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August 4, 2021

Maker of the Month: DJECO

It’s that time of year again...it’s been a little too hot for a little too long, the kids are burnt out on their summer activities, and you need a moment of sanity—and let’s be real here—SILENCE! That’s right folks, it's Back to School season! YOU’RE ready for the kids to head back, and after a year of remote/hybrid learning, THEY’RE probably ready too! Why not prep them with the latest and greatest goodies from DJECO?

Based on the banks of the River Seine in Paris, DJECO offers thoughtfully designed and educational toys for children of all ages and interests. Your little ones will stay entertained and engaged with puzzles, games, and more. Learn more about the makers who create these handcrafted, inspirational toys for your kiddos!

We read that DJECO was first established in the 1950s and was later passed down from a mother to her son. Tell us a little about the company's rich family history.

DJECO was founded in 1954 by Véronique Michel-Dalès in Paris. At this time, it was rare for women to work in the educational toy space, let alone found their own company. Véronique’s pioneering toy designs quickly became recognized in the industry. Véronique’s son, Frédéric, officially took on the business in 1989 and remains at the head of the company to this day. Through and through, DJECO is a family business. The team is tight-knit and familial, even as DJECO continues to grow around the world!

 

We read that you imported toys from all over the world before designing your own. What gaps were you trying to fill in the industry by taking the leap into making your own toys and games?

Frédéric saw the opportunity to bring art into the world of toys. He wanted to make imaginative, unique toys that simply weren’t available in the market. As an artist himself, he wanted to introduce art and creativity to young people, through play.

 

Your toys and games are so striking. When it comes to developing a new toy or game, what is the importance of aesthetics?

We do pride ourselves on having packaging that stands out—like a work of art. But that’s no accident! Every DJECO toy is designed in partnership with a real-life artist. That’s one reason each toy or puzzle or art kit looks so unique. The hand of the artist, whether they’re an illustrator or painter, or sculptor, is clearly visible in the end result. We love being able to bring original art to the playroom shelf and ignite the inner creativity of young ones.

Djeco Owners sitting in their office in front of a red painted mural.Djeco Owners sitting in their office in front of a red painted mural.
Photo by Les Enfants du Design
woman holding squirrel toy in front of computer with same designwoman holding squirrel toy in front of computer with same design
Photo by Les Enfants du Design
three women sitting in yellow chairs working at a long table with toys and puzzles hanging on the wallthree women sitting in yellow chairs working at a long table with toys and puzzles hanging on the wall
Photo by Les Enfants du Design
“What better way to introduce children to art, than through play?”
Take a tour of the Djeco office in Paris!
two women working across each other at a large desk, toy rocking horse in the fronttwo women working across each other at a large desk, toy rocking horse in the front
Photo by Les Enfants du Design

What process does a new toy or game go through on the creative side before it's ready to be released to the children of the world?

Our product managers work with artists directly to make each DJECO piece. Sometimes pieces are inspired by the artists’ work. Sometimes we have an idea for a toy and invite the artist to put their spin on it. In both cases, it’s a very hands-on collaboration. The artists work in their own media—paint, printmaking, and so on—to make the artwork that is ultimately used in the toy prototype. This brings an extra layer of authenticity to the collaboration and end result.

 

How can families use toys and games to ignite creativity and a sense of wonder at home?

Toys, games, and craft kits can be a great way to try something new. Just that simple act—getting out of your comfort zone—opens up new interests and ideas for kids (and parents!). During the last year, we all felt the need to break the monotony—play is a great way to switch things up and discover new passions. It’s always been our goal to inspire the next generation of artists. We’ve seen, time and time again, that when children are surrounded by art, they naturally lean into their inner creativity. What better way to introduce children to art, than through play?

 

Photos by Les Enfants du Design


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