by TOMY | 02 Dec 2021
The Bloom Report
Alpesh (Al) Patel, Vice President, Global Toy Design, TOMY Europe: Born to Design Toys
How long have you been in the industry?
20+ years and have loved every moment of it!
What brought you to it?
I had a passion for making things from a young age. Any new toy that was bought for me was played with then taken apart (my parents still remind me of this) not only to see how the toy would work but also how I could make my own toys. I guess that always stayed with me and a career in toy design was always in the cards.
What's the most interesting thing you are working on right now?
That’s a great question and difficult to answer since we are working on top secret projects for 2023! What I do find interesting (and can share) is how we as a toy company and as an industry accelerate our ability to make and market sustainable products that consumers are willing to pay for. Technically, all the tools are there, but costs are high and as we consumers we have an appetite for low-cost products, especially within the toy market. As an individual and organization, we are laser focused on how we can achieve this, in a long term - no gimmick way that benefits the environment as well as our organization and consumers.
What is the best part about being in the toy industry?
Innovation, variety of projects, creativity, making a difference, ensuring that kids have the tools to develop their skills through play are just some of the best parts about the toy industry. But equally as important is the quality of inspiring talent you get to work with daily. I know everyone feels they work in the best industry, but the toy industry allows you to work with awesome like-minded human beings.
What's the culture like a TOMY?
Being part of a global organization with people from all walks of life from around the globe really provides TOMY with a positive, engaging, and diverse culture in which we constantly learn new things from the experiences of our co-workers. We have a culture that’s summarized in these four words ‘make the world smile’. This mantra is used daily in the work that we do, in the way that we treat each other and our customers and ensuring that we too have plenty of smiles per day while we work!
The best thing that ever happened at work…
I have so many amazing things happen at TOMY, but recently, the TOMY team picked up a ‘R&D team of the year’ award from our friends at Mojo Nation. What made this so special is that we were nominated by our peers against some fiercely strong competition. I was lucky to find out earlier than I was allowed to communicate to my team – but the reaction of seeing my team receive the award after nearly two years of being apart and still rocking out an amazing achievement was simply priceless. The team at TOMY are the best thing that has happened and happens at work.
What are you looking forward to in 2022?
Professionally, I’m looking forward to seeing all our new products hit the shelves and be instant successes!! Our Jurassic World toddler line has been nominated for a TAGIE, by the way, as well as Club Mocchi-Mocchi. Personally, I’m just looking forward to normality. Seeing my family, not being restricted to experience new things, being able to travel and soak in different cultures, seeing my kids have a year where we don’t have to restrict what they desire to do.
Do you have a family?
I have an amazing family. My wife, Louise, is also a creative within the children’s entertainment space so we have so much in common. I met her at Hasbro, she left for Disney and then I joined Disney – we’re two peas in the same pod. We share our passion of the importance of teaching creativity, engineering and creative problem solving with my son, Hari (6) and daughter Kiki (10). Hari is a born sportsperson – forget about an iPad or PlayStation, he just wants to kick, bat, throw or catch a ball. Kiki is growing up and is the young woman of our house. We also have a fur-baby-dog called Lunar.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I would like it to be able to fly.
Riding my motorcycle.
Finish this sentence. What I find in the toy industry I don't think I would find in other industries is…
…creative inspiration from every angle I look.
Your favorite toy among everything in the TOMY portfolio?
Hide and Squeak Eggs – simple, attainable by all and refreshingly featureful.
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