVAH – Top L-R Jillian from Mom Central Canada, Hollie (@babygizmo), Lisa (@growingyourbaby) and Caroline (@ParentClub). Bottom L-R Tammi (@MyChaos), Moi and Riza from Fisher-Price Canada.
USA! USA! – The entire Fisher-Price Play Ambassador group, including the US bloggers. You can see us Canucks tucked on the corners :)
Final shot of the trip – the #FisherPriceMoms that play together, stay together.
I am part of the Fisher-Price Play Panel and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.
The opinions on this blog are my own.