Bajo has been present for 30 years. It was established in a tiny village of Kamionna, at the foot of the mountain bearing the same name. We started the company at the break of 90’s, in time of historical change of political system. Back then, the free market in Poland was virtually non-existent. We created toys for consumers yet to be. Interest in our products was growing along Bajo’s development.
The situation in which we began our work forever determined how we run the company. We seek inspiration in tension between conservative world of childhood and wood and contemporary pace of life, technology advancements, virtual reality, overconsumption and flood of information,
ecological issues and intensity of social change.
What we offer to parents, grandparents and most of all to children is becoming a master of fun and game.
The real fun is based on creating new ways of communication, prescinding, using symbols, infinite possibility of new worlds. Every child who is having fun is an artist. There is an immense potential hidden in the act of playing and it pays off later throughout life.
We intend to serve the art of playing. This is why we create toys.
Bajo emerged shortly after great social victory of Solidarity movement. The victory instantly became giant, systemic transition challenge. In our small village, as elsewhere in Poland, there was a lack of capital, tools, technology and experience to handle the new economic order. Idea of Solidarity gave us the concept to start production of wooden items made by elderly and disabled individuals, in such a way that did not require specialized skills. There was abundance of wood from old orchards, which were cut down in bulk. Finally, we, the founders, added in our professional skills. We are master designers and academic teachers at Cracow’s Polytechnic, department of architecture. And this is how designing, producing and selling toys began.
Nowadays, our company employs people who find it difficult to compete for work.
Our pedagogical proficiency allows us to educate youth from surrounding villages and vocational schools as well as Academy of Fine Arts students. We have taken part in numerous local and European educational, prosocial programs. We are partners with therapeutic and juvenile centers. The toys we make carry notion of solidarity in themselves. In the design process we always focus on the possibilities of reaching out to new people. The ultimate goal is to provide education and blissful childhood through the toys we create. They have the power to inspire actions that lead to climate crisis prevention, better understanding and acceptance of social diversity.
We are Eco-friendly!
We use renewable, easy to recycle material, which is wood of deciduous trees. It comes from places with sustainable forestry. We also source valuable detritus from furniture and parquet manufacturers. Furthermore, we apply cardboard, wool felt and organic cotton. However, material doesn’t quite define our approach to ecology related problems. The starting point here is design and production process. The main objective is to make solid, lasting things. We know for a fact that the second generation plays with the same Bajo toys. We replace missing pieces, fix our toys and keep in touch with our costumers. Timeless design gives new life to Bajo toys and sometimes they become home decorative elements, childhood memorabilia. In the production process we have increased the renewable energy sources. Factory roof is covered with solar panels. Good proof of coexistence with surrounding nature is the fact that deer raise little ones in the woods around the factory, birds build nests inside our facility. We basically eliminated plastic in the packaging and transport stages.
Wooden toys communicate core ecological ideas. Contact with wood, its friendly warmth, possibility to build a whole universe from simple elements and a message that it carries - we believe these are crucial steps in forming environmental consciousness. One may say that wooden toys convey the love for nature in a perfect way.
Unlike plastic, wood biodegradates quickly and doesn’t contaminate the environment. Trees grow back while plastic is just litter.
We use smaller pieces of wood that would otherwise be wasted in other factories.
All our wood comes from companies that respect EU Timber Regulations, so we can be sure they are sustainable plantations not damaging any forests or ecosystems.
We limit the usage of plastics. We have eliminated them from packaging, and we use cardboard filling to secure shipments.
We find use for almost every piece of wood. The residues become wood-based raw material for other uses.
Wooden toys are for children a direct connection to the natural world, they improve mental and physical wellbeing.
Each toy is made in our factory, located in a small Polish town, and its presence has a positive impact on the on the life, and socioeconomic standard of the community.
We create beautiful, timeless and durable toys that can be passed down from generation to generation.
Many of our toys are designed to raise awareness about the challenges of the modern world and the "green conscience" or responsibility for the planet.
