he Ukrainian company Ugears sells fine wooden toys all over the world. The three-dimensional models reach the customers in individual parts and then have to be put together like a puzzle without glue.
Hundreds of individual parts are in each of these models. You won’t find any plastic, glue or batteries here – the trains and trucks consist exclusively of pieces of wood that have been put together. The mechanics provide movement, here rubber bands are used as an exception. And there are not only vehicles:
“Nobody expected us to get a musical instrument that you can assemble and really play. Our customers can build a medieval instrument like the old masters.”
The company Ugears was founded in 2014 in Kiev and sold since toy in the world. To be successful in the plastic age with 3D wooden models, every angle has to be right, every detail has to be right. It often takes dozens of tries to get everything perfect. This is where trained engineers work on this. What appeals to you about work?
“It is always interesting to think of something for yourself and then to put it into practice.”
Once a design has been approved, a laser cuts the individual parts into thin plywood panels. These can be removed from the plate at home and assembled using the instructions for the figure.
There are now around 30 models – from beginners to professionals, there is something for everyone. But sometimes customers have special requests.
“In Southeast Asia, our partners ask us to put a character in the middle of the model instead of a ballerina. These characters are supposed to symbolize luck, for example. The ballerina does not move there. It is always about giving the customer what means something to them Then the product logically also sells better. “
Assembling the “tractor” model with 97 individual parts only takes three quarters of an hour, at least for the experienced hobbyist. The most complex figures consist of almost 600 parts. Analog tinkering seems to be arriving in the digital age.
The Ukrainian capital, Kiev, is designed and manufactured. But less than a tenth of the country’s production remains. The majority is exported – especially in the run-up to Christmas. Because overseas customers have long since discovered the former startup. Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, this is not a problem, even without expensive advertising. The company sells its products in around 80 countries. Even large companies have already knocked on a collaboration. How should it go on?
“The goal is not to build ever larger models or to become even more complex. There are already clear limits, after which it becomes so difficult that most people can no longer assemble the figures. We are more concerned with aesthetics, originality. “
This wooden safe is original – and even a little bit suitable for everyday use. By the way, Ugears stands for “Ukrainian gears”, Ukrainian gears, a name that describes the core of the mechanical models well.