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Multiple Streams

Will you make money with Discovery Toys? (full review)

MLMs are really fond of the phrase “make a difference” and Discovery Toys is no different.

Don’t worry, they’re all about hosting parties too. And moms love a great excuse to buy toys for their kids, right?

Well the company has actually done pretty well with their toy catalogs. So am I involved?

This video explains:

 

We schedule 30 minutes for each call, so only schedule if you’re serious:

All good? Here’s Discovery Toys, at a glance:

Overview

Discovery Toys was founded in 1978 by Lane Nameth, a teacher. After two decades the business was worth $100 million and got sold to MLM supergiant Avon.  

The toys are designed for children from birth to age eight or so, and cover a (somehow) really interesting range. There are no vitamin water guns or anti-aging face paint kits.  They’re…toys. For real kids. Some of them look vaguely fun.

Discovery Toys also distinguishes itself by offering products for children with learning difficulties such as autism or Asperger’s, which sets it a mile apart from the usual flash animation and bold claim MLM fare. The lifetime guarantee tacked onto the products also comes in handy, considering children like to break things and lose critical components of toys.  

But don’t get ahead of yourself.  Despite the cool, functional, desirable products, this is still an MLM.  It even uses some poorly-chosen words to describe it’s learning strategy.

multiple-streams-discovery-toys-multiple

There is no escape.

So what do they sell?

Products

The toys are for:

  • Budding Brains (birth – 12 months)
  • Early Explorers (1 – 3 years)
  • Little Learners (3 – 5 years)
  • Clever Connections (5 – 8 years)
  • Mighty Minds (8 years+)

The toy categories include:

  • Make Believe Play
  • Social and Emotional Play
  • Artistic Play
  • Motor Play
  • Sensory Play
  • Construction Play
  • Logic Play
  • Language Play
  • Science Play
  • Numbers Play
  • Reading Fun

Fond of the word “play”, aren’t they? I get it’s a toy brand, but they’ve obviously not got any thesaurus’ lying around.

The toys range from $20 to $100.  The whole catalog is here if you want to see. (1)

It’s also getting ridiculous how obsessed parents are with magic solutions to child progression. If someone marketed a toy that promised to turn the belligerent, snotty child into a tall, athletic, inexplicably intelligent teenage President, they’d flock to get it.

Toys are great for stimulating learning, but I’m not convinced a shiny plastic truck is going to jump-start a kid’s brain.  

Have you ever heard a leading light in industry stand for a speech and start with, “I’d like to thank Discovery Toys for awakening my intellect…”

Me neither.

Opportunity

Don’t worry, we promised a party – and you’ll get one.

When you host a party, you’ll get commission as follows:

multiple-streams-discovery-toys-value-table

How does a Discovery Toy party work? I suppose moms and dads all get together and pretend to look at catalogs while savouring a glass of wine. While they’re doing that, the children go mental with the Discovery Toys samples. Seems like the most legit MLM party idea yet.  

Joining Discovery Toys means buying one of their kits – the Business Launch Kit for $125.00, which includes key business materials, access to training and a website which is free for the first two months. After that I have no idea how much it costs.

The other kit is the Business Builder, which’ll set you back $399.00. This includes everything from the baby kit and 21 Discovery Toy products, logo items for promotions, training CDs (CDs, really?) and the website for seven months.  Seems like a weirdly sound deal.

You’ll also snatch 34% profit on personal sales and up to 7% bonus on downline sales.  

The image is a little fuzzy, but the breakdown looks a little like this.

multiple-streams-discovery-toys-ernings-breakdown

There’s clear emphasis on building your downline here, where Discovery Toys falls into the MLM vortex. Selling these kinds of products will be easier than selling glow-in-the-dark magic pills to cure all disease and protein shakes that’ll make you look like a well spinach’d Popeye.

I couldn’t find any of the usual weird rank names anywhere – coming up with non-creepy ones for a children’s brand might’ve been challenging.

Recap

For a start, good luck selling kids toys if you aren’t a parent or a teacher.  It’ll seem…creepy.

So there isn’t a gigantic financial incentive.  So…the incentive is to get discounted and free toys? Unless you’re a parent, that doesn’t seem like a great return.

Even if you do have kids, there are only so many toy trucks they need before the toys explode out of the toybox and stage a coup of your house. Have you ever seen the film Toy Soldiers, where the action figures come to life and take the humans hostage? It’ll be like that, but in primary colors with sticker smiles. Toy Story meets the original Chucky.  Nope.

Naturally the website is jam-packed with testimonials from delighted mothers and teachers. Nothing can ever be as bad as the Cabi testimonials that went on for several thousand words and documented a woman recruiting her own mother, so the Discovery Toys ones aren’t too vomit-worthy.

The focus on web advertising goes beyond the normal MLM clip art, flashing banners kind of websites. There also seems to be an abundance of lifestyle bloggers choosing to become consultants, which is kind of exploitative. Using your massive fan-base to generate sales is what celebrities do, I suppose, but the MLM nature of this set-up rubs the wrong way.

For those not in the know, these “mommy bloggers” and vloggers document their day to day child raising, and use their blog/YouTube channel as a platform for flogging their wares. Clever editing and not filming like a commercial admittedly catapults the attraction for viewers, and must be pretty lucrative for the people involved.

Getting shares and links from industry influencers would make selling the products pretty darn easy so long as you have the hours to devote to guarding your social media feeds and updating constantly until your eyes start bleeding.

It goes to prove word-of-mouth advertising will still kick marketing campaigns to the dirt if done right. The fact Discovery Toys sells fare for children with difficulties also irons out a lot of the MLM-shaped creases in their armor. It’s unusual and great to see, as that customer base is often ignored.

All in all, not a bad MLM. Maybe toys is your thing and this is something you could have a lot of fun with.

But if it’s the income opportunity that you’re chasing, there are better ways.

(and you can leave those old MLM habits behind)

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