Mattel honors and takes inspiration from Ruth and Elliot Handler — True Visionaries in the Toy Industry
EL SEGUNDO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– At a ceremony earlier today at its Southern California headquarters, Mattel, Inc. (Nasdaq: MAT) renamed and dedicated its design center the Handler Team Center in honor of founders Ruth and Elliot Handler. Joined by past and current Mattel employees, as well as state and local government officials, Mattel CEO Bryan Stockton and Mattel Executive Vice President of Global Brands Tim Kilpin welcomed special guest Barbara Handler Segal, daughter of the late Ruth and Elliot, and the namesake of Barbie® doll. The newly-renamed Handler Team Center, one of five buildings on the Mattel campus in El Segundo, is home to more than 650 employees and the Barbie, Hot Wheels®, Matchbox®, Monster High®, Polly Pocket®, Little Mommy® and Max Steel® brands, as well as a wide array of entertainment-inspired toy lines.
Barbara Handler Segal, namesake of Barbie(R) doll and daughter of Mattel founders, Ruth and Elliot Handler, and Mattel CEO Bryan Stockton admire one of the very first Barbie dolls produced by Mattel at an event dedicating the company’s design facility as the “Handler Team Center.” (Photo: Business Wire)
“Mattel’s vision — Creating the Future of Play — actually began in the company’s earliest days with Ruth and Elliot Handler and continues today with the same type of creativity and innovation they instilled in Mattel at its start,” Stockton said. “In order to successfully grow our company, we must honor our heritage and take the inspiration and innovative thinking from our founders, who were both true visionaries.”
Founded in 1945 in a Southern California garage workshop, Mattel has introduced some of the most iconic and innovative toys of all time, reinventing the way children play with each generation. Among the toys the Handlers introduced are: Barbie, the first doll on the market that wasn’t a baby doll but rather a teenage fashion model, creating an entirely new and groundbreaking play experience for girls; Hot Wheels, one of the first toy cars that had wheels that actually moved on a track, resulting in a more interactive play experience; Chatty Cathy®, the first talking doll, revolutionizing the toy industry with the unique and innovative sound mechanism invented to make her talk, spawning countless interactive toys, including Mattel’s See ‘N Say® brand.
“We are stewards of the most beloved and time-tested family of brands in the world and, while we work with them for only a short time, must leave them in a better and stronger place for the generations that will come after us,” Kilpin said. “We continue to take inspiration from these industry-changing toys as we bring new play experiences to children around the world.”
Following Elliot’s passing in 2011, Mattel established the Elliot Handler Play Fund at the Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, with the purpose to support pediatric patients and families through play therapy. Mattel announced today that, in honor of the Handler Team Center dedication, the Mattel Children’s Foundation will be making a $25,000 donation to the fund. The check was presented at the event to Dr. Sherin Devaskar, Physician-in-Chief, Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.
As part of the celebration, an exhibit of historical toys, not open to the public, was on display, giving attendees an exclusive look back at some of Mattel’s very first innovations, including an original Barbie and Ken® doll, early Hot Wheels play sets, See ‘N Say, Chatty Cathy doll and more — many of which had not been displayed in decades. The exhibit also featured some of Mattel’s newest toys, demonstrating the company’s continued commitment to innovation. Additionally, original historical items from the early days of Mattel were featured, including original sketches of toy concepts by Elliot Handler, select business items and historical photographs courtesy of the personal archives of Barbara Handler Segal and her family.
The Handler Team Center houses hundreds employees who represent a variety of functions for the global Mattel brands, including design, product development, marketing, packaging, inventor relations, franchise development, entertainment production and consumer products design, among others. The center boasts a full recording studio, model shop, electronics laboratory, chemistry laboratory and cafeteria.
The 200,000-square-foot structure was originally built in 1954 as a factory to manufacture aircraft parts. Mattel moved into the building in 1990, and it went through an internal design refresh in 2009 in order to create a more creative and collaborative work environment. The Handler Design Center currently features a ramp at the front door which slopes up from the parking lot, allowing full-sized Hot Wheels cars to drive right into the building. It also houses an extensive collection of Hot Wheels cars from a variety of decades.
Mattel, Inc. (Nasdaq: MAT) is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. The Mattel family is comprised of such best-selling brands as Barbie®, the most popular fashion doll ever introduced, Hot Wheels®, Matchbox®, American Girl®, Radica® and Tyco R/C®, as well as Fisher-Price® brands, including Thomas & Friends®, Little People®, Power Wheels® and a wide array of entertainment-inspired toy lines. In 2012, Mattel was named as one of FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the fifth year in a row. Mattel also is ranked among Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens.” With worldwide headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel employs approximately 28,000 people in 43 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 nations. At Mattel, we are Creating the Future of Play. Visit us at www.mattel.com, www.facebook.com/mattel or www.twitter.com/matel.
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