Feature Friday! North Star Toys & Such

North Star Toys & Such offers a diverse set of dolls and children’s books to to help children with emotional and social development.

Mat Parsons, MBA ’22 (far right) and Daniel Yu, MBA ’22 (far left) are the co-founders of North Star Toys & Such.

DC: What are your names, majors, and anticipated graduation years?
Daniel Yu, MBA, Marketing, 2022 and Mathew Parsons, MBA, Consulting & Finance, 2022.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Yu: North Star Toys & Such seeks to equip parents with the resources to teach their children social and emotional management skills. We have a flagship product of a diverse set of dolls and a children’s book teaching kids all about emotions. We wish to be the one-stop shop for resources on social skills development and emotional intelligence for all parents with young children.

DC: At what point did you know you wanted to create your own startup?

Yu: I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur at an early age and when I heard of the Pitch Dingman Competition during my time in the MBA program, I knew I had to enter. We are grateful for the Fearless Ideas track, which helped turn our entrepreneurial dreams into a reality.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup?
Yu: Shark Tank. I watched Shark Tank religiously for years. Without that show and witnessing people succeed with their start-ups, I would have never tried to take this challenge on.

DC: How have the effects of the pandemic changed your company’s focus or ideas?
Yu: Since we could not attend trade shows and in-person events to promote our company and product, we really had to leverage social media and e-commerce to market ourselves. It’s been a learning curve to understand all about SEO optimization and hashtag strategy.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Yu: Our first doll prototypes are ready for shipment from China, we finalized our children’s book manuscript, and we’re launching on Kickstarter in a month. Our website is also a week or two away from launching.

DC: What do you feel that you have achieved from participating in Terp Startup Accelerator this summer?
Yu: Through market research and consumer interviews, we began to understand more deeply about our target customer and their buying preferences, which has helped us tremendously in developing our prototypes.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Yu: The entrepreneurship life is all about self-discipline. When you’re your own boss, you dictate your own terms – so make sure you find a good balance between working hard and playing harder. 

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