Think about some of the “must-have” toys you’ve seen (or even procured) over the last few years. How about the playful robotic dog Zoomer? Or the small, colorful, hooked building balls called Bunchems? Or the great craze of 2016, Hatchimals (described by some as a cross between a Furby and a Tamagotchi)? These massively popular products are all from Canadian toy giant Spin Master, which has been developing fun, innovative toys for the past two decades. Founded in 1994, the company (which now employs more than 1,000 people globally) began with three pals, a unique idea, and lots of hard work.
While at the University of Western Ontario in the early 1990s, friends Anton Rabie and Ronnen Harary operated Seiger Marketing, a venture for selling posters on college campuses. In 1994, Rabie and Harary, joined by fellow business school alum Ben Varadi, saw the opportunity to develop a novelty concept they later renamed “Earth Buddy.” With $10,000 in start-up funding, this hand-assembled product (crafted with pantyhose, sawdust, and grass seeds) eventually earned their growing company more than $2 million in sales. The following year, inspired by their latest creation (juggling batons called Devil Sticks), the company renamed itself Spin Master.