BEHIND THE BRAND: PLAY TO LEARN

Photography by Françoise Baudet & Styling by Madeline McFarlane

I think all our readers know by now that sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly products are so on trend right now. Minty Magazine cannot stop raving about how important this issue is to us. Another brand on the mission to share products that are non-toxic and eco-friendly is Play to Learn. 

Minty Magazine chat to Lisa Clements-Galati who is the owner of Play to Learn. She founded the business 12 years ago with a vision to create quality products to promote play and learning within children in a natural environment. Today, her dream has been realised. Play to Learn now stock a variety of beautiful brands and products in their online store. 

Play to Learn began 12 years ago. Can you tell us a little bit about the roots of the business? How did it all begin?

‘I began Play To Learn 12 years ago after realising that there was a lack of quality products to create inviting environments for children that were natural and open ended. My initial focus was finding the best quality natural products supporting fair trade. It is a priority to support local Australian made products and also support international producers. Play To Learn is also about sourcing sustainable products that are non toxic and eco friendly.’

Photography by Françoise Baudet & Styling by Madeline McFarlane

What inspired you to start your business?

‘I have such a passion for creating children’s play spaces that are filled with aesthetically pleasing and beautifully designed products. Products that encourage nurturing and meaningful learning. The lack of natural open ended products inspired me to search near and far for the best of the best that ticked all the boxes when it comes to sustainable, non toxic, eco friendly and fair trade.’

Is there anything exciting planned that we should keep an eye out for in the near future for Play to Learn?

‘Yes, very soon I’ll be creating ‘Play Kits’ for sale. For more information please subscribe to our newsletter.’

 

What has been your favorite trend for the kids interiors industry in 2018?

‘This year it’s been wonderful to see so much natural oak wood in children’s play spaces. I’m also loving how people are bringing the outdoors in…lots of beautiful plants in baskets. So simple and so gorgeous.’

We love that Play to Learn supports eco-friendly, sustainable and ethical products. How did this passion for creating products that are better quality and better for the environment transition from research to your own business?

‘After a few years after getting Play To Learn up and running my husband and I started to plan to have a baby, sadly this was not an easy journey… filled with heartache and loss over 7 long years….something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and some other health challenges. This led us to taking a huge leap of faith into the world of international surrogacy and our baby girl Milla was born in 2016. Words truly cant express the gratitude and love we feel each and every day for the team of people who supported us along the way.

Before Milla was born I started to look at the food we were eating, the products I was putting on my body and the environmental toxins we were exposed to. Wow… did this open up Pandora’s box. It became my passion to look at all the products I was stocking and to find out what does it really mean to be ‘Non Toxic’ and ‘Eco Friendly’ I then came across Alexx Stuart Low Tox Living course and omg this took my research to another level. I highly recommend every person do her online short course. Its truly life changing. This course gave me the tools to investigate more about the products I am promoting.’

Photography by Françoise Baudet & Styling by Madeline McFarlane
Photography by Françoise Baudet & Styling by Madeline McFarlane

What is the process you go through when taking on new brands to stock in your store?

‘Sometimes labels such as ‘Non Toxic’ and ‘Fair Trade’ can not be very clear. Once I find a product that looks amazing that I think will go well in children’s play spaces I then look into a brands philosophy. I make contact with the business and ask for not just your basic wholesale information and prices but thorough information. I request information from the manufacturer like health safety data sheets on the product so I can understand exactly what materials are used, for example: what wood, glues, lacquers, paints, oils etc If a product supports Fair Trade I always ask for information to prove that it is registered Fair Trade.’

Who are your go-to Instagram accounts you love and why?

‘Guess who? Yes… Minty Magazine of course… seriously true. Lol! I love the vibe, I love the style and I love the support of ethical brands.. I also love Peppermint Magazine for all the great work they do supporting sustainability and eco friendly products.’

Tell us a little bit about your family life and how you manage balancing the many plates of being a mum whilst owning your own business?

‘Ever since I was 19 years old I’ve been working full time. Even when we were trying to have a baby and I felt challenged at times to work…. Play To Learn gave me a great purpose to get up in the morning and live life and be grateful for everything I have. These days, I have my gorgeous Milla who is 2 years old…. so I work part time. Most mornings are about cooking breakfast, putting washing on and packing orders. I then dedicate the afternoon to hanging out with Milla and taking photos of her play. Then after dinner I do paper work and connect with my social media family. A few nights a week I try to turn the computer off and spend time with my husband. It sure is a juggling act at times but it’s all about balance which I’m still practicing.’

Who are your biggest influencers when it comes to kids interior design and décor?

‘I do find my biggest influence comes from the Steiner philosophy which promotes learning through natural open ended materials to promote imaginative play. Id have to say Alexx Stuart from Low Tox Living influences me when it comes to choosing décor.’

MINTY’S TOP 3 PLAY TO LEARN PICKS

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