Hape’s story begins with Peter Handstein’s story. Peter grew up in a rural town in central Germany, where he was raised with a deeprooted respect for family, honesty, compassion, and a love of nature. Hape is a reflection of Peter’s lifelong values. Peter began his career as a salesman for an educational toy company servicing German kindergartens. Visiting hundreds of schools and talking with hundreds of educators gave him a unique understanding of the power of play. In 1986, Peter formed Hape Kindergarten Supply with his sister, Sabine, and their close friend, Renate Gies.
This significantly increased Hape’s size. However, the partners knew that in order to be recognized outside of Germany, they would have to grow internationally. With his trademark vision and determination, Peter embarked on the next phase of Hape’s growth, strategically expanding the company country by country. In 1987, he moved to Ningbo, China, where he created an innovative factory embracing ecological, technological, and efficiency practices.
Intrigued by the bamboo plants surrounding his new home, Peter encouraged his designers to experiment with this highly renewable resource. This led to an alliance with UNESCO and the first full line of bamboo toys in 2005. The Hape bamboo collection now holds its place along with Hape Eco-toys and Hape line to make up the total Hape brand.
Today, Hape Toys is a multifaceted, multinational company selling toys in over 50 countries. But Peter’s ideals extend far beyond creating safe, innovative products. A lifetime commitment to learning and education, led him to work with local communities educating their children by building schools and enhancing their lives by teaching them to use available resources. Social responsibility, education, ecology, and innovation are ingrained in Peter’s heritage, and are reflected in every aspect of the Hape business, past, present, and future.