Blue Orange Games is Green with Blue Orange Games’ Renaud Renvoye

June 10, 2015

 
John Shegerian: Welcome back to Green Is Good. We’re at the Green Festival’s edition of Green Is Good here in New York City, New York. And we’re honored to have with us today Renaud Renvoye. He’s a French transplant, so thank you for putting up with my pronunciation of your name. Renaud Renvoye: That was perfect. John Shegerian: Renaud is with Blue Orange Games, and we’re going to be talking about the Blue Orange Games today that you see here in front of us. But before we get talking about Blue Orange, I want to talk a little bit about Renaud. Renaud, you’re a young guy and you’re doing fun things for a great, green and sustainable company. Share a little bit about your story. How did you come to America and join Blue Orange Games? Renaud Renvoye: Well, first of all, during my studies I did study in the U.S. I love this country. I love the lifestyle. I love people. Technically, everything about it. And being a child – to put that on the side – being a child I loved playing games with my siblings and everything. So I said why not combine the two of them? America and working with toys. So I found this opportunity and I said, well, let’s apply. And then I joined Blue Orange Games which is a great company. John Shegerian: Which part of France did you grow up in? Renaud Renvoye: I grew up in Burgundy. The wine part. John Shegerian: Burgundy. Wow. Wow. I don’t think I’ve met many people from Burgundy, France, before. But share a little bit about that. In the household and in the community, sustainable living, my impression, but I want to hear yours, sustainability has been more part of the culture and DNA in Europe before it has come to America. Is that what you felt like your childhood ad growing up? Renaud Renvoye: Yeah. People are really concerned about sustainability. I grew up in a village where around my place, my parents’ place, it’s really green. I don’t live in a big city. I’m close to vineyards and stuff. It’s like small hills. Green everywhere. A lot of people are concerned about recycling. A lot of people are using solar panels in their roof to produce energy, which my parents do. John Shegerian: Wow. Renaud Renvoye: So it’s really like, and we actually educate people a lot, even in school, to be conscious. John Shegerian: Live a more sustainable [life]. Renaud Renvoye: Yeah exactly. John Shegerian: Be conscious about the environment. Renaud Renvoye: Recycling is really part of- John Shegerian: And you said Mom and Dad even had solar on your roof there? Renaud Renvoye: Yes, we do. John Shegerian: Wow. Renaud Renvoye: Yeah, for years now. John Shegerian: So you grew up, this was part of your culture, part of your DNA. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. Yes. John Shegerian: Got you. Renaud Renvoye: I love that. I’m trying to be as green as I can. John Shegerian: When you went to university, was that part of your studies too? Renaud Renvoye: Because I studied it in Belgium. John Shegerian: Okay. Renaud Renvoye: I did actually. It was sustainable management. We were educated to manage a company, but being sustainable. So yes, it was. John Shegerian: Got you. So then how long ago did you find this opportunity and did you move to America? Renaud Renvoye: I moved to the U.S. in June 2013. So it’s going to be two years in June. John Shegerian: Wow. Renaud Renvoye: Which, yeah, I mean I’ve loved it so far. John Shegerian: Which part did you move to when you first came over? Renaud Renvoye: So when I came over, I was in San Francisco doing the training. John Shegerian: Okay. Renaud Renvoye: Then I was on the road for the company. I traveled the U.S. in the Southwest and Southeast. Now, I’m based in Boston to kind of develop the new office of the company there. John Shegerian: Got you. Renaud Renvoye: But traveling a lot, I love it. John Shegerian: Wonderful. And you found Blue Orange. How did you even find them to come work with them here in the U.S.? Renaud Renvoye: To give you a little bit of story about the company. John Shegerian: Sure. Renaud Renvoye: So the two co-founders that created the company back in 2000, are French. Today, we kind of want to keep the French culture inside the company. So you would be surprised, but anybody you will talk to in the sales team is French. John Shegerian: Really? Renaud Renvoye: Yeah. So we are all kind of like French colleagues in the sales team and that’s part of the culture of the company. I found the opportunity in my school. An offer, opportunity, like website? John Shegerian: Right. Renaud Renvoye: Where I just decided to apply. John Shegerian: That’s awesome. Renaud Renvoye: Yeah, it’s great. John Shegerian: And you are the Northeast Region Sales Manager? Renaud Renvoye: Yes. Since a few months, I’ve moved to Boston to be closer to the client there. More about partnership with them. Anything they need I can be there for them. John Shegerian: And you’ve opened up a Boston office now too so you have San Francisco and a Boston office. Renaud Renvoye: Yeah. We kind of want to do remote offices to be closer to the client. John Shegerian: It makes sense. Renaud Renvoye: Duplicate what we’re doing in the Bay Area, in the San Francisco area. John Shegerian: Right. Renaud Renvoye: Somewhere in the country. Everywhere in the country. John Shegerian: And for our listeners and our viewers out there, to find more about Renaud’s company Blue Orange Games, go to www.blueorangesgames.com. Talk a little bit about your game. Talk a little bit about sustainability and Blue Orange Games and why is this considered a sustainable toy company. Renaud Renvoye: It’s really in the concern of everybody in the company, starting with the CEO, it’s kind of ‘educate, don’t play’ and hiring to that. So here I just brought Pengoloo, which is a wooden game. It’s all wooden made. John Shegerian: All wooden. Renaud Renvoye: The thing is, how can we be sustainable around it? Like the tree we use to produce this game, for example, we plant two trees for [each] tree we use. John Shegerian: Wow. So two for one. Every tree that you use to make your games, you are planting two trees. Renaud Renvoye: Exactly. John Shegerian: Wow. Renaud Renvoye: So this is one side of the green company. But as well, in Peru, we have an association, which is called Pur Project. So, as I said, we have sales reps that are on the road that drive. And for the carbon print, well this is not [inaudible]. So what we try to do in Peru, as I said, we have this association that helps out the re-forestry, which kind of decreases the carbon print we have. John Shegerian: Got you. Renaud Renvoye: So we do a calculation on how many tons of carbon dioxide we are emitting. We do the calculation and then we plant trees to balance. John Shegerian: Offset. Renaud Renvoye: Yes, exactly. John Shegerian: It makes sense. Renaud Renvoye: So, that’s another side of the company. Every plastic thing you can see in games, it’s actually not plastic. It’s a natural resin called urea that we use to produce all the plastic things. John Shegerian: So, the wrapping? Renaud Renvoye: As well the wrapping. It’s sustainable material. John Shegerian: It’s not the plastic that everyone is complaining about that is polluting the environment. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. Exactly. John Shegerian: So, even that’s made out of sustainable [material]. How about the packaging itself? Renaud Renvoye: It’s actually a recyclable material as well. John Shegerian: Like a recyclable cardboard material. Renaud Renvoye: Exactly. John Shegerian: Wow. So everything that you touch that is Blue Orange Games is really sustainably driven. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. We try to. John Shegerian: In terms of how you source them and how you present them. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. Exactly. Today people know we are green and that is part of the business and they want to embrace that aspect. That’s why they really like the company. We are cool, friendly and ecologic. John Shegerian: So this company was started in 2000. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. John Shegerian: Two guys. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. John Shegerian: One lives in America now. One lives still in? Renaud Renvoye: In France. John Shegerian: In France. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. John Shegerian: So you still have French roots but American roots as well. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. John Shegerian: But a lot of the sales people that have joined on are actually French. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. John Shegerian: So how many sales people now are part of the team? Renaud Renvoye: We are about seven or eight people in the sales team. John Shegerian: Here in the U.S.? Renaud Renvoye: Yes. John Shegerian: How many different sustainable toys are on that site? Renaud Renvoye: Well we have a selection of 70 different products. John Shegerian: 7-0. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. Correct. John Shegerian: Seventy. