My Toy Fair Blog – Paper Engine
- Please introduce yourself and your company:
I’m Keith Finch, Studio and Innovation Director at Paper Engine. We’re the creators of Build Your Own – an award-winning range of eco-friendly children’s toys you can build yourself. Made from sustainable cardboard, our innovative, STEM-inspired kits are great fun to build and provide hours of entertainment.
Assembled using simple slot-together techniques, there’s no glue, no mess, no fuss. Everything you need is provided in the kit.
Our growing range of kits are suitable for children 8 years+ but are best enjoyed as a family experience. We love to inspire curious young minds and encourage learning through play.
Designed in the UK by our team of brilliant paper engineers, each Build Your Own kit is made from high-quality, sustainable materials, with minimal plastics. Our eco-friendly packaging is 100% recyclable, and our company ethos is proudly ‘Less plastic, paper fantastic!’
- What products are you launching at Toy Fair?
We are delighted to be inviting Toy Fair visitors to come and visit our stand to play! Along with our existing kits, we will have each of our exciting new product launches too – Binoculars, Pirate Ship, Pinball Machine and Periscope. Along with our new Series 2 Endangered Animals Mini Builds; there are four Mini Builds to collect: White Rhino, Mountain Gorilla, Snowy Owl and Hawksbill Turtle.
We can’t wait to have fun demonstrating our products at Toy Fair 2022, being immersed in the world of toys and to receiving invaluable feedback. Come and find us at Stand 191 in the Grand Hall!
- How did you get into the toy industry?
Our team of brilliant paper engineers have decades of experience designing and producing innovative products, pop-up books, direct mail pieces, packaging and more for clients. We wanted to create our own kits, and with paper and board our specialism, the two came together naturally.
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 most plastic toys would eventually end up as landfill, so decided that cardboard was the best way forward. While we couldn’t eliminate plastics completely, any that we did use would be essential for the kit to function and as eco-friendly as possible. Sustainable cardboard and paper would always be the main component.
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?
It must be fun! If our team feel enthusiastic and experience a sense of fun as we develop a new Build Your Own kit, we know we have got it right! Great toys should be fun to play with and capture the imagination.
- Other than your own, what toy brand really stands out to you today?
There are many, but I would have to say UGEARS for the incredible ingenuity of their designs. And Lego for their innovation and longevity in the construction toy space.
- What was your best memory of Toy Fair?
Setting up the Build Your Own stand at our very first Toy Fair in 2020 and being so warmly accepted into the industry. As newcomers, we were delighted to meet so many enthusiastic and knowledgeable people generous enough to share their expertise with us. We can’t wait to do it all again at Toy Fair 2022!
- What’s your top tip for surviving Toy Fair?
Copious cups of tea and comfy shoes!