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"Most toys are educational"

Florenci Verbon, general director of Educa Borrás


Florenci Verbon is in charge of Educa Borrás, a company established in 2001 after the fusion of two jigsaws and games companies: Educa Sallent (born in 1967) and Borrás Plana (started in 1894). This toy manufacturer is focused in educational products, and combines classical articles like its magic games, as well as new electronic devices. As Verbon explains, the company also shows a way of working opposed to the current general business trend: Educa Borrás still locates the majority of its production in Sant Quirze del Vallés (Barcelona) while exporting to the whole world, including of course Taiwan and China.

What is the educational toys and games added value compared to other kinds of games or against electronic devices and videogames?
Contents are the main aspect, and these contents don't really change much. What changes is the way of offering them to children. Most toys are educational, at least partly. Playing is educational. However, so-called educational toys are focused in aspects more strictly addressed to learning specific contents. It should also be taken into account that educational games, because of this characteristic, allow a more accurate adjustment to age categories, according to what we know about capacities and the development of children of every specific age. In Educa Borrás we try to recommend parents the most adequate games for their children. Concerning technology, this is only another way of introducing contents. Traditional educational games have evolved and this is the reason why we make games that talk, make noises, that are used with a PC help, and that in conclusion interrelate with the kid interactively.

What will be the most important trends in toys for the following years?
Undoubtedly there will be an evolution in the technology direction, but without leaving aside the basic educational game, that will be enriched with new materials and game formulas. The manipulative aspect of a classical educational game will be maintained, as development of hand dexterity is very important.

The company is highly focused on international distribution, but keeps most of its production in Sant Quirze del Vallés. What is the reason of this decision, as global trend is of the relocation of production?
We think that one thing does not exclude the other. It is true that Educa Borras always had a great international vocation. It is logic, as the local market is not very big (2,5% of the global market), and is also mature and without big growth. Also, our market share for the product lines in which we are present is already very high. Every Spanish company, of any field, that has currently good results has an important share of its sales in the exterior market (as for example the business portfolio of Banco de Santander shows).

Concerning our manufacturing decisions, if we are still manufacturing more than 90% of our products in Spain is because thanks to our investments, we keep our level of competitiveness with European quality and maximum flexibility of adaptation to demand changes. It is true that it seems incredible to keep a good growth while manufacturing in euros and selling in dollars, with the current exchange rates, but it is simply a yearly proven fact. As an obvious example, Asia and Pacific is part of our international markets and in fact we export products manufactured in Sant Quirze del Vallés to Taiwan, China, New Zealand and Australia.
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