THE HISTORY OF NILO TOYS
It's a fun American success story to tell. I am happy to share with you my personal experience with this company so that it may encourage you to "go for it", both by making your own dream come true and by going out and purchasing a Nilo® brand product!
As with many company's humble beginnings, I started Nilo® out of my garage in 1992. My wife and I couldn't find a suitable, multi-use table for our two children, 2 and 4 years of age. So the wife says, "why don't you make us a table?" I did. As per my wife's instructions, I increased its size to fit Lego/Duplo® base plates. Then holes around the border of the table were added to accommodate Brio-Mec®, a fun construction toy at the time. Bingo! The Nilo® activity table was born.
I am happy to say that it was my wife's idea. God Bless that woman! She's terrific and I love her dearly. Little did she know that her "table" would become an item creating worldly demand, making many a child and family happy and content.
Shortly after its creation, our friends started flocking over to our house to see this "table" in action. They couldn't believe it! Our kids and theirs were playing quietly around this multi-functional table. They watched as the children played in total peace, noting, too, that our house stayed in order...no more toys all over the floor! More and more friends, day care centers, parents and teachers suddenly started calling upon me to build one or more of my tables for them.
That Christmas I ended up being Santa's little helper and made about 40 tables. Over the next several months I started to market them to local toy stores and catalogue companies. I quit my real estate and finance career of 13 years and started playing with wood and toys for a living. Having obtained many orders for the 4th quarter of 1994, I ran out and bought machinery, leased industrial space and quickly ran into debt for the next few years, as is typical for a new start-up. We put everything on the line because we believed in what we had to offer.
A word of caution! It was a requirement of mine to always ship on time, no matter what. The first year this meant during 4th quarter at the peak of my production I slept seven hours in four critical days to make the shipments in time. I also had to dip my hands into buckets of ice water due to the swelling of my hands. I didn't sleep at all for two days. Day three I slept for four hours. Day four for three hours. Needless to say I ended up with pneumonia that year. I lost about 20-25 lbs. I was very driven. The good news is all of my orders were fulfilled on time! The second year of production my sleep improved! I slept eleven hours in three days. The third year I ended toning down production and went overseas to set up prodution. One must do what they have to do to succeed. Unfortunately, California is an anti-business, anti-manufacturing state. As such, we make changes to deal with their never ending demand for more regulation and taxes. We'll save this discussion for another time, yes. But, for anyone in business for theirself, for those that started their own business, run their own business...you know what I'm talking about.
We made the right decision. Our tables are now being offered in many of the best catalogues and specialty toy stores in the world. We continue to develop new products that meet our high standards and requirements of Quality, Versatility, and Value, products that hopefully exceed your expectations! We know that our products are the best that money can buy. Remember, "Buy Once, Buy Right!"
In conclusion, it has been a lot of hard work but well worth the effort. We will always remember our humble beginnings and thank God for all we have been blessed with. We thank you for your support and welcome your thoughts and comments.
One more thing. Should you or someone you know have a product you would like to market, please keep me in mind. Obviously, I am capable of designing quality goods. My sources overseas are incredible. I can help you with design or what ever you need. Feel free to call me to discuss this further. This goes for virtually anything, wood, metal, glass, electronics. If I don't have the answers I know who does. All information will be held in strict confidence. I've known of many people being burned by said patent/development/idea companies charging expensive up front costs. No need to lose your money. Second, you know where I am and what I am currently doing, I am not just a service dude that says he can do it. Thanks for your consideration!
Nile Ernst, Founder
Leigh Ernst, Table Inventor, Personal Vice President, Mother Of Our Three Wonderful Children, My Best Friend For Life