A little story to tell you my lovely readers about this month’s Build Me wooden toys; my youngest was so enamored with these incredible wooden cars that he sneakily took one to preschool to show his mates! There was only one slight issue in that we hadn’t finished testing them out at home. Eep! Suffice to say it did arrive back in one piece ( phew!) with a few minor scratches.
I would say that actually he did me a favour as they survived a bit of rough and tumble at preschool and still came back in 100% working order and looking fab. That has to be the best way to test out a toy in my mind!
Darryl Thompson is the creator and maker behind Build Me wooden toys which are designed and made in Melbourne, Australia. We first reviewed his brilliant “BuildMe” wooden toy kits back in September 2015 for our Toy of the Month. The boys and their Dad built a “Monster” truck and the “Short” dump truck and they seriously make THE best Father’s day presents! They had a brilliant time together building their car kits and it was such a great bonding experience for them all.
It was with great excitement that I recently heard from Darryl about his new toy collection, ‘PlayMe‘. These cars are already built for you in brilliant colours, gorgeous woods and ready to go straight out of the box. Let me tell you, they are stunning!!
As you know from my posts last year about Snappets, I am a HUGE fan of Kickstarter and the power of crowd funding. It is the perfect way in this techy age to get funding to make your dream idea, concept or creation a reality.
Candylab Toys was born out of a Kickstarter campaign last year and with the draw and pull of the masses, they designed and manufactured 7 different designs. This year, this awesome design led wooden toy company have created 5 more fantastic prototypes to add to the garage.
In just under 3 hours they already have 29 backers who have pledged $3,453 of the $30,000 they require for their next campaign.
Here is a little look at the cars they have designed. By pledging to buy one, when the Kickstarter campaign is successful, you will have your very own Candylab Toy, come September.
This project will only be funded if at least $30,000 is pledged by
Life with 2 boys, well, let’s be honest, make that 3 boys including hubby dearest, means a life filled with cars! Especially as said hubby is a mechanical engineer so we tend to live and breathe cars in this household… whether it is wooden cars, Hot Wheels cars, Siku, Scaletrix, Automoblox, Kukkia + and not to mention ride on cars and bikes, my boys love ALL of them.
As such I don’t get too excited when the boys receive new toy cars as birthday presents as normally they are all rather the same. That was until I set my eyes on Candylab Toys, these cars seriously rocked my world! Not only did they have some of the coolest car designs I had seen, but, they were wooden! I had to review these cars, pronto.
Vlad Dragusin, the founder, is an architect based in Brooklyn with two daughters and he shares an equal love of cars and “mid century modern” design.
Growing up in his native Romania in the 80’s with “crappy tv choices” he learned to sketch and draw, create and build cars that he saw and loved from the tiny glimpse of Hollywood he saw on TV.
Cut to today and the story goes that one day, one of his daughters asked Vlad to put wheels on an empty noodle box she had just retrieved from the recycling. Together they then painted and drew on the box to create an awesome car to play with. This cardboard design made Vlad imagine a world of the coolest of cool cars, the cars he remembered drawing from his childhood. He decided not to design something throwaway but cars that would become heirloom pieces and passed down through the generations, cars that were both modern and retro at the same time. Together with his business partner and neighbour, Florin who knew all the technical aspects of car design, they started Candylab Toys.
Candylab Toys was established in 2013 through a Kickstarter campaign, where 1,129 people raised 4 x times the amount of funds required to get the designs and manufacturing started. Having expected it would take a year to place their first factory order with the Kickstarter campaign they got there in 35 days! A phenomenal effort and amazingly quick result which allowed Candylab Toys to start life. I love Kickstarter campaigns, it is one of the best ways I know to raise money for “Start ups” and breath life into awesome ideas.
