We chat with the Hungarian inventor about the inspiration behind his top-selling educational toy, Radosza's Rings.
Talk us through Radosza's Rings, where did the inspiration come from?
It stemmed from a childhood experience. I started primary school 50 years ago, and we were using cut out papers with letters on them and placed them onto a cardboard ‘letter rail’. I lost the letter ‘A’ the very first day, next day letter ‘Z’ was wrinkled, etc.
I was physically punished by my teacher for these ‘mistakes’. I felt then that it was not my fault at all; Why don’t adults make a toy that kids can’t ruin or break? – I thought. This was the basic issue that I wanted to solve.
What is your background?
I have an educator diploma, and I also have dramaturge and journalism diplomas. After university, I began teaching. By the age of 27 I was a journalist and TV reporter and I have been doing that since.
I am using my dramaturge knowledge as well; one of my children’s story books – Diana’s tale - had won silver medal at the First Cultural Innovation International Festival in Taiwan in 2011, my latest book - Warmth of the Nest - was published in January in Canada, and my new fantasy novel will come out in the USA in May.
Why did you target the educational toys market? Will this continue to be a major focus for you?
The education market was not really a ‘target’ for me from a business sense. I felt more like it was my obligation and responsibility.
I have never thought about how much money I could make, I was thinking about the amount of help I can give to kids with their reading and writing skills. The development of my invention has escalated to other ideas, such as the ‘Tourist Rings’ and we are working on different inspirations as demands come in.
We are planning to make a licensing agreement with the Chelsea football club for example, to start manufacturing the 'Football Rings'.
What have been the biggest hurdles in bringing Radosza's Rings to market?
Bureaucracy, and the very slow process of the patents and their high fees. For these reasons it was quiet difficult to find the right investor and partner. Eventually I met the very right people and I honestly feel that was faith.
What have been your biggest triumphs?
One year ago I was taking the toys myself to the schools around Budapest. I wasn’t even making enough money to put petrol in my car.
Suddenly, a TV report featuring my efforts got 200.000 likes on Facebook . Because of this report I was called in to the Educational Ministry by Dr Rózsa Hoffmann, the Secretary of State for Public Education.
Since then Radosza’s Rings have become almost compulsory in all primary schools across the country. This was the biggest breakthrough and the rings are getting very popular even abroad, we already have interest from overseas as well.
The other 'triumph' is that Zoltan Hojsza from London approached me - after seeing that very first report - with his ideas on how he wants to introduce this toy to the UK and Irish market.
I speak the language but I have never been to England, so I was very happy that children in such a big country will have a chance to use and enjoy my invention.
What are you working on now?
I am now working on another invention, which is currently being patented. It has been inspected and evaluated by a mathematician and he believes it to be even better than the rings. This will not be implemented in Hungary though. The characteristic and style of this new toy urge us to find a manufacturer in the UK.
We are also working on developing the Radosza's Rings series, not only the sport or tourist themed ones, but we are working on the Braille and sign language rings as well as considering special requests from schools and nurseries.