Not all toys are made the same. That’s definitely the case with Cubles

“It’s like origami met a puzzle,” explains Mike Horn, Chief Strategy Officer of Cubles. The product itself is about the size of a greeting card. From there, everything unfolds. All the pieces are laser cut for the user to pop out. And after about 10 to15 minutes of assembling, you have a paper action figure complete with moving parts. The patented component is the connecter joint, which is both stable and allows for movement. 

Cubles was born out of a passion for toys, as well as sustainability, says Horn. The toy market was valued at $92.2 billion in 2019. By 2027, it’s expected to reach $103.8 billion, with the sustainable toy stake growing as well. 

How did Cubles come to be?

Joel Morris, the original founder, is a “tech guy” who had the idea to make toys that made kids think and didn’t use plastic. In his early years, Morris worked in packaging, giving him the idea to make toys out of the same type of paper as a toothpaste container or trading cards. After nights and weekends of tinkering, he developed these affordable, personalized card-stock figurines. Origami, or just folding paper, has its limitations. The key to Cubles is the connector piece, which allows you to have complicated elements or moving parts. Beyond that, the product is both sustainable and self-contained, so you don’t need scissors or glue. That’s a plus for parents. 

How did you get involved with the company?

My background is in the toy industry designing action figures and statues. When I was making action figures, our company was known for being hyper-detailed. A mutual friend from the Boulder startup community made an introduction to Joel about a year and a half ago. One day I got this text message saying, “Hey, a buddy of mine from business school has got this patented product. He’s getting into licensing, and I think he could use your help.” And from that single message, a very robust relationship formed. I jumped right in and thought wow, this is everything I’ve been looking for my whole career. One thing that I love about Cubles is that as detailed as my former team was designing our action figures, at the end of the day, we were one of a hundred plastic action figure companies. With Cubles, we’re the only company with this product.

What’s the licensing experience been like for you? 

In the toy industry specifically, getting on board with existing brands and characters is crucial to reaching consumers. When I joined the company a year and a half ago, we had three properties. Now we’ve got about 40 under license. Those include Dog Man, a number one selling kids book, KISS, GI Joe, Transformers, Spongebob, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s a sort of collector item, like a Pez dispenser or a bobblehead. After that, about half our business is custom. This means products for live events, like the USA Olympic gymnastics trials, pro bull riding tour events, and strictly promotional. For example, we made a Cuble for Salesforce last year that they sent to all of their clients. 

What else should we know about Cubles?

We also offer Cubles as a hands-on STEM activity for kids, with lesson plans designed for third through sixth grade. In one class, a group of students can each build a Cuble, and then take it home. The range of what we can do is extremely wide.

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