Discovering Fanny & Alexander, an Interview with Delfina Aguilar

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Nowadays, we live in a world where every toy includes batteries, screens and buttons. Kids don’t seem able to have fun if they are not playing video games or connected to the Internet. Delfina Aguilar wanted to offer them that wonderful experience of playing with traditional toys full of charm and personality. Do you remember the importance of your old toys? They were much more than objects, they were your treasures, your partners and, sometimes, even your friends, they boost your imagination and make you dream about magical adventures…

This was the reason why Defina decided to create a brand which brought all that magic back with their handmade wooden toys, pieces that will last for a long time and will mean a lot for your kids’ childhood, unforgettable joy moments that can’t be provided by other types of playthings. They are not trying to bring back the past, but to create  timeless toys that would be at home in any era.

Today we visit Fanny and Alexander‘s magic universe of toys with its founder. Delfina will explain us how beautiful, simple and enduring playthings encourage children’s fantasy and creativity. Are you ready?

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Delfina, how did you decided to found Fanny & Alexander?

The idea came to me while observing my nieces and nephews and other children I know in action. The fact that they were always absorbed by video games or logged on to different digital devices prompted me to think that it would be interesting to complement that reality and those forms of play with other experiences, thus retrieving some wholesome aspects of what childhood was like in a previous analogue era.

What kind of experience do you want to transmit with your toys? Are kids’ creativity and imagination your main goals?

Fanny & Alexander toys definitely encourage fantasy, imagination, creativity, and ingenuity and I think these qualities are hugely important in the developmental process of a child. The benefits of analogue toys are pretty simple and well established, by ‘doing’ less the toys force children to ‘do’ more, they’re a blank canvas which gives children the opportunity to activate their imagination.

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We live in a world plenty of video games and electronic toys, do you consider it as an obstacle to develop brands like Fanny & Alexander?

We would like to create a world of play, learning and fun that may help to instill in children the value of enduring objects produced from noble materials through careful craftsmanship while at the same time inspiring adults to keep those values alive. It is not about eradicating video games or electronic devices from childhood. We believe that these experiences do contribute to a child’s emotional and intellectual development, but we also believe it is important to foster manual skills and encourage fantasy and creativity. This means letting a little magical spirit from a previous era sift through into today’s childhood.

Touchscreens are brilliant, of course, and only a troglodyte would suggest foregoing them completely. But to Fanny &  Alexander, “interactive” means the active interplay between the child and the world around them. The “operating system” is the child’s consciousness. And the “app” is crafted out of wood.

According to you, can your toys and crafts improve and promote the relationship between kids and parents?

Our kits and craft line seeks to teach valuable lessons, foster manual skills, and encourage children to play with their parents and vice versa. They’re intended to capture the moments parents teach their children certain skills with lasting values attached, the same is true for our toys and collectibles line.

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Your toys are perfect to remind that pleasure of playing with traditional toys and games but they are also used as decorative elements by adults. Do you think every single person has an inner kid who needs to play? Do you think you have one?

Perhaps this is true, but I’ve had lots of feedback and there isn’t a clear pattern, some people have focused on the nostalgic aspect, others appreciate the timeless design (they even display the items on their bookshelves), while others have focused on the developmental aspect of analogue forms of play. I think they resonate with people for a combination of reasons. As for myself, I do think I have a very strong inner child presence, perhaps Fanny & Alexander is my attempt at constructing my ideal childhood.

What are your future plans?

Our intention is to progress at a slow, steady and thoughtful pace. This is proving slightly challenging because of the attention we have recently been receiving. There is pressure to grow but we are reluctant to get ahead of ourselves. We are definitely pleased that Fanny & Alexander’s products have become keepsakes and objects people get sentimental about.

We aim to continue to have a very tight and focused product range and expand on that range very selectively. We are also focusing on increasing the number of distributors internationally.

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Thank you, Delfina! It has been a pleasure talking with you about your cute designs.

If you want to discover more about Fanny & Alexander, be sure to check out its website and follow it on Instagram.