Toys n Playthings January 2021

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CONTENTS 1 ry 202 Janua 2 . o N 0 Vol. 4

Chairman Malcolm Naish malcolm@lemapublishing.co.uk

Regular 5

Leader – with Clare Turner

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News – the latest toy industry headlines

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People News – all the movers and shakers

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Retail News – the latest from the retail landscape

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Licensing News – the latest on licensed products

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Toy Talk – retailers reflect on Christmas sales and look ahead to 2021

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Trade Talk – with no trade fairs, suppliers tell us how they are getting their products seen

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What’s New – new products that you need to get your hands on

Managing Director Mark Naish mark@lemapublishing.co.uk

Editor Clare Turner clare@lemapublishing.co.uk

Assistant Editor Naomi MacKay naomi@lemapublishing.co.uk

Advertisement Manager Athee Waran athee@lemapublishing.co.uk

Sales Simon Davis simon@lemapublishing.co.uk

Production Director Paul Naish paul@lemapublishing.co.uk

Circulation Manager Robert Thomas robert@lemapublishing.co.uk

130 Don’t Miss – unmissable products for all buyers and retailers 131

Step Back in Time – a slice of toy history from the industry’s longest-running magazine

Feature 36

Product Launcher – find all the latest toys for the year ahead

Special Reports 8

Coffee Break – TnP catches up with Spin Master’s Sara Taylor

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Exclusive - interview with Christian Ulrich as Spielwarenmesse goes virtual

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Focus on… Dolu and its new factory

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20 Retail Interview – TnP talks to indie chain Kids Stuff about operating during a pandemic 30 Cover Story – Phil Ratcliffe talks to TnP about MV’s Barbie range and what’s new for 2021 32

Retail Interview – Julie Murphy, toy buyer at Guernsey department store Creaseys, talks about island retail life

34 Fence Club - how the toy industry group has raised more than £53,000 in the past year

Columnists

Lema Publishing Ltd 1 Churchgates, The Wilderness, Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 2UB Telephone: 01442 289930

At the heart of retail

PRODUCT LAUNCHER

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Trends Column – The US Toy Association gives a sneak preview of 2021 toy trends

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Media Analysis – how retailers can use Amazon selling to their advantage

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Gaining Insight – Kids’ Insights predicts the trends for 2021

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Retail Opinion – John Ryan looks ahead to 2021

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The Independent and Secret Supplier - will the High Street ever be the same, our duelling duo wonder?

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LEADER H

At the heart of retail Also by Lema Publishing

TableWare INTERNATIONAL

appy new year everyone! As the new Editor of Toys ‘n’ Playthings, I’m thrilled to join the TnP team and look forward to meeting you all in person - as and when it’s safe to do so, of course. With 30 years of editorial experience under my belt and with a background in B2B publishing specialising in retail - it’s a great honour and pleasure for me to be part of such a longestablished and well-respected title that has long been a pillar of the toy trade. Over the years, I have noticed that the one constant in retailing is change. And from my observations in the few weeks since I’ve been at the helm of TnP, the toy market is no exception. Of course, these Covid times have brought their own set of unprecedented challenges to our readers. But as the great physicist Albert Einstein said, “in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”. And from my conversations with suppliers and retailers, it seems that the pandemic has forced everyone to re-examine how they can best serve their customers while under national lockdown restrictions. From Zoom meetings and virtual showrooms, to upgrading their online presence, the industry has stepped up to the plate and is doing all that it can to help retailers get through the next year. Read more about what suppliers are doing in our Trade Talk feature on p26. The good news is that the toy trade does not stand still, and 2021 is full of new and innovative toys to help retailers attract customers and make those all-important sales. With no Toy Fair this year (so sadly no opportunity for me to meet you all in person just yet) we have created a Product Launcher, starting on p36, to keep you up to date with all the exciting new lines ready to hit your shelves in 2021. I have made contact with quite a few of our readers over the past month or so, and I have been especially impressed by how independent toy retailers are using their imagination and business sense to make the best of this situation. From introducing clickand-collect and delivery services to creating YouTube videos and posting social media callouts and more, you are all doing your utmost to get through this pandemic, many

I have been especially impressed by how independent toy retailers are using their imagination and business sense to make the best of this situation

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of you with flying colours! Read our Toy Talk feature on p24 for details. You may get some Clare extra inspiration from our Turner retail interview with Stephen Hartfield, who is the joint owner of the south-east based, eightstrong independent toy shop chain Kids Stuff and a committee member of the Toymaster buying group, on p20. As I said, it’s been a disappointment that I can’t meet you at Olympia London this year - or even at Toy Fair New York, Nuremberg’s Spielwarenmesse or the Spring Fair in Birmingham. With that in mind, I’d love for you to get in touch with me. You can link up with me via LinkedIn or email me at clare@lemapublishing.co.uk. I’d like to hear your ideas and opinions and feature them in our pages. Drop me a line and let me know your thoughts. I look forward to continuing to bring the industry the best informative content to, as we like to say, ‘help everyone sell more!’

Obituary Jimmy Hunter By Malcolm Naish I am very sad to report the passing of one of the toy trade’s true one-offs. Jimmy Hunter passed away, his fight with cancer finally over. I first met Jimmy and his wife Lynn when they came as my guests to the BTHA annual dinner at the Hilton Park Lane in the seventies. Jimmy was working for a Scottish toy company, but it wasn’t long before he founded his own toy company – Hunter Toys. He had a long association with the BTHA and was its Chairman in 2000/2001. His lasting legacy for the BTHA is the fact that Jimmy created the ‘Golden Teddy’ awards. It was his brainchild, believing that in addition to the very worthwhile ‘Lifetime Achievement’ awards there should be a recognition in the industry for all those people who had worked in the toy trade for many years, perhaps without major recognition. To his wife Lynn, daughter Sally and son Richard, on behalf of all of our readers, we offer our sincere condolences.

Jack Wolff

Jack passed away peacefully on 2 October 2020 and a service was held on 21 October with family and close friends in attendance. Jack started in the toy trade in the late 1970s with Ripon-based Adam Leisure, which traded as Grandstand, one of the forerunners of the electronic toy industry. In the early 1980s he decided to take the brave step of becoming an agent. Three of his initial agencies were Zapf Creation, Brookite and Bantel. The business was initially known as Jack Wolff Agencies but later rebranded to the Bad Wolff Toy Company. Jack worked as managing agent with Bayer Chic 2000, Eichhorn, Schleich, Lundby and more. He will be sadly missed by Hettie and the rest of the family.


NEWS

Toy Fair New York 2021 cancelled The Toy Association has announced that it will not hold an interim trade show in New York for 2021. The Toy Fair New York was supposed to have taken place from May 1-4. Plans for Toy Fair Dallas remain on course for October 2021 and providing an ongoing mix of physical and digital business opportunities for the industry will be the Association’s focus this year. “Our foremost consideration is the health and well-being of the global toy and play community and setting a clear path forward,” said Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “We want to provide our exhibitors, retail buyers, and the larger toy and play community with certainty on important destination shows and the ability to take advantage of immediate opportunities through our yearround buying and selling platform.” As uncertainty about the pandemic persists, The Toy Association is concentrating on its digital business offerings; bringing the industry back together in person for Toy Fair Dallas 2021 from October 5-7; and looking ahead to Toy Fair New York 2022 from February 19-22 in a newlyThis show is still expanded Jacob K. Javits Center, which will allow set to go ahead in for new exhibitors, new educational offerings, October 2021 expanded networking opportunities, and more.

Toy Fair Dallas

Spring Fair goes virtual This year, in place of physical trade shows, exhibition organiser Hyve Group is going virtual - so Spring Fair @ Home will take place online from February 8 to February 10. Open to all buyers, the digital platform will provide access to industry intel, trend insights and peer-to-peer panel sessions, while dedicated Virtual Showrooms will give buyers an accessible way to discover new brands and see what their current partners have to offer. Spring Fair exhibitor Steve Cox, UK sales director of Keel Toys, said: “Spring Fair is undoubtedly the most important fair of the year for us. At the start of 2021, we all need to get creative to meet our key buyers effectively with the lack of physical shows. This virtual event will be an important part of our mix to present the new ranges for 2021.”

TRENDS: 2021 SNEAK PEEK Kristin Morency Goldman, senior communications specialist of The Toy Association of the US, asks: which toy trends will prevail in 2021? Toys and games reigned supreme for families spending most of their time at home in 2020, and trend experts at The Toy Association of the US are predicting another play-focused year for 2021. Senior vice president of marketing communications Adrienne Appell says: “Kids and adults alike will continue to turn to toys and play for a variety of reasons - whether it’s to maintain the close bonds they nurtured during the pandemic, to relieve stress and anxiety, or to enrich learning about

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‘Woke’ toys will be bigger than ever, with parents looking to engage their children in socially conscious play

everything from STEAM subjects to cultural diversity. The toy industry is continuing to offer families so many innovative ways to play, connect, and have fun.” So, what are the top trends of 2021? Retail buyers, media, and other play professionals will have to wait until The Toy Association’s Toy Trends Briefing, which will be hosted virtually in February, to get the full scoop. In the meantime, the Association’s trends team is offering a sneak peek of what’s expected to drive sales through 2021. Here are some of its predictions: The entertainment landscape looks different this year, with companies pivoting to find new ways to drive consumer excitement in the face of an increasingly fragmented audience.

Social media, influencers, and nonlinear platforms will continue to pave the way for licensed toy sales, and delays for major film releases will create new opportunities for original IPs to find their way through the noise and make an impact at retail across multiple categories. ‘Woke’ toys will be bigger than ever, with parents looking to engage their children in socially conscious play. From eco-friendly toys (both in theme and in design/packaging) to dolls that promote diversity and inclusion, expect to see an array of playthings that give recognition to the diversity of our world and encourage children to become better global citizens. Research from ‘The Genius of Play’ uncovers the many benefits of play for kids of all ages. From laughter,

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Brainbox Harry Potter to apparate this spring BrainBox, the range of 10-minute educational games, is set to expand into the Wizarding World with the upcoming release of BrainBox Harry Potter in May. The BrainBox series are memory challenges in which players have 10 seconds to study a card before answering questions on what they saw. The new cards will be packed with fun facts about the Harry Potter franchise as well as stills from all of the films. The launch is from Green Board Games, which joined the Asmodee Group in 2019 as Asmodee’s first UK-owned gamedesign studio. “2021 is going to be a huge year for BrainBox,” said James Wallis, studio manager at Green Board Games. “BrainBox Harry Potter is a fantastic way to relaunch the line, followed by a fresh new look for the whole range including a completely revamped BrainBox Board Game and the new line of miniBrainBoxes, in a pocket-moneyfriendly format. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Generation Media to manage Nikko channel Nikko Toys has appointed Generation Media to manage its UK YouTube channel. The channel is designed to provide an insight-led interactive platform for UK fans to engage with the brand. Nikko Toys will showcase products and connect with fans through a new, action-packed, fun-driven pipeline of content that is specifically created around their passion points. Nikko Toys’ decision to launch the channel is part of a wider strategy to support the launch of new 2021 lines, including its patented new RC innovations including the Rock CrushR and the Nano Omni X. The Entertainment division of Generation Media will be exclusively responsible for the management of the channel. The division will also provide creative consultancy services, delivering a full editorially-led platform.

In memoriam: Diana Green It is with great sadness that TnP reports the death of veteran toy buyer Diana Green. Malcolm Naish, chairman of Lema Publishing, which produces TnP, says: “Diana and her husband Geoff were a very popular couple, with a chain of 17 Greens Toymaster stores at one stage in and around the Gainsborough/ Grantham area. The many reps and agents who travelled to Lincolnshire have fond memories of dealing with Diana. “Involved with the toy trade from the 1970s, she was on the Snowfold buying group’s FOB programme and later served on the Toymaster’s buying committee. “Diana was a most astute buyer - able to quickly make up her mind if she liked a product or not. She had her own unique style of dress and, with her bubbly personality, she certainly made an impression wherever she went. “My thoughts are with Geoff, their sons Ben and Tom and their grandchildren at this sad time.”

The Toy Association’s 2020 mid-year trends presentation

learning, fun, and togetherness, to physical activity and stress relief, play offers so much - and society is becoming much more attuned to that. Expect to see playthings that help kids develop their social-emotional learning skills and target ‘kidult’ toy buyers; products that have sensory/ ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) qualities that offer a moment of Zen; and ‘comfort food’ toys and games that are either nostalgic or offer a way to escape. Brought to you by the The Toy

JANUARY 2021

Association, the mission of ‘The Genius of Play’ is to provide families with the information and inspiration they need to make play an important part of their child’s day. Through the dedicated website at https:// thegeniusofplay.org/ and social media channels, parents can find facts, useful tips, and expert advice on how toys and play can help kids build confidence, creativity, critical thinking, and other skills that will serve them throughout their lives. Plus, they can get ideas on how to keep playtime fun and fresh. The full slate of 2021 toy trends will be announced at The US Toy Association’s upcoming Toy Trends Briefing, which will be hosted virtually in February. For more details, visit www.ToyAssociation.org.

Founded in 1916, The US Toy Association is a notfor-profit trade association representing all businesses that design, produce, licence, and deliver toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. The U.S. toy industry has an annual US economic impact of $97.2 billion, and its 1,000-plus members drive the annual $27 billion US domestic toy market. The Toy Association serves as the industry’s voice on the developmental benefits of play and promotes play’s positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media. The organisation has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped to develop the first comprehensive toy

safety standard more than 40 years ago, and remains committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing programmes to ensure safe and fun play. The Toy Association produces the worldrenowned Toy Fair New York and Toy Fair Dallas; advocates on behalf of members around the world; sustains the Canadian Toy Association; acts as secretariat for the International Council of Toy Industries and International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable; and chairs the committee that reviews and revises America’s widely emulated ASTM F963 toy safety standard.

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COFFEE BREAK Magic year ahead TnP catches up with Spin Master general manager, UK & Ireland Sara Taylor to find out about the company’s plans for the year Spin Master has just been named toy licensee for Wizarding World. What can we look forward to?

Royal thumbs-up for festive flexi toys The Duchess of Cambridge’s mother Carole Middleton has revealed that she is a big fan of flexi toys. Sharing the insight last month on the Instagram feed for her Party Pieces company, she wrote: ‘I find that the smallest present can be the one that gives the most enjoyment and entertainment to children. I remember that when they were young, my children found flexi-figures like these totally absorbing. A good choice of stocking fillers can give one extra time, undisturbed in bed on Christmas Day, Invaluable! Yours, Carole.’ H. Grossman CEO David Mordecai said: “We’ve always known that our new range of Flexi pocket money wooden toys was fit for royalty, but it’s nice to have it confirmed. It’s great to see pocket money toys being celebrated. Our Christmas Flexi Figures are very popular - we do a Rudolph and a snowman figure too!’’

We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on a new line with this fantastic franchise. Our starting point is always to bring an immense amount of innovation, amazing features, and design and development newness, as can be seen in our 8in fashion doll line, which features amazing rooted hair and classic outfits of very high quality. We will of course be backing up the new product line launch with a multi-faceted marketing campaign across a number of platforms. We are very excited to launch the Wizarding World toy range in the 20th anniversary year since the very first Harry Potter film. Under the overarching theme of ‘A Year Of Unforgettable Magic’, together with Warner Bros. we will empower fans to create new memories through products and franchise experiences. Through our marketing expertise across the full range, we’ll build the next generation of Harry Potter superfans and a true evergreen toy brand. Spin Master has five toys in the final of TOTY, so it looks like 2020 was a good year for the company. Why do you think that is? We are incredibly proud of what we achieved in 2020, which proved to be a challenging year for everybody. As ever, great product innovation came to the forefront of our success with new brands and products such as Present Pets and Hatchimals Pixies Crystal Flyers performing particularly well for us. We also had an outstanding year with Kinetic Sand and Games, both of which grew in popularity during lockdown. What are your goals for 2021? To build on the momentum achieved in 2020, and to put another year of great marketing plans and sales efforts behind our key new launches of Wizarding World, Zoobles - and a few more still to be announced!

Magformers launches steriliser storage box Magformers has joined the global fight against Covid-19 with the debut of its new Dothams UV-C steriliser storage box. Proven to kill up to 99.9 per cent of germs and viruses using ultraviolet light, the 50l polystyrene box has been designed by Magformers’ parent company Gymworld Inc. The user simply plugs it in, loads it up with toys, closes the lid - and its UV-C LED light gets to work, helping to fight the threat from Covid-19 and other potentially fatal bugs including e-coli and salmonella. Magformers managing director David Kelly said: “Dothams is a highly-effective, useful tool in the fight against deadly viruses. The box provides a permanent and easy way for families to sterilise and store toys and can also be used on everyday items that are shared between family members, particularly mobile phones, tablets and laptops.”

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We are excited to unveil innovation and new play patterns in the Activities, Games and Fashion Dolls categories, particularly within our Wizarding World launch. And this will be an exciting year for Paw Patrol with the launch of our first ever Paw Patrol feature film in August 2021. Can you tell us some more about Spin Master’s acquisition of Rubik’s Cube? Spin Master will continue the Rubik’s brand legacy, with plans for further innovation across the entire Rubik’s portfolio and expanded distribution through the company’s global footprint. For the UK specifically, it is very much ‘business as usual’ as far as the distribution of Rubik’s Cube is concerned. The brand will remain under contract with John Adams until 2024, and Simon Pilkington [managing director of John Adams] and I are in close contact as we develop our new working relationship. Having this iconic brand as part of our Games portfolio will give us significant leverage on a global level. Finally, what is your coffee break beverage of choice? Taylor’s coffee (of course), with lashings of frothy, full-fat milk on top!

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PEOPLE

NEWS Insights People on the move Following the announcement of several new team members, market intelligence expert The Insights People has moved into new premises on Portland Street, London. The new appointments take the team to 48, so it’s no surprise the expanding company has moved into new, 2,000 sq ft offices. Claire Garner joins to lead the bespoke research team and lead the company’s media effectiveness analysis service. Claire has extensive research, insight and media experience having worked at MediaCom for 17 years as associate director, and more recently running Manchester-based More Insight.

The company also welcomes Lewis Townsend as account manager, Sam Nguyen as research executive and Joseph Newton as junior developer. In addition to the new recruits, Beth Bleathman is promoted to senior research executive.

Orchard Toys appoints Banaghan & Co Orchard Toys has appointed Banaghan & Co as its exclusive distributors for Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The company has taken its time to make an appointment following the retirement of its Irish agent, Bryan Walker, in the summer. Simon Prest, sales director at Orchard Toys, said: “We wanted to ensure that we considered all options before making an

Hannah Pickersgill joins Wilton Bradley Wilton Bradley has appointed Hannah Pickersgill as international sales manager. She brings a range of international experience in the toy industry to the role and joins familiar faces. Hannah will bolster the international sales team headed by Laetitia Westerman, with whom she has worked in previous roles in the toy industry. Hannah’s toy, sales and management experience has been consolidated over the past 11 years with roles in various UK toy businesses, as well as time spent in hospital management and luxury food & drink business development. Hannah started her career in the toy industry in 2010, when she joined Worlds Apart (now Moose Toys) in a sales support role, later moving into the international sales manager role. Following time spent at West Design (Docrafts) heading up the international sales department, Hannah re-joined Laetitia at Addo Play before leaving for ventures closer to home.

JANUARY 2021

appointment, so that our Irish customers continue to receive the best possible availability and service.’’ Colm Banaghan (right) added: “ We look forward to working with such a well-known and respected brand in the retail trade.’’

LEGO brings Colette on board Colette Burke has joined the LEGO Group as executive vice president and chief commercial officer. Colette joins the LEGO Group from consumer electronics company, Bose Corporation, where she was vice president global sales. During her 25-year career at Bose Corporation she held a wide range of commercial, general management and marketing roles of increasing scope and responsibility at a global, regional and national level, including 19 years in the US. She began her career as a management consultant in Germany. Colette said: “I am thrilled to be joining the LEGO Group. As a mother, I know just how powerful play is in developing children’s skills and I am especially passionate about inspiring strong, confident girls. This extends to work, where I am a committed advocate and mentor for the next generation of leaders.’’

