Developing top-of-the-line products across the toy, baby, housewares, home improvement and outdoor living categories, the Trumbull-based consumer products powerhouse SCS Direct has advanced to become a leading marketplace in the dot-com industry. Founded in 1998, SCS Direct began as a niche marketing company focused on a single category. But, after nearly two decades, SCS Direct has continued pioneering the internet marketplace, with more than 10,000 products from toys to sporting goods. Howard Greenspan, president of SCS Direct, attributes the company's growth and expansion to its eclectic workforce. Earning the No. 25 spot on the small size brand of the 2016 Hearst Connecticut Media Top Workplaces survey, SCS Direct has 100 employees in its Trumbull office. Greenspan said the company ensures employees have a voice, know that sometimes not everything works out, and have a sense of pride in their work. "Most people hate their job," Greenspan said. "In the olden days, businesses were about fostering talent, providing promotions and achievements and allowing people to get the most out of their jobs. Over the last 20 years, there has been a shift away from that. Every single person needs to be replaceable. Companies have to minimize the importance of their employees, minimize decision making. If you're not a decision maker, then you're a lot easier to replace." At SCS, Greenspan said, employees could not be more important. "Our job has always been to increase the importance of our employees, so that they are not able to be replaced. Doing that gives people an amazing amount of pride in their work; it gives them ownership." For Ben Ebersold, a product designer with SCS Direct, the company offers a dynamic environment to work in that promotes growth and innovation. "I love my job because of light bulb moments," he said. "As a product designer, I love the moment where you find the start of an innovative idea - it could be something from the research, your millionth sketch or your latest prototype. It's thrilling. It makes you incredibly motivated and excited to use all your skills to turn that idea into a finished product to share that sense of discovery with everyone else." He said working at SCS is "the epitome of variety." "In the morning I'll be sketching designs for new high chairs. Later I'm finishing up computer models of licensed nightlights so they can be 3-D printed by the next day. In the afternoon, I might be building prototype wooden toys. Then I finish the day by testing a prototype charcoal chimney that came in from our factory." Ebersold said that SCS challenges each of its employees with the quote - "What would you do if this was your company?" "Everyone in SCS takes that to heart and sees it as a responsibility to each other. We each feel the weight a CEO feels when leading a company. It pushes us to give the best of ourselves, to continue to learn, challenge ourselves and never settle. It's challenging every day but it is incredibly satisfying knowing you've given your best and those around you have, too. It makes SCS an exceptional place to work." U.S. consumers spent $341.7 billion on retail goods online last year, per U.S. Commerce Department estimates. Forrester Research Inc. estimates the value of goods sold to U.S. consumers through Amazon at about $100 billion, accounting for about 30 percent of U.S. online retail sales. "The industry itself is massively changing. Every day it gets more challenging; we have to do better than we did the day before," Greenspan said. "We have a theory of idea generation. We have this philosophy that we are not afraid to fail here. We definitely have lots of failures but people appreciate that it's their failure." To keep cutting edge, Greenspan said, employees never walk with blinders on. "Every day we are working on trends, we are analyzing personnel, new software. We challenge our employees daily and we never take anything for granted. We are always thinking about what is next, what are the next big ideas," he said. "As long as people feel like they have a voice, it keeps the business innovative."