ESNAF TOYS story
Life leads you from one story to another and when you look back you see how all the stories are connected and how one helps the other to develop.
We are a team of architects at work and a family in life. As architects we have always had a crush on design. We love drawing and looking for interesting concepts. We pay attention to the materials, we have favorite ones, we research how a material is crafted and that leads us to how to use it. In 2013 we became parents of a boy Stanimir and we raised him in parallel to raising our company. With him we discovered a whole new world which we never knew existed before. Surrounded by baby toys, clothes and nursery items we somehow started to think and form a vision of what we wanted to be the environment at home. And the natural material wasn’t the only issue we looked for. We looked for smart toys, challenging and meaningful. And we didn’t want to lose our connection with architecture.
Anastas – the “hands” of our team, has the skills of woodmaking and a family workshop. Aside from our architectural work we tried furniture design, first for our home, then for making some design objects but we were never satisfied with the results, they weren’t good enough… Anastas (ex-graffiti maker) always draws something in his notebooks. He has lots of animal drawings. If he doesn’t have a notebook, he grabs some trash material around him, folds it and gives you a gift of something he has just made - like a cat from a wire, or a deer from a string. If he is in the workshop he always comes with a wooden animal from the left overs. One day Anastas came from the workshop with the African animals. He had taken his notebooks, several old wood boards from an old flooring and his drawings came alive! Wondering how to make joints between the legs and the body of the animals, some magnets came out and he assembled them together. I remember the day he came with this toys and we played with them the whole evening.
Bistra (me) – the leader and the creative part of the team, I always look for the concept of the design. As the woman in the team, I always look after the details and I didn’t like the absence of colors for the toy magnets at all. Then “BAM..” all parts of the puzzle came together, because once we put the colors of the magnets the real concept of play came out! If you match the colors you make the right animals and if you mix the colors then it is up to you and your imagination what comes out. So for the rationalists there is an intellectual challenge but for the irrational part of us, there is a funny game of who will make the weirdest creature and name it. We call this Esnaf Toys combinatorics but more on this to come soon...
Through the last eight years our boy grew up and so we developed our brand and business. We created different collections, each one with its own concept, personality and challenge. Then we noticed that adults started buying the toys for themselves too. They used them to play when traveling, to make a funny gift or to decorate their home. That is how we created some of the toys in XL size and we called them “Wooden magnetic toys for kids and adults”.
In 2020 we welcomed to our team a new partner - Digital Spaces Living Lab (DSLL) and an old friend who we met through the toys – Stavri Nikolov. We believe that nothing comes and goes to life without purpose and we started this new collaboration. Now we work together on ongoing projects and we plan new ones. Stavri is the constant gardener who helps us grow our business and turn new ideas into toys, games and platforms, and many more happy clients around the world. He is also the digital brains and hands of the company.
Through the years we realized that sustainability is not only in the materials, the techniques and the toy usage but it is in the concept itself. We wanted to grow our toys as toys which will be kept and played with for generations – one of these toys which your grandma takes out of the chest when her grandchildren visit. Toys that go through our lives and soak all its moods, emotions, thoughts and experiences. Now as we share with you our journey we are getting back to work to make more