Spin Master announces new global president Max Rangel has been appointed as Spin Master’s Global President. He will assume the position of global president and CEO in April. Max will be responsible for the execution of Spin Master’s long-term strategy. As a seasoned executive who has successfully led global businesses generating growth across multiple consumer packaged goods categories, he brings extensive experience in leading consumerfocused and high-performing teams, developing innovative marketing and brand management programmes and managing complex operations. Most recently, he held progressive positions with SC Johnson & Sons serving as SVP, president of lifestyle brands in international markets and SVP, president, Asia Pacific, Africa, Middle East & Russia regions. Prior to SC Johnson & Sons, Rangel spent 22 years at Procter and Gamble and more than three years at The Hershey Company. Spin Master’s co-founders and current co-CEOs, Ronnen Harary and Anton Rabie, will work closely with Rangel over the next several months to ensure a seamless transition, following which they will continue their leadership of the strategic path for Spin Master in their roles on the board. Harary will continue to guide the growth of the digital games creative centre and Rabie will continue to provide input on Spin Master’s culture globally. Both will continue to oversee Spin Master’s long-term strategic vision focused on charting the company’s growth and will remain involved in business development and all mergers and acquisition activity. 9


RETAIL

NEWS

Big deal from The Entertainer The Entertainer is giving customers the chance to save an extra 25 per cent on all online orders over £20. The deal is one of the biggest promotions that the high street toy chain has ever run online and includes many items already on sale, increasing the savings even further. It means shoppers will be able to take advantage of some huge New Year savings across brands including L.O.L. Surprise!, Hot Wheels and Paw Patrol. The offer is applicable on already-reduced items across the www.thetoyshop.com and www.elc.co.uk websites, when using the code EXTRA25 at the checkout. The offer, which excludes LEGO and gift cards, runs online from January 4 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional code. The retailer said: “With government restrictions in place, families are set to spend more time together and the deal will unlock The Entertainer’s click-and-collect savings on thousands service was in operation up to of products including midday on Christmas Eve for last board games, puzzles minute shoppers, and its January and educational toys, sale launched early, at 5pm on allowing parents to December 21 keep children entertained at home.’’

Did you know?

Hamleys launches on eBay

Did you know? LEGO, Scrabble and Monopoly are among the top 20 most-searched-for toys on eBay

Hamleys has launched its first eBay shop, as part of the company’s plan to expand its online presence. From December 16, eBay’s 28 million UK customers have been able to shop the full range of Hamleys’ toys and games. More than 1,600 product lines feature on eBay, including Hamleys’ own-label range. The addition of Hamleys will give a boost to eBay’s toys offering, with The Entertainer and Early Learning Centre also recently joining. Murray Lambell, general manager of eBay UK, said: “So many of us will have a special memory about Hamleys - as a child spending an afternoon of play in one of their stores, or as a family visiting its famous Christmas grotto. “As the pandemic continues to disrupt the high street, we’re pleased that we can give iconic brands like Hamleys another online shop window.’’ 10

OnBuy on track for unicorn status Online marketplace OnBuy.com has set its sights on achieving unicorn status as it announces 605 per cent year-to-date growth. OnBuy says it is on a mission to revolutionise the e-commerce sector by providing a fair, transparent and ethical marketplace that benefits both buyers and sellers. The UK-based marketplace now has unicorn status - an accolade awarded to privately-held start-up firms valued at ■ Beta-tested over £750 million - in territory-specific its sights within the next sites in 42 two years. countries OnBuy is already valued at an estimated £180 million ■ Secured £5m in its after launching only four Series A funding years ago and, having round in June achieved its third ■ Increased its seller consecutive year of over base by 10 per 600 per cent growth in cent for three 2020, the eCommerce consecutive business is quickly gaining months market share. ■ Achieved £2.5m OnBuy’s founder and in sales for its CEO, Cas Paton, who was sellers on Black awarded Founder of the Friday alone Year 2020 by online media ■ Scaled the OnBuy publication Just team by over 40 Entrepreneurs, said: per cent, to more “Securing unicorn status is than 60 staff not an easy feat, but our members success so far proves it’s well within our grasp. In ■ Won the UK January 2020, our business Business Tech was valued at £6.5 million, Awards’ but by March, within only eCommerce three months, OnBuy was Company of the valued at £14 million. More Year award and recently, OnBuy has been Retail Without valued at over £180 million Borders’ ($240 million), and so if we Marketplace 2020 continue on this trajectory award as we anticipate, the sky really is the limit. “This year alone, we have seen sales on OnBuy soar from a run rate of £24 million to over £170 million. We’ve accomplished so much in the UK that I am entirely confident that unicorn status is within reach, especially as we are already under way with our global scale up that will take OnBuy into more than 140 countries before year-end 2023.” OnBuy launched its first major national TV ad campaign with ITV for Black Friday and Christmas.

A busy 12 months

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Retailers to receive up to £9,000 support Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that retail, hospitality and leisure firms are to receive up to £9,000 to cope with tier five restrictions Toy retailers could be in line for up to £9,000 in support during the latest lockdown. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has promised that non-essential retailers that have had to close as a result of further restrictions will receive up to £9,000 per property. This one-off payment is expected to cost the Treasury £4 billion. The package is expected to include a discretionary fund of £594 million for other businesses that have been affected by the lockdown. The one-off grants to closed businesses will mean up to £4,000 for premises with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, £6,000 for those worth between £15,000 and £51,000 and £9,000 for properties valued at over £51,000. It is unclear as to when businesses can apply for the funding and we will inform you as soon as we know more.

Obituary: Dennis Watts

B&M shares sales success Discount retailer B&M celebrated surges in sales from lockdown and Christmas with dividends and a bonus. Sales in the 13 weeks to December 26 rose by 26.6 per cent on a like-forlike basis, reaching £1.4billion. The retailer’s sales in the six months to September 26 were up 25.3 per cent to £2.2 billion while its pre-tax profits were £235.6 million. Shareholders received a 20p-pershare dividend, which saw major shareholder chief executive Simon Arora and family receive £30 million. Staff were not left out of the celebrations - with 30,000 workers set to receive an extra week’s wages.

Help for heroes B&M has extended its staff discount to all NHS workers for the month of January. The store said the discount was a ‘thank you to the real heroes of the pandemic’.

JANUARY 2021

Tributes have been paid to toy trade legend Dennis Watts, who died on December 24 following a three-year battle with cancer. Malcolm Naish, chairman of Lema Publishing, which produces TnP, said: “Dennis and his wife Judy were much respected in the industry and were sorely missed when Dennis retired in 2005. “Dennis joined the toy trade in 1974 when he took over his father’s toy shop in Melton Mowbray. He added a second store in 1978, trading as Arbon & Watts in Grantham. They regularly won the Toy Shop of the Year Award for the Midlands region. “In the mid-1990s, the couple created their online Mail Order Express catalogue, which led to a massive expansion of the company. The catalogue was well ahead of the growth in online shopping.” John Nicholas reflected: “I first called on Dennis when he took over the business from his father in the 1970s. When I became an agent in 1984, he soon became one of my best customers as he developed and built up the Mail Order Express. Despite the success of that, he still remained an excellent high street retailer and my orders increased even more when he took over Alan Arbon’s business [Arbon & Watts]. “My sympathies go out to Judy, Paul and Clive. Be proud of Dennis: he was a good man, and I was proud to call him my friend.”

2020 sees footfall down over 40% Total year-on-year UK retail footfall for 2020 fell by 43.4 per cent, according to the latest data from BRC (British Retail Consortium)ShopperTrak. Footfall on high streets declined by 49.5 per cent year-on-year and dropped 47.3 per cent in shopping centres while retail parks saw a decrease by 17.3 per cent. The Golden Quarter saw nearly half the footfall (a decline of 48.4 per cent) compared with the same period in 2019. BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “After an Responding to the encouraging government announcement start, Christmas of a free-trade deal between shopper numbers the UK and the EU, BRC dwindled as chief executive Helen December Dickinson said: “After years progressed, due of campaigning for zeroin large part to tariff trade, we welcome the announcement of a freethe creation of trade agreement between Tier 4 in England the UK and EU. This protects and increased consumers on both sides of restrictions the Channel from billions in elsewhere in the import tariffs on everyday UK. High streets goods. and shopping “The UK and EU centres continued Governments have taken a to see the most crucially important step in substantial agreeing a zero-tariff decline in agreement, to the benefit of customers all over Europe.’’ shoppers, as their ‘non-essential’ tenants were forced to close their doors during the weeks leading up to and following Christmas. London, the south-east and Wales were hardest hit, with footfall dropping by over four-fifths in the final week. “A third lockdown will be one too many for some businesses. Rent bills continue to weigh heavily and the threat of a return to full business rates in April looms. The Government must reassure those businesses hardest hit that they will receive vital financial support in the form of an extension to the coronavirus business rates relief.”

BRC welcomes free trade deal

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LICENSING

NEWS

Colourful deal for Crayola

Dobble gains more licences

Crayola just got even more colourful with a licensing partnership with Moonbug Entertainment’s CoComelon. With over 4 billion monthly views and streamed across YouTube, Amazon Prime and Netflix, the world of JJ and his siblings will be colourfully recreated in the pages of Crayola’s Colour Wonder. Colour Wonder celebrates mess-free colouring and continues to be a pillar brand in the Crayola portfolio. Look out for JJ’s vibrant adventures on shelf in A/W21.

Dobble, Asmodee’s flagship game of speedy observation, will introduce four licensed editions in 2021, with new titles teaming up with the hugely-popular Paw Patrol, Pixar, Marvel and Minions brands. The game of spotting the single matching image between two cards has grown into a national phenomenon in recent years, becoming the UK’s best-selling game of 2018 and 2019 according to NPD data. It has already experienced great success with licensed editions based on properties such as Posh Paws International has extended its The Gruffalo, L.O.L. Surprise! and Harry long-standing collaboration with Universal Potter, the latter of which in particular Brand Development to continue producing flew off shelves in 2019. high-quality plush products for its global Beginning with box office and TV animated franchises Dobble Pixar, in the UK market. Illumination’s Sing 2 is set for a these four new December 2021 cinematic release, and games will be Posh Paws will be onboard with a range released across of high-quality soft toys. The Christmas 2021, offering release will benefit from marketing and fresh new PR opportunities from Posh Paws to Virtual trade show opportunities ensure all retail touchpoints are covered for fans of each AsmoFair features and consumers know that products are property to find a 360-degree available and where to buy them. the perfect way Posh Paws will also see its biggest virtual tour of a Minions release yet as Minions: The to enjoy Dobble’s fast-play fun. fully-built show Rise of Gru comes to big screens from July, while January sees the launch of Retailers will stand the Jurassic World soft toys. The new be able to get hit Netflix animated series, Jurassic an up-close look World: Camp Cretaceous, should spark at these new editions, as well as find out interest, with Season 2 scheduled for what else is next for the Dobble brand release this year. and discover other major new additions Look out too for toys from DreamWorks’ to the Asmodee catalogue, at the How to Train Your Dragon, and Croods 2 – third edition of AsmoFair – Asmodee’s set for a February 2021 release in the UK. virtual trade show. Running from 17 to Adults and tweens are the target 23 January, the event now features a audience for Universal Classic Monsters – 360-degree virtual tour of a fully built cult classic characters that first came to life from the 20s to 50s and are being reborn show stand that brings attendees even in plush in 2021. closer to the feel of an in-person show.

Posh Paws continues Universal partnership

Did you know?

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HTI signs Duggee deal Hit pre-school brand Hey Duggee has partnered with toy manufacturer HTI on a new range of licensed toys. HTI, the UK’s largest independentlyowned designer and manufacturer of children’s toys, will create licensed bubbles, outdoor patio chairs, electronic musical instruments and character cases. The bubbles and outdoor ranges soft launch in early 2021, just in time for the Spring/Summer season. The remainder of the categories will launch at retail in Autumn/Winter 2021. HTI’s bubbles range includes traditional favourites such as bubble wands and themed bubble solution, as well as electronic bubble machines and a bubble mower. The character cases are Duggee-shaped and ideal for role play. The range includes a toy Doctors Case with a medical set and Squirrel Club Case featuring shaped stampers. Off the back of growing toy sales, Hey Duggee master toy partner Golden Bear is also showing buyers a new range of plastic and plush toys for A/W21.

toysnplaythings.media


INTERVIEW

CHRISTIAN ULRICH

Spielwarenmesse goes virtual Exclusive ITMA Interview with Christian Ulrich, director marketing Spielwarenmesse eG, as he talks about Spielwarenmesse BrandNew

The industry’s innovation show is taking place in January on a new virtual platform known as Spielwarenmesse BrandNew. Could you tell us a little more about it? Christian Ulrich: In July, the industry will finally gather again at the Spielwarenmesse Summer Edition. In the run-up to the event, we will be taking advantage of the enormous reach of our digital platforms, giving companies the opportunity to present their new products to the global trade through Spielwarenmesse BrandNew. The virtual event will take place at the end of January, coinciding with the original dates of the fair. In doing so, we are responding to the industry’s desire to fill the gap with a virtual solution. Could you please explain the concept in greater detail? Christian Ulrich: We have various packages that suppliers can book. They include product presentations on the Spielwarenmesse website along with product descriptions,

JANUARY 2021

Christian Ulrich, Director Marketing Spielwarenmesse eG

Every year, we record more than a million visits to our website

image and video material as well as contact details. The packages differ in terms of their scope and promotional impact, generated through social media posts and product presentations in the Spiewarenmesse Newsletter Special, which attracts a huge amount of interest among the industry’s target groups. In-house events spotlighting innovations can be added to the event calender entry, which is likewise located on the website. In the week from 25 to 29 January, promotions will be taking place with suppliers appearing live on the Spielwarenmesse’s Facebook and Instagram channels. This will give them the chance to introduce their products, take viewers on a tour of their showrooms or offer Q&A sessions.

will now be of immense benefit to toy companies of all sizes, allowing them to forge international contacts that are key to their business success.

That all sounds very promising. You spoke earlier of the enormous reach …

What has been the industry’s initial response to Spielwarenmesse BrandNew?

Christian Ulrich: Yes, our figures speak for themselves: vvery year, we record more than a million visits to our website and over four million page impressions. We have around 43,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram. In addition, our tradeoriented newsletter and our visitor database give us access to more than 100,000 international decision makers. Filled with high-quality, relevant content, these platforms

Christian Ulrich: The initial reaction from the toy industry has been extremely positive. We are creating a platform that connects trade and industry just at the right time. Companies interested in presenting themselves and their products at Spielwarenmesse BrandNew have already registered with us for the event. The digital offering will be available to buyers and retailers free of charge.

During the pandemic, toys have become more important than ever. Featuring new products and ideas, Spielwarenmesse BrandNew is exactly what the sector needs. What kind of services are you offering the trade? Christian Ulrich: The Spielwarenmesse website is evolving into a hub that provides retailers and buyers with an overview of the global market. Trade visitors will be able to access this service both in German and English from 25 January. They will discover interesting products and be able to prepare their product ranges for the coming year while sitting at their computers. At the same time, Spielwarenmesse BrandNew offers them a simple way to forge contacts with new manufacturers. And, of course, all of this will be complemented perfectly by our topical Newsletter Specials and the live sessions on the Spielwarenmesse social media channels.

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PROFILE

DOLU TOY FACTORY

Developments at Dolu DOLU TOY FACTORY

TEL: 07850 779797 | WEB: WWW.DOLU.COM.TR EMAIL: SALES@SJR-ASSOCIATES.CO.UK Established in 1975 in the Turkish city of Istanbul, Dolu Toy Factory is counting down the days to its move into a new and modern facility. The first phase of production will be ready this month, and additional machines have been ordered to support the growth in capacity that the factory will offer. By July, the second phase and all movement into the new premises is planned to be finished. The new facility is closer to the

Bulgarian border and is on the main route to Europe, with easy access to the main ports. The total closed area will measure 55,000 sq m and the capacity of the new factory will be five times bigger than the current production facility. With extra capacity, the company plans to enlarge its product offering across its toys and baby ranges.

Fact! The capacity of the new factory will be five times bigger than the current production facility

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In 2019, Dolu was awarded the title of ‘Largest Toy Exporter in Turkey’ and the company aims to establish new technologies in its new facility to increase productivity further. In addition, in order to support a sustainable environment, Dolu will be working on solar energy power solutions with the aim of the new facility becoming one of the lowestemission factories in the toy industry. Steve Richardson of SJR Associates, which has been working with Dolu for 10 years and represents all sales and marketing in UK and Ireland for Dolu, said: “With all this in place, we look forward to establishing Dolu as one of the major suppliers to the UK - and building on last year, when we had our best-ever business in the UK by a long way.” He added: “The other great news is that Turkey has now signed a free trade deal with the UK.”

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MEDIA

ANALYSIS

Adapt to survive 2

020 may finally be behind us now, and while it pushed many toy retailers and consumers alike to change the status quo this year, there’s certainly a lot we can learn from this year’s upheaval. Online demand will continue and potentially increase in 2021, as the nation has just been forced into further restrictions that will have large impacts on the High Street. So, as the government has been saying all year, we need to learn to adapt. And one way we can do that is through developing a lock-tight (and lockdown-free) e-commerce strategy with Amazon. Here's our five top tips.

1.

Push price, ratings and reviews

Do you have strong A+ content? Have you invested in the Amazon Vine Programme? Are you winning the buy box? As 41 per cent of Amazon’s customers say price is the most important factor in their purchase decision, with 16 per cent saying it’s the number of ratings or reviews, and eight per cent highlighting convincing product descriptions/ photos as the number one factor, if you want to differentiate yourself from the increased online competition during a lockdown, these all need to be addressed.

On Amazon, 69 per cent of customers’ shopping queries start without a brand

2.

Keep ahead of the trends

Amazon has recently released a new format Sponsored Brand Video (SBV) - in the UK, following beta testing in the US. The importance of video cannot be understated, with one in five Amazon visitors having made a purchase as a result of watching a brand or product video. For our customer base, results have been very positive, generating some of the highest click-through rates (CTRs) we’ve seen this year, with ACoS/ROAS (ad cost to sales revenue/return on ad spend) metrics underlining the

41%

Percentage of Amazon customers who say that price is the most important factor in their purchase decision

importance of this format. Incorporating these new formats with a ‘test, measure and refine’ approach is crucial to both short- and long-term success.

3.

Don’t forget about your competition

On Amazon, 69 per cent of customers’ shopping queries start without a brand. When a customer has no significant brand loyalty, the first row on the results page is particularly lucrative, with more than a third of Amazon customers clicking on these products. From an advertiser's perspective, you should keep an eye on your competitors and consider their strategy alongside your own. Are you price competitive? How do your review scores compare? How do your products compare with your competitors? Where do you rank on the search page? These questions will help to inform you whether you are competitive or not, ensuring you are using budgets efficiently, rather than on keywords where you are unable to compete.

4.

Use Smart-Tech to power your investments

There is only so much manual optimisation you can do with the Amazon AMS platform from a reporting and optimisation standpoint. Look at leveraging smart-tech software to capture back data over the three-month limit on Amazon AMS to identify trends and use them to inform strategy. This smart-tech also enables you to apply a set of ‘rules’, such as pausing keywords if the ACoS goes above a certain threshold, which in turn allows 24/7 automated optimisations.

5.

Finally – track your investments

Data = power. When driving consumers directly to Amazon from other media activity such as YouTube, Facebook and so on, make sure to track your traffic and conversions from external sources using relevant tags. Although the Amazon Advertising attribution tool is in beta, use it to identify any noticeable trends in the data. This will be invaluable to your wider media strategy. For more information, or to organise a health-check on your brand's e-commerce performance, please feel free to get in touch with the Generation Media team.

Generation Media is the UK and Ireland’s largest independent media buyer of toys and games advertising. Visit generationmedia.co.uk or call 0207 307 7900 to learn more.

