Getting crafty to make child's play of toy business


Getting crafty to make child’s play of toy business

For father of one, Philip Dooling in Ballysaggart, making toys that would be durable, safe and fun for his young son, Frankie spurred himself and his wife Alysia on to set up their own business.

Thursday, 13 December 2012
9:00 AM GMT


For father of one, Philip Dooling in Ballysaggart, making toys that would be durable, safe and fun for his young son, Frankie spurred himself and his wife Alysia on to set up their own business.

The couple started playing around with the business idea a year and a half ago and in February of this year, they put Crafty Creations out there, as a place where people could buy customised farm sets, handmade wooden toys, stable sets and most importantly, toys that would last not only for this lifetime, but could be passed on for generations to come.

Philip made his first farm set for his son Frankie (who is almost three) and it was his father William who had pushed him on to do it - when they had a birthday party in the house, people fell in love with the farm set and said it was something he should make and sell.

Philip said that before he set up the business, with his wife Alysia who looks after the administration and website (, he spent up to 8 months designing and making toys and sets. Then they took a stall in Lismore farmers' market to see how people reacted to the pieces and were blown away by the overwhelmingly positive response.

"Alysia wants the business to thrive, grow and be a success just as much as I do and it is thanks to her work on the website, that we are selling toys and sets all over the country," he said.


While some of the toys may seem a little pricey, considering the work and detail that goes into them, they are worth every cent and more - one farm set could take a week and a half to make.

Being a parent, Philip also makes sure that everything in the farm sets moves, slides or opens, so that there is lots to do with the sets and he said that the farm sets appeal to young budding farmers, people who live in towns and want to play with miniatures of the machines they see driving down the road or children who have an interest in farms.

For one woman, he even put a personal message on the base of the toy, so that when the children are older, they will have a little piece of history, in an everlasting message from their grandmother who could have given them the set when they were just 5 or 6.

The equisite wooden toys are made from three types of wood - oak, ash and walnut - which makes the individual features stand out and adds to the aesthetic quality of the toys.

"A lot of the toys you buy now won't really last, because they have batteries or electric motors. Everything is made from plastic and when it breaks you can't fix it.


"The wooden toys last longer and if they break, you can sand, glue and fix them. These are things that you can put up on the mantlepiece in years to come and it is a traditional toy that can be carried on through the generations."

Speaking about how durable the toys are, Philip spoke about a wooden tractor, which he brings to shows for display - he said that this would have been played with by up to 5,000 children and is still as good as new.

Philip also insists on using non-toxic glues and paints, as little kids will bite and chew on anything, and you can't put anything in the toys that could harm them.

"I wouldn't sell anything that I wouldn't give to my own son," Philip said.

For Philip and Alysia, it is also great to have a business that not only caters for the growing play needs of their son, but is also something they can do from home and with Philip's parents, Margaret and William next door, they look after little Frankie whenever they have a lot of orders to get out.

Looking to the future, they plan to extend the business by making more toys, more sets and having buildings for every facet of life.

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