With concerns on the rise about lead content and other toxins in toys from China, a growing number of parents are turning to non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives. If you love toys and the environment, consider starting a green toy business.
Different Types of Green Toy Businesses
There are a number of different types of toy business that you could start, depending on your interests and skills.
Toy Making Business
Many parents and grandparents remember the heirloom quality toys they grew up with nostalgically, and there’s a strong niche market for high quality old fashioned toys such as wooden blocks, traditional sleds and toboggans, handmade dollhouses, and unique – often personalized – dolls. These heirloom quality toys will last for many years, making them much more environmentally friendly than cheap toys that break easily and quickly end up in landfills. By using green materials such as sustainably harvested wood, organic wool or cotton cloth, non-toxic dyes and finishes, and more, you can create create toys that are not only fun for children but good for the environment.
Many eco-friendly toy makers get their start on websites such as Etsy or ebay. These offer a low cost way to test the success of your toys before creating a dedicated website or store. They also help reduce the environmental impact of your toys even further by allowing you to work from home!
Eco-Friendly Toy Store
Another option is to open a toy store focusing on green toys. This may be either a physical building or a niche website. Depending on your interests you may want to focus on a specific age group or type of toy. For example, green baby boutiques, which often carry eco-friendly toys as well as organic clothing, bedding, diapers, and more, are growing in popularity around the country, as are stores focusing on educational toys.
It is important to educate yourself about eco-friendly toy materials and manufacturing processes before opening to ensure the greenest selection of toys. Familiarizing yourself with safety regulations and keeping track of recalls will also help you serve your customers better.
Toy Consignment Shop
A third eco-friendly option is to sell used toys in good condition. Like clothing consignment stores, this helps reduce waste and conserve resources. Selling used toys can also be run online as a green home business or from a physical location. For additional income, you could offer eco-friendly toy repair or cleaning.
Three Green Toy Businesses For Earth-Friendly Fun
EcoToyTown is an online eco-friendly toy store from the EcoChoices chain of stores. It offers a wide variety of organic and eco-friendly toys suitable for all ages, including plush organic cotton stuffed animals, eco-friendly art supplies, wooden toy cars, and educational toys and books with an eco theme.
Uncle Skunkle Toys manufactures wooden games, primarily from sustainably harvested rubber wood. Uncle Skunkle is committed to reducing its environmental impact by minimizing packaging and other green business practices. The games are manufactured to be as decorative as they are fun, and to challenge the brains of both kids and adults.
Ivy Lane Designs is an Etsy shop full of “eco-fabulous” recycled notebooks, jewelry, and other goodies. Kids will love the selection of recycled crayons molded into shapes such as astronauts, butterflies, animal crackers, and trains.