A Morrisville Borough-based toy company one of its managers calls “the little engine that could” keeps chugging along, and breaking new ground as it goes.
WeVeel Toys & Stationery, headquartered in an old office building on North Pennsylvania Avenue in the borough, is launching a new line called The Influencer Initiative that will debut Monday in about 1,400 Walmart stores nationwide, including ones in Levittown and Quakertown in Bucks County and other Walmarts throughout the Delaware Valley.
The line is based on social media influencers Along Came Abby and Boss Baby Brody, who together have many millions of followers on Instagram and TikTok. The toys, which will include card games, flash cards, puzzles and others with an Abby or Brody theme, will focus heavily on self-esteem, positivity and education at affordable prices, WeVeel officials said.
“A couple of years ago, especially during the pandemic, our product development team started seeing that the world was changing,” explained Amy Houser, creative director for The Influencer Initiative line. “Everybody was looking at social media a lot, and didn’t watch TV and commercials as much. We thought what if we made a toy line that partnered with and collaborated with some of these content creators online, and The Influencer Initiative sort of came about.”
Among other positives, some toys in the new line should be helpful for children on the autism spectrum, Houser noted.
“We’ve been working with some occupational therapists on the line,” she said. “We have toys that are not only teaching kids the school skills like math and science, but also self-expression. A lot of children on the autism spectrum have trouble expressing themselves.”
WeVeel CEO Valerie Marderosian said the entire staff at the company, which was founded in 2009 and now includes about 30 full-time employees, is amped up about the new partnership with Walmart.
“We are so excited to share these innovative and mindful formats with Walmart shoppers,” she said. “The product line was designed to focus on gross and fine motor skill building, self-empowerment and screen-free play, but at an approachable and affordable price point with parents in mind.”
Brody Schaffer, a/k/a Boss Baby Brody, is a “viral sensation with music and dance etched in his soul,” according to a WeVeel press release. He has been featured on many major media outlets, including the Hallmark Channel and the Kelly Clarkson Show and made appearances with Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson and other stars.
Abby Terry, star of social media’s Along Came Abby, “has been capturing hearts with her extraordinary personality and wit,” the release stated. She has been featured on Good Morning America, Jimmy Fallon and other shows, it added.
The Influencer Initiative line based on the two influencers has 33 various play sets and activity kits retailing between $4 and $8 for children ages 3 to 8. For every product sold, The Influencer Initiative will donate 10 percent of the profits to a qualified nonprofit, WeVeel officials said.
Houser said she thinks the new line will build on WeVeel’s previous successes, most notably with its best-known toy line called Scentos, a scented assortment of creative products including stationery, markers, silly string and others. WeVeel products are now featured in 26 countries and in stores like Walmart, Target, Dollar General, Hobby Lobby and others, she added.
“Everyone knows that Crayola is a PA company,” said Houser. “But we’ve been around since 2009 and are like this very small, super-secret toy company in Bucks County. We’re like the little engine that could.”
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