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Playboxes began with an observation that, almost every time you give a little kid a gift, they will immediately cast it aside and instead choose to play in, under, around, and on the box. Kiddos love letting their imaginations run wild with the blank canvas of a box and they love to hide away in their own little fort.

So, rather than giving them another plastic toy that will end up in the donation pile or the garbage bin, why not give them what they really want? Something that sparks their imagination, keeps them entertained for hours, and that can be recycled when they’re through? Oh, and preferably without screens to make sure mom and dad are happy, too.

These questions sparked the idea for playboxes:

Eco friendly analog toys that inspire creativity and are sturdy enough to withstand hours of active play...and that look good in the playroom!

We knew we wanted our first product to be a cardboard coloring house. We may not be the first to have this idea, but we aim to be the best, both in product and in business. Here’s how:

Our playhouses

To build the best product, we spent months trying out the cardboard playhouses available on the market and found that they had room for improvement and that customers felt the same. The ones for sale were flimsy and frustrating to assemble. The artwork was dated and the insides of the playhouses were brown and un-colorable.

We knew we could do better. We spent months prototyping and working with corrugate experts to design the structure. We partnered with Fort Worth-based Halee Hamm Studios to make cute-as-can-be illustrations that beg to be colored. We sourced recycled corrugate to minimize waste and make playboxes eco friendly toys that could be recycled.

From the packaging to the assembly to playtime and beyond, we wanted every moment of the playboxes experience to be magical.

So, we didn’t stop with the playhouse; we made companion activity books full of information (imaginative play can be educational, too!), imagination igniters, and every kid’s favorite thing: STICKERS.

Soon, we’ll offer art supplies and expand our product offerings beyond our first collection of cardboard playhouses. By popular demand, we already have a cardboard castle, Halloween playhouse and a Christmas playhouse in the works that will be available for pre-order by early autumn 2021!

Our business

To build the best business, we set out from day 1 to pay all team members a living wage, create a working environment where everyone was treated with dignity and respect, and to partner with other Dallas small businesses committed to doing the same.

This desire to do well and do good is a big part of why you’ll only find our products for sale through our website — not through big box stores or ecomm giants. While this makes it harder for us to get discovered, it allows us to stay true to our values and give more to our community.

When you support a small business, you support a dream. We hope you’ll support ours by sharing our products and our story with your friends and family and by sharing photos of your little ones enjoying playboxes toys using the hashtag #playboxesathome on social media. If you have any feedback or ideas for us, drop us a line! We would love to hear from you.

Thank you for supporting our small business!


About the founder

Heather Ray is a free-spirited twin mama in Dallas, TX. After several years as a management consultant, Heather left the corporate world to pursue her dream of bringing joy and jobs to the world through entrepreneurship. Playboxes is (hopefully!) the first of many Dallas-based small business ventures launched by Heather and her team of rockstars. To follow along with her entrepreneurship journey, follow or subscribe to our emails.