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Eco-Friendly Toy Solutions That Spark Children's Curiosity – Exclusive Interview With Angela Mischkulnig

Angela Mischkulnig, Co-Founder of ‘The Wonderful Little Suitcase Company’, aims to nurture children's curiosity by creating unique, engaging toy solutions that are educational, portable, versatile and made from sustainable and recycled materials.


Image photo of Angela Mischkulnig

Angela Mischkulnig, Co-Founder 'The Wonderful Little Suitcase Company'


What inspired you to develop your suitcase toys?


During the last few years, I have observed that digital technology has become an increasing part of childhood. This is concerning considering how important interactions and play are for a child’s development, especially in the first five years. I believe that it is our responsibility to create a stimulating environment where children have time to play, engage and interact with the world around them and to be able to practice what they are learning. Building social-emotional or language skills is crucial as it sets the foundations for learning. By watching the impact of digital influences, especially on very young children, I felt compelled to create compact, versatile and engaging toy solutions as an alternative to offering digital devices to young children, especially when out and about or during travel. Another concern is that plastic pollution is constantly increasing, which the toy industry has a significant responsibility for, a further reason why we have committed to using sustainable and recycled materials for all of our products and packaging.

 

What is your background?


As a paediatric speech and language pathologist, I have gained extensive knowledge by working with children with developmental delays and collaborating extensively with occupational therapists in the field. When working with children on developing certain skills, you have to keep them excited and motivated. It’s important to consider their interests and to come up with many creative methods and ways that support their development, which can include engaging toy ideas. Unfortunately, my toy creations often didn’t look the way I had imagined, so this prompted me to gain further education in craft and design. The suitcase toy idea came about when my children were young and when I needed portable and educational toy solutions. I wanted to draw upon my expertise, my work experience and my needs as a mum. The most important criterion was that the toy had to be educational, compact, clever, portable, eco-conscious and beautiful. It had to keep children engaged by having interactive elements while at the same time supporting skills like fine motor skills, imagination, and storytelling; it also needed to be versatile and adapt to a toddler's or preschooler's individual developmental stage.

 

Why did you come up with the suitcase element?


The suitcase element came from my experience as a mother with two young children. I always used to bring a little suitcase filled with age-appropriate toys that fit in the pram basket. It was the easiest way to keep them engaged in play, while it was compact to carry and perfect when we were out and about or travelling.


What were the most challenging moments and valuable lessons when starting the business?


The most challenging moment was putting the idea out there. It doesn't matter how much effort and heart you have put into your idea, you just never know what responses you will get.


One of the most important lessons I learned and still learn to this day is to get comfortable with uncertainty and fear. During the last months, other business owners, colleagues and friends have reminded me of the importance of listening to your intuition and not seeing mistakes as failures but as lessons to learn along the way.


‘There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a child being absorbed

in play, creating ideas and stories out of their imagination.

In those magical moments, they are truly connected with themselves.‘


Kids toy

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