I love that my suppliers and makers are so passionate about their products, it's one of the reasons I chose to stock their items within my store. Last month I caught up with PLAYin CHOC founder Maya, we chatted about how she started and what exciting projects she's working on.
Meet The Maker - PLAYin CHOC
1. Can you introduce yourself, who are you and where are you from, and what did you do before starting PLAYin CHOC?
Hi, I am Maya Simler and I was born in Belgrade at the time it was the capital of Yugoslavia. My family is from different places in ex Yugoslavia + Italian ancestry. We lived in many different places like Iran, Serbia and Russia and I came to the UK by myself as a student aged 18.I did a few semesters in LA while doing my BA in Visual Communications and also in Sevilla while studying for my MA in Scenogrphy at Central St Martins. I always loved traveling and experiencing life and cultures of different places, while always coming back home to visit my family in Montenegro every summer. London has been my base now for over 20 years.I am married now and have 2 boys (aged 6 and 9) and we live in Highgate Village
2. What inspired you to start this business, PLAYin CHOC?
I worked as a Graphic and Interior designer and studied design for film and theatre as well as animation…i always had broad art and design interests. Also I was teaching design at a private University. It is after having kids and pausing for a while that I wanted to reevaluate it all. I was thinking of how to put many things I like and care for into something. I always loved chocolate :) and as we are lactose intolerant in the family it had to be dairy free. Also, as I promote and enjoy the benefits of a healthy diet it had to have a minimum amount of sugar and no refined sugar ( I know the negative “sugar high” kids can get).The main motivation for me was to try and engage kids through play and joy in the natural world and caring for our planet. Kids are the best about asking honest questions and the hope is they can trigger conversations with parents and teachers.
3. Along with all your products being absolutely delicious and the packaging looking fabulous everything in the box (and the box!) is also eco friendly too isn’t it?- Could you talk abut more about that and why is this something that’s really important to you and your brand?
Creating an ethical and educational brand which can raise awareness is some small way about the planet we are leaving to our children was the core of my inspiration.It was important for me to create a product which didn’t contain any plastic or anything harmful for the environment. Another important thing is to raise awareness about nature, animals and how to preserve what we have. I am so pleased to see that there are more companies and brands now going in this direction.
4. I understand that you donate to UNICEF and WWF on every sale of your products - can you tell us why these charities are so important and why you chose to donate to them?
Our products were primarily for kids and as a kids charity UNICEF is well known and good fit. WWF is a good fit for for our endangered animal series. My younger son Max always loved animals and he inspired the first range for PLAYin CHOC.
5. And finally, what do you think is next for PLAYin CHOC - do you want to expand your products and whats in the pipeline?
We hope to bring out many more series and new variations on our chocolate recipe that many can enjoy. Shortly we will be launching Woodland Animals series and something for Christmas. We also have small packs of 5 chocs coming out.
Trust me when I say these chocolates are not only delicious, but are also designed with children's imaginations in mind.