Kerstin Orth: Ah, well, the company founder Vitool Viraponsavan didn’t even need to come to Frankenthal. We met at the Spielwarenmesse, quite simply. Alain de Rauw, the Europe manager, came to my stand, we talked for a bit and he asked me if I knew PlanToys.
And did you know PlanToys?
K. O.: Of course. The very same day, Alain showed me the products at the stand and introduced me to Vitool. That’s when I sensed that this brand has soul. It might sound somewhat romantic for a business relationship but I really took the products and the people at PlanToys into my heart. Alain and Vitool obviously felt this way too. It was just a perfect match. The company had been looking for a partner in Germany that was excited about the brand and was building up its business sustainably. I was delighted to get the go-ahead to be the exclusive distributor for PlanToys in Germany.
The brand enjoys an excellent reputation and the list of accolades is long, but all this does not necessarily correspond with its economic impact in the wooden toys market. Or does PlanToys want to stay small but perfectly formed?
K. O.: Vitool has a vision of a fair and sustainable world. Growth is not a goal in itself for him but, rather, a means to get closer to the vision of “Better Kids, Better World”. Children take small steps and PlanToys is also growing steadily in small steps. Our business partners in brick-and-mortar, hybrid and online retail love, treasure and protect the brand as much as we do. We place a lot of value on long-term partnerships and personal contact because the best and most credible ambassadors are our retailers and our customers. PlanToys has a story that is genuine and verifiable. The brand was also a forerunner in printing the carbon footprint on its packaging.
Design has played an important role in Scandinavia since the year dot. Design also occupies a prominent position at PlanToys. Where do we see other intersections between Scandinavian toys and Thai toys? Is it the shared love of nature? The desire to keep it simple?