Although wishing to produce their gorgeous wooden cars in the USA, they struggled to find any US manufacturers interested in mass wood production of small items back in 2012. After 97 failed attempts to find a US manufacturer keen to take on the job, and 1 keen to produce the cars at USD$100.00 a car, they decided to look abroad. They went to the 2013 International Toy fair and found a Chinese wood supplier keen to work with them on their drawings. It has been a match made in heaven so far with a proven partnership and successful production of 8 cars thus far with more coming very soon!
Each car takes from 15 to 18 cuts in a solid beech wood profile, plus painting, priming, applying the stripes and decals and wheels. It is a manual process all the way. Paints are all water based with each car taking hours to produce.
This gorgeous wooden car arrives in a fab matching box and is much larger than any other wooden car around that we have tested ( even larger than Automoblox). What strikes you first is the stylishly simple design, it is super elegant and you would be happy to display it in your kids bedroom. However, there is little chance of that once your kids see it!
As you can see from the photos here, my eldest son had an absolute ball racing the GT-10 around the washi tape track I made for him on my pinboard. My youngest adores the car so much he has scratched it up a little with his endless hours of play. They both love this car and the “oohs and ahhs” that came out of both their mouths when we opened up the box was priceless.
It is quite large in size and is recommended for ages 3+. I therefore thought it might be too large for Hudson who is 3 in May, but he races it around and it fits his hand well. I would say that it is probably better for ages 3+ as my youngest has scratched it up a little with his play whereas Jasper is much more careful with it but equally loves playing with it and building garages for it and roads.
They come in 8 designs, although 1 is no longer available as it was the first Kickstarter car and thus was handed out to all those who pledged money. The police and fire car look fantastic and next month, they have added a tow truck to the collection! With bright yellows and purples for the Stinger and Plum 50, there is a car to suit all ages and sexes.
If your children, boys and girls alike, are car obsessed this makes a brilliant birthday present with the promised “ohhs and ahhs” coming from your child as they open the box. The cars look as good in the flesh as they do in the photos. They are true design led heirloom pieces that you would happily display in your children’s room.
The cars are fairly large in size in comparison to most cars that kids play with and they are great for racing, drifting and generally having a lot fun! My boys have added Sonny Angels as passengers and come up with some awesome imaginative play with the car. We will definitely be adding to our collection of Candylab Toys for their birthday, the only question is, which one!
Size: 18.3cm L x 7.3cm W x 5cm H
Designed in Brooklyn, made in China.
Safety tested according to US CPSIA and European, Australian and New Zealand regulations.
RRP: US $30.00 +
Disclosure: in order to review the Candylab GT-10 we were sent one to test drive.
This little gift guide “My Little Rider” is inspired by those kids that always have a car, truck, fire engine, motorbike, or digger in their hand whether at kindy, at home, at preschool or out and about. They would never leave home without one!
1. To get your little rider cruising early, try this balance bike from Cambridge made Early Rider Lite Balance bike. Ages 18 months +
2. We adore our Baghera in our household and these new ride ons look a joy to ride, Baghera Ride on Riders Black. Ages
3. A puzzle and car in one, Automoblox C9 Sports car. Ages 3 +
4. Orchard Toys Giant Road Jigsaw for hours of puzzle fun that you can then use to race your cars around town. Ages 3+
5. For all “little riders”, the perfect tee from Pop Kids “Road Rebel” tee. Ages 3 months – 8 years.
6. Mon Petit Art “Vehicles” colouring and sticker book to entertain your vehicle lover on rainy days. Ages 3+
7. Green Toys Fire Engine, made from recycled milk containers, with over 24, 482, 366 recycled so far and counting. A true “green” toy and so much fun for your fire engine loving child. Ages 12 months +
8. Alain Gree ” Transport” book to teach them all about the different types of transport. Ages 2+
9. For a play tent for any vehicle lover, check out The Monster Factory VW Campervan play tent. Ages 2+
10. Hop and Peck British Tractor toy makes the perfect introduction to gorgeously designed . Ages 12 months +
NB:- I have chosen not to provide pricing details as these products have been sourced globally and thus are subject to change.