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EDUCATIONALMARKETINGSOCIALTOY Blog

Recycling toys in a social perspective

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A few weeks ago I visited London and, as my partner was busy with a volunteering experience, I decided to explore toy-related places in London. And I found this: a toy store that actually does recycling toys in a social perspective. The TOY Project is an eye-catching toy shop, with an incredibly rich showcase, organizing and funding social initiatives for the neighborhood community and not only.

All started in 2013 thanks to Jane Garfield and Angela Donovan. I am going to quote the history from the website as it is so well told.

Jane could see how some children had more toys than others and how schools needed resources but had little funds for sourcing them”. She “began collecting unwanted toys that she could then distribute to those most in need. Angela wanted to provide toys and resources for bereaved children through supporting play therapists with toys to use in their sessions with children who had lost a parent, a sibling or a close friend.

The TOY Project started life as a part-time operation run out of Jane’s living room, but it soon outgrew the space and was moved to a small storage room in a community centre in Finsbury Park. In 2016 we opened a pop-up shop on Junction Road, Archway to raise money to keep the charity going. At the shop, local children and families could now donate their ‘old’ toys and buy ‘new’ ones.

Our shop was a big success, and we decided to make the ‘pop-up’ shop into a permanent feature of Archway. We thrived in our new home but quickly outgrew the space and a year later, we moved a few doors down into our new home at 81 Junction Road in Archway.

Jane Garfield, co-founder of The TOY Project

The larger shop provides more retail space and dedicated areas for sorting and storing toys, such as all the Lego required for our weekly Lego workshops we run at a community centre around the corner. We also rent a small warehouse nearby to store new toys we give as gifts for Christmas and birthday presents.”

Meeting this place and this people, in particular Jane, who welcomed me warmly, although without an appointment and in the middle of a constant work of sorting, displaying and managing the daily activity required to run the shop, was a breath for the hearth and changed my vision on recycling toys in a social perspective. It made me realize how toy waste has great social potential, beside its environmental impact, also very important.

Jane was so nice to tell me all the many pros and cons of managing successfully a place like that, with rent, electricity and employee costs. First of all passion has to be there, she told me “you could never run a place like this unless you are going to be here all the time”. I was in the shop for about half an hour in a morning of a week day and so much was happening: people coming with children to play and then to buy, other people coming and delivering a cardboard box full of (almost) new toys, talking to curious people like me, do the payments, etc, etc…. there were many things happening and all the time there was this sense of community flying around the shop.

Part of the toy turnover happens also thanks to the Amazon Wishlist and from receiving returns from toy companies, giving them the possibility to found the shop with brand new toys that can be re-sold for presents and birthdays, raising more money. Jane is an institution rather than a sole shop owner, it made me think at the role that the toy industry could play in promoting this reuse-reduce-recycle philosophy or circular economy. We have already talked about similar initiatives, for example the Mattel’s Playback program which has the big difference of actually recycling the plastic for the manufacturing of new toys, rather than managing the reuse. Jane told us that they have also been part of that program but somehow it didn’t work in the end. I guess recycling (Mattel’s) and reusing (the TOY Project) are quite different approaches and probably have diverging interests.

DESIGNMARKETINGTECHNOLOGYTOY Blog

Toy design in the age of Metaverses

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The history of Metaverses is a young one and however, as many other stories of today as NFTs and crypto currencies, will most probably have a role in consumer experiences and even our lives tomorrow. And in this context toys, maybe not the ones we are used to, are not only involved but will play a big part in this new business. That’s why I wanted to understand and try to figure out what could possibly become toy design in the age of Metaverses. Just to point this question seems to let me travel in time in seconds… but let’s try first to make things as straight as possible from what I have observed so far.

DESIGNEDUCATIONALMARKETINGSOCIALTOY Blog

A board game to teach Compassion and Care

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We have seen previously how important it is to openly talk and teach about Sexual health to young generation with the help if IT KIT (enter link). Today, we are going to talk about THE PERIOD GAME, A board game to teach Compassion and Care and destigmatize the Period Education. This game teaches about menstruation in a fun, engaging way. Games are for 2-5 players and take approx. 20-30 minutes to play.

DESIGNEDUCATIONALMARKETINGSOCIALTECHNOLOGYTOY Blog

How pandemic has affected toy trends and toy market?

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Since past two years our lives have changed massively in terms of lifestyle, health, earning, vacations, basic needs, livelihood, travel, etc. all the sectors and markets have been affected. And so has the Toy Industry. Today, we are going to read a little about how pandemic has affected toy trends and toy market. To understand this we will also have a brief look at the consumer behavior.

ARTDESIGNEDUCATIONALMARKETINGSOCIALTECHNOLOGYTOY Blog

A new way of Education with Experiential Learning

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In today’s world full of technology and advancement, only theory based knowledge isn’t enough. Narmada Bal Ghar is an NGO that works on providing a new way of education with experiential learning by empowering 850+ schools with Classroom Labs, Providing resources to 1100+ teachers and reaching more than 250K students all over the world. They believe in making kids Future ready by developing entrepreneurial skills.

DESIGNEDUCATIONALMARKETINGTOY Blog

AN AUDIO PLAYER DESIGNED FOR CHILDREN

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As a designer I feel a sense of slight satisfaction in seeing beautiful products; if I then discover that they are not only beautiful to look at, but also easy and fun to use, well designed in all their parts, this satisfaction grows with the desire to share my reflections about it. This brief digression is to explain my state of mind when I discovered Yoto, an audio player designed for children…actually calling it audio player is a bit resizing, but let’s go one step at a time!

MARKETINGTOY Blog

THE SALE OF TOYS IN THE AGE OF BABY INFLUENCERS

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If you don’t know the meaning of the term influencer, you’ve probably spent the last five years (at least) in a very isolated place, which may be good, but you should know that are these figures that draw the attention of modern consumers and to which brands in every sector entrust their image. This phenomenon has spread like wildfire starting from fashion, with the various Chiara Ferragni & Co. who make the news especially because of the exorbitant cachet and their constant presence not only on social networks. It is very interesting, for the purposes of our story, to start from this fact: according to Forbes magazine, in 2017 the top 10 influencers of the fashion industry reached an audience of 31.750.000 people; if you are not amazed enough reading this number, know that their fellow children, so called baby influencers, have exceeded them widely, reaching a total of 77.4 million users. But what do these numbers mean? Let’s try to frame the situation in this article, and see how the sale of toys in the age of baby influencers changes.