Melissa & Doug
|Founder||Melissa and Doug Bernstein|
|Headquarters||Wilton, Connecticut, United States|
Melissa & Doug (formerly known as Lights, Camera, Interaction!, Inc) is an American manufacturer of children's toys, including wooden puzzles, arts & crafts products, plush toys, and other educational toys. It was founded in 1988 by Melissa and Doug Bernstein in their basement and in Doug's parents' garage. All products are designed at the company's Wilton, Connecticut, headquarters by a team of designers led by Melissa.
The company has factories in the U.S. and abroad with about 1,000 employees worldwide, including some in China. A 2013 New York Times profile reported that it has had double-digit growth every year.
The private company was founded in 1988 when the co-founders left corporate careers to start their own company. Three of their four parents were educators, so they were drawn to doing something involving children. The first product that brought them attention was the Fuzzy Farm Puzzle, a wooden puzzle with texture. An extensive line of wooden puzzles followed. In the late 1990s, the company expanded into wooden toys, arts & crafts, pretend play, plush toys, and more.
Early in its history, the company released three short films by Melissa and Doug Bernstein under the "Lights, Camera, Interaction!" banner and under the name "Special Friends": "You On Kazoo!" (1989), starring 8-year-old Brett Ambler; "Let's Sing-Along" (1990), which promoted a microphone toy; and "Ring-Along, Sing-Along" (1991), promoting a bell-ringing toy.
"You On Kazoo!" was uploaded to YouTube in 2014, and it became a viral meme; the video was remixed by Mike Diva in February 2016 and Florian Rehn Olsson sampled the video in his SoundCloud song "dootdoot".
In 2016, Melissa Bernstein told Good Morning America that she thinks that imaginary play helps children explore, create, take risks, and discover who they really are.
The company sponsors an entrepreneurship program at Duke University, the Bernsteins' alma mater, providing funding and mentors throughout the year. Melissa and Doug Bernstein help students in the program.
- Around UConn - Summer 2007 - UConn Magazine, p. 15
- Melissa & Doug, LLC: Private Company Information - Businessweek
- "No Tie-Ins. No Touch Screens. No Apps." - The New York Times
- "Learning Lessons at Play" - UConn Today
- "Smart Toymakers - Melissa Bernstein - Working Mother"
- I DO, I DO: one Melissa and Doug to another | Jacksonville.com
- Parents find they can't boycott China- made toys even if they fear lead taint - NY Daily News
- "Why Melissa & Doug Toy Line Makers Say Boredom Is Important - GMA"
- Ilana and Hayley's Blog
- Wilton toy company, Melissa & Doug fined for hiring unlawful employees - Thehour.com: News
- Duke University Melissa and Doug Entrepreneurs