Our next Rose & Rex #VID is Vlad Dragusin, founder of Candylab Toys, a collection of Americana-inspired vehicles made in Brooklyn. We couldn’t love the Candylab mission more: “...to create a line of heirloom wood toys that are elegant, durable, and simple, giving children a chance to create their own stories around the objects they play with”, and the collection has long been one of our favorites that we carry on the site, with design & quality that is second to none.
Tell us a bit about the Candylab mission & inspiration for how the brand came to be.
My wife and I created the initial seed idea around two concepts. First, that design-focused toys should be accessible, not luxury items. We all should be exposed to good design and thoughtful, keepsake products that encourage us to reduce the mountains of inexpensive plastic toys. Second, that the brand should reflect a shared interest. In my case it took the shape of toys and cars, both items that are dear to me! Lastly, we wanted it all to be wrapped in sense of wonderment, like a kid in a candy store, hence the name.
What are your biggest learnings as a dad and how have they influenced your work at Candylab?
Bonding over something shared is the key ingredient! As a dad, I can find no bigger pleasure than doing something with my daughters that we all enjoy or have an interest in. I contribute some life lessons and they have a fresh perspective and unexpected take on things. Finding commonalities in play informs our toy and product design; we seek to add cues that we hope all generations will enjoy.
How are your kids involved at Candylab?
They were in our first Kickstarter video ever, and a few after that. They are interested in what we do here, and offer feedback that actually results in concrete tweaks to the toys we were developing.
Favorite Ritual / Hobbies / Activities with Kids
Sunday park time, skiing in winter, and best of all, bedtime snuggles!
Describe your ideal Father’s Day.
Off-roading in a beat up 4X4 truck, somewhere in Costa Rica.
What is your favorite Candylab toy?
One of my faves is the Surfin Griffin (P.S. it's Rose & Rex's toy of the month!): the beasts are special unto themselves and the Griffin is sitting high in that line.