I'm Paola, and I run Dr Zigs, a specialty Bubble Toy making company that I started at my kitchen table 12 years ago. I started because my young son Ziggy loved Bubbles, and like every parent out there, we ran out of Bubble mix and tried to make some more! I then realised that all that was on the market was cheap plastic, made in China, Bubble toys, so I set out to create an alternative. Something of higher quality, with better Bubbles, and with sustainability at is heart. My background is in marine conservation, and I have always been a human rights activist, so I brought all of this into Dr Zigs. So yes, it's about toys, but toys that can make a difference.
1. What first drew you to toy making?
As above, my son, and before that my eldest kids, I always bought second hand or wooden toys for them, and made cutouts, or cobbled together things.
2. What is your favourite part about being a toymaker? Inventing! Making it us as I go along, and of course playing, every day I get to make and test our Bubbles. I now also use these for mindfulness and my own mental health.
3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a toymaker? Go for it!! Use the internet. I started on market stalls and learned lots from my customers there - and I used the market traders insurance that was cheap too. I also used fab resources like the https://www.cemarking-handmadetoys.co.uk/ce-marking-toys-beginners-what-you-need-to-know/ that were really helpful in getting me started with toy safety.
4. What’s your bestseller? I've JUST launched our new Bubble Pollinator Kit, basically I've designed a mix that can support and deliver Pollen!! (I'm the only person in the world manufacturing a fully plant based Bubble mix. It makes me very proud! With this kit the kids can collect pollen, add it to the Bubble mix and using our bamboo straw, blow pollinating Bubbles around the garden, field, orchard or anywhere! It's super exciting!
5. What was your favourite toy as a kid? I grew up in Italy, and in the playground I loved the 'elastico' a large elastic band that we used to jump on, and I was given a toy tool set, with a miniature saw, vices etc. I still have parts of it and use it today!
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