1. You founded an educational toy company in the middle of a pandemic. Why?
In 2021, when schools were closed during the pandemic, I watched my son struggle for long hours in front of a computer. I was looking for a creative product that could supplement what he was hearing and seeing on the computer with hands-on STEAM experiences.
At the same time, I was on a mission to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics. When I came across the wooden puzzles and kits from Eco-Wood-Art, or EWA, I was excited about the possibilities. They’re made in Belarus, and I wanted to bring them to the U.S. ArtVenture was born.
2. In what ways do they meet your original goals?
ArtVenture’s line includes wooden animal puzzles [see page 23] and kits for building 3-D objects that have moving parts. The variety of finished products range from simple wall décor to complex mechanical machines with intricate gear systems. They come in five levels of difficulty. The process for building them is challenging, progressive and fun.
The pieces are made from birch plywood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The FSC certification means that the wood comes from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. That certification really sets us apart from companies that make similar products. To my knowledge, no one else is doing this.
3. What skills do they build?
Depending on the specific product, the skills that can be developed are diverse, but STEAM focused. Whether they’re assembling a model in the classroom with other students or at home with members of their family, children of all ages have the opportunity to learn by carefully reading instructions, organizing their plans, and then proceeding with the method, observation, analysis, spotting differences, counting and assembling.
4. What’s included in the kits?
Everything needed for the build. The pieces come in sheets of 1/8-inch-thick plywood, and, depending on the kit there are also hypoallergenic rubber bands, sandpaper, toothpicks, candle wax for the gears, and clear assembly instructions.
5. The retailers who sell products to teachers and schools … what would you like them to know about ArtVenture?
First, I work closely with individual retailers to recommend best sellers that align with their customer base. The stores that currently carry the line are thrilled with the sell-through.
Also, our minimum order quantities are low so retailers can test-try the products, and our packaging is space efficient – perfect for storage, shipping and store displays.
The wooden counter display and floor display unites we prove are also space-efficient, and they’re sturdy, easy to assemble, and visually attractive.”
Most of all, I want them to know that ArtVenture is dedicated to true and honest partnerships, and to providing successful, sustainable learning tools and playthings.
You can contact Edouard at firstname.lastname@example.org.