Keith Finch is the brilliant Studio and Innovation Director at Build Your Own, an exciting new range of eco-friendly children’s toys. Heading up a team of incredibly talented paper engineers and designers, Keith has more than 20 years’ experience designing and producing pop-up books, direct mail pieces, packaging and more.
Keith, and his fellow designers, launched Build Your Own Kits with a mission to develop eco-friendly, STEM inspired children’s toys that kids and families could build for themselves from the comfort of home. As you already know, we’re big fans of Build Your Own Kits here at Claudi & Fin and we hope you enjoy finding out more about this award-winning eco-toy brand in this latest instalment of Meet The Founder.
‘LESS PLASTIC, PAPER FANTASTIC!’
Build Your Own are the creators of an award-winning range of eco-friendly children’s toys you can build yourself. Made from sustainable cardboard, these innovative, STEM-inspired kits are great fun to build and provide hours of entertainment.
Assembled using simple slot-together techniques, there’s no glue, no mess, no fuss. What could be better?!
The growing range of kits are suitable for children 8 years+ but are best enjoyed as a family experience. The team of designers behind the brand love to inspire curious young minds and encourage learning through play. And of course, to have lots of fun!
And the fact that every kit is made from high-quality, sustainable materials, with minimal plastics makes Build Your Own a winner in our eyes. The eco-friendly packaging is 100% recyclable, and the brand’s ethos is proudly ‘Less plastic, paper fantastic!’
Build Your Own kits are designed in the UK by a team of brilliant paper engineers – they have decades of experience designing and producing innovative products, pop-up books, direct mail pieces, packaging and more.
Keith, tell us where did the idea for Build Your Own came from?
One Friday afternoon, I came up with the idea of designing some toys that kids would enjoy building. Along with the team, I wanted our toys to inspire a love of learning, reduce screen-time and bring families together to create rich memories.
We were concerned how most plastic toys would eventually end up as landfill, so decided that cardboard was the best way forward. While we couldn’t completely eliminate plastics, any that we did use would be as eco-friendly as possible. Sustainable cardboard and paper would always be the main component.
We started working on our first products the following Monday – creating cardboard toys that can be built as part of a family experience. We’ve been delighted with the incredible response since our launch in 2020 – from consumers, retailers, and the media – and can’t wait to further expand our exciting product range in 2022 and beyond!
Was there a turning point when you thought ‘yes, I’m now really onto something’?
I think it would have to be Toy Fair London in 2020. It was our first year exhibiting at this major toy industry trade show. We had just one product to launch (our Build Your Own Telescope) and a couple of samples of new kits to showcase.
We were thrilled with the amount of interest in our products, enquiries from retailers and were even interviewed and featured on BBC news online – citing our eco-credentials!
What has been your proudest moment in business?
The completion of our first kit was a very proud moment. When the first samples of our Build Your Own Telescope arrived from production it was an incredible feeling!
What are the benefits of STEM toys during the growing years?
There are so many! But some top ones would have to be dexterity and building skills, problem-solving and cognitive skills, and learning about how things function. STEM is around us all day long, it’s about stopping to enjoy the moment. Parents can spark curiosity and draw attention to what they see. To capture active young imaginations and make it fun!
How can we motivate our little ones to get excited about STEM?
Learning through play and keeping it simple are both important when it comes to engaging children in STEM activities. To stay motivated, children need to experience something tangible and be able to grasp it easily in the moment. There is so much fun to be had!
What’s next for you and the business?
We have lots of exciting new product launches this year! We’re also actively building a community of young ‘STEMgineers’ to provide feedback on our kits and help with the development of new ones. And of course, we have new kits being worked on in the Studio all the time! There’s never a dull moment at Build Your Own HQ!
Thanks to Keith for giving us the lowdown on Build Your Own. Check out the whole product range over on the website.
And don’t forget that you can enter our giveaway with Build Your Own over on Instagram. Best of lolly luck!