It may come to a surprise to you dear reader, that I am quite the lover of miniature recreations of pop culture icons, you may call me a toy collector-sure. As you may or may not know, a once beloved hive of childhood excitement, Toys R Us will be closing their doors soon. We actually have a store mere walking distance from the W5 headquarters that looks straight out of the late 70’s. This store was one of the first wave of closing stores to start selling off its inners.
2018 has not only been the year to mark of the end for the toy titan, but also for its founder, Charles Lazarus who passed way at the age of 94, a week after the announcement of the closings for U.S. and U.K. locations. Lazarus was the captain of the ship up until 1998 and was notably responsible for the backwards ‘R’ in the logo and for the lovable long-neck Geoffrey the Giraffe mascot. Learn more about Lazarus.
Alas, there is still a glimmer of hope for the kid-driven corporation and it comes in the way of…crowdsourcing. If you’re not familiar with the name Isaac Larian, founder and CEO of MGA Entertainment, you may be familiar with Bratz, the line of modern hip dolls the company puts out. Larian hopes to buy out Toys R Us, and revamp the retailer, possibly saving hundreds of jobs and keeping the brand alive. To accomplish this feat, he is attempting to raise a total figure of one billion dollars through the gofundme platform. Larain has put in his own two hundred million dollars to get the ball rolling and hopes that nostalgia and love for the company will take care of the rest by inspiring folks to pour their hearts and wallets out.
This is a fascinating experiment in brand, customer loyalty, and culture. While some feel they may be helping to save an artifact of their childhood by donating, others criticize the attempt claiming the company failed to adapt to changing times and often had larger mark ups than their competitors and thus deserve to going under. There seems to be more of an emotional causality to want to save the toy retailer more than a pragmatic reason, as toys are easily purchased on-the-go or online, often at lower prices. Currently, the campaign is far from toppling its $800,000,000 deficit, but it is definitely something to keep your eye on.
Toys R Us gofundme