Please introduce yourself and your company:
I’m Keith Finch, Head Paper Engineer at Hampshire-based company Paper Engine. We’re the creators of an exciting new range of paper and board Build-Your-Own® products designed to inspire brilliant young minds.
Our premium kits are constructed using slot-together techniques to make fun, tactile and robust products. No glue, no mess, no fuss.
Designed in the UK by our team of paper engineers, Build-Your-Own’s eco-friendly products are made from high-quality, sustainable materials. We use minimal plastics in both our designs and packaging without compromising on integrity
Our company ethos is ‘Less plastic, paper fantastic!’ and we’re incredibly passionate about being as environmentally responsible as possible in all that we do.
What products are you launching at Toy Fair?
We’re very excited to be launching our new Build-Your-Own® Telescope at Toy Fair. Our online shop went live at the end of November this year, and we have been delighted with the positive response so far.
Toy Fair will be a brilliant launch platform for us and we can’t wait to have fun demonstrating our products, being immersed in the world of toys and to receiving invaluable feedback.
We may also have a sneak peek of another exciting new product on our stand at Toy Fair!
How did you get into the toy industry?
One Friday afternoon, I came up with the idea of designing some toys that kids would enjoy building. Along with the team, I wanted to capture active imaginations in a fun, engaging way that reduced screen-time and brought families together to create rich memories.
We were concerned how the majority of plastic toys would eventually end up as landfill, so decided that cardboard was definitely the best way forward. While we couldn’t completely eliminate plastics, any that we did use would be as eco-friendly as possible. Sustainable cardboard and paper would always be the main component.
And so, the Build Your Own® brand came about from that afternoon’s musings.
We started working on our first products the following Monday – creating cardboard toys that can be built as part of a family experience. We then tested the first one on our friends and the local Scout group. Threw it around the office, let Bonzo the studio dog chew it, and only then were we happy to launch!
What was your favourite toy growing up?
My favourite toy as a child was Lego (and still is as an adult!) – I just love making models. If you could make Lego in cardboard that would great!
What is the one “special ingredient” that makes a great toy?
Other than your own, what toy brand really stands out to you today?
UGears – they make great kits in wood that are very clever.
What was your best memory of Toy Fair?
I have only visited before as an outsider looking in at the industry. My first memories are lots of Minions running around, so that will tell what year that was!
What’s your top tip for surviving Toy Fair?
Comfy shoes and a smile, be open minded and talk to everyone.