Small Changes, Big Impact
Tiny Earth Toys, a Durham-based toy company, creates beautiful and sustainable wooden toys for children of all ages. Founder & CEO, Rachael Classi discusses her personal sustainability ethos and its impacts on the company’s origins and trajectory as well as her own personal journey with sustainability. // Images courtesy of Tiny Earth Toys
Tiny Earth Toys (“Tiny Earth”), a toy company based in the Triangle, prioritizes high quality, low waste educational toys for children of all ages. While Founder & CEO Rachael Classi was hunkered down at home during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, she quickly realized how unconsciously wasteful the stresses of early parenthood had made her.
“I opened my eyes to some of the habits we developed in early parenthood. When forced to make quick choices, people can become overconsumers.”
What started as a neighborhood swapping system between isolated families quickly became a sustainable toy community with Classi at the helm.
After obtaining enough inventory to supply 15 families, Tiny Earth began to cultivate a community and reputation for high quality, low impact, family first products. With design motifs from Montessori theology, Tiny Earth’s toys put family interaction first, encouraging parents to continually participate in the growth and development of their child’s imagination.
“The Tiny Earth community has become one where families follow their intuitions and engage in their relationships with one another rather than in the stuff they have.”
Tiny Earth prioritizes family retention and satisfaction, hoping that their customers come to really appreciate the opportunities to lean into their relationships.
When asked about what’s next for Tiny Earth, Classi said this:
“We want to start a movement in the early childhood industry and change the paradigm of consumption.”
With an eye on customer retention and satisfaction, Tiny Earth continues to grow and look towards increasing accessibility to their product. High-quality, sustainability made products are often more expensive to procure and consumers bear the brunt of that cost in their membership fees. Classi stressed that increasing accessibility was a high priority because of the universality of the need: everyone deserves to be able to make positive impacts with the products they choose.
“I want this movement to expand beyond the toy industry – I want everyone to see the value of ‘less is more’ when it comes to clutter in your home and connection with your family”
Classi’s reduced plastic practices extend into her personal life as she incrementally works to tackle her plastic consumption. Picking a room and then systematically thinking through reduction strategies, this July, Classi happens to be working on her bathroom. Switching from bottle to bar soap and other small acts are among the tools she’s using that work towards her larger consumption management goals.