The Toy Book caught up with Blue Marble’s Director of Sales Aaron Thompson to discuss the company’s mission and how it sets itself apart in the STEM category.
Toy Book: Blue Marble’s science kits stand out from others in the category because they come with everything kids need to conduct the experiments. What benefits and drawbacks does that present as the manufacturer?
Aaron Thompson: The STEM category is rampant with empty promises and poor reviews. Look for yourself and you will see consumers leaving negative reviews day in and day out. We believe in delivering an authentic experience that makes kids want to come back again and again.
The upside [of providing all materials needed for experiments] is that we have fantastic reviews and excellent repeat business. The downside is that it costs us a little more, but we don’t believe in selling plastic by the pound.
TB: What accomplishments has Blue Marble achieved in the past year?
AT: We account for 96% of all of National Geographic’s positive reviews. We have given more than 10,000 toys to charity and have won numerous awards for innovation and creativity.
We have removed the use of plastics in some of our packaging. Most importantly, last year we rebranded ourselves as Blue Marble (formerly JMW Sales) and believe in creating purposeful products that foster a love of learning and inspire parents to raise thoughtful and confident kids!
TB: What approach did you take in removing plastics from your packaging?
AT: We removed more than 95% of the plastic from our product packaging. Specifically, we eliminated all clamshell impulse packaging and also switched all of our PVC trays to recycled paper trays. We continue to look to do more as technology continues to evolve. We are working with numerous companies at the forefront of sustainable packaging so that we can become early adopters of the new solutions.
TB: How did the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shape Blue Marble’s business last year?
AT: The pandemic made the STEM category boom with the largest growth rate outside of puzzles and games. Sales were off the charts.
TB: Last year, you told us that it was the year of chemistry. What is the major STEM trend this year?
AT: There are so many new products coming from Blue Marble that it’s hard to call out just one sub-category. With that said, I think we will make a big splash in the science of arts and crafts.
TB: Tell us about your partnerships with National Geographic and Discover with Dr. Cool. What sets the brands apart from each other?
AT: Dr. Cool is the genesis of our company and it’s how we came to be the largest seller of National Geographic Science toys in the market today. National Geographic is the most trusted brand in the STEM category and has 98% brand recognition. There simply is no better, well-known science brand on the shelf today.
TB: Blue Marble offers a large variety of science labs, dig kits, and more. Why is it important for the company to have so many different types of STEM products available?
AT: STEM is a category that has much more reach than others. National Geographic offers so much from a historical, cultural, and scientific nature — it almost demands that we focus on a very broad range of products.
TB: What’s next for Blue Marble as a company?
AT: We want to be the gold standard in STEM. Simply put, we want to deliver innovation and a five-star experience in every product we sell, and we want to do it in a way that impacts the environment in the least possible way.
This article was originally published in the June 2021 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!