The History of ELC Toys

The History of ELC Toys

Toys for All

Toys! Everyone loves toys, they are colorful and fun. Playful for children and nostalgic for adults, they make our eyes shine with excitement. These vibrant objects make up a large portion of a child’s upbringing and play a significant part in their learning if the right kind of toys is chosen of course. It’s a parent’s responsibility to fill their child’s life with joy and brightness, something that their attention, love and a few toys can certainly do!

When talking about these toys, one brand’s name is prominent, ELC. ELC toys, also known as Early Learning Center Toys, are known for their high-quality products that not only focus on giving the child fun leisure but also teaching those basic cognitive and analytical skills at the same time. Here is a brief history of one of the biggest toys brand in the world:


Aimed at infants, toddlers, and young children, ELC toys was founded in Reading, Berkshire in England by David John Beal all the way back in 1972. Whilst today ELC’s current headquarters is in Watford where the operations of 229 physical stores are operated, its beginnings were rather humble. By employing a child psychologist Beal ensured that his toys were state-of-the-art. A business that was actually committed to excellence and helping children grow, not just maximizing profits by any means necessary. Seeing the bigger picture and working towards the best possible product for little kids are the secrets behind, arguably, the most famous toy brand in Great Britain.

Dramatic Growth

ELC started operating on the USP (Unique Selling Point) of being this exclusive club for new parents.  Beal built a loyal audience through a never-before-attempted formula. All members of the club were sent new toys and books for the parents to try out with their child if they liked it and decided to keep it, they were charged for it. If they didn’t, they could simply return it and never be charged for it! Sounds too good to be true but it slowly and surely worked for Beal as a much larger shop for ELC was bought in Silver Street Reading. As fate would see fit, ELC spread to several other towns in the UK. By 1974, what had started off as a mail order company, had ten shops near the Swindon locality.


In 1985 John Menzies plc bought ELC, a move that was welcomed by everyone due to their poor sales. ELC had built a large following but failed to innovate and keep the balance between their revenue and business expansion. Although ELC continued spreading worldwide, it was still being hopscotched around until it was finally purchased by Mothercare, one of the largest baby care brands in the world, in 2007 at a massive 85M pounds. ELC does not only have shops all around the world but also operates digitally where customers can buy online toys for kids. Everywhere that Mothercare exists so does ELC toys including in places such as Mothercare Manila, Mothercare Pakistan, and many other areas.

ELC toys aren’t just a toy manufacturer and this recount of their history is an ode to their commitment towards early childhood development in the most exciting way possible!