Radio Flyer, the maker of The Authentic Little Purple Wagon™, is an iconic model that immediately transports many individuals to a contented time —the very best elements of childhood. I not too long ago had an opportunity to catch-up with Robert Pasin, the Chief Wagon Officer of Radio Flyer, a enterprise based by his grandfather in 1917.
Robert informed me how he and his crew of “Flyers” are targeted on constructing a extremely dedicated and inventive crew, and instilling a tradition of innovation and that firm gross sales have grown by an element of ten since he took over in 1997. Additional, the corporate’s product line has expanded past the enduring Little Purple Wagon™ to incorporate tricycles, scooters, and different ride-ons that includes revolutionary, stunning, playful designs. I used to be additionally stunned to study that Robert can also be the Emmy-winning producer of the animated quick movie, Taking Flight.
Whereas households have trusted and cherished Radio Flyer for 105 years, Robert needed to pave his personal path and reinvent the corporate to make sure the model may proceed to evolve to satisfy prospects’ wants with out dropping the model nostalgia that so many know and love. In 2021, for the primary time in Radio Flyer historical past, the model created a line of merchandise for adults: FLYER, a line of electrical bicycles designed particularly for households.
For greater than 20 years, Radio Flyer has additionally partnered with the Starlight Basis to supply wagons to be used in hospitals. The enduring Little Purple Wagon has been delivered to greater than 800 hospitals all through the nation bringing smiles, laughter and creativeness again into the lives of younger sufferers.
Robert informed me how he has targeted the corporate on sustainability and practices comparable to carbon-neutral delivery, aiming to face aside from the fad-driven, packaging-heavy nature of the toy trade. From sustainable packaging to Radio Flyer work arduous to make sure prospects can really feel sure their buy is made with eco-conscious practices in thoughts. In September 2022, Radio Flyer grew to become a Licensed B Company, changing into the primary world toy and eBike producer so acknowledged for its dedication and progress towards constructive environmental and social affect.
Beneath is an edited excerpt from our dialogue.
Christopher Marquis: Are you able to please share a bit concerning the historical past and values of Radio Flyer?
Robert Pasin: Radio Flyer was based in 1917 by my grandpa, Antonio Pasin, who began the enterprise with a wood coaster wagon that he would make at night time and promote in the course of the day. He was keen about making a fantastically designed, high quality product that might final a very long time. Certainly one of his core values was to create merchandise he could possibly be pleased with and that had inherent worth.
Now, greater than 100 years later, Radio Flyer makes rather more than our iconic Little Purple Wagon™. We make every little thing from tricycles to scooters to bounce homes. And, whereas we are actually the world chief in ride-ons for youths, we not too long ago joined the micro-mobility motion by launching electrical bicycles for adults. This product line is designed to satisfy the wants of households on the go, offering a sustainable and handy various to vehicles. Our purpose is extra bikes rides and fewer automotive journeys.
Regardless of our vital product diversification, our mission has remained the identical for over a century. We deliver smiles to children of all ages and create heat reminiscences that final a lifetime. For this reason we pursued B Corp certification, the gold commonplace for firms who’re working arduous to be good residents of the world. We’re dedicated to doing our half to protect the setting for generations to return so that children and households can proceed to train their imaginations and revel in outside play.
Marquis: Inform me about what eco-conscious practices are carried out when prospects make a purchase order on RadioFlyer.com.
Pasin: Greater than 20 years in the past, as I grew to become extra conscious of menace of local weather change and the significance of sustainability, I noticed that we may do higher. It was the correct factor to do. We kicked off our sustainability journey with measurement. As soon as we had a baseline, we needed to work towards bettering and increasing our targets diligently.
One of many issues we’ve going for us is that our merchandise are inherently sustainable as a result of they are often reused, handed down by generations, and repaired if wanted. As well as, the carbon emissions from every merchandise bought on RadioFlyer.com are 100% offset by a verified emission discount mission. Our total product line is now 99.6% PVC-free, and we’ve began changing polybags with extra paper-based packaging, saving greater than 43,000 kilos of single-use packaging per 12 months. We now have additionally diversified our provide chain to extend the quantity of recycled content material utilized in our packaging to 87%. A lot of this work is completed in factories powered by photo voltaic, which in 2020 led to greater than 500 tons of prevented CO2 emissions.