Generation Media’s Kate Moncur looks at how toy retailers can plan a watertight strategy to use Amazon selling to their advantage


CONSUMER

INSIGHT

Hobbies make a comeback T

he Insights People has interests going forward. recently issued its annual As lockdown restrictions prevailed Kids Insights Future and parents were working from Forecast report, which home and kids weren’t in school – makes 10 predictions for 2021. the opportunity arose for families The predicted trends are based to come together. Traditional upon the attitudes, family activities rose in behaviours, and importance in the kids consumption ecosystem. Board games The patterns of kids, are now considered a top amalgamation tweens and teens, five favourite toy among looking at their lives of the digital and tweens in the UK and both on and offline. physical as the this quantity has almost One of the key doubled year-on-year lines continue trends from the for five-to-18-year-olds to blend will be report is the return across the UK, Italy, Spain, a key trend of traditional Germany and the US. hobbies. While We can expect to see to watch numerous digital more innovation in the trends have board game market, accelerated on account of the as companies will seek to build Covid-19 pandemic, there have on this recent success with new been many things altered around developments, but also look at ways kids’ offline life, too. Traditional feelto enhance the traditional offering good hobbies and interests have with digital elements that kids are risen to prominence once again already accustomed to. Already, for those looking to disconnect. we have seen Nintendo innovate We anticipate that these won’t within this industry, merging a be passing fads, but this year’s digital gaming experience with experience will help define kids’ a traditional, customisable board game. Additionally, new technologies

As we say goodbye to what we can only call a most unusual year, Kids Insights looks to 2021 and the kids’ trends we can expect

such as augmented reality have enabled the company to create a new spin on the traditional radio-controlled car, controlled via the Nintendo Switch console to drive around a circuit created in kids’ homes. Mattel Television is also developing a game show based on Uno, which will incorporate audience participation, while the game Articulate! saw an online version of its cards so that people could play online via video call, at no additional cost. The amalgamation of the digital and physical as the lines continue to blur will be a key trend to watch as we move into 2021. Companies will look to create novelty by updating accepted traditional formats to incorporate new technologies that this generation of kids are utilising. Furthermore, kids are, more than ever, looking forward when it comes to their consumption habits. Gen Z are the standout leaders in sustainable consumption, with many willing to pay an increased price for peace of mind. Large brands have also joined the sustainability pledge – LEGO, the global number one toy among six-to-nine-year-old boys, has vowed that its bricks will be 100 per cent sustainable by 2030. As consumer expectations change, brands must adapt in order to cater to them. Sustainability is no longer an offering that a niche audience craves, it is becoming expected from the masses. As many as 35 per cent of expectant parents in the UK say that taking care of the environment is an important value to instil into their children. The green generation will only expand and grow as we move forward.

Experts in kids, tweens and teens market intelligence, The Insights People specialises in research and insights on kids aged three to 18 and their ecosystems. It surveys more than 5,000 children every week, across five continents and 13 countries - that’s more than 277,000 children a year. The annual Kids Insights Future Forecast report, which makes 10 predictions based on its extensive experience of the kids’ ecosystem, is available to download at www.kidsinsights.com/toysandplaythings


RETAIL

OPINION

The road ahead W

ill it ever end? Will I ever have any customers again? Will I be around when it all finishes? These, or variations of them, are the questions that have passed through the minds of countless small retailers over the past 10 months, punctuated by something akin to despair from time to time. Yet in answer to all three, the answer is almost certainly ‘yes’. Let’s deal with things one point at a time. That the uncertainty and worry associated with Covid-19 will be dealt with must be beyond dispute, it’s just a matter of how long it will take to get us all jabbed. There will come a time when we are less fearful of crowded spaces, although whether we will be comfortable being in close proximity to others any time in the near future is a moot point. For those in the business of selling toys this is good news, in part. The 21st century’s first pandemic has made us all cautious and one of the effects of the virus being banished will be changed shopping behaviours. We’ve all become so used to social distancing, and in-store screens are now so familiar that removing them and asking us to feel okay about others being around us may be a step too far. It may prove to be the case that lesscrowded shops are here to stay and the days of peering over the shoulders of others to get a look at a display are over. From a shopper’s perspective this can only be a good thing as one of the most off-putting aspects of any kind of shopping trip tends to be other people. For retailers, however, it does mean that higher conversion rates have to be the ‘new norm’. And for toy shop ‘demonstrators’, wowing the crowds with the latest must-have, it may be a case of controlling onlooker numbers and ensuring that they’re not gathering together in their enthusiasm for what they are being shown. All of which can probably be dealt with, but long before this stage is reached there is the second question: will they come back? If there is a single out-and-out winner in the Covid-19 stakes it has to be Amazon. When in doubt, go online, do the necessary and move on. E-commerce has hardly blinked during the period and to an extent there are those who have become used to the idea of not going to the shops. Getting shoppers back may actually prove the single most difficult thing to effect, but it is not a lost cause. It’s a measure of the mystique that still surrounds a well-run shop that online operations are increasingly looking at how they can make their virtual shops feel more like the ‘real’ thing. Practically, this means outfits such as Charlotte Tilbury, the make-up artist and brand, and Diesel, the Italian jeans label, have created retail avatars that look, for all the world, like shops and

it’s possible, with a mouse, to wander around these online retail spaces and browse just as you would in the high street. Toy shops, of course, do have a very considerable advantage inasmuch as they depend, to a large degree, on shoppers playing with the stock, which is still largely beyond the ken of the virtual merchants. What this all says, however, is that online retailers see physical shops as something to be emulated and they understand that shoppers want to be in shops, which should be encouragement for high streets and malls alike, in the short to medium term. Shoppers will come back, but they need to be given a reason for doing so and that, gentle reader, is down to you. On the final question, you will be around (as your business will be) but you will have had to make adjustments as outlined in the previous few paragraphs. It’s certain that 2020 has been about the demise of a great swathe of retail. But without being overly harsh, a lot of what has gone may well have been waiting for the axe to fall. Being closed for a considerable period does nothing to help matters: rent still has to be paid, even if you are an owner-operator and don’t have to concern yourself too much with the matter of paying for staff. On the upside, you’re still going and if you’ve got this far, it seems more than probable that you’ve understood what needs to be done and gone a fair way towards making this a reality. Coronavirus has been the worst thing that could have been imagined and the manner in which it has been dealt with by some in power may have been questionable, but the end is in sight and we will emerge from this a little better disposed towards our fellow man. We will shop more locally and toy shops will be part of this. There was a moment when it looked as if everything might be washed away and the question being asked was what would be left when all of this was finished? The answer to this final question has to be that a lot will remain and it will be generally be better than what preceded it. Look forward to 2021: this will be a year of renewal, a time when we emerge, and a period in which we’ve taken stock and can move forward. There will also be fewer pressing questions to answer.

It’s a measure of the mystique that still surrounds a well-run shop that online operations are increasingly looking at how they can make their virtual shops feel more like the ‘real’ thing

John Ryan is Stores Editor at Retail Week. He has worked for the magazine for more than a decade covering store design, visual merchandising and what makes things sell in-store. In a previous life he was a buyer. 17

With so much uncertainty as we look ahead to 2021, John Ryan answers some of the questions retailers are asking as they try to plan for the next few months


THE INDEPENDENT

OPINION

Keep on keeping on The Indie reflects on a challenging year and ruminates on what lies ahead for retail in 2021

Best-sellers

I have taken the proactive step to ensure we have bought in new stocks and ranges from all our suppliers so that when we are allowed to open, we will do so with the very best chance possible of keeping our customers happy with fresh things to buy to keep the kids smiling

there and everywhere. Not such a win for my wife; although in years past she has complained about the level of travelling I do, in 2020 it seemed to turn into complaints about me being around all the time. As a man I couldn’t possibly comment on this change of viewpoint, but I think I understand on a very deep and emotional level how I can annoy my wife by never being home, while still annoying her while I am at home… From a personal point of view I did a lot of positive things this year. And I’m not even joking when I say that I got jobs

A

been, it drives me to drink copious amounts of whisky to subsequently try to forget about it. What a load of ‘b*ll*cks’ 2020 was to us all, and it had so much negativity to share that it is spilling over into this year, which at the moment feels like a never-ending struggle with no light at the end of the tunnel. I know that I usually VOLUME: talk specifically about 1. Fart Ninjas - Funrise things relating to the 2. Pokemon Sword & Shield Trading toy industry, but I do Cards - Asmodee want to reflect on some 3. Hot Wheels Cars - Mattel general personal wins that did come out of VALUE: last year. 1. LOL Surprise OMG Plane - MGA I didn’t travel from 2. Gotta Go Flamingo March onwards - a Character Options massive win for me 3. CoComelon Bedtime JJ Doll - Bandai as I hate flying here,

s we leave a year behind, I always take time to reflect on what I felt were the major milestones for me over the course of the whole 365-day period. Unfortunately for me, when I reflect on what 2020 has

THE SECRET SUPPLIER

Here we go again… The Secret Supplier predicts 2021 will be a successful year for those companies that adjust to the new demands of toy-hungry consumers

W

hen the industry comes to look back at 2020, there will be obvious ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. We now know that The Independent is healthier, better at DIY and has got a greater understanding of why some women like their partners in limited doses. When talking about 2020, it

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will be described in terms that reflect World War II. There will be the pre-war (pre-Covid) period, and the post-war (post-Covid) period that found the UK badly economically damaged and missing many thousands of fit and intelligent young men. Will we look back at last year with similar thoughts? The retailers that have done well have seen the pandemic as an opportunity to change and adjust their businesses to reflect life after Covid-19.

Of course the consumer will have got used to the internet as a quick and reliable way to do their shopping. Many households have come to live with the convenience of deliveries arriving less than 24 hours after placing their orders. Some retailers without a strong internet set-up will not recover and those like Amazon,

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done around my house that I have been putting off for years. Our garden has never looked so good, fences got painted, I started reading again, bought a bike and got fit(ter), enjoyed more time with my wife, got a Netflix account and binged on great shows, and was able to enjoy a healthier pace of life for a prolonged period of time. These are all positives in my book, and some of them would be considered major to me. But that was in early lockdown - when the weather was shining, it was all new to us, and, although none of us would have wanted it, a bit of a change to the day and daily grind was welcome(ish) to ‘shake things up’ a bit. Now we are in the throes of

JANUARY 2021

The retailers that have done well have seen the pandemic as an opportunity to change and adjust their businesses to reflect life after Covid-19

who must be the big winners, will continue to go from strength to strength Already many high streets are looking deserted, with famous names simply disappearing and greedy landlords suffering a similar fate. The High Street has suddenly lost its appeal for many retailers. Surely, we must say goodbye to many core retail names and equally, we suppliers will be similarly affected.

winter, and in my humble opinion we are still nowhere near on top of this pandemic, and still with no real direction as to what will come next. I’m not going to get into commenting on my opinion about mistakes that the government have made, or where the R number is etc, but I do consider myself to be a rule follower, and everything that I have been told to do or not do has been adhered to. Unfortunately, through what I see and hear from people, most are now so fed up with everything that they are just doing what they want to do, which will only be making a rod for our backs into this year. But hey ho, we all know best, don’t we? As I look to 2021, I am still extremely unsure of what is in front of us. I know that as a member of the toy industry, my January is going to look extremely different. No London Toy Fair gives me

about two full weeks of time to do things that I have never been able to do before. But the likelihood is that I will be stuck in my house as we are inevitably heading into another lockdown to pay for our Christmas festivities. No matter what happens, I have taken the proactive step to ensure we have bought in new stocks and ranges from all of our suppliers so that when we are allowed to open, we will do so with the very best chance possible of keeping our customers happy with fresh things to buy to keep the kids smiling, during what will be another tough and difficult time for them too. This does make me feel for those retailers who are not in the position to do this, who have struggled in the runup to Christmas and feel, like I do, that they have sacrificed so many sales to businesses such as Amazon. I speak to a lot of people about Amazon, and the range of opinions is vast from “it’s just too easy and convenient” to “I wouldn't buy off them no matter how cheap the item was or how desperate I was”. But in a period where online was the ‘safest’/only way to shop, I do wonder how many people who were reluctant online shoppers are now buying everything online. If that trend continues, I can only imagine what the shops on the high street will look like in another year or two…

Will the London Toy Fair reinvent itself enough to bring us suppliers back? Our supplier base in Hong Kong will have also suffered - but the smart ones will have developed a new way of trading. We can be sure of one thing: 2021 will be a successful year for those companies that adjust their business profiles to the new demands of toyhungry consumers. Let’s hope The Independent is one of them!

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RETAIL INTERVIEW KIDS STUFF

Adapting t changing t Kids Stuff joint owner Stephen Hartfield discusses developments at the independent toy shop chain with Clare Turner “It’s a very strange January. It seems weird and a little bit heart-breaking because usually at this time we’re excited because we’re going to Toy Fair - but there’s just not that feeling this year.” So says Stephen Hartfield. He is joint owner of Kids Stuff, which was founded by his mum Debbie in 1988 when she was looking for a toy in her local town of Uckfield in East Sussex and was unhappy with the choice available to her. As Stephen explains: “My sister was starting school that year in September and my mum couldn’t find a present for her. So my dad [Julian] said: ‘Well, we could open a toy shop here. Our kids are all at school now, so you’re going to need something to do to keep yourself busy!’ Kids Stuff was borne from that basically.” Stephen has worked for the family firm for 29 years. He started young, joining as a 10-year-old Saturday boy at the Uckfield shop “and now I’m the product buyer, problem solver, IT guy… I do pretty much everything

Top five best sellers Lego Mini & Mario figures Pokemon boosters Squishmallows Squad 4 Squishmallow 12in Dream Zuru Raptor

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We have our finger on the pulse

and anything, apart from finance, payroll and HR.'' Over the past three decades, Kids Stuff has grown to a chain of eight shops across the south-east but still has a retail presence in Uckfield, where its head office and warehouse is based. Its home county is also host to two branches in Eastbourne and Hastings, while neighbouring county West Sussex boasts three in Burgess Hill, Chichester and Bognor Regis. Kent and London, meanwhile, have one branch apiece, in Tunbridge Wells and Putney respectively. The stores typically measure about 2,500sq ft but vary in size from 2,000sq ft (Eastbourne) to almost 6,000sq ft (Putney). Stephen believes the latter is one of the biggest independent toy stores in London and “it’s absolutely ginormous for us. It’s a lovely shop: the aisles are wide, and we’ve got some

great displays in there from Mattel and Micro Scooters. If I could have all of our shops like that - and pay realistic rents then I’d be very happy!” In total, Kids Stuff stocks an impressive 5,000 SKUs from around 100 suppliers. Key categories are action & figures, construction & vehicle, dolls & soft toys, educational, games & puzzles, outdoor, pocket money and pre-school. As Stephen says: “We don’t specialise - we’re not a specialist toy shop in terms of focusing on wooden or models - and we don’t really have age ranges. We stock toys from birth to, well… the amount of adults that come in and collect Pokémon! “We have a broad range, from everyday sellers and must-haves to the latest crazes and clearance or ‘great price lines’ as I like to call them. And we always try to have stuff

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to times “

Toymaster is a great buying group - it helps us no end

in for launch such as Squishmallow Squishville Minis squad packs and blind packs and LEGO. So we have our finger on the pulse.” When selecting merchandise, Stephen’s criteria is simple: what’s the cost price? Does he like the product? Are his customers going to buy it? And does he have space in his shops for it? “Because there are loads of products that I’d love to have… and if I had a department store then yes, I’d stock them. But you have to be realistic and think ‘I don’t have the client base for that’.” As for key brands, LEGO is top of the list. “It’s our biggest seller,” he says. Other hot performers are L.O.L. dolls, CoComelon, Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol. Big news for Christmas were Gotta Go Flamingo, Pokémon J. J. dolls, Barbie, Hot Wheels, The Plasticine Movie Maker Studio and Fifi The Flossing Sloth. Other popular toys were Pokémon and Squishmallows. Kids Stuff also sold a lot of radio-controlled cars and did well with Our Generation dolls and accessories. The Studio Creator Video Maker Kit from Canal Toys was another hit. “It’s for all the kids that do TikTok and video blogs,” says Stephen. “I backed that early: I thought it would be really big, so I ordered a lot of stock. It was a little bit slow to start with and then suddenly, I think in one weekend, we sold about 90 online!”

JANUARY 2021

Online explosion The company’s website has been “a godsend” according to Stephen. “If I said a figure of what we have done in sales compared with last year it would be a crazy percentage increase, so we’re really happy with that.” But at the beginning of last year, things were very different. Stephen was considering changing

Our website has been a godsend

www.kidsstufftoys.co.uk from an ecommerce platform to an informationonly site. Why? “Because online is a lot of hard work. To put all the products on, keep it up to date and make sure it’s actually working is a full-time role. I really wanted to concentrate on my bricks-and-mortar: ensuring all the shops were running correctly and that we had got all the stock in for them. Obviously, I’m glad we didn’t in the end.” He is referring, of course, to the government’s announcement of the first lockdown on March 23 2020. When Stephen heard the news, he quickly revised his plan. “I thought: we don’t know how long this is going to last, so let’s have a good crack at putting all the products on the site so we can offer more online sales.” His team have since worked their way through all the stock held in the warehouse and now 70-80 per cent is available to buy online. Until lockdown restrictions eased and the high street came out of hibernation on June 15, Kids Stuff offered a clickand-collect service and local deliveries - but only at its Uckfield base. Stephen says: “I decided not to do it at our other branches, because first, we don’t have delivery drivers in each store, and I didn’t think it was fair to make my staff go out delivering orders. Second, it wasn’t financially viable to open all the stores up just for click-and-collect or

21


RETAIL INTERVIEW KIDS STUFF

Retailtainment and rewards

telephone orders. And third, demand. “It hasn’t been I didn’t want to encourage too bad,” he says. “With Kids Stuff hosts regular events customers to come out and certain companies, we in store to entertain customers. leave their houses.” took the decision to take Examples include make & take Instead, he posted a the stock in early. We got with Depeche such as designing message on Kids Stuff’s in quick just so we could an outfit or a TY beanie. It runs Facebook page saying that secure it. Generally how colouring competitions too: kids ‘we may be closed but you we work is: I see my rep or take away a printed sheet, colour it can still shop with us online, agent and forward order in and then drop it in the next time and orders over £20 will get for September, October, they’re in town to win a prize. free standard delivery’. “At November and December. “We try to do as many activities least if we post orders, we Then they might say ‘oh, as we can,” says Stephen. “It could are keeping contact down stock could be short’. So be something as simple as playing to a minimum for our staff,” then I look at my sales and Dobble, because that’s a very he notes. say ‘yes, I’ll pull forward: quick and easy demo game, or “Working on the site kept I’ll have my November physical activities like hula hooping, me busy during the first and December stock in skipping or building a LEGO model lockdown. Uploading all the now’ especially with some in the quickest time.” product details and images companies, because you There are demo tables for online and then parcelling the don't want your shelves Magformers, Geomag and LEGO, orders stopped me going stir being short on the most and one store has an interactive crazy at home. And it brought in-demand products. board, which customers can play money into the business, “The puzzles category games on and compete to get the which has helped to keep was quite hard; companies highest score. us ticking over. Obviously, such as Ravensburger and The retailer also offers a loyalty we’ve had some help from Jumbo Games sold more card scheme that gives customers landlords, and we don’t have puzzles than they could one point for every £1 they spend. to pay rates this year. But it’s ever dream of! So that’s Once they collate 200 points, worrying when you sit and a completely different they are rewarded with a £5 think that you’ve got product situation for them. They voucher. Promotions are run that you’ve paid for, and never expected to sell that throughout the year to gain double you’ve got eight shops and many - if they could have points, and some branches hold you can’t open or do anything had a crystal ball and seen exclusive or early launch nights for with at least seven of them. that was going to happen, loyalty cardholders. It’s a concerning time.” then they would have had Board games, puzzles and stock of puzzles, believe arts & crafts proved extremely popular me. So you can only do so much. You in the first lockdown. English, maths, can only manufacture so many. I have science and French books sold well too, to predict what’s going to be the best along with educational toys, science kits seller, and they have to do exactly the and building kits. But one surprising same, but on a much bigger scale.” success story was giant chalks. “We Meeting challenges sold hundreds and could have sold With the UK now in its third lockdown, hundreds more, but suppliers had the how is Kids Stuff adapting to the same problem as us - they weren’t to challenge? “We are better prepared know that product would be such a big online, and we’re working to get all thing. Who would ever have thought the rest of the stock uploaded on the people could sell thousands of packs of site,” says Stephen. “I’ve learned that giant chalk?” something which I would never have Overall though, he has not faced thought could happen in my wildest many issues in terms of keeping up with

I think kids will have a lot of cash burning holes in their pockets

22

dreams can happen. It’s made us very careful on ordering stock and quantities. We’ve done a lot more ‘little and often’.” When sourcing new products in normal times, his first port of call is The Toymaster May Show, held annually at The Majestic Hotel in the North Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate. Kids Stuff is a member of the buying group and Stephen is on the committee that selects the products that go in the catalogue, while Julian is a director. Benefits of membership include being given access to more than 170 suppliers including major brands, with preferential payment terms; central invoicing and payment managed through a secure members’ website, reducing administration and paperwork; communication with regular updates on the toy industry and product trends; and year-round marketing with exclusive window displays, in-store POS, and catalogues. “Toymaster is a great buying group - it helps us no end,” Stephen says. “As an independent, it’s a great way to find information very quickly. You get a lot of support, and the option to run two catalogues. The Christmas catalogue, for example, shows a selection of the products we stock. We deliver 250,000 copies round Sussex, Kent and London, so it’s a good advertising tool for us.

toysnplaythings.media


Did y

Kids year tw recentl stores)

“Plus, all our invoices go centrally to Toymaster and then we just pay Toymaster one bill. I deal with anything up to 80 suppliers so to have just one payment go out at the end of the month is a lot easier than setting up 80 individual payments. “You get to meet the suppliers at The Toymaster May Show. They have good deals and it also allows you to get accounts with some suppliers that maybe you wouldn’t get otherwise. And you don’t have to fill out a new account form each time you want to order from someone. If they’re suppliers of Toymaster, I’m already in the system, so they just send the invoice direct to Toymaster and Toymaster collates it all and tells me how much to pay each month.”

