The Story

Dr Hellion knows each child is unique and approaches play based learning differently…

Yet nearly all toys designed to support children’s play are made in identical batches. These toys are often mass manufactured in huge quantities, using unsustainable processes and materials, then shipped from the opposite side of the planet. This means we pay a high environmental price in both the creation and distribution of toys. Ultimately, it is the generations for whom these toys are manufactured that will inherit the complex global problems fuelled by their production. This unacceptable situation is why Dr Hellion didn’t want to work for Toycorp Inc. She knew it was time to be a little troublesome and different.

Dr Hellion understood that what children played with would influence their play and shape their learning. She concluded, therefore, that toys should nurture each child’s unique experience and support them in establishing their authentic sense of place and purpose into the world. Furthermore, children’s toys should be able to work their magic without harmfully exploiting the planet’s resources in the process.

Away from prying eyes, Dr H began developing open-ended and multifunctional toy designs that avoided gender stereotypes and reflected the diverse small people for whom they were eventually intended. Over 18 months, through working innovatively with production methods that blended traditional techniques with contemporary craft technologies, a range of original toys emerged that were built to withstand years – even generations – of play. These creations became the basis of a new venture, Hellion Toys.

The toy in the child’s hand

is alive. ~ Gerber

Made in britain

All our toys are designed and crafted by me, Dr Hellion. I bring my distinctive collections to life at the Hellion Toys workshop in the Forest of Bowland and send them out into the world to inspire open-ended, imaginative play and learning. 

I aim to keep a low carbon footprint by sourcing materials locally from other independent businesses, typically within 20 miles of my workshop. I avoid petroleum-derived paints, finishes and plastics of any kind. My colourful creations are plastic-free, solvent-free, VOCs-free, BPA-free and vegan-friendly.

I take my role and responsibilities within the heritage craft of British toymaking seriously. I am a member of the Heritage Craft Association as well as the British Toymakers Guild who uphold the very highest standards of craftsmanship and design.

My toys are independently lab safety tested and certified CE. Hellion Toys is a member of the trade organisation ACID (Anti Copying in Design) and our designs are supported by ACID through their IP Databank and Marketplace. Toys may not be copied or reproduced without prior permission.

To be cherished by the next generation

My toys are designed with longevity in mind. They are typically open-ended, multifunctional and grow with your little one’s interests and development. The carefully chosen materials and build quality ensures they will adapt and withstand many years of playtime, as I never design for ‘planned obsolescence’. I hope that you will cherish these toys and pass them down to be loved by the next generation.

But who is Dr Hellion?

meet

Dr Hellion

Designer. Maker.
Crafter of rainbows.

Dr Hellion is my playful ego. You can call me Selina. I hold a PhD in Design (so I am really a Dr!), as well as master’s degrees in creative technology and digital innovation. I left academia to refocus on design practice in 2015, as I felt the many new understandings I had gained through years of research could make a positive impact if I returned to what I love – which is playful design. Designs which lead to ethically produced items that are sensitive to all the people, both big and small, who invite them into their world.