Marquis: What are a number of the sustainability initiatives your crew is most pleased with up to now?
Pasin: One of many merchandise we’re actually pleased with is our Seashore & Boardwalk Wagon. The Seashore & Boardwalk Wagon is probably the most sustainable product in our product line with a physique fabricated from 100% recycled PET from plastic water bottles, bottle caps, soda bottles and meals containers. Every wagon removes roughly 90 plastic water bottles from landfills and oceans, and 15% of the plastic used within the wagon body and wheels are constructed from recycled content material. I feel it is a good manner for folks to share the significance of recycling and sustainability whereas choosing up plastic waste from seashores.
Whereas the Seashore & Boardwalk Wagon stands out, I’m pleased with all our sustainability initiatives and our progress up to now. It is uncommon to see legacy manufacturers like ours embracing sustainability, and whereas we all know we can’t get it good immediately, we’re actively studying and adjusting our method to be higher.
Marquis: Radio Flyer has historically been a toy producer however launched its first grownup eBike line, FLYER final 12 months. Why get into eBikes now?
Pasin: Years in the past, I used to be in Amsterdam after I noticed households utilizing cargo bikes as an alternative choice to vehicles, utilizing them to take children to and from college and different actions. Instantly I assumed, “how cool!” However if you happen to’ve ever ridden a conventional non-powered cargo bike with two children, it’s actually arduous to pedal – particularly up hills.
So, in June 2021, we launched the Flyer™ line of grownup eBikes. The Flyer™ line is an extension of the Radio Flyer model created with the identical stunning design and high quality that has impressed our work for over a century. We launched our first two Flyer™ eBikes, the M880 and the L885, and not too long ago launched our new Flyer™ Folding Cargo in October 2022. This shift made sense for us as a result of most of our merchandise are designed for lively play and purpose to get children outdoors, which is the position these eBikes play for the entire household. The extension into grownup merchandise permits us to serve generations over time.
All of our eBikes are designed with distinctive equipment that allow mother and father to take pleasure in a motorcycle experience with their children. For example, you’ll be able to add issues like a water bottle holder, mobile phone mount, storage baskets, Child & Cargo Service for youths ages 5-10 years and a Maxi Seat that safely harnesses youthful riders, ages 9 months-6 years. Actually, we’re listening to so many tales about mother and father utilizing the eBikes to skip the dreaded college carpool strains.
We’re keen about serving to mother and father rethink transportation and think about a extra sustainable and handy mode for the entire household. We need to change neighborhood automotive rides with eBike rides so households can discover the outside whereas doing their half to guard it.
Marquis: Your crew additionally constructed the Hero Wagon to be used with kids present process medical care in hospitals. How did this concept come to life and what was the driving drive behind this mission?
Pasin: Radio Flyer has supported the Starlight Youngsters’s Basis mission of bringing pleasure and luxury to hospitalized kids and their households since 2001. Radio Flyer’s partnership began with donating greater than 15,000 of our iconic crimson wagons to kids’s hospitals and different healthcare amenities.
The Hero Wagon got here to be after years of observing how our merchandise had been being utilized in hospitals. We noticed the enjoyment they may deliver and needed to make them even higher and extra purposeful for hospital employees. That is how the Hero Wagon was born – we developed our patented folding wagon to supply a simple answer to retailer, sanitize, and carry mandatory tools like IV poles by the halls of hospitals.
The Hero Wagon could be very close to and expensive to our hearts at Radio Flyer, because it encapsulates what we try for as an organization. If we are able to deliver only one smile to children enduring a few of their hardest instances, we’ve exceeded our mission with the Hero Wagon.
Marquis: Your grandfather constructed this enterprise 105-years in the past. What do you assume his response could be how you’ve got grown the enterprise immediately?
