The little giraffe was born on 25th May in the year 1961...Saint Sophie's day!
In those days, the only animal toys available were farm animal or pet figures ...
That is why one day in France, a certain Monsieur RAMPEAU, who was an expert in transforming sap from the HEVEA tree using the rotational moulding of rubber as a toy-making concept, came up with the idea of designing a giraffe. Such an exotic wildlife figure would be a first on the market, and its size and shape would be ideal for a baby's small hands to grasp.
Sophie the Giraffe, who looked exactly the same then as she does today, went into production on a Thursday 25th May, whence her name.
She was an immediate success. Young mothers straightaway saw that she was a must for their children... When the first signs of teething appear, Sophie the Giraffe helps baby stop crying!
By simple word of mouth, the little giraffe's fame spread. From then on in Europe, generations upon generation of children were to love hearing Sophie squeak whenever they pressed her tummy or head!
VULLI, a company based in Rumilly in the Haute-Savoie region of France has continued to keep the jealously guarded secret of how this wonder toy is made.
SOPHIE is still "traditionally" produced to this day, a process that involves more than 14 manual operations. She is made from 100% natural rubber derived from the sap of the Hevea tree.
Sophie the Giraffe : a 100% natural rubber toy
Latex from the rubber tree (HEVEA) was first processed in 1928 using the vulcanization invented by Mr Charles Goodyear.
The rubber used by Vulli comes from the HEVEA trees (rubber trees) that grow in Malaysia. Every morning, before the daytime heat sets in, the milky liquid that oozes from the cells beneath the bark is collected from these millions of HEVEA trees. This liquid is known as "latex".
Latex is natural, elastic and water-resistant, acts as an insulator, is pleasant to the touch and smells nice.
Vulli takes this latex, heats it, and then applies a special process and rotational moulding technique. The result after 14 manual operations is the wonderful little "Sophie the Giraffe".
Why is Sophie such a huge success?
Sophie the Giraffe is BABY'S FIRST TOY, stimulating EACH OF HIS SENSES from the age of months: