OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A local toy company is changing the way kids play all while representing the world around us.
Meraki Montessori Toy Co is one of five finalists for Pitch Black, a competition put on by Midlands African Chamber designed to promote entrepreneurship and diversity in minority-owned businesses.
"My wife bought a toy camera and I was like, 'I can make that.' We started exploring that more and more for (our daughter). We discovered we wanted her to have toys she can play with that are non-toxic," said owner Dell Nared.
Ty and Dell Nared created Meraki Montessori Toy Co. It's based on the Montessori style of teaching, using non-technological toys, all while being diverse.
"Everything is made with wood in hopes of fostering a child's imagination, so our toy camera, we see lots of kids playing with them pretending to take photos but they're really leading their imagination through their toys," said Ty.
While their daughter, Adele's imagination is big, their team isn't. Every step of the company, from designing toys to marketing, is done by the Nareds.
"Usually I create the design for the toys and Del produces them, and then we always say Adele is quality assurance, so really when we prototype a toy we let her play with it to see if it's her jam and I'm like, if she likes it, then her peers will like it," said Ty.
Small but mighty as they compete for the top prize in Pitch Black—$10,000, which they say they'd use to scale their business and bring more of their vision to life.
"Making sure we can produce at the rate that we want to by having additional staff on hand, we'll be able to do that, but also thinking about strategizing and how can we make this into our vision down the line where we're able to have a brick and mortar," said Dell.
"We ideally would love to have a DIY room so where children can come in and do DIY kits either for parties or gatherings so they can be a part of creating something for themselves," said Ty.
Meraki Montessori Toy Co's website is currently down as they work on rebranding, but you can find them at all three Made in Omaha locations and Rosie Jane in Blackstone.
Pitch Black's final presentations will be held Saturday, August 6.
To learn more about the competition visit the Pitch Black website.