Interview with the PlanToys Team
Join us in celebrating our 40th year of Sustainable Play by hearing from a variety of PlanToys' team members about our unique journey (including PlanToys Founder, Vitool!) and goals for the company moving forward.
Vitool Viraponsavan, PlanToys Founder
“My friends and I formed Plan Group with the intention of inspiring positive change within our society on a larger level. We knew that to inspire others to follow our lead, we had to witness change within our own homes first; and we decided to do so through our children! By developing sustainable playthings for kids, we knew that we could simultaneously have an impact on their relationship with nature, self and others. As a result, they'd grow up to be individuals who understand the importance of environmentally-friendly living and kindness.
"We believe that play can help enhance the development of a child physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually; and although this may seem like a small result of our larger toy production, we know that the educational progress and personal growth that children experience because of our toys is important and helps ultimately change the world for the better!
"When it comes to the wooden toy industry as a whole, we make quite a large impact because of the way that our sustainable methods impact consumers, society and the environment. For 40 years, we've been producing quality toys that are free from harmful chemicals and crafted using eco-friendly materials, while also prioritizing our employees' well-being and ensuring that even our packaging is non-toxic and good for the planet. Furthermore, we've created larger play opportunities for children through our Forest of Play exhibitions and have been able to witness so much joy and development as a result.
"These first 40 years have only scratched the surface of what I believe to be our great ability to inspire change through Sustainable Play. Even if it starts with me and the company as a whole, I know that — by making small changes in our own lives and encouraging our children to do the same — we'll witness greater change across the world.”
Kosin Virapornsawan, Managing Director of PlanToys
"We hope to play a role in helping families raise environmentally-friendly, kind and creative children. We always say, "Better Kids, Better World," because in the end, the generations to come will not be able to thrive if we don't invest in their creativity, development and education today."
Alain De Rauw, International Sales Director
“We inform customers, distributors and toy shops about sustainability through PlanToys play. Many people don't understand what the word "Sustainable" even means! So, we feel as though it's our duty to educate those that work in partnership with us and families who purchase PlanToys about the importance of eco-friendly living. This is why we believe that — ultimately — it all starts with children. If we can educate our children about sustainable living, then we will witness society change as a whole in the generations to come."
Rudy Valenta, National Sales and Marketing Manager of PlanToys USA
“I think PlanToys has made two large impacts: one on the business side and the other on the consumer side. For the business side, we've shown the world that you can be sustainable as a global business. PlanToys has proved that if you want to put the Earth first, you can. Green energy, recycling, upcycling, minimizing waste — PlanToys has done these things for 40 years and will continue to do so. Any business that says that they can't is full of excuses and is not truly prioritizing sustainability.
"On the consumer side, PlanToys has been educating children about sustainability through play using the motto 'Better Kids, Better World.' We've been part of a movement that's putting sustainability at the forefront by teaching kids from their infancy and beyond about the importance of protecting our planet through play. Many of those first kids who touched PlanToys 40 years ago are adults who are now fighting to protect our Earth!
"The world needs PlanToys because everyone needs to be reminded to play every day. Whether you are a child or an adult, play is important. Having PlanToys lets you do it in a sustainable way."
Ken Maehata, President of Plantoys Japan Co., Ltd.
“I might not be able to speak to PlanToys impact on the world, but I can definitely tell you about the impact that PlanToys has had on my life personally.
"When I was first introduced to PlanToys at Nurnberg Toys Messe in 1992, I was super impressed by the colors and unique designs. As a professional in the toy industry, I was surprised that I hadn't come across PlanToys before! Needless to say, the Nurnberg Toys Messe was a memorable experience for me and I connected with the PlanToys team so easily.
"Around that same time, I was enjoying studying architecture and various departments of design. Architects like Buckminster Fuller, Kenzo Tange, Corbusier, Gropius,F.L.Wright, Tadao Ando, Arata Isozaki, my friend Koji Miyazaki, Mamoru Kawaguchi, Tyrapon Niyom and Mr. Vitool inspired me. I was discovering that truly great design was not only physical but also encompassed intentionally-developed production methods, creative strategy and purposeful planning. I loved learning about PlanToys' Sustainable Way and the crafting of toys with reclaimed rubberwood.
In Japan, there is a long history behind the production of wooden items. Now that I know about PlanToys, I'm dreaming of Trang Province becoming famous for wooden toy production and going on to produce even more wooden goods for the entire world! This is a fun thing to dream about and it showcases how much I believe in PlanToys as a company.