He notes that quality and beauty marked his formative years, most pronounced in the special relationship he had with his parents. “They were always challenging my imagination,” he says. “We would close our eyes and daydream together. My mother would bring to life travels around the world, from Ginza in Tokyo to Prado in Madrid, without us having to leave our home.” He recalls the games—Gamin, Snakes and Ladders and other English toys—and the stories of Tutankhamun, King Henry, Christopher Columbus and Warhol, that his mom (who he dubs Mary Poppins) would relay whisking him across centuries and continents with a turn of phrase.
Those precious memories of colorful places inspired and fueled his path to create Papinee, a pledge to give that journey to others through heirloom quality toys built to at once inspire, delight and educate. Suj, who’s worked as a brand consultant for labels like Tod’s, Dunhill and Chopard, gathered 31 artists and 28 ambassadors to bring this concept to life. “It’s been a labor of love and so much fun for a group of individuals who love art and incredible quality, whilst wanting to make a difference,” Suj says.
“We want to make toys you can keep your whole life—for dreamers of all ages.” The collection of artisanal plush toys and companion storybooks are steeped in history, art and culture: The sheep was inspired by Turkey and Ottoman architecture; the horse is reminiscent of the palace of Versailles and Louis XIV; the deer is clearly an homage to street art culture in New York City. The company also makes a priority of giving back, sharing art and culture, working with organizations from all around the world. “It’s the education of global ideas and incredible objet d’art, both child-safe and universally fun. We believe in that gift.”