Warning: This product contains small magnets. Swallowed magnets can cause complications leading to serious infections and death. Seek immediate medical attention if magnets are swallowed or inhaled.
It all started with an innocent, curiosity-driven question: Could we create a for-profit company based in Honduras that would foster a positive social impact through its business? Chris posed that question during a work trip to Honduras in May 2006 where he reconnected in Tegucigalpa with friends dedicated to an impactful humanitarian project; seeking an answer to the question sparked the idea that became Tegua toy business founded to address unemployment, neglected natural and human resources, and the need for entrepreneurship in Honduras.
Tegu began with the notion that the foundersbrothers Chris and Will Haugheywanted to help a country and its people, and they quickly discovered that Honduras could be home to beautiful, sustainably-harvested tropical hardwoods. Grandchildren of an accomplished Kiwi architect, both Chris and Will grew up with a love and appreciation for woodworking, so they naturally gravitated towards the initial idea of creating high-end furniture for export. A couple months later, on a trip together in Germany, they were impressed and inspired by the classic wooden toys of Europe and started looking into the fabrication of wooden toys rather than furniture.
In March of 2007, Chris left his job with The Boston Consulting Group to found Tegu, with Will functioning as a thought partner while still working on Wall Street. Will decided to leave Goldman Sachs in May of 2008, and Tegu started to fire up. In the intervening time, as the Company moved through product refinement to marketing strategy to fund-raising to business-building, Tegu has been fortunate to attract a fantastic team to the business (see below).
In the course of 3 years since the first spark of our idea, the team has explored 4 very different and compelling product concepts. In the course of observation and ideation in a kindergarten classroom in the San Francisco Bay Area, we discovered that kids use toys to tell stories, or to help them better express the wonderful narrative at play in their heads. In that process a winning idea emerged, which evolved into Tegus magnetic wooden blocks. Testing the educational toys yielded great results with more kids, parents and advisors in the toy space, and since then we've been off to the races. Tegu is vertically integrated and is purposefully running its own shop in Honduras.
Tegu has gone from the seed of an idea (2006) to a budding sapling (2011). Now were watering and nurturing, so that we can see this tree flourish for the benefit of children everywhere and for the people of Honduras. These are the little toys that could...
We feel a strong sense of accountability to our community related to our actions and business activities. In our community, we include our employees, our customers, our shareholders, our supply chain partners and ultimately the broader society in which we live. We strive to be accountable in every aspect of Tegus business: company practices, working conditions, environmental responsibility, social impact, product design and safety, and so on.
PRODUCT DESIGN AND SAFETY
Tegu has purposely built a product portfolio and a brand around natural and non-toxic materials. Honduras offers beautiful, globally unknown hardwoods which can be harvested in a sustainable manner; these woods serve as our primary raw material. In 2007 and 2008, we were shocked by the nasty rash of toy recalls traced to lead paint, phthalates, and easily loosed magnets, and at the time, we happened to be in the process of designing and refining our wooden building blocks. Consequently, safety is our chief concern when it comes to toy design, and it should come as no surprise that we dedicate serious time, energy and creativity to making darn sure that our products are completely safe for the children (and adults!) that play with them. Of course, safe toys doesnt have to mean dull toys. Pick up a set of our magnetic wooden blocks, and we think youll know what we mean. While plastic and vinyl toys are proliferating from the larger toy manufacturers who design around profit margins, our wood is obviously natural, our magnets are safely enclosed inside the wood and our coatings are water-based and non-toxic. In fact, you can view our CPSIA mandated General Conformity Certifications below: Huesito Discovery SetHuesito Original SetMahogany Discovery SetMahogany Original SetPrimavera Discovery SetPrimavera Original Set
RESPECT FOR AND DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE
Tegu treats all its people - from the toy maker in Honduras to the marketing guys in the USA -with respect and dignity. We believe in the intrinsic value of each human life, and we strive for our approach to fully reflect that belief. In Honduras, for instance, we pay a true living wage (much higher than the minimum wage most factories pay production workers), offer unparalleled benefits and maintain exceptional working conditions at our toy factory (health and safety, lighting, ventilation, working hours, etc). We believe that Hondurans can do great things, and were looking forward to challenging and developing our workers to positively impact their families, their society and their economy. Ever since Tegu was scribbled on a napkin (actually, it was an email from Chris to Will), weve been committed to helping create a brighter future for Honduras.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP AND RESPONSIBLE SOURCING
In terms of environmental responsibility, this is a biggie for Tegu. We determined right from the start of our business to source our materials sustainably. How can you help a country with one hand if you hurt it with the other? Even before we cooked up the magnetic block idea, we searched high and low in the forests and rural communities of Honduras for responsible, sustainable suppliers of hardwoods. Were pleased to say that we found them in the form of small-scale woodcutting cooperatives supported by international NGOs focused on sustainable forestry. We think its important for our customers to understand what sustainable forestry means. Some of you will have heard of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, and maybe youve seen the FSC logo on products youve bought in the past. If not, check out the Councils work on sustainable forestry, its praiseworthy indeed! Sustainable forestry means that trees are harvested in a selective and controlled manner such that the forest is allowed to continue to develop and properly regenerate. As you can imagine, that doesnt involve clear-cutting (dont get us started on that topic!).
As Tegu gets started, we are working directly with FSC-certified woodcutting cooperatives in the north of Honduras. Our wood suppliers have the requisite legal permits from the Honduran governmental forestry agency (ICF) and oversight from international NGOs (Nepenthes, Rainforest Alliance). As our business grows, we are also developing relationships with cooperatives in the Biosfera Rio Platano, Honduras largest deciduous forest, which also have excellent international partners (GTZ, Rainforest Alliance) and have been supplying sustainably-sourced hardwoods to respected companies such as Gibson Guitars for several years.
In addition to supporting sustainable forestry, we are actively replanting to help Honduras regain the forest cover it has lost in past decades. Whenever you purchase a Tegu wooden toy, you have the opportunity to choose to send a Honduran child toschool for a day or plant a tree. Our partner, Trees for the Future, facilitates our replanting project. Tegu looks forward to being a driving force for the stewardship and regeneration of the Honduran forests over time.
Lastly, though were doing our level best to help and not hurt, were by no means perfect. There is one thing were not thrilled about from an environmental standpointthe negative effect on the earth of mining for the materials in our magnets (for more info, this article on clean energy is a pretty good read). At this stage, theres not a whole lot we can do about this impact (mining is mining, never pretty), but were working to make sure we source from responsible suppliers who treat their workers well and minimize, themselves, the negative effect mining has on the environment.