Dennis Gies: With our pure production volume of more than 100 million euros, we know of no other manufacturer in the wooden toy industry that can top that.
Was 2018 also the best year in the company's history, as your CEO promised it would be?
D. G.: Without wanting to appear arrogant: yes. However, we have been able to say this for the last 32 years, as we have never stopped growing in terms of earnings and sales.
Tell us which business you enjoy most and what the percentage distribution is: the ODM business (Original Design Manufacturer) or the OEM business (Original Equipment Manufacturer)?
D. G.: Naturally we get the greatest pleasure from seeing products from our company actually in the hands of children. We see a much greater potential to incorporate the know-how we've gleaned from production and design and, of course, our values in the ODM business, since we are involved in the development process of a product from very early on. The result is a good, educational toy which we can stand behind. Experience has shown us that it is precisely this close interaction between the brand and the manufacturer that is fundamental for the economic success of a product.
And what about the distribution?
D. G.: The ODM share is already more than 70 per cent – with a rapid upward trend. Besides classic OEM/ODM production, we naturally also take great pleasure in observing our "own" successes with the Hape brand.
At the Spielwarenmesse, you told us that Hape is not a "timber merchant" because parents don't primarily ask for wooden toys, but for "sustainable toys". So what is Hape, then?
D. G.: Hape comes from the educational sector. Our guiding principle has always been "play and learn" or "learning by playing". In all our products, we make children and their holistic development our top priority. This has not and will not change, not even in our dynamic company.
So the material is of secondary importance, then?