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. John Shegerian: Wow. Renaud Renvoye: So we have mostly wooden games for an early age. But then the Spot It collection, which is one of our bestsellers, if not the bestseller. There are 38 different variations of this game. I just brought the Spot It Camping. It’s perfect for that season. John Shegerian: Got it. What are we looking at here? Which game are we looking at here? Renaud Renvoye: So the Pengoloo. John Shegerian: Pengoloo? Renaud Renvoye: Yeah. This is a memory game for ages four and up. So underneath each penguin, you have the color of the egg. Each player gets an iceberg, and what you want to do in order to win the game is you want to collect six penguins. So you have two dice and each side has a color. You roll the dice and get two colors and you have to find the color corresponding to the die. If it’s not a color that is on the die, then you have to cover it back [up]. But you want to remember “this is blue” in case you roll a blue later on. John Shegerian: Got you. And I want to come back to that in a second. We are with Renaud. He is the Northeast Sales Manager for Blue Oranges Games. We are here at the Green Festival edition of Green Is Good in New York City, New York. To find more about Blue Orange Games go to www.blueorangegames.com. We’re just talking about, here, the Pengaloo. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. John Shegerian: One of 70 games that you can find on www.blueorangegames.com. Talk a little bit about, now this is made out of, like you said earlier at the top of the show, this is all wood. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. It’s all wooden made. It’s water-based paint as well. John Shegerian: Water-based paint. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. Exactly. John Shegerian: So if your kids chew on this or something like that. Renaud Renvoye: No chemicals. John Shegerian: Nothing bad is going to happen. No chemicals whatsoever. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. John Shegerian: So when they started this company in 2000, how many sustainable toy companies were there then approximately? Was that even a business then? Was that even an industry? Renaud Renvoye: I think it was probably too early. John Shegerian: Too early. Renaud Renvoye: As you said earlier, I think Europe was kind of early on the green side. John Shegerian: So they started this company in France and then brought it over to the U.S.A.? Renaud Renvoye: Actually, they started it here in the U.S.A. John Shegerian: They started it here? Renaud Renvoye: Yes. And to give you how it started, they had 1,000 copies of only one game, went across the country kind of opening accounts – that way selling units – and on their way they sold out. So that’s how the company started. It’s a great story. John Shegerian: Wow. Renaud Renvoye: Sleeping in their van. John Shegerian: They really did it like two entrepreneurs. The real way. Renaud Renvoye: Oh yeah. They are really entrepreneurs. John Shegerian: How much sustainable toy competition are you facing now? Has it now become a big industry? Renaud Renvoye: I think it’s becoming bigger. Actually, you have a company that is called Green Toys and they only do green stuff. John Shegerian: Right. Renaud Renvoye: So they are green. But I think more and more companies in the industry get more into sustainability, green stuff. They feel more concerned about it. But I think it’s mostly like, because we are a company that uses a lot of different materials to produce the product. John Shegerian: Sure. Renaud Renvoye: So I think today they have to be concerned about it just for their entire health, you know? John Shegerian: But are they excited? Are the retailers now in America, are you finding them excited to sell your products? Renaud Renvoye: Yeah. Oh yeah, they are. Because they are fun, but they like the green side. That’s a big part. John Shegerian: How about the mommies and daddies and parents here in the United States? Are they responding well to your green products? And how are you reaching them? What is your sales approach to reaching them? Renaud Renvoye: Mostly when you tell them that it’s all wooden made and water-based paint, that aspect. But on top of it when you explain the trees program, the Pur Project, so that’s the entire speech that you tell them. That way they really like this aspect of our games and the company itself. And that’s embracing the entire company then. They say, “Blue Orange? Oh, these guys are really concerned about the environment,” and they want to go in this space as well. That’s how you educate people. John Shegerian: Renaud, so when you are the Northeast