"When I was a child, I only played with things that were available in nature. I hardly knew of any prefabricated toys. Even my doll and my cuddly toys didn’t come from a shop. My mother made all of them for me. My father passed away when I was 2 years old. Being widowed and single, my mother, who was a nursery teacher, was fighting to make ends meet for us. She tried to provide balance for me through spending time in nature and with horses. The most important lesson I retained from my childhood: Only the things you made yourself have real value.
When my husband told me about the old box of wood and cork scraps from his childhood in the carpenter manufactory, something clicked for me: This box of cork blocks would be the right kind of toy for my son Louis.
First it was just a sponteneous idea: building blocks made of cork for Louis, simple and uncomplicated. I noticed the repeated sense of achievement he experienced with the cork blocks and how he was playing with them every day. Then we had the idea that this should also be made available to other children. The experience that influenced my childhood the most — playing with unrefined natural materials — became the vision for a marketable product. "
"I spent my childhood in the old carpenter manufactory: a traditional family-run business, inherited from my grandfather. My father: in a constant and mad battle for economic survival. Me: left with my imagination in the carpenter’s workplace, I tirelessly constructed buildings and structures using the wood scraps and grinding blocks out of cork. I learned to overcome tricky problems with smart solutions.
When I had outgrown children’s shoes, I knew that I wanted to live a different life than my father had. The joiner’s trade, with the daily contact with wood and nature, was wonderful, but I had realized that without economic success, it was no longer possible to appreciate the beauty of this profession for its own sake. I therefore deliberately decided to study business economics and with this I was able to also pursue my curiosity for people and their interactions. With that in mind, I focused my studies on marketing and strategic management. For the next several years, my wife Patricia and I lived a modern life in the city, far from nature and in the constant evolution of the digital world – that is, up until the event that changed everything: the birth of my son.
The Louis event!
Louis was born in 2007. Now I was a father and completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t avoid considering certain questions anymore. What is this world we live in doing to our son? How we treat the environment and the negative impact of chemicals on nature gained even more importance for me. I also saw commercialism and over-abundance in the nursery and observed something: the more pre-fabricated a product is, the more limited is the value of play for the child. In consequence: if a thing is more basic, the child’s engagement with the toy increases."