Originate a need, and relish -- Mark Boldt, a trendsetter
Spotlight | DC Correspondent
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, Rubba Ducks initially started operating in 1997
(Rubba Ducks retail display located in all 1,595 Toys R Us stores worldwide from 2001 2009)
Winners are the ones who create a need in the minds of customers and then cater to it accordingly!
What is the end? Finish of everything, or beginning of something new? Throughout human life, people go through different phases, which make life worth living. Amidst the uncertainty, known and unknown aspects, there are people who know what they want, and they get it, regardless. Among the list of those with a clear mission, and a much clearer vision, lies the name of Mark Boldt, the Picasso of creating a need
Who knew that a toy or, more precisely, a rubber duck could have such a positive impact on people's lives across the world? Kids are attracted to toys instinctively. Successful are the ones who stimulate elders to buy a toy, and Mark Boldt did that with his unique idea and strategy. Founded in 1997, The Duck Group, LLC, a renowned company that manufactures rubber ducks, or in cool language, Rubba Ducks. The inspiring human behind the idea for character-based Rubba Ducks was initially Mark Boldt's then four-year-old daughter, Savannah. Her obsession with toys was the reason behind igniting a new idea in Boldt's mind, and the rest is history.
Customers are naïve; they do not know what they want. Entrepreneurs are the ones who create a need for their product and make customers believe that it is one of their basic needs. After initiating the idea of Rubba Ducks in 1996, things did not start out easy. Boldt, along with his team, had to strive hard, and yet he managed to stand firm in the face of challenges. As time passed, Rubba Ducks got more and more exposure, which created an organic demand in the market for the first character-based rubber ducks. Let's unravel the company's journey throughout.
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, Rubba Ducks initially started operating in 1997. With the unique idea of manufacturing character-based ducks, in 1999, the company approached Spencer's, one of the biggest mall-based retail stores in the United States.
People started noticing when ducks were placed among 500 to 600 Spencer stores, and Boldt knew his time had come. In 2001, Rubba Ducks produced over 96,000 ducks in a total of 24 unique styles for Dept 56. With the idea of exploring new horizons, Boldt also designed a special Breast Cancer Awareness duck named D.Cure, and to help with this cause, Boldt produced over 200,000 ducks for General Motors' special giveaway and 25,000 for General Mills internal corporate duck race.
As time passed by, new ideas were generated. In honor of 9/11, Rubba Ducks produced 25,000 Liberducks, designed to complement the Statue of Liberty, 25,000 Hero ducks, Rubba Ducks fireman design, and also 25,000 P.D ducks Police Officer duck for MGM Mirage—with these three styles selling out within the first week, clearly meant Las Vegas was also their niche— In the same year, KIIS-FM Radio along with the popular musical artist Pink had a special promotion handing out over 5,000 Baby Pink Rubba Ducks. Things moved forward, and success was served. In 2003, 25,000 Ducktoberfest Rubba Ducks were specially manufactured for Germany's world-famous Octoberfest. After that event, the success of Rubba Ducks went swimmingly for The Duck Group, LLC.
Eventually, the turning point for Rubba Ducks was the year 2004. When the time is right, even the odds turn out to be in one's favor. Boldt knew that his idea had the potential to rule the world, and hence, he never gave up. When he saw that the European people were intrigued by his Rubba Ducks, he hustled harder to make the Rubba Ducks become a household name. In 2004, The Duck Group, LLC partnered with some big European retail giants like Schlicting, Kaldewei GmbH, Spedicam, Ludwig Beck Promotion, and Douglas Parfumerien. Soon thereafter, everyone in the European community knew of the Rubba Ducks.
Meanwhile, back in the USA, Rubba Ducks was already known to all with availability in both malls and stores like Toys R Us, Target, KayBee Toys, Kmart, Drug Emporium, Snyder's Drug Stores, Hallmark Stores, and FAO Schwarz – Rubba Ducks were everywhere.
Things accelerated very quickly throughout Europe, and for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Rubba Ducks was asked to produce 50,000 soccer-themed ducks called Duckerball to attract football enthusiasts. And because of this extreme opportunity, by the end of 2009, Rubba Ducks were being sold at over 15,000 gift specialty stores worldwide.
In 2015, The Boathouse, at Downtown Disney, requested The Duck Group, LLC to produce three specially designed Rubba Ducks, Mr. & Mrs. Quack Craft and Amphiduck ordering over 5,000 of each design for their gift shop. As of 2022, Rubba Ducks is one of the most renowned ventures, which has been featured in different segments. WCBS-TV, CNBC-TVs, WNBC-TVs, and famous television shows like Friends, Judging Amy, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, and HBO's Sex and the City series.
"Get a good idea and stay with it. Do it, and work at it until it's done right."
– Walt Disney.
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