ACE deal enables Brown Toy Box to add Black representation to toy aisles via their custom STEM/STEAM educational toys at over a thousand Target outlets across the U.S.
Atlanta, Georgia. December 24th, 2021 – Access to Capital for Entrepreneurship (ACE) client Brown Toy Box recently secured a national distribution deal with American retail giant, Target Corporation. The deal will enable the unique STEM/STEAM toys featuring children of color to be displayed in Target’s 1,757 retail outlets across the United States. ACE saved the day for the toy maker who struggled to get the necessary financing needed to execute the contract from other sources- despite the amazing honor of being awarded the Target deal.
“We didn’t have enough revenue to qualify for a bank loan,” said Terri-Nichelle Bradley, Founder and CEO of Brown Toy Box when they were trying to figure out the finances of the offer last summer. “One of my mentors who leads a bank told me ‘We won’t look at you for another couple of years.’” That was when ACE stepped in.
As a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI), ACE has developed a reputation as a catalyst for entrepreneurial growth. ACE uses financing and education to help businesses thrive and focuses on women, people of color, and low to moderate-income business owners.
“I was doing all these investor calls and investor meetings and they were really taking a lot of time and going nowhere,” shared Bradley. “It was AWBI (Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative) that reached out to ACE, and said ‘Have you guys thought about funding Brown Toy Box?’” Bradley was already connected to ACE because both businesses had space in the shared office of the Russell Innovation Center of Entrepreneurs (RICE) building in Atlanta. After several conversations with ACE Credit Officer Eric Swilling, things started coming together. “I realized this might be a good match,” said Bradley. The distribution deal was finalized in October just in time to get Brown Toy Box items into stores before the holidays.
Several Atlanta partners, including ACE, worked together to help make Terri’s opportunity with Target come to fruition by providing funding for inventory rollout across the nation.
While the larger deal was underwritten by the participating institutions, ACE funded the first $500k which allowed Brown Toy Box to secure the inventory needed to enter into the 1,757 stores of Target’s larger markets.
The contract will begin with the order and fulfillment of 38,000 units of the product, the company expects its revenue to increase year after year and is poised to sell at least 33,000 units in the first 12 months.
Prior to starting Brown Toy Box, Bradley led a communications consultancy working with Fortune 500 companies in campaigns designed to connect with the African American community. With over 20 years of experience working in PR and marketing, she crafted out a specialty in marketing to African American moms.
Thanks to ACE’s involvement, the American toy and educational products manufacturer was able to forge ahead with its mission of advancing inclusivity by providing fun and educational toys all children can relate to in stores where they can easily be found.
About Brown Toy Box
Launched in 2017 as a STEAM kit, Brown Toy Box evolved into a full-scale educational toy manufacturer producing and curating STEAM toys and experiences for children in a manner all children can enjoy, learn, and have fun. Brown Toy Box is focused on promoting tolerance and exclusivity through the development of toys, games, activities, media content, and experiences that center and celebrate Black children in Preschool to 6th grade.