Owner/CEO's Name & Business's Name
Dane Scarborough,Überstix (Patch Products is the exclusive U.S. distributor
Why is your business unique and what's your pitch?
Überstix is unique because it’s the first construction toy to reward kids for recycling and introduces them to “upcycling”- the art of transforming recyclable waste into something of greater value. An Überstix collection can be expanded using everyday items such as paper clips, Popsicle® sticks, plastic bottles and spoons. In addition, Überstix are also engineered to work independently and integrate with all major build systems such as Lego®, K’NEX®, Erector®, Zoobs® and TinkerToys®. Kids and parents love this because toys they already have will not be forgotten or wasted—ÜberStix will just add to them.
What led you to start the business?
The look of disappointment in my child’s eye was all that it took for me to want to change the future of construction toys. It all started when I bought my son a construction kit and we built a hang glider together -— a hang glider that could not be flown. My son was upset that he was left with a toy that did nothing, so what’s a dad to do? Well, for me, the answer was simple: create a system that will work.
It struck me that the current construction toys on the market were missing something. I felt that the play value should not end with the creation —- gliders should fly, sail boats should float, dragons should move. I wanted to design a construction system that was more functional, that worked after it was built and that was accessible to children of all economic backgrounds.
I knew this wasn’t going to be a small or simple task, especially when I had to go up against major toy companies such as Lego, K’NEX and Mega brand. Going up against a standard in the industry such as Lego, a four billion dollar company, I knew I couldn’t compete with them through market dollars, but I could compete with the value of the product through innovation.
I took a completely different approach than my competitors. I created a scenario where everyone, everywhere has the ability to invent and get more value for their money. I became the first construction toy company to reward kids for “upcycling” -— encouraging people to use existing products for a higher purpose.
Unlike any other construction toy system, Überstix can be expanded using everyday items such as paper clips for connection points, Popsicle® sticks as foundations for tall buildings, plastic bottles as floatation devices and spoons for catapults. Überstix is also engineered to work independently and integrate with all major build systems such as Lego®, K’NEX®, Zoobs® and Tinkertoy® It allows for limitless creativity and is a greener way to play.
Every time I see a child play with Überstix and appreciate the value of innovation and understand the concepts of building, I get a sense of pride. It excites me that something I have built can educate kids and make them want to think outside the box and go above and beyond with their creations.
All of my hard work paid off…since Überstix first started in 2005, it has grown considerably. From only being placed in small independent toy stores the first couple of years, to now being sold nationally at Toys “R” Us and other fine retailers.
- One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to never give up on your dreams-if you believe it, you can achieve it. From the beginning, Überstix was facing an uphill battle. To go up against major toy companies such as Lego, was not going to be easy and I knew I was going to be an underdog at first. Although I knew there was going to be some challenges, I believed so strongly in Überstix and I wasn’t going to let a few bumps in the road stop me.