Forward planning The Toymaster May Show is where Stephen does a big percentage of his Christmas buying and planning for the rest of the year. For the beginning of the year, he attends previews in late October and November with Toymaster. “We go to companies such as Mattel, Hasbro, Spin Master, MGA, Character Options and LEGO and see products for Spring/ Summer. That allows me to start placing orders in October/November for January/February/March. So when I go to the Toy Fair, I’ve quite often seen a lot of the products - and that allows me to concentrate on some of the smaller suppliers.” Of course this year is vastly different. The Toy Fair has been cancelled and Stephen hasn’t been to any previews. In fact, so far he’s refused to do any Zoom previews “because I can’t think of anything worse. I know I’m going to have to do it, but you just don’t get a ‘feel’ for the products. This year is the first time I haven’t pre-ordered, apart

JANUARY 2021

from LEGO, MGA for L.O.L. and Mattel, two weeks of December [when nonwhich peeves me a bit. I haven’t even essential retailers were allowed to concentrated on looking at stock yet open again at the end of the second because the second lockdown started lockdown], was really good. Then it [on November 5] and that would usually started to tail off a little bit. “It never be when I would do previews.” really felt like Christmas though,” he As a result, he has been “very reflects. “It didn’t have that Christmas cautious” about ordering stock and ‘spirit’ or ‘rush’ because a lot of getting ready for Q1. “Normally I like to people were shopping individually and have lots of ‘new’ but I haven’t seen a obviously, we had to keep customer lot.” There are a couple of exceptions numbers to a certain level. Usually though. “I like the look of a product that weekends in December are absolutely Flair is bringing out called Sneak'Artz manic but it wasn’t like that. [mini sneakers that can be customised “Weekends were quiet and people with paint, spray or stickers] which I’ve were very organised. They came out ordered. There’s some new CoComelon on a mission, knew exactly what they which I like as well. And then there’s the wanted, and bought it - probably new Barbie and the new because they were thinking Hot Wheels, which we do there may be another extremely well with.” lockdown. It felt calmer and So what’s next for Kids more controlled.” Stuff? “I can’t see us The government then Kids Stuff has been opening before March,” he announced that nonnominated as ‘Regional predicts, “because there’s essential shops had to close Toy Shop’ of the year bound to be delays with from midnight on Saturday twice, ‘National Toy Shop’ vaccines. So as much as December 19 in London and of the year six times, I’d love to say we will be much of southern England. and most recently won open for February halfThree branches were affected ‘Specialist Multiple Toy term, I reckon it will be by this, so Stephen kept them Retailer of the Year (up to early March. open until 8pm on that day. 25 stores)’ in 2017 “If The Toymaster May The remaining five branches Show gets the go-ahead, that closed on Christmas then I’d like to think that Eve weren’t as busy as usual, we have turned the corner and it will although shoppers were spending more. be positive for the rest of year. That’s But overall: “We lost a lot of sales. I what I’d like: for things to go back was really hoping for a good week after to normal. Christmas, as I suspect many children “I’d like to be able to play rugby, were given money instead of gifts from have a drink afterwards - and not have relatives or friends who they were to worry about counting the number unable to meet up with. of people queueing outside my stores “I think kids will have a lot of cash [to meet social distancing measures]. burning holes in their pockets which Just to go back to pre-Covid times they can’t spend, because there’s no would be lovely. fun for children in buying toys online “We can get back to business and is there? If kids are spending their own hopefully we won’t have another pennies, they don’t want to say, ‘here lockdown and then, by the end we are mum, can you buy that for me of the year, we can have a normal online?’ Kids want to go into a shop, Christmas again.” pick toys up, choose what they want He says that initially in the run-up and buy it themselves because, after all, to last Christmas, trading in the first it’s ‘kids’ stuff’ isn’t it?”

Did you know?

23


RETAIL

OPINION

Talking retail Sam Muxworthy Founder, Love From Aunty, Cirencester, Gloucestershire How was Christmas trading? Good. This was my first Christmas trading as an independent website but the sales followed my expectations. I should have trusted Royal Mail more and moved my order cut-off date closer to Christmas to benefit from the final week of trading. I did, however, receive my first customer complaint. A man emailed me a couple of days after Christmas to say he was “bitterly disappointed” that his grandchild’s present hadn’t arrived in time for Christmas: That was the email I was dreading. When I investigated, he had placed the order on Christmas Day! What were your best sellers? Le Toy Van’s Honeybake Tea Set was my number one and I unfortunately sold out of this at the end of November. Moulin Roty’s Baby Girl doll was my second best seller. The Baby Boy doll sold very well too. SC Brands’ Pink Miffy (Bon Ton Toys) rounds out my top three toys. How do you feel about 2021 trading? Cautiously optimistic. We know that parents overspend on their children during difficult times, as shown by NPD data from 2020 - compare this to other industries to highlight my point. I was worried that toy suppliers wouldn’t have invested in new products for 2021 but it seems to be business as usual on that front, with lots of really exciting developments for this year. If you could see one discontinued toy from your childhood make a comeback, what would it be? My Pet Monster. I vividly remember my little sister taking out my brother’s front teeth when the orange handcuffs caught him while she was going in for a monster hug! With Hasbro buying the brand from Saban, I have high hopes that this is coming back!

24

If you would like to take part in Toy Talk, we’d love to hear from you. Please email clare@lemapublishing.co.uk

TnP loves to hear your views . This month we find out how Chris tmas went and how everyone’s feeing about the year ahead

Dan Lovett, Manager, Toy Box, Beccles, Suffolk How did you get through Lockdown 2.0? November was a nightmare when we first found out we had to shut for the month. So we had to think of something fast. We already have a good social media presence so we told our followers we could do click and collect. But the best bit was with our YouTube channel where me (standing behind the camera) On and my two sons William and Harry could show YouTube cour our customers exactly what we had in store. annel me and mh The games video was very popular and got lots y sons could two of orders. Shortage of stock was becoming a customers show problem - especially jigsaw puzzles as customers w at we had in stohre were not just buying one or two but several (one even brought 12 for a care home). What have been your best sellers? Our best sellers were puzzles, games and of course that good old favourite LEGO. How are you feeling about this year? 2021?? Who knows, I just hope there are no Covid-related toys coming, but then my 10-year-old son has pointed out to me a Barbie with a mask on. If you could bring back one toy from the past, what would it be? One toy I wish would come back and was a great craze when I was a kid good old Muscle Men!

Karen Dorn, Owner, The Forgotten Toy Shop, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. How was Christmas trading? I was concerned about Christmas trading as my seasonal markets had been cancelled. So I joined a few virtual markets on Facebook and took to social media and newsletter campaigns to advertise my online store. It was my best-ever Christmas trading year. How do you feel about 2021 trading at this moment in time? I’m looking forward to trading in 2021. The feedback I’ve received from my customers about my online store and the customer service they have received has been so positive and it has given me the confidence to grow my store with more product brands and bring in more personal customer service offers, such as a bigger range of gift-wrapping service. If you could bring back a toy from the past, what would it be? One toy in particular that I am struggling to find is the traditional whip & top. It is a great simple toy that brings such fun.

toysnplaythings.media


Polly Horton

Founder, Three Boys Rock, Worcestershire

Nikki Agravat Founder, Pingo Pongo, Kings Road, Chelsea, London

How was Christmas?

How was Christmas? Good, in spite of it not being the Christmas we had all wished for. We're thankful for all of the support we received. We worked extra hard to make sure Christmas was special for all of our customers. How did you cope with having to shut down at the busiest time of the year?

We offered FaceTime and WhatsApp personal shopping to customers as well as click and collect for those who knew what they would like to purchase

That was tough. As a small and relatively new independent retailer, we have poured all of our energy into our bricks-and-mortar store. We are home to more than 50 brands and cater to ages up to 10. Having to shut down at the busiest time of year was heartbreaking. Our 2020 roadmap of going online was put on hold, so we could be as reactive as possible to what people needed. It was a bold decision, but one we had to make to be able to support our existing loyal customers and our young family. We offered FaceTime and WhatsApp personal shopping to customers as well as click and collect for those who knew what they would like to purchase. I would post new products and Christmas ideas on social media and respond to queries at all hours of the day and night. My husband and I would work once our kids were asleep - Christmas wrapping present after present and delivering locally - this actually worked out really well for most of our clients as their children wouldn't see the wrapped gifts! We fulfilled many orders for families who were no longer travelling abroad for the festive period to send locally and internationally. We also discovered that there was a need to provide our service to expats who would normally return to the UK to see family and friends. Personal, handwritten messages were added to all of these packages and deliveries to really help enforce that these gifts were carefully chosen for each recipient despite them not being able to be delivered in person. We now have a strong personal shopping service via WhatsApp for this sector in particular. When we were allowed to reopen, some still preferred to operate remotely and personal shop with me. This has continued to be a good solution for us and has enabled us to help connect individuals personally with loved ones.

What were the best sellers this Christmas? Dolls houses and market stalls were very popular this Christmas for the two-to-four-year-olds. We built many Le Toy Van Cherry Tree Hall dolls houses for customers and they chose to furnish them with Le Toy Van or Maileg furniture and accessories. Brio builder sets as well as Brio train sets remained a popular choice. Open-ended items including the Wobbel board and Way to Play Road flew off the shelves. Family games were also very popular this Christmas; best sellers included I Saw it First and Junior Monopoly. For the slightly older kids Zig and Go by Djeco and Kapla.

Amazing in certain parts, significantly lower turnover in other respects. A huge part of my normal turnover is at live Christmas fairs and events (I did 30 days spread all over the country in November 2019 alone) and obviously these were all cancelled. So turnover was way down. But online sales were, on average, over six times higher than 2019 for Q4, which was amazing. How did you cope with having to shut down during the busiest time of the retail year? As all my normal events were cancelled, I participated in a number of online fairs, some more successfully than others. But it meant that fellow fair member businesses cross-promoted Three Boys Rock and I did the same for them. I also increased my budget for boosted posts and ads on Facebook and Instagram. It would be foolish to think that nobody saw this coming so I placed much smaller orders with my suppliers more frequently to keep on top of stock. I also considered my buying carefully and focused on items at a slightly lower price point than normal. For example, aunts and uncles reduced spending on their nephews and nieces from, say, £25 to £30 per child to nearer £20. Were you affected by the reported toy shortages in the week before Christmas? A lot of my suppliers were out of stock of items when I did try to reorder from late November onwards. But I have a wide range of products so I could focus attention on the items I did have. What were the best sellers this Christmas? Games were definitely huge - we are lucky to have a wide range. I'd say Big Potato Games' Herd Mentality and P is for Pizza were the biggest sellers. ‘Doing’ gifts were popular as well - science kits, magic gifts, activity sets. A light-up shower speaker was popular for teens and had sold out by very early December. How do you feel about 2021? Cautious. But with a tiny hint of optimism. I will be putting additional budget into making improvements to our website to ensure sales on that platform continue to grow. It was great to see such a big increase in online sales and this is where I'm going to focus my attention for 2021. I will be selective of live events to participate in for 2021. I love them and turnover can be great - but the travel, airbnb costs, petrol and time all take their toll on my energy levels... and profit margin!

How do you feel about 2021 at this moment in time?

If you could persuade a toy company to make one toy from your childhood what would it be?

Anxious, but hopeful. We have worked hard to adapt our business to work during these times and we are hoping that some sort of normality resumes. Each obstacle has taught me a lesson and has made me analyse how the business is growing and where I see the business in the future. Positivity has kept me going throughout 2020 and I plan to take that forward into 2021. Now that we have established a good personal shopping service, we are looking to focus on our online platform to further increase our reach, and to help streamline existing processes.

I had the most amazing aeroplane toy that I absolutely loved. It was as if a plane had been cut in half across its middle and you had one end. It opened up and was effectively a plane version of a doll's house. I played with it for hours and hours! It was self contained and had a carry handle. I loved it so much. I must ask my mum what she did with it!

JANUARY 2021

25


TRADE

OPINION

Calling all suppliers and distributors! If you would like to get involved in next month’s Trade Talk please email clare@lemapublishing.co.uk

Trade talk

In the month when we would usually be heading off to London Toy Fair, we talk to suppliers about how they are helping retailers, lockdown strategies and what they will miss about the annual pilgrimage to Olympia PHIL RATCLIFFE

DAVID MORDECAI

Joint managing director, MV Sports Toy Fair season is manic, but we all love it! How will you be creating the same excitement without any real-world shows?

CEO, H.Grossman In the light of lockdowns, shop closures and lifestyle changes, have you altered product launches to reflect how life is now?

Our range is quite large so we will be breaking it down into bite-size chunks and focusing on each segment independently.

Like many companies we have had colleagues working from home and actually that has worked well, with regular online meetings. We have made certain product changes to reflect conditions, particularly in pocket money sales with the closure of so many retail venues in tourism and hospitality, but we have come up with some great workarounds, which allow the consumer to buy pocket money toys online without the deterrent of postal charges. Our Value Christmas Stockings were a great seller and we have been delighted with the reaction to our boxes of pocket money toys too. We have been able to refine and introduce some great lines for 2021 especially as outdoor was such a great seller in 2020.

Many retailers tell us they like to be able to touch and feel products when buying - how are you going to get around this when so many meetings are virtual? I think that in our category touching and feeling takes second stage to size and function so that is what we will be focusing on. What’s the one thing you’ll miss most about Toy Fair this year - and anything you won’t miss?! I will miss being able to meet, greet and network with customers, licensors and industry friends. The toy sector is a very friendly and close industry and everyone likes to share their experiences. What do you see as your biggest challenge in 2021? Inflationary pressures caused by increased cost of product and freight. Also extended supply chain issues. We need earlier commitments from our customers.

SARAH DAYUS Sales director, Great Gizmos In the light of lockdowns, shop closures and lifestyle changes, have you altered certain product launches to reflect how life is now? We saw a great amount of growth across our science and craft categories throughout 2020 and so have decided to expand on these ranges as our customers always like something new to offer.

What’s the one thing you’ll miss most about Toy Fair this year - and anything you won’t miss?! The catching up with colleagues, customers and friends will be missed and the buzz of seeing what’s new - and I won’t miss the whole set-up process! Virtual showrooms are all the rage - when will you have yours? Ours is ready to go in Glasgow and we have already done many previews online.

What’s the one thing you’ll miss most about Toy Fair this year and anything you won’t miss?! We will really miss seeing our customers face to face this year, and our fellow exhibitors! Virtual showrooms are all the rage - when will you have yours? We are ahead of the game and already have one ready and raring to go! It’s really clever and allows customers to ‘walk around’ and view all the new products we have to offer. More information is available for each product by a simple click of the mouse.

GAVIN UCKO Managing director, The Happy Puzzle Company Toy Fair season is manic, but we all love it! How will you be creating the same excitement without any real-world shows? Really amazing products will hopefully sell themselves - we are bowled over by what we are bringing out this year and I hope we can get that across well! Many retailers tell us they like to be able to touch and feel products when

28

buying - how are you going to get around this when so many meetings are virtual? We have our budget for the toy fairs, so we can send out a lot more samples than we normally would. What’s the one thing you’ll miss most about Toy Fair this year and anything you won’t miss?! I love all of the toy fairs - seeing people you only see at that time of year and being able to show off with pride what we have brought out. It’s a business buzz like no other. What I definitely won’t miss is clearing up at the end. It’s just so depressing taking apart that awesome stand!

toysnplaythings.media


KAY THOMPSON Head of UK retail, Winning Moves In the light of lockdowns, shop closures and lifestyle changes, have you altered/ expanded/cut back on certain product launches to reflect how life is now? We’re lucky to have a range of products that has proved to be very much in demand during lockdown. We've therefore expanded manufacturing points to give more flexible supply options and also expanded our ranges to keep the choice fresh and current. Puzzles - our biggest area of growth - will expand from 10 lines to more than 30 lines of the latest hot trends and licences. Looking ahead, how will you ensure demand for your products and support retailers? Our established, trusted brands are well known - Top Trumps, Pass the Pigs, Waddingtons, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Top Trumps Quiz and Match games and more - so it’s our plan to ensure we market these via digital, social and paper advertising to ensure the customer is kept up to date with the current product range available.

LAETITIA WESTERMAN Head of international sales, Wilton Bradley There’s no London Toy Fair this year, what will you be looking forward to instead? We are looking forward to the new Spielwarenmesse 2021 Summer edition, giving us the opportunity to meet existing and future partners again. Wilton Bradley will be showcasing a new larger stand, enabling us to present not only the key lines we are well known for, but also some very exciting new developments for Spring/Summer 22 and beyond.

MARY WOOD General manager UK&I, Tomy Toy Fair season is manic, but we all love it! How will you be creating the same excitement without any real-world shows? I’m not sure we can recreate the magic of a real-world toy show! Our main priority going into the new year is finding ways to show actual products to retailers and this is why we will be running 'live' product presentations via Zoom the week commencing 18 January. We are trying hard to be respectful of the limited time retailers have to make selections – and the fact we are all somewhat Zoom fatigued – so are making sure that we show only new news, and tailoring presentations to meet each retailer’s individual needs. In the light of lockdowns, shop closures and lifestyle changes, have you altered/expanded/cut back on certain product launches to reflect how life is now? Launching completely new products has been challenging without the normal amount of traffic in-store, and retailers do seem to be being more cautious generally in regard to selecting new products. As a result we have focused product development on our core categories of arts & crafts (with Aquadoodle, Megasketcher), infant and pre-school (with Toomies, Lamaze & John Deere Kids), Britains and games. Where we are launching new products it's either within a core category (for instance Mache Magic is an arts & crafts product launching A/W21) or working with a strong and proactive licensor who will help us at retail and in building consumer demand (Sing 2 supported by NBCU). Looking ahead, how will you ensure demand for your products and support retailers? We work hard to bring products to market that will delight children and parents alike. That’s part of the Tomy DNA. Additionally, Tomy always invests in the right type and level of marketing activity. We also are there when things go wrong. None of those things will change.

JANUARY 2021

ROSS BRADLEY Sales director, Wilton Bradley What have been the company’s most successful products this year? We had a real buzz around our new Xootz electric range last year, which has led to some considerable growth. At the forefront of this charge were our Electro and Evader electric scooters, which have been best-selling products in the group, as well as the award-winning Typhoon Power Drifter, created using in-house tooling and design. This year we are adding a new stealth black go-kart called the Comet. How are you making sure that customers can see your new products? We are offering live video conference presentations from the showroom, allowing buyers to meet their salesman from the comfort of their own home to review the products and ask questions live. We have also created new recorded video presentations for every new product, which allow customers to watch at their own convenience. The videos were created by the buying team, who share their detailed knowledge and explain the specifications of each product line. And while we are encouraging customers to meet virtually, the showroom is still open for customers to visit in person if they feel they cannot effectively review the products virtually. The showroom can be accessed directly without coming into contact with other areas of the business and is kept safe with increased cleaning and PPE. 27


WHAT’S N The good Li-Fe!

