- Written by Matt Parish
- Published: 09 April 2014
Musical toys are one of the first things any new parents gets acquainted with. There’s everything from tiny bells to tot-sized pianos and stuffed tambourines in bright colors, tough to break, and plastic.
Hohner saw an opening in the market for something similar, but upscale. The musical accessories company – known for its harmonicas and accordions, among other instruments – released its own line of sustainably focused toys last year. The line, known as Green Tones, goes a long way toward taking children’s music products up a notch.
“We wanted to go upscale with sustainable wood and recyclable packaging to make this line of musical toys,” says Hohner director of marketing and sales Scott Emmerman. “It’s a step up from the molded plastic stuff.
The line is extensive and includes products for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Options included “Endangered Animal Shakers” (12+ months), a triangle castanet (24+ months), and a beginner drum set (3+ years). There are over 20 products in all, and they all boast environmentally minded construction. All instruments are made with either a chemical-free Rubberwood or Mangowood, built with non-toxic glue and water-based VOC-free paint (meaning all products are safe for children’s mouths).
Hohner says they’ve placed a substantial focus on young children’s development, which can be substantially aided by musical engagement. The company claims that the toys promote imagination, creativity, self-expression, and confidence as well as the development of motor skills, sensory processing, and a sense of rhythm.
To further highlight the company’s environmental efforts, they’ve joined an organization of 1,200 companies called “1% for the Planet” who donate one percent of their sales to dedicated environmental organizations.
Emmerman says the toys sell in different markets, including the specialty toy channel and larger chains. “We also sell through MI stores too, though,” he says. “We have a great POP that we put up for free, and it’s been really successful.”
“People think, ‘I don’t have young children coming into the store.’ But if you have lessons, you have parents dropping kids off at the store and lots of those kids have younger siblings. That’s a significant way to appeal – it’s not their typical customer who might be coming in to buy a Strat, but it’s someone who’s out there.”