A Sparkle from Nuremberg International Toy Fair-by Sandy Ruben
I was fortunate to be able to attend the recent Toy Fair in Nuremburg. It is the largest in the world and the exhibitor space is 4 ½ times what Toy Fair in New York is!
Some of the exhibits are jaw dropping. However what stood out, was on my third day of this massive show, off in the corner, I saw this man sitting and playing with a building toy. Around him were five adults watching intently.
I walked to see what was capturing the attention. This man had unbridled enthusiasm for playing with the building toy at the Poly M booth. With excitement and pure joy, he demonstrated a wide variety of things that could be built, while explaining the child development phases behind each structure and vehicle.
When I originally stopped, I was caught by the total commitment to play this man had and the joy he conveyed. Within minutes, I realized who this man was. This was Peter Handstein, the owner and founder of Hape Toys far from his exhibit space. (Hape was one of the busiest, biggest, fanciest, and most elaborate spaces at this gigantic show) He was sitting in a corner of a small, fairly obscure company, Poly M - playing!
When I first started with Hape, Peter took 12 of us out for a huge Japanese dinner. For hours, he told the group stories about his background, and his passion for play. I came away feeling I had met one of the true visionaries of our industry. His focus, from his heart, seemed to be all on play and child development and how to make the best toys to fill that need.
Four years later, at a small table in a corner, I again was able to see the passion that he has for toys. His inspiring commitment, his enthusiasm, and pure joy in the value of play was the highlight of my trip to Nuremburg.
When you stop by the Hape booth at Toy Fair, Peter will be there. See if you can pull him aside for a second, and ask him why he developed a certain toy that intrigues you. You will then get to see Peter, the owner of this company doing what he LOVES best!
(As ASTRA Sales Representative of the Year, Sandy Ruben and (his 1999 established) Associates represents leading specialty toy and children's product lines to retailers throughout the southeast.)
Hape Holding AG
Hape, (“hah-pay”), is a leader in designing and manufacturing high quality baby and children’s wooden toys made from sustainable materials. The eco-friendly company formed in 1986 by Founder and CEO Peter Handstein in Germany.