Meet the Toymakers: Will and Chris Haughey of TEGU
Posted: 2011-03-30 12:01:31 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim
How did the idea for Tegu come about?
Five years ago, this company was just an idea founded on the belief that business (yes, for-profit business) really could be used to break the cycle of poverty. At its conception, the premise of Tegu was simple: fight poverty by creating jobs in the struggling nation of Honduras by using untapped local resources and worker talent. As important, though, we had to create a product that could compete in sophisticated places like New York City and Los Angeles. In the process of observing kindergarten children in Silicon Valley, we developed our magnetic wooden block prototypes, and the rest is history.
How did you end up making your product in Hondurus?
Starting a business in Honduras was the driving force behind Tegu. Supporting this mission required the custom installation of our factory (machines imported from all over the world) for the purpose of job creation.
What did you do before you were in the toy business?
Chris: management consulting at The Boston Consulting Group
Will: banking at Goldman Sachs
What's the biggest piece of advice you'd give someone who wants to bring
their toy to market?
Test crude prototypes over and over and over again; don't be afraid of feedback, and then, once you have it, don't be afraid to ignore some of it. Product concepts go through a maturation process and it's OK if it takes years to zero-in on the perfect offering. As important, don't underestimate the challenges of manufacturing a product that hasn't existed before.
What was your favorite toy as a child?
Chris/Will: Darda race cars.
What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
Will: mint chocolate chip