Architect turned European toy importer. Hardly the career path Liz James, Director of Play Imports Pty Ltd would have predicted for herself. Yet eight years ago while in Paris shopping for her newly arrived twin granddaughters, Liz’s future was about to undertake a somewhat whimsical transformation.
Becoming fascinated by toys, Liz and her daughter opened a toy shop in Merimbula, importing many brands directly from Europe. The business grew and Liz left the stress of architectural practice to work full time in the family’s burgeoning toy importing business.
Play Imports is now the Australian name behind such brands as Moulin Roty (France) – theme based soft toys & accessories, wooden toys and children’s play furniture, Vilac (France) – lacquered wooden and traditional toys, Petitcollin (France) – collectable traditional dolls, play dolls & accessories and Kellner Steckfiguren (Germany) – quirky characters made from interlocking wooden pieces.
Play Imports philosophy is represent products that side-step mass consumerism to offer treasures that will be loved generation after generation.
Liz recently took a few moments to share her thoughts about Kids Instyle and what she’s up to…
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Learning about a whole new world, meeting lots of lovely people, the active involvement of my family – husband, daughter, son and sister, and having a big warehouse to potter about in (now I know why men love their sheds!)
When did you start exhibiting at Kids Instyle?
Why do you exhibit at Kids Instyle?
Because the focus is on design excellence and they have a very professional approach to everything they do.
What has been your Kids Instyle highlight?
Our first July fair in Melbourne 2007 – we were simply overwhelmed with the response. Also the complimentary champagne and chocolates on opening night!
What can we expect from you at the next show?
The old faithful items plus some new Moulin Roty ranges – am still in the planning stage.
Right now I’m:
Eating…. Whatever my husband cooks for me!
Drinking... Cold French Rose
Reading… ‘The Bath Fugues’ by Brian Castro
Hearing… The roaring surf at Pambula Beach after 3 days of rain.
Planning… To bring Moulin Roty’s baby furniture range into Australia
Enjoying… The beach in winter
Catch Liz and Play Imports at Kids Instyle in Melbourne this August.