Toy World Magazine February 2021

Page 54

Company Profile


Upcycling through play Toyi is a relatively young company that aims to get kids upcycling through play with its range of innovative (and hugely fun) construction kits, each of which contains a variety of pieces used to turn everyday objects into new toys. Toyi founders Ögeday Uçurum and Elif Atmaca explain how the company has grown since its inception, and why eco-conscious kids love the range.

creative building kits are now distributed across 12 countries, and we’re working with some of the most prestigious retailers from around the world, including MoMa Design Stores, and the market leader in toy retail in Turkey, Toyzzshop. Now we are ready to build our presence in the UK toy market for 2021.

Why do children like playing with Toyi?

Ögeday Uçurum

Elif Atmaca

Can you tell us a bit about the history of Toyi – how did the company get started and why did you decide to launch a range of toys?

Ögeday Uçurum: Toyi is an award-winning toy company that designs and produces open-ended, child-led play experiences that encourage children to discover themselves and their surroundings, realise their creative potential, and express themselves freely. My partner, Elif Atmaca, and I founded Toyi in 2018 with the aim of providing a new play system that incorporates everyday objects. We knew that children love to transform materials and incorporate other toys into their play, so we developed a system that lets kids introduce their interests, passions and surroundings into the experience. With our Toyi creative building kits, children can turn the objects around them into unique toys. Toyi has been very well received within the toy industry and has garnered a number of accolades, including the 2020 Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Independent Toy Awards Silver Award 2020 and the Play Creators 2020 Rising Star Award. Our

Elif Atmaca: Toyi is a limitless creative play kit that enables children to transform everyday objects around them into unique toys. Armed with a kit comprising wheels, feet, hands, eyes, joints, sticks and flexible connectors, kids aged six and over can transform any object around them into a toy of their own creation. Children love Toyi because they can design toys on their own or with friends, and expand upon their creativity by making their dream toys come to life. In this way, kids can become real explorers, interacting with their physical and social surroundings as well as their inner worlds. There are no instructions or rules included with Toyi kits - only child-led inspiration. The entire process is left to childrens’ imagination. The open-ended play experience Toyi provides lets children make a limitless number of toys using purely their own creative spark. This unique play experience also supports children’s upcycling and 21st-century skills. Toyi is also a year-round toy. Children can make Christmas toys, summer toys, winter toys, Halloween toys, anything they can think of. Due to its suitability for indoor, outdoor, or STEM-related activities, as well as group or solo play, the range offers children and their parents maximum play potential.

How important is it to teach children about upcycling and environmental issues?

Elif: We believe a more playful planet will result in a greener planet. When good habits like upcycling are established at a young age, they are more likely to stick as kids get older. Teaching your child to recognise and categorise waste, respect the environment and consume less is a good way to take responsibility for the future of our planet. By playing with Toyi, children make their own toys by redefining and redesigning everyday objects around them; a water bottle can be transformed into a six-armed robot, for example. Now the water bottle is no longer just trash, but a precious toy that reflects the child’s imagination. Our approach, and the Toyi brand, is geared towards helping children to adopt an upcycling mindset, by developing a sense for producing without over-consuming at an early age. We call it ‘upcycling through play’. We hope that the unique play experience Toyi provides will help children become more creative, productive and conscious consumers.

What products make up the current Toyi range? Ögeday: Currently we are focusing on our Basic line, which sits within the Construction category. There are eight different pieces of Toyi available in the Basic 32, Basic 64 and the Basic 128 kits; the range offers a spectrum of play, from one child to the whole family. For this year, we’ve updated our materials – now Toyi is made with 100% recycled plastic and our packages are made from only sustainable materials.