It's a busy time of year for us magazine editors as we curate our Christmas guides. But there’s enough time to meet the founder of Turtle & Badger, champion of sustainable toys.
Lucy Cuthbert, 28, lives in London with her fiancé Tom. At the beginning of February, she left behind her job as an Events Director to pursue her passion in sustainable and eco-conscious toys. Having launched Turtle & Badger earlier this month, Lucy talks about the benefits of investing in sustainably made toys.
If you, like many, are beginning to take a look at how small changes in your lifestyle could help the environment, it might be time to look at the toybox. As more businesses are pledging to become carbon neutral, a number of design-led toys brands are emerging who are putting sustainability first. It’s all a step in the right direction, says Lucy Cuthbert, Director of Turtle & Badger, an online store championing sustainable and eco-friendly toy brands.
With four nieces to buy birthday and Christmas gifts for, Lucy was struggling to find somewhere that stocked eco-friendly toys. “Even when I found a sustainably made toy, they would arrive in wasteful packaging and wrapped in single-use plastic,” she explains. That’s where the idea for Turtle & Badger was born. “I wanted to build a site that people can visit and feel confident that every part of their gift is considered and sustainable. But I also wanted the toys to be beautiful and most importantly, good fun for the kids.”
Passionate about reforming our use of toys, Lucy is keen to spread the word about the advantage of investing in timeless toys that will last for generations. “Nearly 1 in 3 parents say they have thrown away toys that are in perfect working order, and so many of these – especially the plastic ones – will end up in landfill. Wooden and organic toys are an investment that are more likely to be kept as keepsakes or be passed down to younger siblings or friends.”
The materials bring benefits too. “The natural textures of wooden and organic toys are much nicer for kids to touch and feel. They don’t contain the chemicals or sharp edges that
some plastic toys do. And the simple designs encourage kids to use their imagination, helping them build problem solving and fine motor skills.”
Making it happen
"I was at a point in my life where I was becoming very aware of my own impact on the environment,” says Lucy. “Working in events, I was travelling all over the world and saw first-hand, the amount of waste this industry produces and wanted to move away from that lifestyle.” The nationwide lockdown earlier this year posed a challenge for Lucy who was hoping to conduct a little more market research in person before launching. “Lockdown did mean I could dedicate myself to launching the business without distractions, though,” she says.
“It’s been lovely getting positive feedback from customers who are enjoying the toys – especially when they send pictures of their kids playing with them.” So what’s next for Turtle & Badger? “I’d love to begin developing some of my own toys.” But for now – with her spare-room-turned-stockroom and the kitchen table a (sustainable) wrapping station – Lucy is busy packing up orders ahead of the Christmas rush.