BTAG Education is a brand with an important mission: to educate concerned parents and their children on the detrimental ecological practices damaging our planet. Through their soft Organic Cotton plush toys, BTAG Education aims to start the conversation about implementing sustainable practices and conserving our environment and its animals, to engage future generations to care about our environment from a young age and help save our endangered wildlife Before They Are Gone.
We sat down with Ben, the founder of BTAG Education, to chat a bit more about what sets BTAG Education’s plush toys apart and how we can help teach young children to look after the planet. We absolutely loved chatting with Ben and learning more about the impactful work he is doing with BTAG Education. Keep on reading to learn more about Ben’s story!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started BTAG Education?
I’m Ben from Wagga Wagga, NSW. I am a father, husband, teacher and lover of our unique and sacred environment. BTAG Education was born because of my two energetic boys. When they were younger, they both loved cuddly plush toys. As their collection grew, I noticed that almost all of them were made from polyester- a type of plastic. I learnt there were many toxic and harmful chemicals (including oil and petroleum) used in the manufacturing process and once these toys ended up in landfill, it would take them over 200 years to break down. This is how BTAG Education was born. I wanted to develop a more sustainable option for parents and make them more aware of the plight of our planet. We produce premium, high quality organic cotton plush toys that aim to help our environment, not hinder it. We make families aware of small changes they can do at home that will have a positive impact on our environment. After all, we don’t need a small number of people doing sustainability perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly.
We really like that BTAG’s purpose is to educate children and their families about the environment and sustainability. Can you tell a bit more about that? How can we teach young children to look after the planet?
Being sustainable and environmentally aware does not happen by chance. It only happens through change. The kids who are now cuddling a BTAG Education animal will grow up to be our future leaders and decision makers. Small changes early in life such as buying organically or reducing and removing single use plastics helps form lifelong sustainable habits. In the USA alone, over 1 billion plastic toothbrushes were thrown into landfill last year! Simply changing to a natural bamboo toothbrush can make a positive difference. And as for kids toys, we believe in quality over quantity. BTAG Education plush toys are made to last. Families can be sure that they are getting a high quality, sustainable cuddly friend that will help start conversations about how sustainability can be practiced around the house. And by following us on Facebook and Instagram you will get sustainability information, tips and tricks to improve your family’s sustainability footprint.
Besides the educational factor, in what ways are BTAG’s mountain gorilla, rhino and whale different from other soft toys?
Our biggest and best difference is the organic cotton we use which is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Organic cotton is softer and safer, and far better for the environment, as throughout its production there have been no harmful chemicals or dyes used. This is great for babies and toddlers with sensitive skin. And our products do not have hard plastic eyes or noses, which means BTAG Education plush toys are not a choking hazard. And how can you resist their cuteness?
We love that BTAG Education supports five big global and national conservation organisations; Bush Heritage Australia, Save the Whales, International Rhino Foundation, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and WWF. Can you tell us a little bit about why and how you support each of these important organisations?
A portion of each sale is donated to one of these great organisations. We are proud to support the projects they are working on around the world which has seen an increase in the numbers of many endangered animal species. And having spent my life living in regional Australia, I have a connection to the bush and its magnificent landscape and I love the work Bush Heritage Australia do to protect our irreplaceable native species.
You’re a very new business. Nevertheless, what do you think has been your biggest achievement so far and what lies ahead for BTAG Education?
Perseverance and resilience are very important skills for an entrepreneur. The past few years have been many nights and weekends of ups, downs and roadblocks but I have learnt so much along the way. Coming from an education background, in the beginning product/brand design, manufacturing and marketing was a foreign language for me. But I knew the message I wanted to deliver was an important one. Sustainability isn’t something we can just ignore and hope it is no longer an issue. We all need to form positive environmental habits and I am hoping I can be a small part of it. Making my first sale was a memorable day, but my greatest achievement so far in this journey was reading my first 5 Star review. That was the moment I realised that somewhere there was a child playing with a plush toy I had spent the last 3 years designing, creating and manufacturing. That was the moment I realised that I am now part of the solution.