In October 2018, WDW News Today reported that a special collection of Ukrainian-made wooden toys UGears was sold at Disney Parks. The news grabbed the attention of international and Ukrainian media, so Destinations decided to explore the story of the Ukrainian company from the very beginning.
How it all began
Each project begins with an idea. For Ugears, it happened in 2014, "in a difficult time for our country", comments Ugears. The company has begun developing and producing unique mechanical 3D puzzles, which often fascinate kids and adults with moving details like jigsaws. The process of assembling a model is as simple as it is fascinating: the models are fully equipped with everything needed to assemble the 3D puzzle, so you don't need any glue or special tools - only an instruction.
With careful movements and dedication, the model's parts become a masterpiece. Another unique feature that Ugears possesses is an eco-friendly material choice, as all toys are made of plywood. "It is pleasant to the touch and looks good in various interior styles," according to Ugears, "so we make puzzles of high-quality plywood with unusual mechanics and fascinating design that make it interesting to assemble".
The 3D puzzles instantly grabbed the attention of both kids and adults: "One of our first models were the Mechanical Box-Card holder and a Tractor. The history of the company began with them".
Naturally, the creation of intricate mechanisms demands time. According to Ugears, the process of creating one model takes up from 3 to 6 months. It starts with the design, then the test models are cut out and when everything works well, the designer team modifies the model and adds finishing touches. Currently, Ugears has more than 40 various models of 3D puzzles. The most popular, says Ugears, are a Safe and a Box with a Secret. The reason behind is easily explained by human nature - people like hiding secrets, touching those with their own hands, as well as directly participating in their creation.
We asked Ugears how they make a Kickstarter project successful.
The secret is simple - it's the quality. "Apart from the idea, quality is our top priority factor," - says Ugears. "You have only one chance to show your creation to the world, so apart from being beautiful and interesting, it should also have a high-quality. We did not enter international markets for about 1.5 years until we were absolutely sure of the quality of our product."
The waiting and perfecting the models paid off - the current ongoing project, Mechanical Devices for Tabletop Games, pledged $231,808 of $20,000 goal. The special Kickstarter collection is aimed at board game fans - the collection's Card Holder accommodates up to 500 game cards in 16 compartments to keep the cards neat.
The careful dedication and precision of Ugears soon grasped the attention of the entertainment giant - Disney.
Collaboration with Disney
The intricate wooden models created by Ugears appeared in Disney stores in autumn 2018. The special collection includes the Monorail, Main Street Trolley, Cinderella’s Carriage, and the “Walter E. Disney” Railroad Locomotive, as WDW News Today reports.
While the company keeps secrets about this collection following the agreement with Disney, kids and adults around the world can already marvel at the intricate wooden models. The 3D puzzles are available for sale in Disney World entertainment parks in the US. You can check out the models on the official Disney website.
Photos provided by Ugears.