Introduction to Discovery Toys MLM Compensation Plan
When I was a kid I loved playing with Legos, fitting them together in as many different ways as possible. I also had quite a collection of toy cars and trucks, and I loved racing those across the floors of the rooms of my house that had tiles, and building a track for them out of interlocking pieces. The best configuration for the track was to shape it into a ramp that would allow the cars to accelerate so that they would make it all the way from right by the front door into the kitchen. Sometimes I would set up Lego walls in their way, and sometimes I would just let them roll all the way into the kitchen. It was fun to see how many Hot Wheels could crash into my mom’s foot before she finally told me the party was over. When my brother Brian and I were getting along, he would help me build contraptions that would lead to spectacular speed or spectacular collisions. When we weren’t, he would dismantle my racetracks and Lego walls as quickly as I could build them, and it always ended up in physical violence, one of us snitching and blaming the other one for everything, or some combination thereof. When we got our dog, the Hot Wheels zipping along the floor of the front hallway always made the dog even more hyper than he already was.
In the summer, it was never any fun to stay indoors, and the best toys were the ones that made it possible for my brother and me to do battle in socially acceptable ways. Even when we weren’t assaulting each other with FunNoodles, we were at least competing with each other in some way, even if we were just playing Frisbee with our dog. When my youngest brother Bryce got old enough to play in the backyard with us, he changed the dynamic somewhat. I can’t really say that he kept the peace, but he did shift the focus from Brian and me trying to vanquish each other from the face of the Earth to us working together to get a rise out of him.
If you were born after 1990, you’re probably really sick of hearing people say this, but toys in the 80s were fun. It isn’t because our action figures were any different from your action figures or because our commercialized cartoons were more fun than your commercialized cartoons. They weren’t. But at least toys in the 80s weren’t trying to be something they were not. The toys didn’t do anything we didn’t do ourselves.
My youngest brother Bryce was in kindergarten just when Barney and Friends was getting really popular, so I can safely say that our family missed out on the reign of the insidiously not fun entertainment. My cousins who were kids in the late 90s and early 2000s, though, they missed out on the fun. They grew up in a world of self-consciously educational toys and children’s TV shows. Barney preached to them to exercise and learn. Cookie Monster didn’t even eat cookies. Their whole world was a Weight Watchers chocolate cake.
As far as screen time goes (that expression didn’t exist in my childhood, and thank goodness for that), the early 90s weren’t so bad for bigger kids. The Animaniacs and the Simpsons cracked edgy jokes, much to our amusement. Little kids, though, got the least entertaining entertainment in the world. They got the Teletubbies, which inspire neither amusement nor fear, not even in potheads. They got Barney, whose prosocial messages and calm demeanor could drive even the most patient of parents into a rage. Worst of all, they got Baby Einstein.
The trouble with Baby Einstein wasn’t just that it wasn’t fun. It was reportedly quite popular with babies. Some parents even found it entertaining; in 2010, there was an article published on Slate called something along the lines of “Baby Einstein Was My Porn.” The problem with it was the idea that parents could make their children smarter and give them a competitive edge by showing them the right videos. Parents thinking that they were going to get more academically prepared kids if they spent money on Baby Einstein is like people thinking they are going to make more money by spending more money on multilevel marketing (MLM) training videos.
If you have listened to enough MLM sales pitches, you start to be able to spot an outrageous claim from miles away. There are the hologram Band-Aids that supposedly cure aches and pains. There are the vitamin supplements that supposedly make your children calm and agreeable. There is the wand that supposedly charms your cells into homeostasis and has a similar effect on the cells in your food. Baby Einstein eventually had to rescind its claims, but unfortunately the culture of purveyors of children’s toys and entertainment making outsized claims about the educational value of their products, and parents noisily rationalizing allowing their children to play, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
If you have been reading Notebook Crazy, you know that my goal on this blog is to see through all the exaggerated claims that MLM companies make so that you can make the best decisions about where to invest your money and efforts in the MLM industry. Today, the MLM company I am reviewing is Discovery Toys.
