Beyond Kickstarter: Joylabz uses direct-to-consumer, wholesale and retail channels and partners with Ingram Micro Commerce & Fulfillment to reach customers in six continents and 130 countries.

Rapid growth and high demand

Toys that have staying power are ones that enable further discovery and teach creativity. Classics like Legos and K’NEX are two examples of this, and Makey Makey by Joylabz is well on its way joining their ranks.

Makey Makey was created in 2012 and had a strong start, thanks to a successful Kickstarter, a viral video, a TED talk demo and exposure at New York’s Toy Fair. By 2014, it had drawn interest from large retailers and was featured alongside mainstream brands.


In time for the holidays

Asked when the company sought a more robust order fulfillment solution, Rachel Silver, Customer Relations Manager said, “It was when sales for Makey Makey continued to grow worldwide […] that we started considering the benefits of having access to warehouses all over the world. We needed powerful technology that would give us management tools and options, and because we’re a virtual company spread across three time zones, we needed to be able to control our operations no matter where we are.”

Prior to the growth of its international demand, Joylabz met a representative from Ingram Micro Commerce & Fulfillment at Toy Fair and recalled being impressed by the personal attention and solutions that were offered. Timing was finally right, so the companies reconnected and Joylabz moved into its first Ingram Micro Commerce warehouse right in time for the holiday season.

“The transition was really smooth,” said Rachel. “It was kind of nerve-racking to make the switch — especially around the holidays, but it was really amazing to see all our orders fulfilled on time. We really couldn’t have afforded to not switch order fulfillment providers. It was the right time to bring them into the picture.”


Global efficiency and control

Speeding up delivery time for Joylabz’s international order fulfillment required moving Joylabz product into more strategically located fulfillment centers. Using a multi-location strategy enables efficient and cost-effective shipping options to the company’s consumers, which include individuals, retailers and schools spanning six continents and 130 countries. “Now, if a kid halfway around the world watches our (Kickstarter) video and is inspired, he can get a Makey Makey delivered in just a few days without paying exorbitant shipping fees,” Rachel said.

Despite its huge operational growth, Joylabz has more control of its operations than ever before. Through the Shipwire Platform, the company receives detailed order and shipping information. “On our side, we can see where any unit is, anytime. With just a few clicks, we have detailed information about the cost for each shipment down to the penny, which is great,” said Rachel.


Channel expansion

While a large portion of Joylabz’s sales come directly from its website, much of its growth can be attributed to a strong multichannel sales approach. It sells product on Best Buy, Target, Toys R Us, and other retailers, schools buy the Makey Makey wholesale or at a discounted rate and the company also works with resellers.

Doing business with each group comes with unique requirements and through it’s Shipwire Platform, Ingram Micro Commerce & Fulfillment eliminates the challenge of meeting these diverse needs. Rachel referenced its educational customers as an example. “We’ve sold to over 300 schools all over the world,” she said. “However, schools can’t purchase online using credit cards. If they couldn’t buy online, it was really hard to send shipments to them.”

With the Shipwire platform, this is no longer an issue. “We can accept payment through other processes and can easily go into the back end of the order management platform to send shipments,” she said. This wasn’t possible before.

The team isn’t slowing down. Joylabz has plans to increase the number of retail channels it works with, and, says Rachel, “We feel confident in our growth plans because we have so much control and transparency.”