Rafa and Lou: sustainable and 100% Made in France

Barely returned from the Made in France Fair, the creator of the new brand of wooden games in Clermont Rafa et Lou, launched her first Christmas campaign, an important moment for her very young company.

A newcomer in the world of wooden games for children aged 3 to 7, Rafa et Lou was born last September in Clermont, under the leadership of Emma de Laharpe, and is about to experience its first Christmas campaign. While today 80% of toys are made of plastic, mostly made in Asia and they are thrown away on average after 8 months, the new company intends to go against a system that is moving away clear of current environmental concerns. The products therefore meet strict criteria: 100% Made in France, reduced carbon footprint, zero plastic and durability. The games imagined in Auvergne are fashioned with solid beech in the heart of the Jura, a region where the know-how of a traditional industry lives on. The polished wooden blocks, without varnish, printed with vegetable oil-based ink are presented in a minimalist packaging made of recycled cardboard made in Auvergne conditioned by the ESAT du Brézet. Anne-Laure alias Cœur de Graph, whose studio is located in Olloix, signs the illustrations.

The first three boxes of a range in development

To date, Rafa et Lou produces and markets three nomadic boxes made up of 12 small wooden blocks and a booklet containing 12 games and stories. The different possible activities allow an evolutionary use from 3 to 7 years old, favoring in turn motor skills, logic, challenge, language and imagination. surprise birthday and The mystery pastry are the themes of the first two boxes, the third offering neutral and unillustrated blocks. If the principle of wooden blocks is reminiscent of the toys of yesteryear, their universe is firmly rooted in the 21st century. Rafa et Lou offers totally mixed pieces, chasing gender clichés, offering positive roles and models, even including characters with disabilities. These elements will be found in future creations of the brand.

A mother and 4 daughters

Emma de Laharpe from Auvergne by adoption is now very attached to this middle earth. A graduate of the Faculty of Rio de Janeiro in product design, she traveled the world, lived in the USA, raised 4 daughters, before “landing” in Auvergne where she still fairly recently held the position of operational excellence director for the group. Aubert & Duval. One day, when she was tidying up her youngest daughter’s room, she made the sad observation that families always end up parting with a certain number of toys, in particular the plastic ones that are too big, the electric ones that we never change the batteries, the too complicated ones, the very beautiful ones that must be preserved. In the end, only the evolving ones remain, those who remain in a family, in a word: the durable ones. Following this observation, Emma de Laharpe decided to create her company taking advantage of the funny period of confinement to give a new direction to her career. A stint in Squarelab, the incubator of ESC-Clermont, a few grants and scholarships in hand, and here she is, the creator of Rafa et Lou, a joyful and committed brand, hosted today by Appuy-Créateur. Before embarking on the big bath, she had worked a lot on prototypes, tested with her 4 daughters but also with a 15th family who appreciated the portable and evolving side. As for all toy manufacturers, the coming weeks are important for the continuation of this entrepreneurial adventure, the mother will not see her daughters much in the days to come.

Emma de Laharpe / Photo 7 Days in Clermont
Emma de Laharpe / Photo 7 Days in Clermont

The Rafa and Lou nomadic boxes are available at the Librairie Les Volcans, Cat Fox and Peonies opposite the Cathedral and in the two PeeKaBoo shops in Aubière and Clermont centre. Emma de Laharpe will also present them in the ephemeral Appuy creators boutique the week before Christmas in the Galerie Saint-Jean/Nacarat. It also offers sales on the web but prefers to see customers frequenting the shops of the merchants who accompany it, this is also the commitment.

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