Like many small businesses, Jade’s ToyBox arose from an unexpected need. A new mom learns that her toddler has several China-made toys containing lead and she and her husband panic. They get rid of just about all the plastic China-made toys and lead test everything else. As a journalist, it’s her nature to want to understand the problem and find solutions. Within a few weeks she is researching toys at trade shows and talking to manufacturers across the globe. The result was Jade’s ToyBox, a new kind of social enterprise: a retailer whose focus is as much on educating parents about safe, quality educational toys as it is on their unique products called Concept Boxes.

The JTB Concept Boxes are filled with a carefully vetted selection of eco-friendly toys, books and games pre-packaged to teach specific concepts to young children, like health and the body, personal safety, good eating habits, geography and travel, even sustainable architecture. The company also hosts free JTB Green Toy Party events where individual toys are sold along with the Concept Boxes. A portion of each event is donated to the charity chosen by the host organization and proceeds of several boxes go independently to specific charities, schools and children’s centers. The Hope for Kai Doc Box, for example, contains books about the body and going to the hospital and the doctor’s office; it includes real x-rays and a doctor puppet, costume, games and a doctor kit. But most importantly, it raises money for the family of Kai Anderson, a five-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Leukemia this year, while his dad suffers from an incurable lymphoma. As a result, the company ‘s mission is now focused on working with pediatric cancer centers to provide similar boxes to children undergoing chemotherapy or dealing with other illnesses. Another box in development, a special needs box for children with autism with be available in 2010.

The company founder, Angelique LeDoux and her husband, are passionate about kids, their safety and education. And LeDoux isn’t just a mom and a journalist, but she’s also a LEED AP green building consultant who knows a lot about green materials, safety and non-toxic environments. She also understands the impact that safer materials are having on the toy industry, as the majority of toys at JTB are made from sustainable resources or recycled materials, and all meet the newest CPSCIA (Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act) standards, and include certificates of compliance.


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