Meet the Makers - Fanny & Alexander
Fanny & Alexander was founded on a fundamental desire to encourage children (and the adults who love them) to play a little more, and a little better. Founded by Delfina Aguilar, Fanny & Alexander launched a collection of collectible analogue toys in 2013 offering a welcome antidote to our digital age, and to modern toys which only require children to sit passively before them. Their first publication, The Nature of Play, is an extension of these values. Designed to be a tool for learning as well as creating many moments of childhood wonder, the book is packed with simple, special ideas for enjoying the changing seasons.
What was your main reason behind developing Fanny and Alexander?
My motivation for launching F&A stems from my discomfort with the idea that most children play with toys that are merchandise and movie-franchise spin-offs as well as my concern that these days it’s the rare object in the toy chest that doesn’t require batteries.
Having recently become an aunt I felt the pressure to find an alternative more wholesome form of play. I set myself the challenge to enrich the lives of children with analogue toys that are beautiful, simple, enduring and that encourage fantasy, imagination, creativity, and ingenuity. Fanny & Alexander was born soon after and has been committed to these principles ever since.
Are you happy with where things are going with your business now or are you looking to expand into other categories?
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 F&A’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 currently in the process of overhauling the entire range. We hope soon to introduce a kit set for various activities. We are also focusing on increasing the number of distributors internationally, Australia and Singapore are a high priority.
So often we hear that kids are losing their imaginations today as a result of video games & modernised toys, do you believe that your creations will inspire kids to think outside the square?
I am reluctant to completely diminish the value of modern forms of play & assign a disproportionately high value to analogue forms of play. I think all forms of play are important if not critical to a child's development. The key is balance.
Fanny & Alexander toys definitely encourage fantasy, imagination, creativity, & ingenuity & I think these qualities are hugely important in the developmental process of a child.
What keeps you sane when your not designing ?
It’s difficult to say, this year has been so intense I haven’t had time for anything aside from F&A.
Cooking has always been a great interest of mine and I hope to introduce it into my F&A efforts. We have been approached by customers requesting help with birthday hosting and we’ve also been approached by mothers for advice about healthy eating for children, perhaps I’ll have the opportunity in the future to combine my two greatest passions, F&A and cooking.
What piece to date is your favorite?
It’s hard to say, I have several favourites.
I very much like our camera with the zoom lens feature. Young children now have very little experience of cameras since most people use camera phones to take photographs. Actual cameras are nostalgic items these days.
I love the weight and feel of the F&A camera, Guatambu and Incense are beautiful woods that have beautiful textures. I also enjoy the zoom feature that is activated by screwing and unscrewing the lens.
Another favourite is our printed satchel, it’s inspired by traditional British school’s satchels. Children look adorable wearing them.
We recently launch a film camera and I also very much like this item.