Train the brain Asmodee UK 01420 593593 www.asmodee.co.uk Brain Games are travelfriendly games that each focus on different kinds of mental development. From the 10-minute memory challenge of the acclaimed BrainBox series to the brain-teasing mini-games of Cortex Challenge via the imaginative workout of Rory’s Story Cubes, the Brain Games suit younger players but offer plenty of fun for adults who join in. The Two-Player Games are the perfect choice for when three’s a crowd. Look out for ingenious titles designed for the one-onone experience, such as the acclaimed resourcecollecting card game Jaipur or Patchwork, which casts players as quilters trying to arrange pieces of fabric into a coherent whole, plus expert reimaginings of other top-selling games such as Bananagrams Duel and Codenames Duet.

Colourful makeovers Vivid

01483 449944 www.vividtoysandgames. co.uk

Colour and style again and again with Crayola Colour n Style Friends. Combining the strength of a growing supercategory with an evergreen colouring activity and customisation, kids can have hours of creative fun. Each doll has its own colourful personality and can be styled and customised and, in true colourful style, washed off and styled all over again. The range will launch with four Colour ‘n’ Style Friends: Sky, Jade, Lavender and Violet. Each doll comes with its own clothing accessory to clip on and style up. You can use the dry erase markers to colour in, adding fun patterns and designs to give the doll a cool new outfit. You can even colour their hair and finish off with a custom make-up look for a marvellous makeover. When you’re finished, just wipe off your designs and style again.

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MV Sports 0121 748 8000

www.mvsports.co.uk

Introducing Li-Fe; MV’s fast-growing e-scooter brand. Join the e-scooter revolution with an expanded range of kids and adult commuter models. The lithium range offers an eco-friendly form of transport in a lightweight, compact, on-trend format. The use of lithium ion (Li-Fe) batteries provides long-range potential off a single charge (ideal for commuting), while the battery delivers immediate torque straight to the wheels for maximum acceleration and a smooth, exciting ride. Large wheels ensure that the Li-Fe scooters can handle the bumps in the road and each model is tested and conforms to the latest safety legislation. There’s never been a better time to get a Li-Fe!

Sesame Street favourites Posh Paws 01268 567317 www.poshpawsinternational. co.uk Posh Paws is launching its new Sesame Street soft toys this April including fan-favourites Elmo and Cookie Monster large soft toys with special features. The talking Tickle Me Elmo toy includes more than 20 fun and entertaining sounds. The new Baking Cookie Monster is dressed in his iconic apron and chef’s hat and has three chocolate chip-scented cookies.

Rev up the fun Basic Fun! 07917 186 540 www.basicfun.com In 2021, Basic Fun is going off-road with Tonka ths year, with a fresh fleet of construction vehicles. The new play patterns of 2020, which included a mess-free Tonka Dirt compound in the Micro and Metal Movers toys, will continue into the 2021. Helping to make play more realistic, Tonka Dirt revs-up the pester power. Basic Fun is gearing up for the S/S21 launch of Tonka Mighty Machines Lights and Sounds vehicles – a thrilling line-up that includes a Fire Truck, a Police Copter, and more.

tnp.media


NEW The magic of Disney Great Gizmos 01293 543221 sales@greatgizmos.co.uk Great Gizmos has launched its new Disney licence with a range of STEM products including science and craft kits. Teach kids the wonders of robotics and anatomy with the ultracool Avengers Motorised Robot Hand. Construct an impressive spider that scuttles up and down its string, with Spider Man Spider Robot. Children can rebuild the 100-year-old optical toy that demonstrates the working principle of modern animations with the Disney Animation Praxinoscope. Other Disney products include the Frozen Colour In Mug, Frozen Mirror Chest, Toy Story Solar Hybrid Power System, Toy Story Pump Rocket and Design Your Own Princess Chest.

Go loopy for Snoopy

Rainbow Designs 01329 227300 www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk Did you know that the iconic Peanuts comic strip is more than 70 years old? Everyone’s favourite dog Snoopy is the coolest beagle around. Now this popular comic book character, created by Charles Schultz, along with his best friend Woodstock, features in a fun collection of Peanuts soft toys.

Packed with fun! GP Flair

020 8643 0320 www.flairplc.co.uk

Launching for S/S21 from Flair is a fun roleplay collection inspired by the latest YouTube sensation, Kids Diana Show. The Flair Just Play range includes Love, Diana’s Adventure Set - a cute backpack that looks just like the one Diana wears in the show. It comes with everything that is needed for a Love, Diana adventure - a transforming wand hairbrush, an interactive phone, a map to help navigate the Land of Play, and lots more! Be sure to also look out for the Surprise Deluxe Trunk which, just like in the series, has plenty of surprises, with many compartments for little girls to discover.

JANUARY 2021

Inflated with personality! Character Options 0161 633 9800 sales@charactergroup.plc.uk

Character Options is introducing a new litter of interactive pets for S/S21 – Squeakee Minis. These cute little animals combine everything that children love about balloons and playful pets. They’re cheeky and squeaky! These adorable mini balloon animals feature a hilarious record and play back feature that transforms even the gruffest of voices into squeaky helium chat. They also make balloon sounds when petted and you’ll hear them inflate when blown on… but beware! Continue to blow too much and you will hear them pop. There are three Squeakee Minis to meet: Heelie the Puppy, Billo the Monkey, and Poppy the Bunny.

Play within tent Simba Smoby Toys UK 01620 674 778 sales@sisotoysuk.com Simba Smoby Toys UK’s Smoby brand has a large collection of playhouse real estate, including a terrific new teepee. Kids are promised endless hours of fun, with the introduction of this plastic tepee. With its simple design and a neutral colour palette, the teepee has a minimalist, modern, Scandinavian appeal. What’s more, this clever new launch from Smoby evolves as children grow, transforming in height from 159cm to 183cm, so this play destination is suitable for kids aged two- to 10-years-old – and possibly a few parents too. This cool new teepee can be pitched both indoors and outdoors, thanks to its UV resistance and sturdy foundations. 29


COVER STORY MV SPORTS

Anything that ‘moves’ With the past year seeing a rise in sales of outdoor toys, MV has been busy developing more than 200 new products for 2021, with a complete range refresh of Mattel’s Barbie licensed wheeled and outside toys. Joint MD Phil Ratcliffe talks about why he has a soft spot for the fashion doll, and tells us more about MV’s plans for this year How was trading for the company in 2020? Trading was exceptionally good on the domestic front, with MV over-indexing against the industry and sector as a whole. Over summer we experienced a surge in demand in particular for outdoor brands such as Li-Fe (e-scooters), Hedstrom (outdoor play), Kickmaster (football), Stunted (scooters) and uMoVe (preschool wheels). For those retailers able to trade during the pandemic, some of the more ‘agile’ customers won the day by coming for stock and seizing the opportunity presented by lockdown, as opposed to taking a cautious approach and cutting back.

Tell us a little about how the Barbie range came about. As a long-term licensee and former employee of Mattel I’ve always had a soft spot for Barbie and we could see from last year’s data and resurgent retail interest that something exciting was happening. With this in mind we executed a complete range refresh across all of the Barbie products and added in some key drivers based on the success of the Barbie mermaid theme, as well as taking inspiration from the Barbie Dreamhouse and Dream Camper Van Tent in particular.

What does the Barbie range bring to your ride-ons? The range looks very fresh and

Did you know? As well as wheeled toys, the Barbie range includes quick-up play tents, a Dreamhouse Den complete with lights, and a quickup Camper Van Tent 30

contemporary, while appealing to a relatively wide age demographic, which is perfect for wheeled toys as our Barbie range covers a broad range of bikes, scooters, skates, batterypowered vehicles, helmets and accessories. Our new mermaid segment incorporates a sequinned mermaid tail doll carrier, complemented by reversible sequin and glitter

The Barbie range looks very fresh and contemporary, while appealing to a relatively wide age demographic

elements on both bikes and scooters, which makes them highly distinctive and desirable. In addition to wheeled toys we have also developed a range of quick-up play tents, a Dreamhouse Den complete with lights, and a quick-up Camper Van Tent, which have all gone down a storm.

Tell us more about the other products that you are introducing this month? We have been really busy developing and sourcing more than 200 new products during lockdown with freshness and innovation infused throughout almost all ranges and categories. In view of the increased demand seen this year we have also increased our number of stocked-in lines by over 19 per cent.

How important are licensed products for MV? Licensed products are very important for MV as we know that younger kids want recognised characters and brands.

Retailers respond to latest trends; as we have seen in recent seasons with L.O.L. Surprise and Frozen, whereas classic licences such as Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol imbue a sense of parental confidence and safety when purchasing, and as such are a very safe bet for gift-givers.

Tell us about MV own brands. Our own brands delivered our biggest growth last year with the majority ahead of 2019, and we expect this to continue in 2021. Sometimes a unique product or concept doesn’t need a licence to sell it, nor is a licence always appropriate. For example, it is difficult to see what a licence can add to an e-scooter, 10ft trampoline or 7ft football goal where there is already exceptional demand.

How will you be helping your stockists in 2021? We are bringing in more domestic lines for 2021 and we are working hard on improving the quantity and quality of our online content alongside social media initiatives to help drive sales of our key products at critical times.

What are the team’s ambitions for 2021? To navigate our way successfully through the choppy waters of Covid and Brexit and with the help of our fantastic and committed staff, deliver profitable growth for our customers, licensors, suppliers, and stakeholders.

With no toy fairs, how can buyers find out about all of your products? We have virtual presentations to send out to our customers and (get this!) a 200-page catalogue (remember those?!) displaying all of our products, specifications and USPs in all their glorious detail!

toysnplaythings.media


Back to the future?

New licences New CoComelon, Kindi Kids, Baby Shark and Banksy embellish our portfolio of successful classic properties such as Disney Princess, Frozen, LOL Surprise, Spiderman, Batman, Nerf, Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Bing and more; all of which have been strengthened with new designs and product introductions.

With no trade shows this year, M.V offers retailers a combination of virtual presentations and a 200-page catalogue

Ingot Stunt Scooter

Nerf Go Kart with Blasters and Darts Kickmaster

Classic licences such as Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol imbue a sense of parental confidence and safety when it comes to purchase decisions, and as such are a very safe bet for gift-givers

Stunted

Kickmaster New Kickmaster launches in time for the Euros

Huge growth in 2020. Look out for our new ‘blingy’ gold Ingot scooter!

Musical Folding Toddler Swing

Li-Fe and Wired E-scooters Petal Mini Flex LED Tilt Scooter

JANUARY 2021

The most comprehensive, exciting and innovative range available for a burgeoning e-mobility market

Hedstrom Innovative Musical Toddler Swing and Mud Kitchen series

Li-Fe 350 AIR Lithium Scooter

19


RETAIL INTERVIEW CREASEYS

Island stalwart

Creaseys department store has traded on Guernsey for more than 125 years. Naomi MacKay talks to toy buyer Julie Murphy, a veritable newcomer with 46 years of service under her belt! Creaseys is an institution on the Channel Island of Guernsey. Founded by Benjamin Creasey in 1889, it has been run by five generations of the family - Peter Creasey and Anthony Creasey are current directors, recently joined by the latest generation in Jonathan Creasey. Set in the High Street of St Peter Port, the Island’s capital and main port, Creaseys is a few minutes’ walk away from the harbour. Other attractions nearby include the Castle Cornet, Les Miserables author Victor Hugo’s house and La Vallette Underground Military Museum. Toy buyer Julie Murphy has always worked in the toy department. She started her Creaseys career doing work experience, then had a Saturday job, and then eventually took up permanent employment there. “It’s a lovely place to work and they’re a great company to work for,’’ she says. In the mid-1960s, the store took on the M&S franchise, which covers men and women’s clothing and food. Creaseys kids store is a separate department store, which

What’s hot

I think Character Options is going to do really well with its wooden range of Peppa Pig. And the Disney Princess range looks really promising too

The Disney+ series The Mandalorian has sparked renewed interest in all Star Wars toys 32

includes the toy department, nursery department and M&S children’s wear. With the toy department covering 2,842 sq ft, there’s a decent amount of space, says Julie. “Things like climbing frames we sell out of the warehouse, because there is no room for them, but we have space for teepees, Little Tikes products - and we have quite a large LEGO area.’’ To fill that space, Julie would usually make a trip to the London Toy Fair and then AIS in April. However, none of us are making the pilgrimage to Olympia this year, but Julie has managed to keep in touch with suppliers via video calls and chats, and when we spoke she had the date for Hasbro's virtual showroom in her diary. But it’s not the same: “It’s very difficult when you can’t see the products, I do like to see them, to gauge the quality - that is very difficult at the moment. The quality is especially important to me when I am looking for baby toys. I like to deal with reputable companies that we know well.’’ When we spoke, Guernsey was in a lucky position of having only about five Covid cases on the island, and Creaseys had not been subject to any of the subsequent lockdowns after June. During that first lockdown, only

one person was allowed in the store, so Julie dealt with orders over the phone and deliveries - "to be honest it was nice to get out of the house,’’ she recalls. Like the rest of the UK, jigsaws and crafts were incredibly popular. Puzzles from Gibsons, Jumbo and Ravensburger were very popular with adults. Educational toys for younger children also sold well, with Galt and Orchard Toys being most popular. Julie also made good use of social media over that time. “When we got in consignments I would post it on Facebook - to be honest we get more response from Facebook than from advertising in the local paper - we have a good community on Facebook.’’ Back to the present. It is just before Christmas when I speak to Julie, so what has been selling well in the run-up to the big day? “We always do well with L.O.L., LEGO and Generation Dolls,’’ she says. “The Generation Dolls have lots of clothes, bikes, stables - there’s even a Christmas tree and sleigh!’’ What has been surprising is the

toysnplaythings.media


1889 The year Creaseys was founded popularity of Star Wars toys. While in the past they have had trouble selling them, the introduction of The Mandalorian (a series on Disney, which first aired back in March 2020) and its central character The Child (who looks like a baby Yoda) has seen them fly out of the door. “That was quite a shock. We had to restock three times,’’ says Julie. Creaseys stocks Star Wars LEGO, soft toys from Mattel and the animatronic toy from Hasbro. “They’ve all done really well,'' says Julie, “even the collectable toys.’’ Peppa Pig has also sold really well, while boys have been buying Hot Wheels, Pokemon and Heroes of JuJitsu. So what’s going to be big in 2021 at Creaseys? “I think Character Options is going to do really well with its wooden range of Peppa Pig. That is really good quality. And the Disney Princess range looks really promising too although I’ve only seen pictures.’’ So are customers really keen to source non-plastic and eco toys? “We mostly get people asking for wooden trains and wooden food!’’ says Julie. “The Peppa Pig wooden range was a bit slow to begin with but that now does really well. We’ve also had a few customers ask what LEGO are

JANUARY 2021

going to do, because that’s all plastic. “Then of course there are companies that have bought into the eco side - like Keel Toys. They are our biggest-selling soft toys, along with TY. We also do some really big soft toys from Keel and Melissa & Doug. Surprisingly, we do really well with the big giraffes and tigers and lions. We’ve only started to stock them again over the past three or four years and we get a lot of call for them.’’ As Guernsey is a holiday destination, what does Creaseys’ toy department stock for holidaymakers? “We offer a good pocket money range at very low prices. We get lots from Tobar (now owned by H.Grossman) and this year we took on toys from House of Marbles. But probably the best-selling pocket money toy is the Mash’ems from Character Options.’’ Visitor numbers were down in 2020, as holidaymakers did not come over, but even so, Julie says they had a pretty good year, especially compared to retailers on the mainland. “We really noticed that people were choosing to shop local, as well.’’ Creaseys also had good support from suppliers: “Most of our companies have called to see how they can help,’’

Most of our companies have called to see how they can help

says Julie. “Character Options has been calling us each month. Mattel and LEGO have called us quite a bit as well. Many of our reps were on furlough, though, so it was hard to speak to them.’’ Because Creaseys has been around for such a long time, it’s a real part of the Guernsey community, and Julie runs plenty of events to keep that connection between store and community. “We do a Christmas evening event and have a Santa’s Grotto - which is just outside my office! And we run a lot of events in the LEGO playroom, usually at half term and in the summer holidays. Obviously we haven't been able to do those recently because of Covid. We don't charge for these, you can come in with the children and have a play. It’s so expensive to take children out, so we like to do this - and we do see a little bit of an increase in sales.’’ And how do they compete with the likes of Amazon? “Amazon is a real bugbear. I go on and check the prices in case they are a little cheaper than ours, but if they are running a special offer on something we can’t compete, as we would be selling at a loss. But I do think people like to buy from a person, I know I do. The internet can’t tell you everything you need to know.’’ So now Christmas is out of the way, what’s next for Creaseys toy department? “We’ll be looking to stock some new ranges and hopefully be able to plan lots of play days to entice customers into the shop. And then we hope that we’ll get visitors to the Island this summer. But at the moment it’s hard to plan and put things in perspective.’’

33


FENCE

CLUB UPDATE

The Fence Club for children's c Despite the pandemic restricting the Fence Club members' ability to meet and celebrate their 70th anniversary, they still raised an astonishing £53,000+ for many worthy childrens charities

(L-R) Joe Kissane, Clive Jones & Philip Richardson

2

020 was the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Fence Club. A club of 45 members all associated in one way or another with the toy industry. The club was originally started by eight individuals who included a toy magazine editor, sales director, agent, sales manager, chain store buyer, a manufacturer, importer and buyer. This of course covered both sides of the imaginary fence that sits between buyers and sellers. It quickly grew to 45 members and it has remained at this number for more than 70 years. There are also 31 retired members who are

New committee memberJonathan Nurse

34

I was absolutely delighted when our members donated over £53,000 to the club

referred to as Wall members. The Fence Club organises around six social functions every year and raises on average about £80,000 for a number of children's charities. The club also donates more than 400 boxes of toys and distributes them to about 65 different charities. For 2020 the club chose Philip Richardson as its Chair; the first from Ireland. A number of celebrations were planned to mark the 70th anniversary, with the club members looking forward to the first-ever event in Dublin. Sadly, all the events planned after the Toy Fair party had to be cancelled due to Covid restrictions. The club held its AGM via Zoom at the beginning of November. For a number of years, the team at Character Options has produced a video that shows what the Fence Club does and what a difference the donations make to the lives of disadvantaged children. This video is shown at the Christmas Ball and helps the club to raise between £25,000 and £30,000. With no Christmas Ball this year because of Covid, Character instead produced a video to be shown to members at the AGM. Philip (right), who is breaking with tradition and staying on as chair for an extra year says: ''The video showed

Past Chairman Ian Edmunds (left) with new committee member Derek Scott

the excellent work of the Fence Club in 2020 and showed what a difference our donations have made to the lives of some wonderful children. With all of our events cancelled we asked our members to make some donations to the Club so that we could continue supporting smaller children's charities. I was absolutely delighted when

toysnplaythings.media


raises £53,000+ charities Thanks: just some of the comments from charities that the Fence Club donated to THANK YOU for your grant of £1,881. This generous donation has helped us further our work in supporting seriously ill children living with epilepsy across the UK. We really appreciate your support. Together we can empower seriously ill children to lead a marvellous life.

I HAVE just received confirmation that The Fence Club has approved a grant of £1,160 to purchase two stackable plinths. This was great news to start the day!

New committee members Nicola Bergot (left) and Jacqueline Taylor Foo

our members donated more than £53,000 to the club. A fantastic amount of money and this was on top of more than £15,000 raised by Steve Wells and Derek Scott with their 100-mile bike ride in August. "2021 will be a challenging year and I look forward to being able to meet with fellow members at a Fence Club event, have a good time and raise some money for our charity". Secretary of the Fence Club Clive Jones says: ''We welcome to the committee Nicola Bergot, Jacqueline Taylor Foo, Jonathan Nurse and Derek Scott. This means that the club will probably have its first lady chair sometime in the next five years. This continues the evolution of the club, which has been such an important part of the toy trade for the past 70 years.'' Screenshot of the virtual AGM

JANUARY 2021

ON BEHALF of The Children’s Heart Federation and Trustees I would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to the trustees of The Fence Club Trust Fund for their generous donation of £1,540. This means that we can provide the support and services that make a real difference to children and their families.

THANK YOU for the wonderful news that The Fence Club Charity Committee has allocated a grant of £2,460 for equipment and instruments for our ‘Sounds Wild’ Project. We are very grateful for your support, which will provide opportunities for children with severe and profound learning difficulties to enjoy music-making in the natural environment.

