At Extasticks we develop, manufacture and sell lovingly and sustainably crafted educational toys for all kids.
Children learn most when they play. Our toys foster natural learning inspired in fundamental values, made of natural and eco-friendly materials, crafted with highest care for thoughtful playtimes.
All toys are lovingly thought-out by parents for the most important phase of body and mind development of children.
Why we do what we do
At Extasticks we care a lot about a healthy and valuable education for children through lovingly and well thought out educational toys.
But our mission is even bigger than that, we envision that the future generations will be happier, freer and more prosperous than ours. Everything we do aims at enabling kids to enjoy a high and healthy self-esteem, and to achieve any purpose in life.
Our intention is to promote and stimulate – through all the toys and activities that we offer – the interaction of parents, educators and children, so that everyone recognizes their own power while playing and learning with fun.
This is our real mission in Extasticks behind everything we do and promote.
Core Values and Culture
There isn’t probably anything more important in the world than the education and development of our children, however often due to lack of time, lack of interest, fear or comfort we delegate the most important task we have to others.
At Extasticks we are convinced that there is nothing more important than the development of our children to offer them a better future.
That’s why we dedicate ourselves with passion, enthusiasm and commitment to develop and promote the most valuable toys to play, learn, develop and grow as strong, healthy and happy children.
We believe and trust that we – as parents – are the main actors, the biggest influencers in the lives of our children and that is why we dedicate all our time and effort to improve ourselves and give them the best version of ourselves. Like this they will have us as their greatest references, and by imitating us, they learn to live with high confidence and security, with a purpose in life and with a beautiful and great smile.
The most sacred freedom is the freedom to THINK. Thinking means acting, performing, having the power to make things happen.
The tools to practice and promote this power in children are educational toys and oriented activities with this purpose.
The most advanced sciences show that more than 75% of what we perceive and incorporate in our life as learning, is governed by physiology, that is, by the interaction we have with the environment that surrounds us through our body. It is proven that a simple smile, a simple movement, a simple action can generate millions of neuronal connections in the brain (many more than an image or a sound).
The vanguard sciences today have proven that the slowest way to learn is through listening, where only one sense (the hearing) intervenes. Followed by the reading (where more senses already participate – hearing, seeing). The most effective and forceful way to learn is the EXPERIENCE, when we take action, when we practice, touch and move the body – that’s when we really understand and the knowledge gets fixed in the mind.
We can see a thousand videos, or read 100 books on how to build a toy bridge, but what will really set awareness in consciousness, is action and practice – when we really build it – because all the senses participate and the brain uses all the available resources.
The moment in which children create and capture things that are in their imagination in the real world, the moment they see in the physical world what was previously in their mind, that´s the moment when they begin to be aware of their creative power, their potential, their freedom and their responsibility as human beings.
That is why educational toys are so important to stimulate children’s learning and development of all mental and emotional capacities, and why they are becoming increasingly important and are among the most required items by the most advanced teaching institutions in the world.
This is the main reason why we promote educational toys and interactive games among our children.
Actually it all started with our own experience as parents and the question that we asked ourselves so many times: How can we support our kids to learn all essential skills and values while playing? Having observed our own kids, we knew that children learn constantly through play, that they have a natural tendency to know, investigate and learn new things all the time.
This was how Anne Häfele and Mariano Suárez started thinking of a way to offer not only their own kids, but many more families – because it seemed to be selfish to think just about their own kids – the opportunity to educate their children in a healthy, active and pedagogically valuable way.
Mariano and Anne have two kids together, one girl and one boy, and they both felt that one of the most important investments they could ever make was in the education of their children.
With this idea in mind, they soon developed the first wooden toys, and their kids of course were the challenging testers to improve the idea and make the toys really valuable, robust and fun!
As their kids grew up, they not only involved them to test toys, but also to learn about business, manufacturing, sales, organization, and so many other things they would not be learning at school.
In the development of their toys they were guided by all the essential skills, not only numbers, letters, motor skills, logic, thinking, and problem solving, but also emotional and social intelligence, by learning about their thoughts and emotions and how to make better decisions for the life they want to live.
With this in mind, they not only developed toys, but also started to write books that would be included in the play sets. Together with the German partner brand Schmetterline and the co-author and educational expert Vanessa Hoffmann, they created two interactive books.
The books “Willie’s Colors” and “Willie´s Magic Glasses” are stories about Willie presenting children with different emotions and thoughts and the consequences of these feelings and mindsets for their own lives in a simple, visual and playful way.
The reader can decide how Willie should feel and depending on the selection, the story continues differently – on a different page!
With the help of Willie’s story, kids will be able to observe how everyone can change how their day is going through their own decisions!
The books as well as our brand were born out of the desire to offer playful learning and contact with natural and holistic values not only to their own children, but to many others.
About our CEO
Annette I was born in Stuttgart, she is German, married and a mother of two children.
As a child, she was already interested in how things were created and transformed, and so at some point she became a mechanical engineer. Later as a strategy consultant she continued to travel to many places in the world and also got to know various social children’s projects that inspired her.
Extasticks was born out of her heart’s desire that as many children as possible should experience a happy childhood that prepares them well for their future.
The market and organization
When Extasticks was founded in 2016, the need for educational tools to support a healthy education, but also the need for off-screen activities that many parents were looking for, were increasing.
During 2020 and 2021 the tendency went into digital purchasing, and as Extasticks customers are also beautiful physical toy stores, a slight shift towards the digital world was visible.
To constantly communicate what makes Extasticks toys different, and to build a strong team that is constantly growing – Extasticks is always looking for passionate professionals – has been a beautiful and purposeful challenge, for which it is worth getting up every day and putting in the effort.
It never gets boring when covering so many different activities: starting from developing all the toys and educational content, the manufacturing and quality supervision, the supply chain and logistics, and the marketing and sales – especially when you know why you do what you do.
What we learned so far
If we, as founders, look back today and forth, and ask ourselves what we can learn from our experience, there are several aspects that we did right, or did wrong and learned.
The main outtakes are:
● Focus on what you love and feel passion for.
● Have a clear goal and “image” in mind of what you want to achieve with your endeavor (even if it feels unrealistic at this very moment).
● Get your “why”, your mission very clear. There will be tough moments and to stay on the path you need to know clearly why you do what you do.
● Prepare to make 10 times the effort and the time you think you need to achieve your goal.
● Partner with someone who really complements you (not someone with the same skills).
● Never underestimate the importance of sales. Your product might be technically perfect, but if nobody knows it, nobody will find and purchase it.
● Always continue educating yourself, the business can only grow to the extent that you are growing.
● There are no real sustainable short-cuts: Be willing to put in the hard work and stay disciplined in achieving what you want.
● Go to trade shows to network. Your network is your net worth.
● Always use any given opportunity to expand and make your business known. You never know what opportunity arises next.
● Train yourself and your team. You will never attract a team that is better than you are, so you have to improve.
● Take your time to think on your own. The best ideas arise in silence and on your own.
● Trust in yourself more than in any of the thousands of advises you might get. Take advice only from those that are clearly ahead of you and have reached goals that you still want to achieve.
● Do whatever it takes. If the business requires you to move, move. If the business requires you to work very early, wake up very early.
● Have fun. Yes, business requires seriousness, but always remember that it also should be fun, and it is a game in which you want to win.