W. B.: Actually, we do have the impression that Japanese people read our goals very well. Our cooperation is a constant source of inspiration and satisfies us. We are fascinated by Asian ability to concentrate on a product form. It is a priceless collaboration for a designer. Besides “Bajo” brand, “Poland” brand is also very important for us. In other words, Bajo toys are Polish toys, a Polish product. We are proud that in all European countries children play with our toys. We do not want Poland to arouse ambivalent feelings at European parents. We hope for children's acceptation of Bajo brand, it is a good kind of relationship between Poland and Europe. It is funny but also very important that Poles often ask if Bajo is a Polish company. It does not mean that we are strangers in our own. We think those questions indicates that we use universal values which characterize European community. Polish people do not have ambivalent relation to those values, those are also our values.
Let's return to the company's role. The toy trade currently finds itself in a period of extreme upheaval. Retailers and chains are shutting up shop or being sold off. What impact is that having on your work?
W. B.: From time to time the market situation might be worrying, but we try to do our job. The situation of the product from our niche is always less difficult. The next generation of children is now playing with the same toys. The toys proved not only durablility but thanks to their form they survived as interior design objects. The symbolic form and nicely aging material have a significant potential for decorativeness which extends the market opportunities. Our toys also find buyers among people who similarly understands ecologic behavior (less things and more durable) and who want to manifest it and have a serious attitude towards the role of toy requiring responsible choice.
In 2013, Bajo entered the licence business with "The Gruffalo". In Germany, the picture book is a bestseller, and according to a survey, it's one of the 100 most popular children's books of all time in the UK. However, licensed themes often turn out to be difficult with wooden toys, as "The Little Prince" has shown. What experiences have you had with "The Gruffalo"?
W. B.: 'Gruffalo" is completely different from 'The Litte Prince'. 'The Little Prince' is pure metaphorical poetry. 'Gruffalo' has expressive characters and the message comes from the play led by them. It is a great material to work with. The whole Gruffalo story inspired us very much. As a result, our sellers started to offer the customers children books illustrated by outstanding Polish Illustrators. We cooperate now with a few publishing houses. Children can find hidden stories in our toys and thanks to the play, illustration books become literature to them.
In 2013, you also launched a series onto the market under the name of "TOBE". Is this a springboard for young designers or what goals are you pursuing with this sub-brand?
W. B.: For years I was an academic teacher on the faculty of architecture. I was teaching how to give a form to the object but this is where the education in design school usually ends. Thanks to the fact I have got the potential of existing on the market company, I can continue the education process with trainees send to us by Krakow Academy of Fine Art - faculty of industrial forms. I can give them work experience, which school cannot provide. It is about market knowledge, the economy of production, marketing aspects and faith in their own product. Bajo is a team expanding with new names of young designers. It makes me happy that thanks to TOBE Bajo will have such a remarkable successors.
Is Bajo also benefiting from the sustained growth that has been going on for years and the private consumption flourishing in Poland?
W. B.: This is sure that we have to benefit from it. This is visible that the interest in this kind of toys is bigger now. New customers appeared. Probably they thought that Bajo is not a brand for them before. This is sure we owe this to the growth of consumption.
Thank you very much for this interview, Mr Bajor.
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