I WANTED to say a huge thank you for the fantastic £3,600 donated by The Fence Club to enable us to help many children on their end-oflife journey. We are extremely grateful for the continued support of organisations like The Fence Club that allows us to continue caring for local life-threatened children.

35


PRODUCT LAUNCHER

Get set for lift-off!

With no trade fairs to attend, our Product Launcher is the place to find new toys for 2021. TnP talks to suppliers about how they are keeping retailers up to date with the latest launches Each January, you will see Toys n Playthings’ editors prowling the halls at London Toy Fair, nosing out new products, finding fascinating toys and grabbing great deals for the readers of Toy Fair Daily News. This year, we may be saving on shoe leather, but we have still caught up with toy suppliers to find out their plans for their 2021 launches… One of the great things about the trade shows is being able to get hands-on with all the new toys. You can gauge quality, play value and much more. So how are suppliers helping retailers to get a hands-on experience in this new virtual world? “This has been the biggest challenge for the industry,’’ says Lucy Vaughan, assistant brand manager, Vivid. “We have conducted all of our A/W21 previews remotely and worked hard to keep presentations interesting, interactive and fun for our retailer partners. We found that pre-filming some of our product presentations helped to bring demonstrations to life and we’ve invested in more prototypes to help get our products into the hands of retailers for selections.’’ A virtual trade fair is the answer for Asmodee, explains national channel director Anil Boodhoo: “We’re excited to be running a third edition of AsmoFair, our virtual trade show – which has taken a level up since its first runs in September and October! This time, we’ve built a full show stand through which we can take buyers on a 360-degree virtual tour. The third AsmoFair will run from 17-

Asmodee

“We’re excited to be running a third edition of AsmoFair, our pioneering virtual trade show – which has taken a level up since its first runs in September and October!’’ Anil Boodhoo, Asmodee

Virtual trade show dates AsmoFair (Asmodee) 17-23 January Gibsons Virtual Tradeshow 1-5 Feb Virtual Orchard Toy Fair 12-22 Jan 36

23 January, with weekend and evening slots also available to make it as convenient as possible to attend.’’ “Fortunately our Crystal Art Brand can be captured quite nicely over video where the sparkly crystals capture the light,’’ says trade manager Lisa Rayner. Edx Education is working with trade magazines, digital campaigns, sampling boxes for retailers and virtual meetings with videos and resources to show the play value of its educational toys. International brand manager Heather Welch advises: “If you can, request samples in advance, catalogues or even videos before chatting with the buyers.’’ Puzzle expert Gibsons has a two-pronged approach: “We have our usual new catalogue launch going ahead in January,’’ says sales director Nicki Gumbrell. “We are also working hard on our Virtual Tradeshow, from February 1-5, which will showcase product videos, recommendations, and best sellers.’’ Orchard Toys also has an online event planned. “We’re excited to be hosting our own virtual Orchard Toy Fair from the 12-22 Jan. It will give retailers the chance to virtually meet with their account managers, take advantage of show offers and be introduced to our new lines,’’ says sales director Simon Prest. There’s more Zimpli Kids

online magic happening at Great Gizmos, explains sales director Sarah Dayus: “We are having online previews using our fantastic virtual showroom. Customers will be able to see all of our new product launches on the booth, as well as useful information such as pricing and pack sizes. We also have some really useful presentations and videos available. My top tips would be to have a big cup of tea and a notebook handy!’’ Meanwhile, over at Zimpli Kids, they’ve been having some fun preparing for retailers: “Zimpli has been busy developing a range of new lines for 2021 and what better way to showcase these than in an interactive brochure with fun product demos while meeting some of the team?’’ says Jessica Coy, head of marketing. “Don’t forget to watch our bloopers video on the last page to see the parts that didn’t go to plan!’ H. Grossman has been “planning meetings in our Glasgow showroom hopefully face-to-face or online, and our own mini trade fair with range reviews, depending on local and national restrictions,’’ says CEO David Mordecai. Lastly, Phil Ratcliffe at MV Sports is keeping his cards close to its chest: “We will have some surprises up our sleeve. I’m not sure that a showroom tour will offer customers any more than they have already seen so we need to think differently.’’ So what are suppliers keen to reveal to retailers in 2021, whether it is by catalogue, online fair or virtual showroom? It’s all about licensed puzzles at Winning Moves, says Kay Thompson, head of UK retail. “Winning Moves will

toysnplaythings.media


We asked….

What will you miss about Toy Fair this year? We’ll miss Toy Fair for several reasons but the first has to be that moment when your stand is built, product is on display and everything looks fantastic. It’s such a team effort to get the Toy Fair stand designed, built and stocked with product and packaging and it is a great sense of achievement when it is up and running. We probably won’t miss the repair crisis that seems to happen every show when a prototype gets broken! Lucy Vaughan, assistant brand manager (UK), Vivid

licences such as CoComelon, Baby become a serious licensed puzzle Shark and Kindy Kids.’’ supplier offering a wide range For Gibsons, there’s an eco of products in order to become the retailers’ destination theme, says sales director MV Sports Nicki Gumbrell: “We are for hot trends and looking forward to seeing 500pc/1000pc licensed the majority of our jigsaw puzzles, including Friends, puzzle range move into Mario, Harry Potter, our fresh, new, planetDr. Who, James Bond, friendly boxes which we Nintendo Animal Crossing, consider to be some of Spitting Image and New the smartest puzzle boxes Monopoly community you’ll see on shelf.’’ jigsaws such as The Lake And at Edx Education, District and London.’’ they will be continuing Licences are high on the with the theme of home agenda at Great Gizmos learning, says Heather too, says Sarah Dayus: Welch. “STEAM construction “Our Disney range is a new sets are being introduced, venture that we are very along with more brainexcited about. We feel it boosting travel games for will open up so many children to play and learn more opportunities for the on the go. Early Math101 STEM category. We have to go is everything you fantastic brands within the need to teach early maths licence such as Avengers, at home or on the go in one Frozen II, Spider Man, Toy box, for children from three Story and more.’’ to six years old.’’ “It has to be the new Playmobil is also focusing range of Baff Bombz!’’ says Zimpli’s Jessica Coy: “After on the little ones - toddlers this time, says marketing the success of our Rainbow and Rocket Baff Bombz, we have communication manager Adam Moore: developed a full range. The Star Baff “The range we are really Bomb is not to be missed. We are also excited about is the launching Solar System Baff Bombz; new Playmobil 1.2.3. discover our solar system and travel on a This toddler-friendly colourful fizzing, bath time adventure!’’ offering will have our Scooters are top of the list at both largest-ever marketing H. Grossman and MV Sports. “We have support across TV, a fantastic new range of scooters and digital and influencer outdoor lines, which we think will be campaigns.’’ really popular, and some great design Orchard Toys also innovations,’’ says H. Grossman’s David looks to little ones, Mordecai. Over at MV Sports, Phil says Simon Prest: Ratcliffe says: “I’m excited about our “There’s everything from new range of Li-Fe e-scooters and new

JANUARY 2021

Great Gizmos

“We are having online previews using our fantastic virtual showroom. Customers will be able to see all of our new product launches on the booth, as well as useful information such as pricing and pack sizes’’ Sarah Dayus, Great Gizmos

footballers and mermaids to dinosaurs and unicorns, with something for children as young as 18 months right through to older children. I’m excited to be able to share these products with our retailers as I think it’s one of our most diverse launches to date.’’ So, it sounds like there’s plenty to spark interest for you and your customers, but as we know, it’s been a tough year. So how will suppliers give a helping hand to retailers? Asmodee’s Anil Boodhoo says: “The great benefit of having such a deep catalogue of products is that we can work with retailers to ascertain exactly which ones will work best for them.’’ As so many retailers have had to increase their online offering, David Mordecai says that H. Grossman’s pricing and packaging is “designed to appeal to a wide consumer base, making it easy for online as well as in-store sales. We have worked on pocket money collections to help the sale of pocket money items and we will have more moves in that direction for 2021.’’ Financial help is always welcome of course, so at MV Sports, Phil Ratcliffe says: “We will help by offering more products available domestically and on DD plus flexible ways to purchase product.’’ More offers can be had on Gibsons’ product: “We always have a show offer for both Toy Fair and Spring Fair, and this year will be no different – albeit a virtual offer for a virtual show. We are also looking to improve stock availability and sustain our service levels,’’ says Nicki Gumbrell. Orchard Toys is offering a virtual show offer when you book an appointment with your account manager, while Winning Moves has a show discount of five per cent off £500 orders and 10 per cent off £1,000 orders, extended right up to the end of June deliveries. 37


PRODUCT LAUNCHER

Dobble developments ASMODEE UK

01420 593 593 WEB: WWW.ASMODEE.CO.UK EMAIL: INFO@ASMODEE.CO.UK Asmodee’s flagship Dobble brand is set to go from strength to strength in 2021 with four major new licensed editions of the smash-hit game of speedy observation on the way. The game will be teaming up with Marvel, Minions, Pixar, and Paw Patrol for titles that are sure to draw consumers’ attention. With Dobble having already seen massive success with licensed versions based on Harry Potter, L.O.L., Frozen II, The Gruffalo and more, these are certainly not to be missed. The classic edition of Dobble, the UK’s number-one selling game of 2018 and 2019, continues to be backed heavily by digital and TV marketing campaigns, with twists on the format also available. Dobble 360 introduces a brainteasing memory element with electronically rotating cards, making it even more tricky to spot the single

matching image between two cards. There is also the game’s biggest sibling, Dobble XXL, with giant-sized cards between which players jump when they find the match - perfect for outside play. After a year in which many households have rediscovered the joy of playing together around the table, Asmodee’s board games have been a popular choice. Catan, the millions-selling game of trading and colonisation, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020 and continues to be one of the biggestselling titles in For those looking for the Asmodee something a little different, catalogue. It forms part of the Modern Asmodee offers Loopy

Guess what…

Classics range, which includes games such as Ticket to Ride Europe and Pandemic. New to the Asmodee portfolio boasting a fresh new edition and updated design - is The Sock Game. This simple and charming family game, which challenges team-mates to rummage around inside a giant sock full of unusual objects to find specific targets, has made a big impression already and is poised to reach new heights under Asmodee’s stewardship. For those looking for something a little different, Asmodee is excited to offer Loopy Loopers. These marble spinners are fidget toys that challenge users to find the right rhythm to keep their marbles spinning. Available in several eye-catching designs, each with a different shape for a variety of spinning challenges, Loopy Loopers are moreish toys that can help players to relax or focus, as well as simply have fun.

Loopers. These marble spinners are fidget toys, challenging users to find the right rhythm to keep their marbles spinning

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Asmofair PRINT.indd 1

09/12/2020 15:24:16


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Ever evolving BANDAI UK: GOING LOCO FOR COCOMELON TEL: 020 8324 6160 WEB: WWW.BANDAI.CO.UK EMAIL: SALES@BANDAI.CO.UK

Bandai UK continues to evolve its portfolio with extensions to its hottest brands and licensed distribution ranges for 2021. A major focus is the CoComelon licensed toy range, manufactured by Jazwares and distributed for the UK market by Bandai UK. CoComelon, which just surpassed 100 million subscribers on YouTube, teaches children how to take on everyday activities, and role models positive behaviour with a sense of enthusiasm. Kids can easily relate to the universal themes and everyday narratives such as eating your vegetables, learning to tie your shoes and getting ready for bed. With its bright and bold colours and cheerful nursery rhymes and phrases, CoComelon attracts children aged one to four to sing and dance along with Baby JJ and his siblings as they learn letters, numbers, animal sounds, colours and more. CoComelon is available on all major platforms including Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, Roku and Netflix. New for 2021, two new First Acts Instruments allow children to replicate well-known CoComelon storylines and songs. The Keyboard is programmed with the ABC song and Music song - both familiar to children and parents who watch the show. Children can play the keyboard, listen to CoComelon songs, and learn their ABCs. For a percussion solution, the Musical Xylophone encourages children to play along to their favourite songs. In addition, Bandai will be adding exciting new additions to the successful range of character figures, plush, and vehicles. Harumika, an arts & crafts fashion brand from Bandai’s own development team, brings a host of styles for the

New for 2021, two new First Acts Instruments allow children to replicate well-known CoComelon storylines and songs. The CoComelon YouTube channel has just surpassed 100 million subscribers

new season. The sets allow budding fashionistas to channel their creativity without the need for gluing, sewing, or cutting. Simply arrange the fabrics around the mannequin torso, tuck into the slits using the stick and pins, and the design stays in place. Nature Mood and New-Age TieDye provide the inspiration behind the new themes for its Single Torso Sets. Film and TV lines feature heavily for 2021. For fans of Animé, Bandai UK’s Dragon Ball range includes collectable action figures. Dragon Stars, which are the key collectables from the range for the avid enthusiast, will feature new development

of characters. There will also be continued development of the Evolve Action Figures and Limit Breakers Figures to cover all age categories for the Dragon Ball fan. Anime Heroes welcomes the new One Piece figure collection, joining the successful Naruto series. It offers affordable, highly-detailed, and fully-poseable figures based on the Japanese Manga series currently airing on Netflix. Monkey D. Luffy, Roronoa Zoro, and Sanji will be available as new character figures, each with more than 17 points of articulation and standing between 15cm and 17cm tall.

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Get a different character each time you play!

Featuring original programming New Styles coming throughout 2021 Over 150K Units sold in 2020 For more information contact Sales@bandai.co.uk 020 8324 6160 ‹ %$1'$, 7$0$*27&+, $1' $// 5(/$7(' /2*26 ‹ %$1'$, :L= ‹ 6$15,2 &2 /7' 8VHG 8QGHU /LFHQVH

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After a hugely successful relaunch of the brand in A/W20, Miraculous is set to make its feature film debut in late 2021. Bringing a new low price point to the range of fashion dolls, playsets and roleplay, the new Kwami Surprise Miraculous Boxes collectables are housed in blind boxes and are moulded holding their precious Miraculous. Pearlescent and glitter finishes to the packaging create stand-out before the unboxing surprise reveal. The original interactive pet from cyber space offers five new styles continuing its huge success in 2020, after selling more than 150,000 units! Tapping into the retro toys trend, Tamagotchi gets

DID YOU KNOW? After a hugely successful relaunch of the brand in A/W20, Miraculous is set to make its feature film debut in late 2021

children - and adults raising and nurturing their virtual reality ‘pets’. New styles have been added, including two new Hello Kitty-themed nano Tamagotchi. Award-winning educational line National Geographic has established itself as an evergreen STEM range within the company’s portfolio. New Large Kits have been added to offer retailers an extended line at a selection of price points. The new kits include: Explorer Science Sensory Kit, Explorer Earth Science Kit, Glow-InThe-Dark Mega Science Kit and Ultimate 42

Gemstone Dig Kit. The Original Sea Monkeys has contributed to early science learning and play for decades. Encouraging engagement with nature, nurture-play, and an opportunity for children to own their own aquatic pets, the Original Sea Monkeys line is compact and affordable. New blister packs contain everything needed to bring the brine shrimp to life, including Sea Monkeys eggs, food pouch, water purifier, feeding spoon, and a handbook. The Timber Tots pre-school range brings younger children a host of outdoor scenarios and play themes through animal families and their woodland surroundings. A comprehensive range of animal figures and interactive playsets, the hero SKU is the classic Treehouse playset, which boasts a retro heritage. Four new characters will be added to Bandai’s interactive pet range Nuzzy Luvs. A unicorn, giraffe, rabbit, and leopard will join the collection of cute plush characters that fit in the palm of a child’s hand. Nuzzy Luvs bring a range of sound and movement responses, responding to one another and their ‘owners’, letting you know when they feel happy, frightened, tired or simply want attention.

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Eco-friendly options BIG POTATO GAMES

TEL: 020 3620 9495 WEB: WWW.BIGPOTATO.COM EMAIL: EMILY@BIGPOTATO.CO.UK plastic-free, inside and out. The plastic Indie board games company Big Potato trays that are commonly used to is on a mission to become more hold cards in board games have eco-friendly. As many companies been replaced with cardboard have discovered, it’s not easy to trays, and they become 100 per cent look all the better eco-friendly overnight, but for it, as it’s much Big Potato has set up a easier to print taskforce to do everything interesting graphics it can, as quickly on them. as it can, to make a difference. There’s also not an inch of plastic An example of where shrinkwrap in sight. the company is heading is P For Pizza was one of All the cards are held its travel-sized party game: Big Potato’s best sellers together with paper P for Pizza. It’s completely belly bands, and the last year box itself is sealed with eco-friendly stickers made from cellulose. A biodegradable sticker has also been stuck on the outside of the box to reassure customers that the product they are buying is plastic-free. P For Pizza was one of Big Potato’s best sellers last year and is set to be a star performer in 2021. It’s known as the easy-cheesy letter game, but you don’t require perfect pizza knowledge or super spelling skills to play - you just need to be able to shout out answers as quickly as you can. On each card, there are three categories, each one accompanied by a random letter. To win a mini slice of pizza, you must think of a word that

Did you know?

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matches the category and starts with the letter. For example, if the card asks for a TV show beginning with B, you could shout “Baywatch!” If you are the first player to shout out a correct answer, you win the card (a mini slice of pizza) and add it to your collection. Once you’ve collected nine cards, you’ll have enough to build your giant pizza slice and win the game. It’s perfect for two to four players and is an ideal size to pop in your bag so you can take your pizza with you wherever you go. P for Pizza is not the only game that has become more eco-friendly. Big Potato’s range of mini games has also gone plastic-free, including Colourbrain (the colourful family trivia game), Weird Things Humans Search For (the internet search party game) and Obama Llama 2 (the celebrity rhyming party game).

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World of play BRUDER

TEL: 00353 67 63800 | WEB: WWW.BRUDER.DE EMAIL: INFO@ALPHA-TOYS.CO.UK DISTRIBUTOR: IN UK: ALPHATOYS LTD Bworld is the toy world of Bruder. It is made up of moving figures, animals, accessories and, most recently, themed sets. Whether in the hospital ward or motorcycle workshop, bworld items provide hours of fun on their own or make the perfect addition to Bruder vehicles. Printed wall elements with easy-to-mount adjustable feet now form the space for even more reality when playing, and the new shelving system can also interact with the elements. There is now a UPS store with equipment and figure. Here, parcels can be picked up and dropped off, shipping boxes purchased, and other services used - and the employee included in the set will be happy to help! The UPS store is the perfect addition to the UPS vehicles from Mercedes, Mack and Scania, and is easy to combine with other bworld themed sets. Also new is the bworld bikeshop, which has everything you would expect from a modern bicycle shop. In the comprehensively equipped workshop, bicycles can be fully serviced. There are assembly stands and a workbench including tools. In the shop, you can browse the shelves and look for new accessories or even complete bicycles. Expert advice is provided by the figure, which is included. The bike shop can be combined

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Did you know? Bruder’s new bworld theme sets can be combined with existing items in its range: for example, the new UPS shop with UPS vehicles, or the bike shop with vehicles with bike racks

with the other bworld themed sets. The bworld racing bike rider, bworld mountain bike rider and Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, as well as the Bruder Roadster with corresponding bicycles, are also fitting additions. For the wide array of Bruder police vehicles, there is now the new bworld police station. In the office area, the police officer can coordinate and track every mission using state-of-the-art equipment. If a suspect is arrested, they can be held in the cell area. The Scrambler Ducati police motorbike is ready to spring into action in front of the police station. The bworld police station can be easily combined with other bworld themed sets. From the selection of Bruder emergency service vehicles, the Land Rover Defender Station Wagon police and Jeep Wrangler Rubicon police vehicle are especially good matches. Meanwhile, the new generation of Cat Excavators is designed for the most demanding tasks. With optimised load-bearing capacity, a wide range of shovels and buckets and efficient latestgeneration diesel engines, this excavator is one of the most modern vehicles on any construction site. For demanding tasks in the sandpit and children’s room, this excavator has

now arrived as a new model in Bruder’s selection of construction vehicles. The optional bworld figure has an advanced workplace in the modern and fully glazed driver’s cab. The excavator arm is fully functional via the hand lever and can also work below vehicle level. The excavator reaches even the most difficult terrain thanks to chain links. Two engine hatches can be opened for maintenance work. The Volvo A60H Hauler and the large Cat track-type tractor are particularly fitting additions from the wide Bruder selection. The JCB 30-19E electric Teletruk is

part of a new generation of products called JCB E-TECH with zero emissions at the point of use, without compromising on performance. It achieves maximum efficiency with a new telescopic boom with zero emissions at the same time. This telescopic forklift is a new model in Bruder’s commercial vehicles themed world. The steerable forklift on the rear axle offers space for a bworld figure in the modern cab. The height-adjustable telescopic arm can be retracted and extended as well as locked, and the angle of the fork can be adjusted. Thanks to the Bruder standard holder, a wide range of tools can be attached, and the accessories set with lattice pallet, cable winch and forks.

