Once upon a time not SO long ago, a young, ambitious (and at times a bit naive), wide-eyed go-getter (that’s me - Carrie, owner and proprietor of pucciManuli) set out across the country chasing what was widely considered the American dream. After 15 years of slogging through the corporate marketing and advertising world, I knew it was time for a time out.
As I took a breath and began to figure out what was truly important in life, I found myself back in Europe walking the halls of the world's largest toy fair. I’d been there before — many times in fact — with my Dad, a world-renowned scale model producer, always admiring the thousands of carefully crafted toys from all over the world. What happened on this trip, however, was different — and special — and the beginning.
I was drawn to the true leaders and innovators of the industry: the small, the special, the unique
The Nuremberg Toy Fair was always considered the world’s premier toy fair, as it’s located in a city with not only the oldest known registered toymakers — the first commercial doll makers dating back to 1400 — but also played host to the world’s largest toy factory in the 1900s and the only city in the world with a continuous history of toymaking and toy trading. Traditionally, the Toy Fair played host to every-size company, each offering something different, all side-by-side thriving. But this particular year, I noticed something different.
I began to recognize a significant void in today's retail environment, and specifically the children's market/toy industry, and the tremendous potential of a select group of extremely talented individuals. This particular year (and every year since), the toy fair was littered with mass-produced, factory-made plastic — stuff you buy for your children because they "just have to have it" — only to be found a month later abandoned in the toy box, under the bed, or in the garage - all of it looking the same as the next. As I walked the halls, it became increasingly apparent I was glossing over this mass-production and plastic. Instead, I was drawn to the true leaders and innovators of the industry: the small, the special, the unique, and in most cases the handmade, by individuals and small workshops around the world.
I found the story I wanted to tell, their story — these extraordinary toymakers — to celebrate the passion and profiles of some of the world's most talented artisans...
Upon further inquiry, I learned the small, special and unique — and the makers behind it all — had wonderful stories to tell. Stories of passion, innovation, creativity, hard work, and sacrifice. Stories that add value — something you don’t, and won't, find in today's fast-paced, technologically driven, plastic, copycat world. I found the story I wanted to tell, their story — these extraordinary toymakers — to celebrate the passion and profiles of some of the world's most talented artisans, as they are truly representative of a rapidly disappearing art form.
We hope you take the time to discover the special and unique — and maybe even a little bit of the magic I found — in the gifts we've shared with you here.