Who Are Plantoys? The Story Behind the Brand

Who are Plantoys?

Who Are Plantoys? The Story Behind the Brand

If you are interested in wooden or sustainable toys, then no doubt you have heard about Plan Toys. For over 30 years plan toys have designed toys with the utmost respect for children & nature, it's their thing. They specialise in making sure all of their toys have an educational element. But who are they? Who founded them and what has driven them to be synonymous with sustainable play?

Vitool Viraponsavan started Plan Toys. He grew up in Trange, among the rubber trees and saw the trees being wasted once they were no longer producing rubber. The rubber tree industry in Thailand is huge. Thailand has an estimated 3.2 million hectares of rubber tree plantations which produce just under 5 million tons of rubber. It is one of the top rubber producing countries in the world. The rubber plantation was introduced to Trang, where Plan Toys is based in the early 20th century. It is one of the country's most important cash crops. However, it can be highly polluting and wasteful. Once the trees no longer produce latex to make rubber (after about 25 years) they are then burned creating huge smoke plumes.

Vitool went to Bangkok to study architecture. It was here he formulated his vision, with friends, to change the world and help make it more sustainable. The 7 friends partnered together and created the Plan Group, from which later developed PlanToys. The Plan Group is an architectural firm, a publishing house & graphic design studio, a little bit of everything, but everything they do is with the mission to be kind to people and the environment.

PlanToys 40 Year Birthday

In 2021 Plantoys will celebrate being 40 years old. For their anniversary, they are celebrating in the same way and philosophy in which they run their business, by thinking about the environment first! They are celebrating by planning to have new solar panels in their factory. The 40th anniversary will also be celebrated by opening a play museum to provide children with immersive experiences from learn-through-play activities!

PlanToys & Staff Welfare

Plantoys are an equal opportunities employer, but they are a community employer. Not only do they employ people in their factory, but they also employ people in the surrounding villages as homeworkers to make the clothes for their toys etc. 

They also treat their staff incredibly well. I remember the UK distributor telling me how impressed he was when he went on a factory tour with the boss Vitool. Everyone knew Vitool and were smiling and wanting to shake his hands. More impressively, Vitool knew everyone and it was such a happy working atmosphere. They have created this atmosphere because they think always of their employees and their welfare. Not just in ensuring that they don’t use any toxins in their toy manufacture, but also in the way they treat their staff. 

Each day at the PlanToys factory, employees gather around to enjoy lunch together in the large communal lunch hall. The lunch is cooked and any waste food is used to fuel their biomass heater.   In the Plantoys factory there is lots of outdoor social areas for their staff including Petanque (bowls) courts and badminton courts which they all play after lunch. 

Plastic Reduction for Employees

Plantoys don’t just stop at not using plastic in their toys. They also have banned plastic from their office headquarters in Bangkok and their factory in Trang. They have completely banned foam food containers, plastic bags and other single use cups and plastics. They have given all their employees reusable water bottles and metal straws.

Next find out if Are Plan Toys Non Toxic?