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toys • jouets

spielwaren

BY BRU DE

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just like the real thing

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ALPHA TOYS LTD Batchworth House, Church Street, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1 JE Tel: 00353 67 63800 Fax: 00353 67 63801 E-Mail: info@alpha-toys.co.uk

www.bruder.de


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A role model in roleplay! CASDON: A HERITAGE BRAND

TEL: 07951 033234 EMAIL: ROGER@CASDON.COM WEB: WWW.CASDON.COM Casdon is a name that has become synonymous with top-quality, affordable roleplay toys. Famous for developing replica appliances and roleplay toys, Casdon is a heritage brand that has been popular with families since the company was first established in 1945 by Thomas Cassidy. Today, Casdon remains family-run, with the founder’s grandchildren Phil and Peter Cassidy now steering the ship. They’re sticking to what they know best: familiar roleplay toys that enable children to learn through play and be like grown-ups! 2021 marks a landmark year for Casdon. The Casdon family will celebrate its 75th year of being toy makers and brightening up the learning journey of little ones! There is plenty to look forward to from this ever-popular brand.From new introductions within its collection to the exciting plans for further international expansion.

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Casdon is celebrating 75 years of being a toy maker and brightening up the learning journey of little ones

This year promises to be one to remember for the team. A winning formula Casdon presents roleplay at its best. The team understands the key to great roleplay toys is quality, affordability, as well as exciting partnerships with familiar household brands. It is this winning combination that has made Casdon toys popular with families for generations. What should retail look out for in 2021? From Dyson to Flymo, all the way through to Numatic Henry & Hetty, Kenwood, and Morphy Richards, Casdon has created replica versions of numerous well-known brands. These remain a favourite with parents and little ones – and, of course, retailers. Enabling little ones to grow through play, popular existing favourites include the Dyson Cord-Free Vacuum; this is a direct replica of the life size cordless Dyson and has been specifically designed to be true to life, right down to the last detail. It even features working suction! There’s also the Flymo Lawn Mower, with its iconic base, foldable handle, and mechanical clicking sound effects as it mimics the hovering action across the lawn. Meanwhile, some firm favourites include the stylish mini Kenwood Mixer with its variable speed function, which includes a recipe book to enable budding bakers to mix up real tasty treats for family and friends. Then there’s Casdon’s

Wooden Easel to bring traditional arts and crafts into the home; it comes with both a chalkboard surface and a wipe-clean magnetic surface. Plus, kids can drive themselves around the bend with the Sat Nav Steering Wheel! The imitation ‘Sat Nav’ device interacts with the steering wheel and makes 12 different spoken commands such as which way to turn, speed up, and so on, and then reacts to the child’s response depending on the instruction. Reaching parents The collection at Casdon is showcased with comprehensive marketing and PR activity. The brand reaches grown-ups through social media and is driven to promote the company’s recognisable collection of play toys. The brand uses social media to engage with families – you only have to type in ‘Casdon’ to Instagram and hundreds of adorable pictures of children playing with their Casdon toys pop up! This activity helps to not only further cement Casdon’s reputation as a trusted brand among parents, it also helps to further increase demand for the range. A growing global brand In 2021, Casdon will be continuing to establish its international foothold. The beauty of Casdon’s collection is that it’s based on established play patterns that are familiar to so many around the world. Kids enjoy having fun while pretending to be just like their parents and other adults. Pre-schoolers love to feel like they’re helping out, and the replica toys from Casdon allow them to do so in a fun and safe way.

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Were a family of toymakers bringing smiles to generations across the world!


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The cat’s out of the bag! TWO IN 1 DIRECT

TEL: 07967004585 | EMAIL: PAUL@ALLIN1.COM Paul Fogarty, from TWO IN 1 Direct, is introducing the hilariously silly world of Cats vs. Pickles. Created by Cepia LLC, inventor of such phenomena as Zhu Zhu Pets, Cats vs Pickles is the entertainment property that was born from the viral video trend of cats reacting dramatically to a well-positioned pickle! Within Cepia’s wild and silly world of Cats vs Pickles, Cats are nothing short of paw-trified of Pickles. But, for their green pickled adversaries, this fear is a burden to bear, because the Cats have simply meows-understood. All Pickles want is a bit of love! While it may be early days, Cats vs. Pickles has a huge fan base and Cepia is driving this trend with hilarious bespoke content. To date, the company has uploaded more than 60 short-form videos on YouTube to engage fans in the wacky and whimsical world of Cats vs. Pickles. These have already generated more than 100 million views globally and, more significantly, in excess of 15 million views in the UK alone. The good news for retailers is that the popularity of this content is already translating well into UK toy sales. In December 2020, early stock of Cats vs. Pickles Collectable Plushies met with incredible consumer response and for S/S21, this collection - which comprises 50

FACT! Watch Cats vs. Pickles on YouTube now!

more than 100 different styles of Cat and Pickle Collectable Plushies - will fully roll out within the UK. Available as single packs and twopacks, these super-soft, bean-filled, plush characters are suitable for both kids aged four years and over, as well as kidults. In Series 1, there are 44 Cat characters to collect and just four sought-after, rare plush Pickles to help enhance collectability. Each of the adorable Plushies in the collection features a colourful print design with embroidered details that reflects the character’s paw-sonality! As well as the four Plushie Pickle pals in the range, kids can look forward to different themes of Cats. There are Foodie Cats like Paw-Purr-Oni and WaterMeow-Lon; Scary cats like Skelecat or Zombie Cat; Sweet Cats like Mint Chippie or Kitty Cake; and even Smarty Cats like Blank Page or Mew-sical Meow. Each Collectable Plushie comes with a hangtag containing details of the character’s name, number and bio on it. What’s more, each hangtag is also printed with a QR code, for a free Cats vs. Pickles app game download. Further launches for spring include themed four-packs, which feature three special Cat characters, as well as a guaranteed,

blind packaged Pickle character. Watch out for particularly popular Cat-egories! Great for little scaredy-cats, there’s a spooktacular Scary themed pack, and the Swimmy themed packs are sure to make a splash! Next, place your order for the Sweet Shop Playset. This plush collection playset includes two exclusive characters: a Cat and a Pickle. There’s also 11 pieces included for some scrumptious play straight out the box! Available for S/S21, the Sweet Shop Playset will be top of mind for the marketing drive, which includes a dedicated TV campaign, preroll and influencer activity. The first half will also see the Cats vs. Pickles range extend into 6in Reversible Plush characters, where fans can watch in awe as their Cat-mate transforms into an exclusive Pickle-pal! There are 12 cute styles to collect. For kitty cuddles of a grander scale there are six Jumbo Plush Character Pillows to collect this spring. Also brand new is the Giant Hugging Plush. A host of other new items are arriving later in the year including Kitty Condo Playsets that come with light-up features, decorative stickers to customise and stack together to create Cats vs. Pickles neighbourhoods with a different character – be it Cat or Pickle hiding behind each door. The Cats vs. Pickles toy line will be supported by a 360-degree marketing campaign, and major TV launch in S/S21.

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Ahead of the Game CHARACTER OPTIONS

Glow-Up InstaGlam dolls

TEL: 0161 633 9800 | WEB: WWW.CHARACTER-ONLINE.COM EMAIL: SALES@CHARACTERGROUP.PLC.UK Character Options has an unmissable portfolio for 2021! A true one-stop shop to satisfy every customer, the company’s new introductions span all toy and game categories. So, get ready to celebrate 25 years of Pokémon, discover a realm of collectables, fashion dolls, electronic toys, fun games and more! As Pokémon celebrates its jubilee, Character Options gets set to introduce its strongest Pokémon toy offering yet, extending the range across all three existing product categories and introducing a fourth Limited Edition Select Collector Range. Fans can look forward to an exciting fresh look within the new waves of figures and plush, as well as a new lower-priced roleplay playset, which will launch off the back of the hugely successful DreamToys Top 12, Pokémon Carry Case. The Pokémon Carry N Go Playset folds into a case featuring a Poké ball design that young fans will love to take wherever they go. Perfectly scaled for 2in figures, the case has multiple play areas, which are packed with features for different types of Pokémon to explore. A new Limited Edition Select Collector Range to celebrate Pokémon’s 25th anniversary will include a series of collectable

Treasure X

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Pokémon celebrates its silver anniversary in 2021, and Character Options is marking this milestone by launching its strongest Pokémon toy offering yet

3in and 6in figures, with a special silver finish to recognise the brand’s silver anniversary. There will also be 8in silver plush characters to collect. Plus, to top off the year and following the huge success of 2020’s Pokémon Advent Calendar, Character Options has plans for an even bigger Pokémon Advent Calendar for 2021. Meanwhile, Treasure X has fast become the discovery brand of choice, with each season bringing a new aspect to the reveal and collect concept. As Ninja Gold gets set to

Pokémon Carry N Go

launch for spring 2021, Character Options is looking ahead to A/W21. The Treasure X Dino Gold range will bring a new egg-themed dig block with eight levels of adventure. Kids can dig through the rock to try to save the Dino within. With more than 12 Dinos to collect, there’s also the opportunity to find real gold-dipped treasure! A must-see in the range is the epic Dino Dissection. This giant-sized dissectible T-Rex comes with an exclusive hunter figure. Get ready for plenty of Dino dumping action! Also launching for the second half is Treasure X Monster Gold. Hidden inside each Monster Coffin pack is a 5in monster-sized figure. There is also a new creepy spider egg compound, as well as pop-up scary reveals. Hero line of the range, the Mega Monster Lab, lets kids create the ultimate monster! This mad scientist lab playset is packed with 20 levels of adventure. From a super-cool mash-up where collectable fashion doll meets makeup, there’s a whole load of glamour to be had with the new lines in the Shimmer ‘n Sparkle’s InstaGlam range. Launching for S/S21 are the Series 2 Neon InstaGlam Dolls. This cool theme sees the characters modelling fashionable new neon styles with super bright colour palettes to be found inside. A/W21 will see a new direction for series 3, as the InstaGlam brand ‘nails it’ with a range of dolls featuring two miniature nail polishes, plus nail gems and accessories. Also arriving later in the year are the Glow-Up InstaGlam dolls. This range of six collectable fashion dolls is based

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MASSIVE MARKETING DRIVE IN 2021 Monthly TV Campaigns YouTube Pre-Roll Advertising Influencer Campaigns Instore FSDUs & POS


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DID YOU KNOW? Arriving later in the year are Glow-Up InstaGlam dolls. This range of six collectable fashion dolls is based on the transformational ‘glow up’ trend that is taking over social media on the transformational ‘glow up’ trend that is taking over social media. Each 10in articulated doll comes with a spa robe, hair towel wrap, foot spa tub, bath bomb, spa facial treatment, and more. Girls will love giving their doll, and then themselves, a complete top-to-toe beauty transformation. And, because every budding makeup artist needs a makeup trolley, Character Options is excited to announce its biggest girls’ line for Christmas, the Ultimate Makeup On the Go Trolley. Stuffed full of makeup treats, this pull-along, full-sized makeup trolley comes with layers of makeup, as well as brushes, utensils and hair accessories. Also going for walkies in 2021 is everyone’s favourite interactive pet, Squeakee. This red balloon dog blew up on social media following his A/W20 debut, thanks to his impressive repertoire of tricks and the fact that he is fully inflated with personality. Now, Character Options is getting ready to blow fans away with the spring release of Squeakee Minis. These mini balloon animals feature a hilarious record and play back feature that transforms even the gruffest of voices into squeaky helium chat. They also make balloon sounds when petted and you hear them inflate when blown on… but beware! Continue to blow too much and you will hear them pop! Later in the year you can expect a real Squeakee Christmas cracker. Squeakee 54

Squeakee Minis

Totem Infernal Power

Dino is the all-new prehistoric friend that walks, stomps, and chomps! Packed full of features, this interactive balloon pet dinosaur farts when his tail is pulled, plays games, dances with headphones, and more. In 2021, retailers and buyers can also expect a wide selection of funpacked games from Character Options. In 2020, several successful titles were launched, including PenSilly and Pokémon Trainer Trivia. Spring will see the arrival of Totem Infernal Power, which will launch with TV support. Set for release in A/W21, and already scheduled to be the headlining game at the Character Kids event, is new cooperative game Stop The Robots. Crazy robots are threatening the city and players must find and destroy them before it’s too late! Players can use voice recognition walkie-talkies to talk to their virtual partners. They’ll need to work together to identify the robot, solve the puzzles, and cut the correct wires. There’s also Electronic Spin the Bottle. Dare to perform songs and dances, or answer Truths that lay bare what you

think! This hilarious game features hundreds of questions, and players can record their own truths and dares, too. Plus, you won’t want to miss Projex, the projecting game arcade. Players can blast moving targets projected on any light-coloured wall, all from the comfort of their own home, and without the need for TV screens or sensors. The game features three targets, five builtin games and three skill levels. In 2021, Character Options is also encouraging buyers and retailers to step into its World of Wooden Toys. Following a successful launch in A/W20, the new year will see the company continue to build on its collection of licensed, eco-friendly toys, which are crafted from FSC-certified wood. Having launched in 2020 with Peppa Pig Wood, it’s now time to blast off with the scheduled launch of the Peppa Pig Wooden Rocket Playset, complete with a spacesuit-clad George figure, as well as control panel and moon flag accessories. Equally adorable, the Peppa Pig Wooden Campervan Playset comes with figures and dual-purpose accessories, including a removable roof/picnic table, a barbecue and a picnic blanket. There is also a new Peppa’s Wooden Playhouse, with 25 accessory parts and eight rooms across three floors. Another addition not to be missed is the Peppa Pig Wooden Play Desk - the perfect WFH (Working From Home) must-have for pre-school age children, together with a Peppa Pig Play & Draw Wooden Easel. S/S21 will also see the launch of Disney Princess in the World of Wood. What Disney Princess fan wouldn’t love Cinderella’s Wooden Carriage, complete

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SQUEAKE GOT SUP E JUST FOR S ER CUTE PRING!

LAUNCHES JANUARY WITH TV, DIGITAL & INFLUENCER CAMPAIGNS


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Guess what…

different fillings: some are super stretchy, super gooey, super squishy, and even super crunchy! prehistoric Look out for the Peppa Pig These characters also Wooden Play Desk - the feature special Chomp Attack perfect WFH (Working jaws and are From Home) mustavailable as Hero have for pre-school age packs, and Dino Power Versus Packs, children, together with are designed to the Peppa Pig Play & Draw which be a battle straight out Wooden Easel of the box. Exploding into the new year, and due to be advertised on TV from February halfterm, comes the latest collaboration for the brand with the launch of the Heroes of Goo Jit Zu DC Super Heroes range. With Batman, Flash, Superman and ultimate villain Joker firm favourites in the launch collection, the race is on to collect them all! Fast forward a few months to A/W21 and the arrival of the Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Galaxy Attack Series: four new Alien Heroes, including Limited Edition Crusticoid, will join the company’s lead Heroes Thrash, Blazagon and Pantaro in new space suits and flip-up visors in their new cosmic quest. Adding to the licensed Goo Jit Zu Dino line-up in autumn are Space Jam Power Stretchy Heroes. The Looney Tunes are running it back with the worldwide box office release of Space Jam: A New Legacy in July that will see NBA superstar LeBron James team up with Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Cinderella’s Tunes gang. To celebrate, what could Wooden Carriage be better than super-stretchy Space Jam Goo Jit Zu Heroes, including LeBron, Taz and Bugs? The fun doesn’t stop there! This year, Character Options is also unveiling a fresh look for the Little Live Pets collection of lifelike electronic pets, which move, feel, act and sound so real. For some instant pocket money

with Cinderella and Fairy Godmother wooden figures? This push-along carriage features smooth rolling wheels and drop ‘n’ play feet so the characters can be easily slotted into place. Launching in A/W21, the ultimate Castle Playset will be perfect for the Christmas gifting period. The Enchanted Royal Castle Wooden Playset includes eight wooden figures and features key rooms and accessories from the magical world of Disney. There’s Snow White’s Bedroom, Aurora’s Spinning Room; Jasmine’s Throne room – and a very cool spinning dance floor! There are also themed rooms for Cinderella, Merida and Moana, plus a Castle Kitchen and Grand Staircase. Retailers and buyers will be excited to learn that Fireman Sam is added to the World of Wood for spring. Meanwhile, ready to squish and stretch into action are the allnew arrivals from the Heroes of Goo Jit Zu. This international powerhouse of a brand is set to go from strength to strength in 2021. Already available in more than 35 territories, and with more than 10 million figures shipped in 2020 worldwide, there’s plenty to look forward to in the new year. From January, fans of the collection will be able to collect seven new Dino Power Heroes. Every character has a messfree goo filling with a different texture and feel. Kids will love squeezing their

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sales, cast a net for a new season of Little Live Pets Lil’ Dippers. Available as a single pack fish, or as a Lil’ Dipper Fish Tank playset, kids will be able to watch in wonder as their new pet swims from the packaging as it is dipped into water. The Lil’ Bird series is set to soar again in S/S21. These collectable birds make bird sounds, move their heads when petted, and feature a record and playback feature. Plus, watch out for Lil’ Hamsters, with their soft flocked skin. These new pets are available as single packs, or as a Lil’ Hamster & House playset, which features a working wheel for Lil’ Hamsters to run on. Meanwhile, strutting onto the scene later in the year is a cute Walking Pig that wiggles his nose and makes adorable noises. You’ll want to keep an eye out for the Lil’ Turtle and Lil’ Butterfly pets too. Last up, and hot off the heels of Gotta Go Flamingo and his enormous TikTok success, is the new arrival Gotta Go Turtle. Get ready to laugh with this new pooping sensation. He may just look like a pretty rainbow shell, but underneath it all, he’s a singing, eating, pooping machine!

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Time to get crafty CRAFT BUDDY: SHINING IN 2021 TEL: 0203 417 6565 WEB: WWW.CRAFTBUDDYLTD.CO.UK EMAIL: SALES@CRAFTBUDDYLTD.CO.UK 2021 sees the launch of a new Disney licensed partnership across the company’s established Crystal Art ranges, bringing a touch of magic to the collection for ages eight-plus. Arriving in spring 2021, famous Disney characters will feature across all areas of the Crystal Art portfolio, with more designs and products being added to the collection through the year. Disney fans can now recreate iconic movie characters using Crystal Art in four new Notebook designs: Pride Rock scene from The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Classic Minnie and Moana. Stunning Crystal Art Canvas Kits will be available in a host of different sizes Arriving in spring and multi-character 2021, Disney designs, each precharacters will mounted on wooden frames making them feature across all easy to display. areas of the Crystal Four 30x30cm kits Art portfolio, with featuring a host of more designs and instantly-recognisable products being added Disney family to the collection favourites will launch as part of the new through the year collection: Elsa, Anna and Olaf, Lion King Family, Pooh and Tigger, and Minnie and Mickey. Larger designs include three 40x50cm Crystal Art Kits - The Lion King Medley, Beauty and the Beast Medley plus Lady & The Tramp - alongside a 70x70cm Kit featuring Frozen Friends and a 90x65cm Disney Princess Medley design. Alongside the new Disney collection, Craft Buddy will look to expand its successful Notebooks

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and Frameables Crystal Art hero lines for 2021 including the introduction of a host of new designs launching from celebrated designer Anne Stokes. Crystal Art Notebooks featuring her striking designs and life-like portrayals of fantasy subjects allow anyone to bring these designs into beautiful, sparkling reality. Bridging the stationery and arts & crafts markets, the award-winning 26 x 18cm Notebooks are perfect for everyday use, featuring 50 lined pages and available in a variety of front cover artwork options. Designed to help children aged six-plus make a creative masterpiece featuring crystal elements, Crystal Art Frameables Kits include Cosy Owls, Cool Tiger and Giraffe & Friends character art. Each kit comes complete with a picture frame for displaying individual artwork and has been carefully designed to help children develop motor skills as well as improve their hand-eye coordination. Equally appealing to children of this age are the Crystal Art Greeting Card Kits and Sticker

Sets, providing affordable gifting and pocket money ideas. Available in a range of sizes, the recently-launched Thomas Kinkade licensed Crystal Art collection includes two 30x30 designs: Friends Cottage and the richly-detailed Perfect Red Rose, alongside calming 40x50 Crystal Art Kits: Quiet Evening, Victorian Light, Pools of Serenity and Italian Café. A larger 40x90 Panoramic Crystal Art Kit features the charming pastoral: Stoney Creek Cottage.