Sales Manager… Renaud Renvoye: Yes? John Shegerian: Is part of your job educating potential clients? The people using it? And also part of your job, educating your clients? The retailers selling it? And how do you break that up every day and how do you go about attacking that? Renaud Renvoye: So, it’s actually a big part of the job, educating our retailers. What we do a lot of the time is do like a staff training. So we educate the staff on selling our product, bringing this, the green aspect of it, and then they can tell the third party buyer, client. John Shegerian: Yes. Renaud Renvoye: So, that is how it goes from the company to our retailers to the third party. John Shegerian: Do you work around and talk directly to the third party and help create the demand for your product by telling your story on social media and online? Renaud Renvoye: Yes. Well, we have a PR Department – marketing department – that works a lot on social media. John Shegerian: Got you. Renaud Renvoye: That really spreads the word. But nowadays people know we are green. Even the Pur Project, which is the project in Peru, it’s relatively new. John Shegerian: What is that? Renaud Renvoye: The re-forestry in Peru. John Shegerian: Oh okay. Two for one. Renaud Renvoye: No, this is the trees campaign. John Shegerian: Okay. Renaud Renvoye: The re-forestry in Peru, the association we have, they plant trees there to decrease the carbon print. John Shegerian: And that’s p-u-r for our listeners. Renaud Renvoye: P-u-r Project. John Shegerian: Pur Project. Renaud Renvoye: You can go on their website as well. John Shegerian: On their website. What is it? Renaud Renvoye: It’s www.pur-project.org. John Shegerian: P-u-r –project.org. Renaud Renvoye: Yes. John Shegerian: Got it. And they are helping offset the carbon footprint of your company. Renaud Renvoye: Exactly. John Shegerian: So like you said, when you calculate the amount of energy your company is expending in your offices and in your travel and everything else, they’re helping to offset that. Renaud Renvoye: Exactly. So we do the do the nation to them and then they plant directly in Peru. John Shegerian: That’s awesome. What is your No. 1 seller? Renaud Renvoye: Spot-it is definitely still the No. 1 bestseller of the company. John Shegerian: When did that come out? Renaud Renvoye: It’s actually funny because we are celebrating five years of the collection of Spot-it. John Shegerian: Why is that so special? What does that game do? Renaud Renvoye: So I know it’s hard to believe, but between any two cards, you always have one matching symbol but only one and always one. So, technically, you deal the deck evenly and then the players are going to race against each other in order to get rid of the deck. They want to get rid of the deck as fast as possible based on the same card in the middle. So, they have to find the only one matching symbol in their card and the card in the middle, and when they see it, they have to pull out the matching symbol and get rid of their card. So you want to be as fast as possible getting through your deck. John Shegerian: And what ages is that for? It sounds like almost any age? Renaud Renvoye: So this one is for seven and up, but we actually have really early age games that start at three to learn the alphabet. So, technically, between any two cards you only have one matching letter, so for kids who just learned the alphabet that’s perfect. We have some to learn the basic word in English, the basic word in Spanish and in French so a lot of different ones. We have a waterproof one, which during summer you can play by the pool. John Shegerian: Can you share with our listeners what the future holds for Blue Orange Games? Renaud Renvoye: Well, first of all, in the culture of our company, we really want to be close to them and even closer. But every year they see a new French rep coming to their store, which they love having us in their store. And we love that as well, because everybody is enthusiastic to see the collection. So we want to continue on this path of developing even more partnerships with clients and everybody involved. We want to launch more and more toys, trying to reach as many people as we can and bring joy to kids and family. Most of our games are really family games for both kids and parents. John Shegerian: For our listeners out there, to buy green and buy green toys for your children, go to BlueOrangeGames.com. This is the Green Festival edition of Green is Good, we’re here in New York City, New York. Renaud, you are a sustainability superstar and truly living proof that green is good.