Pasin: I feel he could be each amazed and proud to see how Radio Flyer has developed. My grandpa had a transparent mission when he created the corporate, and the aim carried by when my father took over; nevertheless, as everyone knows, the world has modified vastly over the previous couple of a long time. By the point I took over, I noticed we wanted to start out conducting enterprise extra purposefully to verify the following technology’s reminiscences may final a lifetime.
We’re keen about sustaining a world the place households can discover the outside and embrace their imaginations. And we all know we can’t go on this journey alone. We belief that, if all of us work towards the values the B Corp mannequin exemplifies, we are able to create a world that enables our youngsters and grandkids to create these long-lasting reminiscences my grandfather dreamed for our household.
Marquis: Radio Flyer was named the primary world toy and eBike producer to obtain a B Corp certification. Inform me about what led you to getting this certification. Why is it significant to you?
Pasin: Traditionally, the toy trade hasn’t been the primary group that involves thoughts when discussing sustainability– we’ve distinctive challenges to beat, just like the broad use of plastic, the economics behind sourcing sustainable supplies, and the fad-driven nature of merchandise. This can be a giant a part of why we at Radio Flyer really feel a singular accountability to do higher. We acknowledge that sustainability is not only a passing pattern and want to be a frontrunner on this area. We incorporate sustainable practices into our enterprise mannequin, our particular person merchandise, and our HQ operations. It may be uncommon to see legacy manufacturers embracing sustainability wholeheartedly and topping affect lists like we’re, which is why we knew it was vital to double down on our dedication to sustainability and social affect. Sustainability is vital to profitable enterprise operations for a lot of causes, however for us, it alerts how we proceed to problem the established order, and encourage others to do the identical.
Marquis: How do you count on your prospects to react to the information?
Pasin: So many firms and customers want to make a distinction these days. It would not cease on the producer or model. Shoppers more and more need to know if firms and types are good residents of the world, if they’re treating their staff proper and doing their half to guard the planet.
Client buying behaviors are altering: they want to incorporate extra sustainable merchandise. Actually, we’ve discovered that buyers perceive the worth of merchandise that trigger much less hurt to the setting. Shoppers are on the lookout for sustainable choices and merchandise they’ll be ok with buying and I feel our efforts on this area give them another reason to think about Radio Flyer.
Marquis: The place is Radio Flyer headed and what are subsequent steps for the enterprise because it continues to develop into much more sustainable and socially accountable?
Pasin: Our purpose is to be round for an additional 105 years. We’re in it for the lengthy haul and need to maintain making merchandise for households that delight households throughout the globe. We’re going to maintain working arduous to proceed bettering and have a constructive affect on the world. We’re taking it one step at a time to make sure that we aren’t dashing or skipping vital steps in our sustainability journey. I’m working intently with my crew to find out the place we’re headed subsequent. We’re working towards our science-based goal purpose for 2030, together with reductions to Scope 1, 2 and three emissions.
We have efficiently diminished our Scope 1 and a pair of emissions by main adjustments made at our headquarters that resulted in greater operational efficiencies throughout water, power, and different useful resource utilization. This led to our LEED Platinum certification, which makes us extraordinarily proud.
We now have made progress in our Scope 3 emissions by merchandise made utilizing recycled supplies, higher packaging alternatives, and growing renewable power utilization in our factories, however like many firms, we nonetheless have extra work to do on this space.
We have additionally made nice progress in areas outdoors of sustainability. We’re dedicated to being anti-racist and creating an inclusive setting that makes Radio Flyer a world-class office. Final 12 months, in early June, amidst the social unrest experiences throughout the nation, we requested our Flyers for trustworthy, nameless suggestions on how we had been doing and what’s wanted on the variety and inclusion entrance. Primarily based on the suggestions obtained, we’ve outlined an motion plan categorized into 5 buckets: Hiring, Management & Schooling, Folks Practices, Group Tradition & Advantages, and Exterior Partnerships.
There may be nonetheless work to be completed and our push to create constructive change won’t ever cease however we’re pleased with the progress made to-date, and I can’t wait to see the place we go subsequent.