Alain De Rauw on PlanToys, Marbles, Smurfs and Life


(Alain De Rauw, Plan Toys, International Sales Director

Europe, Asia (Ex. JP), Oceania, Middle East, Africa)

What do you do in the industry?

I just enjoy this wonderful industry since 1991 and love to connect people and create success for beautiful toy companies.

What are you working on now?

I have my consulting company and work as International sales director for PlanToys. I also have my own glass marbles company called www.hocaballs.com

Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

I love Smurfs and the day I discovered that the Smurf company was looking to find a partner, I applied right away.

What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you?

I see that traditional toy shops have difficulties because they fight against Amazon etc..

What advice can you give to inventors who are presenting new toy or game ideas to you?

Try to be different.

What advice would you give a young adult graduating from high school or college today?

Stay yourself and enjoy life.

What does your typical day look like?

Wake up, look outside to see the weather and do my emails.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

That I meet wonderful people.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had and what did you learn from it?

Never happened to me

What and/or who inspires you?

People who try to make a better World and who are happy with what they have.

What was your favorite toy or game as a child?

Marbles.

When were you born?

1969.

What was your life like growing up?

I am the youngest of 3 with great parents that gave me lots of liberty and chances. I could always do whatever I wanted to do. I played on the street every second I could, whether summer or winter.

Where did you grow up and how did that influence who you are today?

I grow up next to Ghent (Belgium) and in the street of the soccer club AA Gent. I was at the stadium all the time trying to find stuff I could use to make things with friends like small cottages in a small field close to my home.

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

One day I was 13 years old and going to smoke cigars. It was winter time and very cold. I made a little fire with the cigars and this small fire burned the hokey stadium. That day I decided that I will never smoke again.

What do you read every day, and why?

When I was a child I read the Smurfs and the rest of the time I just played outside.

What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?

My iphone.

How do you jump start your creativity when you find yourself stalled on a project?

I just look around me, walk and enjoy to see how others are enjoying life.

When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

I have many of those moments. But one one was just magic, 15 years ago and still when I think about it, I start laughing loud again. I can tell you when we meet next time. It is too long to write down, but a super story.

Are you named after anyone?

Nope.

Do you have any kiddos?

Yes 2, 1 boy and 1 girl.

Do you have any pets?

2 cats and 1 brown Labrador.

Do you play any musical instruments? If so, which one(s)?

Nope.

What’s the first thing you usually notice about people?

How they look to me and what vibes I feel.

What is your eye color?

Blue.

Do you prefer scary movies or happy endings?

Happy Endings.

Summer of Winter?

All seasons.

Hugs or Kisses?

Hug.

What’s your favorite TV show?

24.

Favorite movie of all time?

French Les Gendarmes.

(One in the series!)

What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

Australia.

Do you have any special talents?

It is easy for me to meet and connect to people.

What are your hobbies?

My work and walking with my dog are my hobbies.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What I am now, a salesman.

What’s next?

Continue what I do, meet more nice people, enjoy life and Rock&Roll!

Are you happy with what you already have been doing?

If I would start again, I will do exactly the same. I like it simple. I collect Smurfs, tin robot toys and beautiful wooden toys. And since I joined PlanToys, I look at life in a another way. Better kids for a Better World!

Several years ago I also started my own glass marbles company called www.hocaballs.com. I did that because I have been playing with marbles for years and years and I would love to see the young children of today to play with them as well. It stimulates the general child development.

(Shiny Toads - Just one of the many categories of marbles!)

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