Playdough Factory & More
As the one-year anniversary of The Playhouse approached, Mariah Bovee realized that the playdough that had originally been a COVID business solution was really taking off. “We attended a toy show where toy store owners from all across the United States gathered, and we showed our playdough that we had been doing on the side,” said Mariah. “We ended up receiving over 50 orders, but at the time we only had the back corner of The Playhouse for playdough manufacturing.” Mariah knew it was time to expand. Originally, she and her husband Danny thought about purchasing a warehouse or renting space somewhere in order to meet the increasing playdough demand. However, when they saw a space available in downtown Brentwood, Mariah and Danny thought it would be amazing to have a factory space and also be able to have a storefront for kids to make their own Magical Jars. “It just made sense. So, we opened the doors to The Dough House in the beginning of May 2022.”
For those who are familiar with The Playhouse, The Dough House is definitely different. “The Playhouse is primarily a play space with a toy store in front,” said Mariah. “The Dough House is all about the playdough with a small play store.” Kids can visit The Dough House, choose the theme of their Magical Jar, select a playdough color/scent or multiple colors to swirl, and then pick out glitter and toppings. If kids want to stay and play with their customized dough in the store, they are welcome to utilize the table area as well as the available accessories such as rolling pins and cookie cutters. Mariah and her team will place the ball of dough and sprinkles/toppings on a tray so that little ones can take it to the table area and roll the dough in the accessories themselves. As for the toy store aspect of both locations, there are some differences. “The Playhouse toys are more for toddlers and babies, while the toys at The Dough House are for all ages.” The toy store in the front of the downtown location is smaller, but Mariah plans on increasing inventory in time for holiday shopping.
The Dough House playdough is not the same as what is found inside large box stores. Mariah has worked for years to perfect her recipe and continue to look for ways to improve it. “Our dough is a different texture than your standard store playdough,” said Mariah. “It’s much softer and scented to add that extra sensory aspect.” Mariah’s husband Danny has learned how to cook the dough and typically makes about 15 batches per week, depending on how many orders they have. Each batch takes about 45 minutes to complete. “Most of our orders go out to toy stores at this point. We have a toy store map now, and every time we ship to a new store, we add that location to our map so you can see all of the places you are able to purchase the dough. The last time I checked I think there were about 90 different stores.”
Of all the places that Mariah could have opened a factory, she knew that downtown Brentwood was where she was supposed to be. “Of course, we love the foot traffic downtown and the Farmers Market on Saturdays, and there is a good variety of stores downtown. However, playdough is pretty unique; it’s another offering for the community as something to do. People can come in and get creative, and we are always looking for new ways to reach more people.” Mariah is working on carrying a variety of activities/craft kits for kids who perhaps don’t prefer playdough, as well as travel kits for those who purchase playdough specifically for plane flights. “TSA counts playdough as a liquid, so now we’re making travel kits that are under the requirement so it’s fool proof.”
Clearly Mariah knows what she’s doing when it comes to providing the community with fun ways to get creative, but it doesn’t stop there. “I love The Playhouse and want to keep that as is with necessary updates over time. As for The Dough House, I’m trying to roll out some playdough accessories to go along with the Magical Jars, like rolling pins and branded play mats. We’re also continually looking for the best toys to include in the jars and perfecting our dough recipe. There is always room to improve.”
by Michelle Lassle
photos by Michelle Lassle