It takes real vision to see the potential for a moneymaking business amongst a pile of used, cardboard scrap. Yet that’s exactly what EUGY founder, Hoon Kim, did when he visited his local recycling centre in New Zealand.

A Korean-born travel writer, animal enthusiast, and 3D-effects computer graphics specialist, Hoon first began to see how plastics were destroying the natural environment during his globetrotting, and the seeds for an idea were sown: a toy that was completely harmless to nature.

“He decided to make something fun and beautiful,” said EUGY spokesperson, Joanne Kim. “Something that could reconnect people to the wild, while also being able to easily return to nature.”

Experimenting with the idea of layering cardboard pieces to make puzzles, Hoon utilised his years of experience as a 3D graphic designer. Perfecting his formula, and patenting it, he began to produce small batches of animal puzzles from his garage.

Made from New Zealand recyclable cardboard, and printed with eco-friendly ink and put together with PVA glue—-water-soluble & non-toxic—the EUGY puzzle kit sets were originally sold to museums, art galleries, and gift stores in the Auckland area.

“Hoon’s mission is to reconnect people to the wild and nature,” explains Joanne. “And to create a collective movement towards protecting our planet. We work towards this mission by partnering with various non-profit organisations to support their work in animal and environmental conservation. We’ve worked with children’s hospitals by donating funds or our EUGYs, too. Being able to support these incredible organisations for the betterment of our world is at the heart of what we do.”

Soon the toymaker’s eye-catching designs—which ranged from cows and kiwis, to whales and dinosaurs—captured the attention of a global market and the eco-friendly craft kits were launched overseas.

Establishing a successful presence in the US via Amazon—in addition to a global distribution network—EUGY then went on to sell through Amazon Australia when they launched just over a year ago.

“It’s the perfect channel to sell on because of its wide customer reach and well-established systems,” said Joanne. “Although we had already expanded our distribution to a global scale, we still had a need to communicate our brand value, and to raise awareness in other key markets, which Amazon helped with.”

The business also relies heavily on Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)—a service that takes care of sellers’ inventory, storage, delivery, customer service and returns handling, from the very beginning.

“As we’re based in New Zealand, using FBA has been integral to positively impacting our selling experience,” said Joanne. “FBA also helps streamline processes logistically. Moreover, FBA is a favourable option for managing handling and shipping costs. It is a service we would highly recommend to other sellers.”

In addition to seeing sales “increasing two-fold” during their tenure on Amazon Australia, Joanne has also noted highly positive results after participating in both Prime Day, and Black Friday, last year.

“We were able to increase sales, reach a new customer base, and amass a lot of new knowledge,” said Joanne. “As a result, we definitely plan to continue to actively be involved in these sale events moving forward.”

As for future plans, Joanne and the rest of the EUGY team are excited to both add to the sustainable range of products, and to expand into other international marketplaces.

“We have plans to continue to expand with the various Amazon marketplaces overseas, but most important for us is to stay true to our eco-friendly, sustainable ethos," she said. "The environmental aspect of EUGY is the most important part. Without it, we wouldn’t be who we are.”

EUGY is one of the hundreds of NZ businesses selling on See more.