Discovery Toys: The Company and Its Products
Discovery Toys has been in business for longer than I have been alive, and it has a wide variety of toys for children of all ages. Some of its most popular toys are Discovery Toys Magnetic Blocks, the Discovery Toys Marble Run (I want to play with that one), and Discovery Toys Playful Patterns. The Discovery Toys website divides its toys into categories according to which skills they are designed to develop in the children who play with them. The categories are Artistic Play, Construction Play, Language Play, Logic Play, Make Believe Play, Motor Play, Numbers Play, Science Play, Sensory Play, and Social Emotional Play. So far, none of this is too far-fetched. Those sound like things children actually do. I bristle a little bit at hearing the word “play” so many times, because my mom is a Montessori teacher, and there is a Montessori principle of “work not play.” Children do things, and adults label it play. But while we’re using the word play, the Discovery Toys categories do sound like things that children actually do. They are things we did as children. When I threw a Frisbee and my brother caught it, that was motor play. When we built race courses and Lego walls, that was construction play. When he called me a butt-faced barf head and I called him a mucus-brained booger troll, that was language play.
There are a few particularly refreshing things that stand out to me about the Discovery Toys product line. One is that most of the toys cost less than 20 dollars. A few of the toys on the site are pricey, but most of them cost the same as or less than the toys at Toy R Us. Another nice thing is that Discovery Toys allows you to order replacement parts for your toys. I know that if my brothers and I had had a Discovery Toys Marble Run, we would have lost enough important pieces within the first month to render it useless. I never remember us playing Monopoly as a family of five for the simple reason that we were never able to keep track of five out of six Monopoly pieces. That aspect of Discovery Toys makes it sound like its leaders have dealt with actual children. Another thing that stands out about Discovery Toys is that it has a line of products especially designed for children with special needs and autism diagnoses. It is always nice when a toy company acknowledges children with autism and other special needs instead of acting as though they don’t exist, and Discovery Toys is the only MLM company I know of that offers such products.
The Discovery Toys Compensation Plan
Direct Toys distributes its products through direct sales and network marketing, which is why it can be considered an MLM company. To become a Discovery Toys Independent Consultant, you must buy a DT Now Launch Kit fir $49, a Business Launch Kit for $125, or a Business Builder Kit for $399. Discovery Toys Independent Consultants have the option of selling Discovery Toys products in person or online. Selling the toys online is a popular option for members of the lifestyle blogging scene, especially as regards blogs about children and parenting; more than a few “mommy bloggers” are also Discovery Toys Independent Consultants.
Perhaps the biggest downside I can see to the Discovery Toys business model is that it encourages in-person sellers to conduct sales by means of home parties. Anyone who has been reading Notebook Crazy knows how I feel about MLM home parties; I believe the term is quadruple crown diamond barf. Granted, a home party in which kids gather to play with Discovery Toys products, beg their parents to buy the toys for them, and then, to their surprise, actually go home with a haul of toys sounds like a lot of fun. If you’re a kid, accompanying your mom to a party where you get to play with toys and choose which ones you want sounds like a huge improvement over going to yet another home party where you sit impatiently while someone lectures your mom about vitamin supplements, and then you end up with a big box of vitamin supplements in your basement. Unfortunately, the Discovery Toys business model emphasizes parties that center around sales pitches and pressuring your friends to buy and sell. Even if there are toys there, the kids can probably sense the resentment in the room. It would be better to have a party where adults and children sit together and brainstorm the most picturesque modifiers with which to precede the word “barf”.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- The toys really do look like fun, and they are not terribly overpriced.
- The products and culture of Discovery Toys fits in well with the mommy blogger scene, so it is an obvious choice if you are a mommy blogger looking to get involved with MLM.
- Toys are a little bit different from the usual products that MLM companies sell. They are more interesting than overpriced vitamins, meal replacement shakes, and Internet service. If interesting and varied toys are off the beaten path, toys geared toward children with special needs are really a unique product.
- The company lets Discovery Toys Independent Consultants choose whether to sell the products in person or online.
- The emphasis on the toys being educational makes me want to roll my eyes. I don’t even have kids, and I am already tired of hearing parents talk about how smart their precious offspring are, thanks to the parents surrounding them with educational toys. I don’t buy it. Intellectually curious children will be intellectually curious with or without educational toys.
- Home parties rub me the wrong way as a matter of principle, even though, if you are going to promote MLM products at a home party, Discovery Toys products are the ones to promote.
Discovery Toys is one of the MLM companies that stands out from the crowd in a good way. It has a unique product and a well thought out branding strategy. Despite my skepticism about the whole educational toys thing, I do acknowledge that Discovery Toys doesn’t take its claims too far. Unlike Brain Abundance and its Brain Bears, Discovery Toys does not claim that your children will instantly become cheerful and obedient if you let them play with Discovery Toys Magnetic Blocks. If you have young children or are in a career where you work with children, Discovery Toys is a good choice of MLM venture.
If you are as sick of MLM home parties as I am but don’t know what to do instead to get your MLM business off the ground, call me, and I will give you my advice.