OK, here’s my story. It’s a long one, so settle in and make sure you are comfortably seated as I tell the tale of how my Daydream was born… As far back as I can recall, when I was just a boy playing in an empty refrigerator box, I felt the calling. I always knew that I wanted to invent things. Simple fun things to bring joy and creativity to the kids who played with them. I studied engineering in college, and worked in the aerospace industry for a few years, but always knew that I would some day start my own toy company.
Years later, when I had kids, I saw them tearing apart the couch cushions in our living room and Eureka! What if I could design a cushion that could build the ultimate couch cushion fort…and SquashBlox was born just like that. Once I invented and patented the design of the “construction cushions”, I began to explore all the things you could do with them. I designed a line of products to take advantage of the Velcro-compatible fabric so that you could turn simple cushions into castles, steam trains, house and gardens, and animals. I was so proud of how well received SquashBlox was in the marketplace. The best known specialty retailers and catalogs in the country carried my toy, and we won prestigious design awards. After all those years, I felt like my calling and my patience were paying off and my dream of building a successful, sustainable toy company was about to be realized.
Then something unexpected happened. In July of 2003, I was diagnosed with late stage Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and began chemotherapy immediately. I had thought that all the fatigue and stress was from having 2 toddlers at home and the lack of sleep that comes with it. I was wrong. The doctor gave me a 40% chance of survival and that was quite the awakening. I closed our toy company, and concentrated 100% on healing. I went through intensive treatments and clinical trials. I learned and practiced all I could in alternative treatments to help my body through this illness. Amazingly, a few months later, my body was completely cancer free.
After my recovery, I went out to find another job. But after a year, the urge to follow my dreams bubbled up and it was too strong to resist. I literally was sitting at my desk daydreaming one day, when I said out loud “Daydream Toy, that’s it!”
And now Daydream is a reality. With the overwhelming support of so many people, this company is growing into the business I have always seen in my mind’s eye. With my new lease on life and perspective on what is truly important and precious in career, family and life mission, I have laid the foundation for this venture. Our incredibly vibrant sales manager, Susan, is a dynamo like no other and has been invaluable in getting Daydream Toys out there and on the store shelves. And I am thrilled to have my family involved in the business. My wife, Monique, is an integral part of Daydream with a long list of roles within the company. My boys, now 10 and 12 years old, are our coolness critics and product testers (if they can’t break it, no one can). They are also my source of inspiration for new ideas, especially keeping that optimistic and playful boy alive in me.
I have such a vision for building this Daydream into a long-lasting brand of truly innovative products. We are still at the beginning of our journey, with a long way to go. But each day brings further opportunity for fun and innovation. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a believer in daydreams and supporting Daydream Toy!