As a leader in the design and manufacture of high-quality children’s toys made from sustainable materials, and a quality brand possessing a long and respected history, Hape - a shining star in the toy industry - and its founder have attracted the attention of many renowned and influential associations from all around the world. Recently, Peter Handstein, the Founder and CEO of Hape Group, was invited to attend 4 interviews, sharing his unique experiences and extending his insightful ideas on Hape and the toy industry to all.
The China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (CTJPA), the only national association for the toy and juvenile products industry in China, as well as the sole legal representative for China’s toy and juvenile products industry in the International Council of Toy Industry (ICTI), designated by the Chinese government, showed great interest in Peter’s story and, therefore, invited Peter to an interview. Other than Peter’s legendary entrepreneurship and unique vision, the CEO’s farsighted view on sustainable development really caught the eyes of many. As Peter said, Hape has made a commitment to the environment, and makes endeavours towards carbon neutral development, as well as spending time researching the possibility of adopting more diverse and sustainable materials, like cork and natural rubber, into its toy production, in order to reduce the industry’s effect on environment. Also, Peter believes that after the pandemic, more and more people will be focused on the environment, and may well be more willing to help protect nature. “Sustainable development and environmentally friendly toys are the trend of the times”, said by Peter, adding that Hape will always put a priority on the safety and sustainability of its toys’ raw materials.
The world-renowned professional expo, Children-Baby-Maternity Expo (CBME), celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, and hosted an in-depth interview with Peter, attaching great importance to his ideas and views on the changing industry and society in general. CBME is a professional foreign trade forum for maternal and children’s products that was established 20 years ago, in which time the children’s and maternal products industry has undergone rapid growth, thanks in part to the firm support of CBME. Peter really appreciates such endeavours, and feels lucky to have made the right choice in 1990s, riding the crest of the wave during the robust development of China’s economy and society. Also, Peter has always paid close attention to the industry, and has noticed that the consumers' consumption behaviour and habits have changed really fast in recent years, and that the voice and preferences of consumers has more impact on toy manufacturers in turn. In addition, Peter indicated that the views of Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) on social media has had a profound influence on the industry and on the consumers.
As an outstanding leader and entrepreneur, Peter was also invited to speak at the “2020 Female Leadership Forum: Leading with Purpose”, an online speech forum co-hosted by CEIBS MBA Women’s Leadership Network and Global Women Connect. Peter inspired the audience with a Jewish allegory, “one can know the amount of seeds an apple has with a cut, but one can never get the accurate number of apples a seed can breed – none if in a barren land, but plenty if in fertile land with abundant sunlight and rain…”. And then, he shared a true story about Hape: 15 years ago, Peter offered a 25-year-old girl with great ambitions the chance to run a newly-acquired operation in Canada. The young woman, unafraid of failures and adversity, seized the opportunity and, after 7 or 8 years, the company was 10 times bigger than the original one. Backed-up by this true story, Peter restated his philosophy of “propelling change through empowerment”. Every person has infinite possibilities and endless potential, and there’s nothing to stop female leaders making brilliant achievements.
And, last but not least, The CEO Magazine, a world-renowned business magazine that focuses on the world’s most successful leaders, executives, investors and entrepreneurs, ran a story on Hape and Peter. For 35 years, Peter has kept his motto - “Good design principles, from day one, have the child in focus” - in his mind. Peter acknowledges he hasn’t had many jobs throughout his career, but still maintains that his is the ultimate. It is love that makes Hape’s toys stand out, leading them to being recognised by more and more experts and consumers around the world. Peter loves to make and create toys for children, and sticks steadfastly his commitment to children and the environment. Intelligent, honest and engaging, Peter insists on doing things for the greater good.
From an early childhood educational products supplier to a “Hape toy wonderland”, Hape is a miracle; and transforming from an ordinary blacksmith into an international group’s CEO, has made Peter legend. Everything, however, has its own way. Only after undergoing 35 years of hardwork, did Hape gain popularity among the general public. Likewise, it’s Peter’s firm beliefs and high standards as a toymaker that make him a successful leader. In the future, we will stick to his commitment and deliver love and happiness to more children and families around the world through Hape toys and products.