Toymaker finds success with quirky product that delivers a positive message for kids

Entrepreneur builds ecommerce brand through customer engagement and social media marketing.

3 min
April 11, 2024
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What do you get when you mix a zebra with a kangaroo? A Zangaroo, of course. Or an eagle and a leopard? You get a flying feline called an Eagard!

While many might find the idea strange, Nick Harman and Casey Finegan were confident that their unusual toy concept—and the Randimals origin story, told in the award-winning children’s book, The Randimals—would resonate with kids growing up in an era that emphasizes inclusivity. The brand is all about celebrating uniqueness.

“The idea is to demonstrate that our differences are our superpower,” said Harman.

The theme is incorporated into the company tag line: What makes us different, makes all the difference in the world. Three years after launching Randimals, Harman and Finegan are preparing to take their toys global with Amazon as their partner.

The concept is unique: Harman designs toy animals that blend characteristics of two species into a new, hybrid animal. The toys are available as traditional stuffed plushies, free-standing figurines, and Randiminis.

When Harman first showed early prototypes to Randimals’ current manufacturers, “they thought they were strange and that we must’ve made a mistake,” said Harman. But whenever he showed the toys to kids, they embraced the creatures with excitement and joy.

“Kids don’t see differences the way adults do,” said Harman, “that’s why these toys resonate.”

As an advertising and marketing professional, Harman knew how to develop a brand story, but logistics and fulfillment were not his areas of expertise. Harman leaned into building a robust Randimals page in the Amazon store to share his message and promote his products and let Amazon take care of the rest.

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Harman believes that harnessing customer engagement, social media marketing, and ecommerce is the formula for success

“The business would never have worked if we tried to handle distribution and fulfillment,” said Harman. “That’s what Amazon excels at. We excel at designing toys.”

Amazon has helped Randimals gain exposure internationally. Thanks to the partnership, the company will be launching in the UK and Europe over the next several months.

“We regularly field inquiries from EU customers asking where they can buy our products,” said Harman.

A native of the UK himself, Harman knows that navigating the regulatory steps required to sell in EU countries can be challenging. “Amazon helps facilitate the legal process and the tax collection requirements [to sell globally],” said Harman. “It’s an incredible benefit to small businesses like ours.”

Customer engagement and influencer marketing has also helped Randimals reach new audiences. In its first month online, a Minnesota toy designer created an unboxing TikTok about Randimals that reached one million views. “Her ringing endorsement in that video led to us selling out on Amazon,” said Harman.

Randimals receives hundreds of submissions a week from kids who share their ideas for new animal combinations.

“It’s our goal to create more of our Randimals in partnership with kids, or Fandimals as we call them,” said Harman, adding that Girtle, the company’s new giraffe-turtle toy, was an idea submitted by an eight-year-old boy from Chicago. “We love that his idea has come to life and is now available for sale,” added Harman.

Harman believes that harnessing customer engagement, social media marketing, and ecommerce is the formula for success in today’s small business environment.

“When we had the original Randimals idea in 2012, it was a different landscape.” According to Harman being an ecommerce seller back then was cost prohibitive and logistically challenging. “But now the barrier to entry has been lowered,” he added, “we can actually compete with major toy companies by partnering with Amazon.”

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