Childhood is an unforgettable time and part of the relished memories stem from the toys kids play with, and especially the people they remembering sharing those nostalgic times. The core mission of the People Toy Company is to create moments that focus on the interaction between children and parents while also providing stimulating experiences for the child. They aim to create toys to engage the child while also simplifying parenting.
What’s more, they will be at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!
Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.
We spoke with Rudy Valenta, President of the People Toy Company team, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the Chicago Baby Show.
For someone unfamiliar with People Toy Company, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?
People Toy Company is different from most of the companies you see on the market today. With a long history in Japan, we focus on the interactions between parent and child. Our mission is to create toys that not only benefit your child, but simplify parenting at the same time. We believe that we have created the ideal set of development toys that not only help to achieve baby milestones, but also to have fun. We currently have 3 series from our Japanese product line called Brain Builders, Mochi, and People Blocks.
Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?
We have a very interesting history. I like to think that we were “Leaning In” before Sheryl Sandberg penned her famous book Lean In. People Co., Ltd. began when a young gentleman started a new children’s toy division within a ball-point pen company. The pen company employed mostly men and our founder selected a few outstanding staff members to help him create what People Co., Ltd. is today. Those employees were young, career-minded women. They were highly motivated to work and wanted to get married, but at the same time, wanted to maintain their job and social status.
In 1985, People Co., Ltd. became independent of its parent company and started growing steadily. The 90s brought about the enactment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law in Japan and was a period when People truly embraced its independence. Their growth continued with one hit product after another. At that time, the toy industry was made up almost entirely of men, and it was normal practice for men to be designing toys. At the same time, there were a growing number of female university graduates, who were overlooked in favor of men when applying for positions within the toy industry. Women were relegated to reception duties as short-term employees at other corporations due to the fear that they would get married, have children and leave their job. People strived to be different, to be the vanguard and to create an employee-friendly workplace, even after having a child.
People did just that and hired talented women to run their company. People currently has 41 employees, 37 of which are female. There is an established cycle in which female employees become mothers and return to work. We created a welcoming environment to embrace motherhood. This in turn has created a positive cycle in which there is an increasing number of women seeking employment with People as we are known as the female-friendly workplace.
Although the company’s founder was a man, he has since been succeeded by our current female CEO and COO — a rarity in Japan and around the world.
What are the most popular and/or newest products from People Toy Company?
Our Brain Builders series! We created this series based on the accumulations of insights and data from years of research. “A baby who until yesterday was just sleeping, began today to turn its face toward a sound, tried to grasp something nearby, began to suck its thumb…” Our mommy research groups record the slightest changes they notice in their journals as welcoming signs of growth from a mother’s point of view. Using these data points, we have created successful products by combining these observations into products. Our current Brain Builders series concept originated by matching our mother’s observations to developmental milestones and creating a product that helps stimulate that growth.
Our People Blocks series is revamped with a brand-new look for 2017. We supercharged our building blocks with magnets so that your 18-month-old can begin stacking and building to get all the social and developmental benefits of block play from a young age. Not to mention, they are super easy to clean up, travel well and don’t hurt half as much if you accidentally step on them compared to other blocks.
What sets People Toy Company apart from other educational toy companies in the market?
“If the desire for growth rooted in a child’s instinct becomes curiosity and appears in play and actions, let’s discover it in daily life and connect it to ideas for toys and playthings.” This is our unique development philosophy, and is the focal point of our operation. This statement alone sets us apart from other companies. We are here to help educate parents on the importance of play and what can be learned through play every day. Being an ASTRA Certified Play Expert has also helped us improve on our design and strengthen our mission.
Another key differentiator is our business environment. We constantly have expecting and current mothers on staff. This allows us to have new insights to update our products with that you normally wouldn’t have with just research groups and educational studies.
What can parents expect to see from People Toy Company at the Chicago Baby Show?
Parents can expect nothing but the best for their baby in our products. We have thought out in extreme detail all the different cognitive and developmental skills that each of our toys address using our toy development philosophy.
To learn more about People Toy Company, check out peopletoy.co.