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EP 539: Melissa Bernstein of Melissa & Doug Toys

Melissa Bernstein co-founded the wildly successful toy company Melissa & Doug. You might think that this happily-married mother of 6, who has created over 5,000 toys which have sold over a billion dollars, is always chipper and full of positivity, but Melissa reveals that many days she wonders if she'll make it tomorrow. She opens up about how her lifelong battle with existential anxiety and depression almost drove her to suicide, why she finally learned to manage it at age 50, and how she’s now on a mission to help other suffering from mental health issues. Melissa also discusses how she and her husband Doug decided to start a toy company with no prior experience, how their nostalgia for simple, fun wooden toys that fire the imagination has turned into a movement supported by The American Academy of Pediatrics, and why Melissa believes that designing toys even saved her life.

Order Melissa Bernstein's new book LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold. Find additional resources and support at and check out her wonderful line of toys for kids at Kickass News is launching a brand new podcast network called Airwave in May, and we need your help fund our production slate of all new podcasts for 2021. Please donate to this exciting new venture at


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