Why Flat Pack?

Posted on December 29, 2011 by David Smalley | 1 Comment

Above: The parts for 45 complete toy kitchens an the box for one assembled kitchen.

Our company, Elves and Angels Inc., has been handcrafting this solid wood product line for 24 years. When we began in 1988 and first went to theNew York Toy Fair, there was hardly a children's kitchen anywhere to be found.  Since then, we have produced the very best, natural product on the market.  It has been the life blood of our entire family of 12 children.  All of us have worked together to make Elves and Angels the best it could be. When we first started, all of our products were made of solid pine and finished with a non-toxic edible finish and shipped completely assembled.

Back in Novemberof 2004 we suffered a devastating fire that destroyed our entire business, inventory, and 1/3 of our home.  Since then many other companies have not only copied our original product line, but the entire concept of this business, only changing the names of the products.  Many of these companies boldly represent themselves as being very concerned about the earth, and the future of our planet.  Some plant trees, some use recycled packing materials, apply natural scents, etc.  Some of the companies that have copied our products use key words and phrases in bold print, such as Assembled, No Plywood, No MDF,  Natural Finish,  Planting Trees, Natural Pine, We Are Saving the Earth!

In 2006, we became aware of the incredible impact that shipping an assembled product line has on the environment.  Looking back at when we used to ship an assembled product line at Christmas time, there were many days that it took 3 or 4 trucks to pick up our products. That is A LOT of trucks...A LOT of gasoline...A LOT of carbon dioxide...A LOT of wasted packing material...A LOT of air shipping, all to ship an ASSEMBLED PRODUCT all across the country.  It doesn't take many of these assembled product boxes to fill up a UPS or USPS delivery truck. What is the result? They simply send a few MORE trucks, which doubles or triples the impact on the environment that we are trying to be conscious of.  

To Elves and Angels, this sounds like a lot of WASTE.  

So, in an effort to redesign our products to lessen the environmental impact, we began a two-year journey to bring ALL of our Elves and Angels products into the flat-pack format.  It was VERY difficult.  We made all the patterns ourselves, and altered our designs to fit this format. Many times, we nearly gave up.  In the end, we decided to use one piece of formaldehyde-free plywood on the lower backs or our kitchens, and one piece on the bottom of our doll’s cradle to make assembly easier for the customer who assembles our product. This “green” plywood is very expensive, and exceeds all California Air Resource Board (CARB) safety requirements for plywood. While the flat-pack format is more time consuming and takes much more craftsmanship to complete (all the parts must fit, all the time), by going to an unassembled product line, we have been able to cut the environmental impact of our products by 50-75%.  You, the customer, can share in our effort to lesson the impact on our environment by choosing to assemble the product yourself with our simple, easy to follow instructions.

Posted in environment, flat pack, sustainability


Heartwood: Elves and Angels: 25 Years of Sharing a Love of Wood, Children, and Family

1 Response

Susan Smalley
Susan Smalley

May 06, 2012

David,
I always said, you are a genius. This, along with everything else you’ve done, just proves that fact.
Great job as usual. Like someone once said to you…“Dave, It doesn’t get any better than this!”
Susan

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