The sun is an important source of energy in our factory. Every year we install more and more solar panels to power our factory with green energy.
Poland was going through many changes after overcoming communism. The result of the elections of 1989 was a joyful moment and it opened new possibilities. In spite of that, the lack of work and the distrust of a new economic system, aroused understandable fear in local communities.
The farmers were cutting down massive old orchards, and amazing wood from fruit trees was available for essentially pocket change. So, as the designers we were, we felt compelled to reveal the unique beauty of this material, using it as a source of inspiration for our designs.
In the neighboring markets there was an increasing interest in wooden toys and our designs were received very positively. However, no one in the area wanted to implement our ideas or manufacture the toys.
This is how Bajo was born!
Back in those days there were no experts in toy manufacturing, so we decided to break down all the necessary tasks into small, simple steps that could easily be performed by almost anyone.The lack of space and machinery prompted us to rent an old carpentry (1993) that we eventually bought and renovated.
We named the company after our family name “Bajor”. However, we decided to use the “registered trademark symbol” as the last letter of the name.
Time to reach our clients! After many unsuccessful attempts to find a seller for our toys, we decided to open in Kraków the first Polish-made wooden toys store in the country (spring 1994). This allowed us to establish contacts with foreign clients. At this point the Polish market practically did not exist.
In the fall of 1994 we took part in an exhibition in Poznań, where we won a medal for a set of wooden cars.
In 1995 we took part in Nuremberg's Toy Fair for the first time. The quality and technology of the participants were sky-high, we could only compete with our originality and the unique beauty of our wood. After years of hard work, we won the German Design Award (Deutscher Designpreis, 2002).
In 2004 Poland joined the EU. That helped to break down the distrust usually associated with brands coming from Eastern Europe. In places like North America, Japan, or Australia, Bajo Toys started to be perceived as fully European.
During the following decade our company grew slowly but surely. New contacts, customers, distributors, and agents jumped aboard and joined our dream. In 2010 we took part in the Bambini European design program. We expanded the factory acquiring new skills and technologies.
Packaging made from raw cardboard and printed with a single color was at that point an eco-trend yet to come. Many customers found it difficult to accept that our products didn't come inside the same shiny, colorful boxes other brands were using. Time proved us right, the simplicity of our boxes started to stand out and became one of our brand’s characteristics.
In 2013, we created the brand TOBE. A new generation of designers entered the company, and with them new styles, new materials and experimentation.
We currently collaborate with many companies around the world for which we create unique products. We try to respond to the challenges of the present day through our work and toys.
We believe that in a world with an uncertain future, a seemingly trivial toy can be a source of hope and a sign of solidarity. We act because a child’s play is a form of resistance.
We use only certified non-toxic paints based on natural components, which fulfil EU safety standard (EN71) and US norms. We use wide range of water based paints as well as oil to protect the wood.
We use carefully selected high quality materials from certified local suppliers, who respect European eco-standards of wood production. The types of wood we usea are birch, sycamore, beech, oak, walnut, among others.
Our toys correspond to all EU and US standards and requirements for toys safety (Directive 2009/48/EC and REACH regulations) in terms of materials, manufacture and labelling. We use only the safest certified non-toxic paints based on natural components, which fulfil EU safety standard (EN71) and US norms. We support our community by using only carefully selected high quality materials from certified local suppliers, who respect European eco-standards of the wood production. Each product is hand-checked to ensure quality of the completed item.
In 2013 BAJO launched a new design collective, and called it “TOBE”. This project brings to market creative toys designed by multiple designers. TOBE it's all about original ideas, new design solutions and material exploration. Even thought it is still a wooden toy project it has also soft toys, always keeping the same ecological approach to design already presented in Bajo.
At about the same time BAJO designed and produced under license a toy collection based on the award-winning children’s book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler : 'The Gruffalo' and 'The Gruffalo's Child'.
Meet the Team
Head designer and CEO
Head designer and CEO
Art director / Toy designer
Toy designer + A lot more