Crayola has cornered the market on colors. The crayon maker's 10 most popular colors include blue, red, violet, green, carnation pink, black, turquoise blue, blue green, periwinkle, and magenta. It produces about 12 million crayons a day, as well as other Crayola art products for children, such as markers and craft and activity kits. Crayola also makes Silly Putty, the iconic silicone putty with utility, and inkTank pens and markers for adults. The firm's products are packaged in many languages and sold worldwide. Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith sold their first Crayola crayons in 1903, when a box of eight cost a nickel. Crayola is a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards.
Based in Pennsylvania, Crayola enjoys a global presence, operating offices in more than five countries.
Crayola, which makes nearly 3 billion crayons each year, boasts manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and Mexico. It also makes 600 million Crayola colored pencils, 465 million markers, 110 million sticks of chalk, 9 million Silly Putty eggs, and 1.5 million jars of paint.
To keep operating costs low, Crayola maintains a solar farm, which consists of more than 30,000 panels on 20 acres. Collectively, the panels provide the power to make 1 billion Crayola crayons and 465 million markers per year.
Sales and Marketing
The company maintains international sales and marketing offices in Canada, Australia, Mexico, and Italy. Through both toy and gift product developer Vivid Imaginations and its 2008-acquired Nomad Company, Crayola distributes its branded toys and stationery products in Continental Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Its primary customers are Wal-Mart, Target, Toys "R" Us, and Kmart. Crayola's relies on a retail network that comprises educational supplies stores, retail stores, and online shopping sites, including its own at TheCrayolaStore.com.
Looking to cater to those who don't use crayons, Crayola serves the professional market with its inkTank line and its Portfolio Series collection of color pencils, oil pastels, and acrylic paints.
Crayola rules the crayon market. While no one outside the company knows its exact share, it's estimated to be at least 80% of the US market. High brand recognition and intense consumer loyalty allow Crayola to charge a price premium of as much as 300% above its competitors. However, competition has heated up in recent years. Retailers, including rivals Wal-Mart and Target, have been heavily discounting Crayola products to spur sales, cutting into Crayola's profits. Also rivals, including MEGA Brands-owned Roseart, are jockeying for position.
To bridge the gap into digital media, Crayola partnered with Griffin Technology in 2012 to create the colorful Crayola Lights, Camera, Color! app and the Silly Face Swaps coloring page that can be personalized digitally with Crayola coloring tools. In 2013, the pair rolled out Crayola ColorStudio Barbie and Hot Wheels apps for coloring on the go.
Hallmark has owned the crayon maker since 1984. Lesser-known Binney & Smith changed its name to Crayola in 2007 to reflect its iconic product.