After 22 years of designing and making wooden toys for export worldwide, Ferdinand Swart decided that it was high time to act on what is perceived of real important:
Lord Nicholas Stern: The two defining challenges of our century are climate change and poverty. And if we fail on one, we will fail on the other. 2009
to promote community based “food” forestry and especially the @treecredits ‘pay per tree’ concept that would guarantee a small monthly income to those planting + caring for tree world wide. Also to benefit the climate and biodiversity.
With SriToys´ sales are not what they should be, we decided to combine the two and start a e-shop with a difference.
“We” are Ferdinand Swart (57), Abel Swart (20), Elsbeth Smit, Thomas Albers, all from the Netherlands, but now, beginning of 2012, together in SriLanka.
The difference is that the shop is non-profit and that design, art and humor will play a role not only in the looks but especially in the wittiness of the campaigns. Also it will work “open source” and work with volunteers/shareholders.
The business model is loosly based on the “drop ship” model in that the importer/middleman will be avoided and the country representatives never touch the goods and only have to operate a bank account and participate in organizing the online community. Produce will be shipped from the SriToys/ACTI warehouse by sea, already individually packed and labeled, so that the parcels can be delivered directly from the harbour by parcel-post to the consumer, shop or school. Final delivery is free from $100 value. Even personalisation of each product will be viable.
Grouping together the production and shipping of the products vital for the economy of scale so we will start with one Christmas action and might end up with a monthly shipment to the major countries/continents.
Trees will be sold with most products and seperately. They will be planted twice a year, at first by our counterpart OARM…….in B. but later we have firm contacts in N+S India and M.
Each tree could be geo-tacked and linked to a planter-carer as well as donor.
SriToys was founded in 1990, by FS and PMJ and since 1992 attend the great Nurnberg Toy Fair where we have presented a new collection, often developed by Dutch students, ever since. Besides these 1000s of models available, mainly wooden toys, soft toys and children furniture, we have resently designed a more design oriented AllWood collection.
Also we plan to sell other tropical products, like thee, coffee, copra etc., ayurvedic products and handicrafts through our Trading House, ACTI.
Goals in short:
- Sell toys and plant trees
- Build an online community and platform to implement tree credits system
- To educate children and to link up schools, North/South
Means in short:
- Back up of SriToys-ACTI production, warehousing, export, business and accountancy routine
- SriToys/FS designs and copyrights
- New brandnames, website, e-shop, blogs
- Auto-responds to automatically build the mailing list
- Social media, f, t, in, .., y, p , W,…….
- Personal networks
- Networks of Promoters
- links with OARM, Anisha, MFF, etc.
- Treecredits´ innovative concept
- Help of volunteers and students
- how to organize legally
- how to reach target groups
- how to generate great content
- how to design a marketing plan, so that it turns into art, branding
- IT, what, how and who, timing
- Logistics of export
- Financial: bankaccounts, administration, cashflow, profit, investors
- Legal: For the meanwhile we will operate under the umbrella of the STI/ACTI export companies and use their offices, if founds are available we will register the organisation elsewhere like Singapore or London.
- Market penetration: Under means I listed most of the online resources of the actual team. This team seeks help of volunteers and specialists to design and implement the perfect market strategy.
- Content: Most of us are designers and photographers, but for perfect texts, especially in English we relay largely on outside help, although we have no lack of wit 🙂
- Branding: Need partner like ProPortion
- IT: investor needed?
- Logistics: SriToys´ accountancy and export section are preparing a client-parcel registration system, SriToys´ expedition section can easily reorganised to prepare the parcels. There is more than enough place, more people are needed to increase capacity of the expedition. SriToys has its own forwarding company with office near Colombo Port, the container hub of South Asia.
- Bankaccount: For our first action in NL, I asked my brother HA (and Abel´s father) to open an account. HA already manages our shared stocks account for years and can be well trusted to make monthly payments to SriToys and OARM; and for clearing and expedition of shipments. Further administration and exporting will be done by STI. Payments to STI will be made early, to ease there cashflow constrains.
- Profits: Although we are a non-profit, it is necessary to reward all involved: founders, new partners, volunteers and investors in case of success. The income generated will first be used to repay claims all those involved have build up, if there is more it will go to our good causes.