HABA Toys is one of the oldest toys-selling global brands which started in Germany as a wooden toys manufacturer in 1938 by Eugen Habermaaß and Anton Engel. Lea Culliton, President at HABA USA (Habermaass Corp. Inc.), talks about the varied product range and the credo with which the brand functions in this interaction with Mommy & Baby Times.
October 30, 2018
HABA Toys is one of the oldest toys brands which was founded eighty years ago and is owned and operated by the Habermaass family. The company has grown to 1,400 employees in Bad Rodach, Germany headquarters. The HABA USA division is located in Skaneateles, NY, a quaint town in the Finger Lakes area. In 2002, the Skaneateles facility was revamped from a manufacturing facility into its present form, i.e., Sales, Marketing and Distribution office for HABA USA toys, which now range from toys and games made in Germany to toys made in Asia as well.
Extensive product range
The brand provides over 1,500 products for children aged from newborn to 8 years old. The collection includes wooden rattles, blocks, games, and ride on toys, gifts, plush, puppets, dishes, wooden grocery items, room decor, rugs, children’s seating, jewellery and accessories.
Talking about the extensive product range, Lea Culliton states that “our company is perhaps best known for our infant & toddler wooden toys but in fact we offer a wide range comprising of dolls, role-play toys, kitchen toys, bath and beach toys, games and even indoor room tents, swings and décor for the children’s room.”
Holding on to the tradition
“HABA started out its trajectory with manufacturing wooden toys and we’re one of the only companies that still manufacture the wooden toys”
The brand started out as a small manufacturer of wooden toys; however, gradually it has grown its range. Referring to a handful of wooden toys brands in the present day toys market, Culliton maintains that “HABA started out its trajectory with manufacturing wooden toys and we’re one of the only companies that still manufacture the wooden toys for the babies, the clutching toys and the pacifier chains in Germany.”
HABA is believed to be a classic and trusted brand which has stood the test of time and she opines that “HABA’s toys and games are the heirloom products that don’t get sold at the garage sale. Our toys get saved, and handed over from generation to generation.”
The HABA products are available in more than 50 countries worldwide in more than 9,500 specialty stores and via ecommerce as well. The HABA Family of Companies resides in Bad Rodach, Germany from where it is distributed globally.
About the affordability aspect of the products, Culliton gladly exclaims that “we’re pleased to be able to offer high-standard products affordably, so that every family can afford a HABA toy or game. We support the specialty retail “shop local” markets which is a very distinctive HABA feature. We are available in specialty stores, book, gift and game stores, baby boutique and apparel stores and even furniture and juvenile equipment shops as well.”
Partnership with Highlights for Children Inc.
HABA USA has teamed up with Highlights for Children Inc. the beloved American media brand whose “Highlights for Children” magazine began in June 1946, started by Garry Cleveland Myers and his wife Caroline Clark Myers in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
About the agreement, she says that “this is the first ever license agreement for HABA USA. We are co-creating an affordable line of developmentally appropriate wooden toys blending the time-tested educational and developmental expertise of both brands.”
HABA USA has teamed up with Highlights for Children Inc. the beloved American media brand whose “Highlights for Children” magazine began in June 1946
ABC kids expo
Lea Culliton is also a Board Member at the ABC Kids Expo (All Baby & Child) which was founded in March, 2003, and is an exhibition of juvenile industry manufacturers and retailers organized for the purpose of promoting the children’s products industry.
Referring to the ABC Kids Expo, she asserts that “this is simply the core exhibition for me in the juvenile industry and is undoubtedly one of the largest exhibitions in the juvenile, gear, and baby and child care sector in USA. The expanse of the show is vast, attracting exhibitors from all over the world to showcase their brand and their products. Some of them are already well-established brands but many are also innovative companies showcasing their new products into this particular market for the first time. If a retailer is in the juvenile and baby business and is looking to add SKUs to their stores, this is the right place to be.”
HABA is the pioneer German company which has been doing business in accordance with EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme). The wooden baby clutching toys are made in Germany using PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) which means the wooden toys are made from timbers that are reforested. That reflects how ecological sustainability and social responsibility factors have been paramount in deciding the business model and gambits adopted by the HABA brand.