Tigres – Toys Made in Ukraine
Dedicated to all children. The future belongs to them
By Sibylle Dorndorf
"We’re working today for our tomorrow." That’s the credo of Tigres, the Ukrainian toy manufacturer. It says a lot about the mentality of the people in a country that, tragically, has only become the focus of global scrutiny as a result of Putin’s war of aggression. Far more than merely being the world’s granary, Ukraine was an economically up-and-coming, Western-oriented country until the invasion of Russian troops on 24 February 2022 put an end to that boom. Since then, 13.7 million Ukrainians have left their country, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and 6.4 million have returned home to help rebuild it, risking life and limb in the process and living in difficult circumstances.
One of the many companies that want to ensure a free and prosperous future for Ukrainians is Tigres. The history of the maker of plastic and soft toys goes back more than 25 years. Three non-negotiable codes are enshrined in the company’s values: First and foremost is quality; Tigres makes toys for generations. From this comes the value of safety, which is backed by international certificates. And finally, there is the educational value of the products, which correspond to the age and intellectual abilities of children and deliberately foster them.
And it’s a consumer promise that can be kept. Among other things, the company works with high-performance injection moulding machines from Engel, has its own design studio and integrates all its production processes in-house. The result is that Tigres’ products are not inferior to those from other European countries in terms of design and quality. Feedback from the target group is also regularly incorporated into the development of new products. Olha Samarchuk, Head of Export Department at Tigres, says: "We like to get the expertise of children by regularly inviting them into our production department. The children can see how a toy is created – from the design to the finished product – and we get valuable and thoroughly critical suggestions from our target group."
The remarkable innovation potential that Tigres has is also fed by the exchange with students from various faculties. The input generated here ranges from innovative marketing strategies to suggestions for the use of alternative materials. Bio-based, fully recyclable plastics were already used for the ecological Elfiki toy line before the issue of sustainability became important in many Western countries. The material for the quality educational toys is all-natural and renewable; in this specific case, it’s sugar cane. Carbon dioxide emissions and, in the long term, the ecological footprint are sustainably reduced. "In fact," says Olha Samarchuk, "sugar cane binds more CO2 as it grows than the production of the raw material itself causes. The result is toys that are sustainable, non-toxic and 100% recyclable." With its timeless design, the eco-toy line is particularly suitable for educational and preschool environments. The puzzles, sorters, dominoes and a beautifully shaped pyramid have a pleasant tactile feel to them. Everything is in a pastel soft colour scheme and suitable for children over one year of age.
What is remarkable about producing toys under the most adverse conditions is, among other things, Tigres’ sophisticated waste management system and the fact that the company is striving to achieve sustainable growth. "Tigres is ready for the future, for new markets and expansion," says export manager Olha Samarchuk, who speaks excellent German and English. She answers the question of what that might look like in concrete terms with a clear statement: "We would like to become more involved in the European, British and American markets. To achieve this, we´d like to get in touch with retailers and wholesalers to introduce our brands to them and engage in a creative dialogue about our range." Tigres was also represented at Spielwarenmesse 2023 - and not for the first time either. Olha Samarchuk is very satisfied wit the response. In order to intensify the contacts made in Nuremberg, she thinks it is important to emphasize that work and production at Tigres are continuing despite the Russian war of aggression and its effects. "All our capacities are located in the west of Ukraine, where the situation is calm enough to continue production. And as for deliveries, we have a warehouse in Poland; our neighbours enable us to receive and make deliveries all the time." Tigres is already working with well-known retailers and
The manufacturer of the Tigres and Elfiki brands is Tigres-Lux LLP with its headquarters and production facilities in Ukraine
- Logistics and warehouse: Rudna, 30, Dabrowa Gornicza, 42-530, Poland
- Certifications: The toys are certified according to the European standards EN 71-1; EN 71-2, EN 71-3 in the laboratories of Intertek Testing Services HK Ltd and J.S. Hamilton Poland
- Number of employees: 114 in the Tigres branch; 158 in the manufacturing plant.
- Distribution: Tigres and Elfiki toys are available in the following countries: Ukraine, Poland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Turkey, Estonia, Romania, Bosnia, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Finland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Estonia, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Canada, and the USA.
- Contact: Olha Samarchuk, Head of Export Department, tel. +38 (067)671-54-15, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author
Sibylle Dorndorf has been writing about the toy industry for almost 30 years. Most recently, the journalist was editor-in-chief of the TOYS magazine family at Göller Verlag, Baden-Baden. Her passion: companies that reinvent themselves, brands that position themselves credibly, people who have something to say and products with a future.