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Let’s go outside DOLU

TEL: 07850 779797 | WEB: WWW.DOLU.COM.TR EMAIL: SALES@SJR-ASSOCIATES.CO.UK In a tough year for many in the toy trade, Steve Richardson of SJR Associates - which has worked with Turkish-based manufacturer Dolu Toy Factory for 10 years and represents all sales and marketing in the UK and Ireland for the company - is pleased to confirm that “we had more customers join us from the fairs in Hong Kong, London and Nuremberg last year, we were able to supply prior to the lockdown and, more importantly, we delivered huge repeat orders throughout the pandemic. This resulted in us doubling the business for the first eight months of last year and giving us our best-ever year in the UK.” He continues: “The good news is Turkey has signed a free trade deal so whatever the outcome from our trade deal with EU, there will be no small print issues for us this year. Dolu as a company supplies more than 80 countries and has had similar responses in the majority of the other markets.” Dolu manufactures products for every season of the year and offers over 250 different items. Its outdoor range has been extremely successful, and it is one of the few companies that offers a pink unicorn themed range for

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DID YOU KNOW? Dolu’s outdoor range has been extremely successful, and it is one of the few companies that offers a pink unicorn themed range for many of the products - it even has a unicorn tractor and trailer!

many of the products - it even has a unicorn tractor and trailer. Steve adds: “This gives the consumer, for the first time, a choice in their garden of a comprehensive pink themed range or the same in unisex colours, which includes playhouses, slides, picnic tables, rockers, trikes and even a pedal tractor and trailer. We have seen great success and demand for consumers buying into these coordinating ranges of products.” For S/S 2021, there is a new water table and a new four-inone gardening table complete with many accessories including a rake & spade, watering can, five pots, one bucket and a lid (which protects what’s inside and enables the table to double up as a desk). For most outdoor lines, Dolu delivers in strong brown or white boxes with colour posters, which are good for in-store or online direct despatch. Steve comments: “Exciting developments at Dolu will see us move to our new factory in 2021. Our new, purpose-built 55,000 sq m factory, which is all on one level, will

include warehouses and offices with a 1,000 sq m permanent showroom. “This is now 98 per cent complete: initial production starts this month, and we move into the offices in June/July. For those of you who, like myself, cannot comprehend 55,000 sq m, I’m advised that this is equivalent to 7.7 Manchester United football fields! “The advantage of buying from Dolu - apart from quality, service and exceptional value - is that we are advised that many of our products land for less than you can buy similar from China without the MOQs, lead times etc and with EU quality. In fact at present, with huge increases in freight costs, our tractor above freight costs alone would represent more than 50 per cent of our delivered cost.” He concludes: “Obviously with no trade fairs in 2021, the selection process is going to be very different. For those already buying from us, you are already aware of the ranges and delivered costs we offer. For those of you we saw at the fairs last year, the good news is that we have held prices.’’

toysnplaythings.media 14/01/2021 16:55



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DID YOU KNOW?

Play and learn EDX EDUCATION

Edx Education has dedicated projects to provide ‘education for all’ around the world in its Education Outreach program. When its home learning toys are being distributed, you are supporting children to have the opportunity to be educated

07340 777 967 WWW.EDXEDUCATION.COM HEATHER@EDXEDUCATION.COM Educational toys spark children’s imagination. With this in mind, Edx Education’s extensive home learning ranges aim to support parents and guardians in all aspects of play-based learning and development. From early years active play to maths, the ranges are built for children to be creative, learn and have fun with interactive counters, award-winning Rainbow Pebbles, construction sets and more. Edx Education has been designing and producing educational products and materials for more than 25 years and is passionate about the ‘learning through play’ movement. This has long been recognised as a successful method of teaching in early years education, both in the classroom and at home. Fun and engaging, it is also a tactile and visual form of learning that aids concentration, helps develop fine motor skills and supports early mathematical understanding, such as counting and sorting techniques. The FunPlay Range provides children with activities and games to play while learning. ‘Early Math101 to go’ has everything you need to teach early maths at home or on-the-go in one

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box. Each kit includes maths manipulatives, activity cards and a fullcolour activity booklet designed by experts for parents to help children learn and watch their confidence grow. Early Math101 ranges are for children aged from three to six, teaching core maths concepts through hands-on activities. The company also offers interactive books with maths activities for children to play and learn. The Activity Books lead children to explore their imagination and develop problem-solving skills with hands-on activities. STEAM construction sets are being introduced, along with more brain boosting travel games for children to play and learn on-the-go. Further innovations include an eco-friendly version of the award-winning Rainbow Pebbles using an FPC material (rice husks), which produces minimal emissions, saves

energy and water usage during manufacturing, decomposes naturally and is fully recyclable. Edx Education has dedicated projects to provide ‘education for all’ around the world in its Education Outreach Program. When its home learning toys are being distributed, you are supporting children to have the opportunity to be educated. These initiatives align with its core values of providing education to all children. A new - and growing - collection of digital materials are available online to support new ranges launched by retailers. Read the Play blog on the website, listen to the podcast, see the games and videos, and make use of the free downloadable resources for home learning in the teachers/parents section. Head over to www.edxeducation.com to sign up to the monthly newsletter.

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Cooking up a storm EPOCH MAKING TOYS TEL: 0208 049 1362 WEB: SYLVANIANFAMILIES.NET/UK EMAIL: SALES@EPOCHMAKINGTOYS.COM Epoch making toys saw impressive sales growth across its three main brands during 2020, despite Covid-19 setbacks. Evergreen collectables brand Sylvanian Families, children’s craft kit brand Aquabeads, and licensed Super Mario family games celebrated huge success with impressive Q4 Christmas sales. Epoch welcomes 2021 with exciting new SKUs for its brands, featuring characters and interactive features that appeal to new fans as well as old. Stirring up a storm is the new Sylvanian Families Bakery Shop Starter Set, which comes complete with 37 pieces including baked goods. The Bakery has interactive features such as a popopen cash register, and dough that turns into Sylvanianshaped pastries when baked in the ‘magical’ oven. The set is a new style of playset from Sylvanian Families. It has been specifically created to be added on to other sets. For example, when combined with the Red Roof Cosy Cottage it turns the house into a sweet bakery, breathing new life into the toy and offering additional play options for current fans. Try adding it into the new Family Picnic Van to change it into a mobile food van! Two new families will join the Sylvanian Families

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FACT!

range: the Midnight Cat Family, which replaces the existing Tuxedo Cat Family, The new and the Pookie Panda Sylvanian Family, which has a new Families Bakery facial design. The latter is reminiscent of the popular Shop Starter Set vintage Bamboo Panda comes complete Family released in 1992. with 37 pieces Additional family members including baked will join both families in A/ goods. The W21. Bakery has Craft brand Aquabeads builds on the success of its interactive recent star-shaped bead features such design by introducing two as a pop-open new SKUs. Both sets come cash register, with a mixture of solid, and dough jewel and star beads, which that turns into are all compatible to ensure crafters don’t have to start Sylvaniantheir beads collections shaped pastries from scratch. when baked in Both SKUs include the the ‘magical’ new Creation Display oven feature that elongates play time with Aquabeads. Fairy World allows crafters to make wearable accessories and place them on an accessory stand made from the Creation Display. Enchanted World encourages storytelling by offering two Creation Displays to make elaborate fairy tale scenes. Building on the success of its sellout Super Mario product launch in A/W 20, top-performing products including the Super Mario Shaky Tower, three Balancing Games and Piranha Plant Escape will carry forward into 2021. Exciting new SKUs will also be released in A/W21.

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A host of bankable brands FLAIR

TEL: 0208 643 0320 WEB: WWW.FLAIRGP.CO.UK EMAIL: SALES@FLAIRPLC.CO.UK Buyers and retailers can take their pick from a host of new introductions across the Flair and Just Play portfolios in 2021. There’s a roleplay collection from a YouTube sensation, customisable collectables, a monster collection from the big screen, and something to appeal to all Disney fans. Launching for spring is a fun roleplay range inspired by the latest YouTube sensation, Kids Diana Show. The Flair Just Play Love, Diana range is full of toys that kids will instantly recognise from the series. All Diana fans will love the Love, Diana’s Adventure Set: this cute backpack comes with everything required for a Love, Diana adventure! Be sure to also watch out for the Mystery Music Trunk: a deluxe music box full of surprises to discover. Plus, there’s the Light-Up Bubble Wand and a collection of Love, Diana Mini Mystery Trunks for fans to unlock. Arriving in A/W21, watch out for some exciting introductions including hero line of the range, the Love, Diana Bubble Blitz. This super cool bubble dispenser pops out surprisefilled bubbles. Kids will love revealing the awesome layers of surprise, including a charm bracelet, a cute wand and a tiara. There’s also the Love, Diana Koko UniKitty Care Carrier, which contains everything you need to care for UniKitty, the adorable purple kitty (who has a unicorn horn, of course), including a customisable collar and carry case. There’s also the light-up Musical Microphone, as well as the Jumbo Lipstick Loot, which comes filled with everything needed for a hair & make-up party. This cool tube doubles as a money bank when emptied. Next up, the monster war rages in a battle

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for the ages, and Flair is excited to introduce its epic collection of MonsterVerse figures. Flair will not only be continuing with its Classic Toho range of terrifying figures, it will also be releasing an incredible collection of Godzilla vs. Kong movie figures. The range, which benefits from TV promotion, will arrive ahead of the Godzilla vs. Kong movie, which brings with it the classic Toho Monsters and all-new legendary creations, not to mention incredible storytelling. Flair is delighted to present a monster of a collection that brings the action to life! Fans can use this detailed assortment of 6in articulated figures to recreate the film’s most memorable battle scenes. They will be able to re-enact the action with an impressive attention to detail, thanks to the inclusion of removable chunks of flesh to visualise the impact of this gruesome war! Plus, as the May box office release date draws closer, watch out for the arrival of a special monster character. There are also larger 11in Giant Godzilla and Giant Kong

articulated figures. Straight off the catwalk and strutting onto the spring scene is Sneak’Artz, the customisable craft range. This craft collectable is perfect for trend-setters, with 24 mini shoe styles to collect and design. Each Sneak’Artz Shoe Box pack contains one shoe that can be customised with washable pens, charms, stickers, and an attachable key chain. With its bright colours and graffiti-style branding, this new range is sure to Straight off the catwalk and stand out on the shelf. Keep strutting onto the spring an eye out for the Sneak’Artz scene is Sneak’Artz, the Bumper Set, which is sure to customisable craft range be a smash with kids, thanks to its two-shoe format and exclusive spray can, as well as the glitter, fourdots pens, accessories and stencils that come included in each pack. An exciting new door opens in 2021 with Disney Doorables. This sensational spring launch offers a fresh take on unboxing, with multiple layers of surprise. Girls will love revealing and collecting all the Disney characters hidden behind surprise doors. Available as Mini Peek Packs and as A’Doorable Mini Playsets, there’s a bigger surprise in store behind every door! Having collected and swapped all 45 characters and the cute playsets from spring, fans can look forward to plenty of refreshes and new introductions in A/W21. This autumn, kids will be able to collect 45 new characters. There will be a fresh packaging experience to enjoy with Series 6 Doorables, with ‘Find to Reveal’ packs that feature a magic key to find the Mickeys! There’s also new Collectors Packs containing special edition figures. Plus, there’s awesome new Mini Playsets, as well as bigger Beyond the Door Playsets that bring the worlds of Frozen and The Little Mermaid to life. Kids will also be able to get their hands on Doorables Tag-a-Longs, which have a loop to turn these cute charms into cool accessories. The full brand portfolio including Juggleezz, Trudi, Hairdorables, and Blue’s Clues & You (launching trade-wide from 1 July) will benefit from full marketing support.

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Bubbling with possibility! FUNRISE UK TEL: 01908 555640 WEB: WWW.FUNRISE.COM EMAIL: SALESUK@FUNRISE.COM The Funrise UK portfolio is full of fun in 2021. Retailers and buyers will be afloat with success in the outdoor category, thanks to a flurry of new launches in the Gazillion Premium Bubbles range. There is also a new series of Bright Fairy Friends to light up the doll aisle, as well as new arrivals from Cat to help drive sales momentum in the vehicles category. Following unprecedented sales in 2020, Gazillion Premium Bubbles will continue to deliver strong growth for 2021. Thanks to Gazillion’s superior quality solution, the highly-functional bubble machines for which the brand is renowned, and a bumper year of innovation, the company promises to deliver plenty more magical moments this year. Launching for S/S21, and sure to be an instant hit with bubble blowers young and old, is Gazillion Sky Bubbles. Simply fill the built-in, spill-proof tray with bubble solution, pull the cord and a generous stream of super-sized bubbles will launch into the sky. This modestly-priced device requires no batteries and comes with bubble solution for instant play value, making it a great option for children looking to make their pocket money fly further. Plus, with its space age, helicopter hybrid appearance, kids are sure to love it. Also new for spring is the Mega Zillion Wand: 33 wands in one and an extra-long handle will make it a popular choice for little arms that want to create more bubbles than ever before. And the latest in the battery-powered machines is the Rollin’ Wave - a machine that pumps out waves of bubbles for families to enjoy. Having launched in A/W20, spring will also bring

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FACT! New for S/S21 is Gazillion Sky Bubbles. Fill the built-in, spill-proof tray with bubble solution, pull the cord and a generous stream of super-sized bubbles will launch into the sky. This modestlypriced device requires no batteries and comes with bubble solution for instant play value

with it a second series of BFF Bright Fairy Friends. There are 12 new dolls to collect and this season each comes housed in a pearlescent pink jar, offering children an exciting blind-reveal experience!. Kids will love the colour-changing wings, which glow when the doll’s necklace is pressed. Meanwhile, the Cat vehicle range from Funrise will continue to drive a strong following with plenty of construction vehicles to find in both the core and Junior Crew collections. These include a new Junior Crew Workin’ Pals Assortment: a trio of character vehicles to collect. Simply press the helmet of each vehicle to activate the mechanical functions of Dump, Tip, Scoop or Lift. Another product that will keep buyers and retailers on track for a profitable year

is the Power Tracks Train Set. This hero line comes with 8ft of track and features a motorised engine and working headlights, as well as a working magnetic crane to move containers. This set even comes with two Little Machines Vehicles for added play value. Continuing to surprise (and disgust!) in the boy’s category is the collection of Fart Ninjas. These cheeky chaps are guaranteed to have families chuckling from the first glimpse of the pack, thanks to the outrageously crude names. Look out for the Exploding Egg and Fan My Steamer, as well as plenty of new characters and poses for 2021. After all, what young boy wouldn’t want to launch a fart attack on his friends and family?! Of course parents (and retailers, for that matter) can get creative too, hiding their trouser-trumping, motionsensor activated friends where children will least expect them. All ranges in the Funrise UK collection will benefit from comprehensive marketing support in 2021.

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Dinosaurs in action! FUNVILLE TEL: 0852 3963 9824 WEB: WWW.FUNVILLE.CO.UK EMAIL: INFO@FUNVILLE.CO.UK Dinos have been unleashed at Funville! From action-packed walking, roaring and chomping T-Rexes to cute snapping dinosaurs, this range of prehistoric predators includes 16 different species of Dino along with a number of ultra-rare characters, accessories, and even neon stretchy Dino sand. The entry price point is a Dino collectable, while sitting at the top of the range is a T-Rex that bites, stomps and has a ferocious roar. Funville has a history of creating long-lasting, value-driven brands, and Dinos Unleashed looks to be no different. Strong social and digital support is in place for 2021, and this activity will continue throughout the years as the range continues to expand. Look out for these captivating creatures throughout 2021 and beyond, as Funville looks to shake up the Dino market. Funville also continues to innovate and drive the games market. The classic titles remain – but with a fresh, bold new look. The Dunk 4 and Slime Surgery media package really ramps up for the second half of the year, with new commercials and a social push. With new action game releases every year, you’ll never be short of choices.

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FACT! Funville has a history of creating long-lasting, value-driven brands, and Dinos Unleashed looks to be no different. Strong social and digital support is in place for 2021, and this activity will continue throughout the years as the range continues to expand

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Inspiration for little learners GALT TOYS TEL: 0161 428 9111 WEB: WWW.GALTTOYS.COM

Galt Toys moves into 2021 by launching a host of engaging and enriching products Suitable for across its ranges, ages threerenewing its plus, the commitment to colourful inspiring learning Memory through play. Friends game There is handsimproves on, creative fun to memory be had with the through latest additions tactile to the company’s learning while encouraging expression Activity Packs and and language skills. The Alphabet Creative Cases. Animals Giant Floor Puzzle is Create a string an extra-large 30-piece puzzle of 10 fearsome that helps little ones learn the dinosaur lights to alphabet, with extra assistance brighten any room from the animal frieze that can with the roarbe put on the wall as a look-andsome Dino Lights find guide. - and with the The Bulging Box of Galt Toys’ First Years range scented Soap Making continues to grow and provide Kit, young crafters can Experiments is new fun new ways to encourage early make an assortment of for January. Part of the development. The Water Playmat themed soaps perfect for is suitable for babies aged three gifting to friends and family. Horrible Science range, months and up, allowing for For engaging and messit’s bursting with 20 independent tummy time play that free activities that are ideal experiments for hours teaches cause and effect. for travel, look no further Roly-Poly Toys are the perfect than the Stationery and of gruesome, scientific pals for sensory play, with each Water Magic ranges. The fun – and even includes rocking toy featuring a unique new Travel Activity Case contains more than 80 a lab coat so children can texture and making a jolly jingle sound as they sway from side pages of fun with an activity get into the character of to side, without rolling out of book, reusable sticker book, baby’s reach. colouring pad, dot to dot pad, a ‘horrible scientist’! Also new for 2021 is Nature 10 colouring pencils and sharpener in a handy, portable case. The Water Magic range is also growing to include Nursery Rhymes, featuring beloved characters including Little Bo Peep and Humpty Dumpty. New additions to the Puzzles and Play and Learn ranges include the Alphabet Animals puzzle and Memory Friends game.

Guess what…

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Lab: a compact collection of experiments that lets budding scientists put nature under a microscope. Grow plants from seeds, go on a scavenger hunt and more, with this addition to the Explore and Discover range. The fun Bulging Box of Experiments is new for January too, as part of the Horrible Science range. Based on the best-selling books written by Nick Arnold and illustrated by Tony De Saulles, it’s bursting with 20 eyepopping, brain-bulging experiments for hours of gruesome, scientific fun. It also includes a lab coat for extra imaginative play so children can get into the character of a ‘horrible scientist’. The Ambi Toys brand is getting a redesign and repack for 2021. The all-new box designs, with 100 per cent recyclable packaging, offer better visibility and optimised box sizes. Single-use plastics have been removed and plastic ties replaced with paper ties for greater sustainability. The colours have been updated to match the original vision that first captured children’s imaginations over 70 years ago.

toysnplaythings.media 14/01/2021 16:48



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Brands, Place, Trace: Vaccinate against bad planning in 2021 GENERATION MEDIA TEL: 0207 307 7900 | WEB: HTTPS://GENERATIONMEDIA.CO.UK EMAIL: BESOCIAL@GENERATIONMEDIA.CO.UK. As we embark on another lockdown for 2021, adapting to the ‘new normal’ has become a necessity across all aspects of our lives. Marketing plans are no exception and strategies need to be modified with a fresh approach to reach the 2021 consumer, and for brands to flourish in unprecedented times.

■ Y our consumer journey has changed during the pandemic. Make sure your brand has adapted and your marketing strategy covers all stages of the renewed marketing funnel. ■ I n a world where store footfall has declined, memorability has become more crucial than ever. Build 360 campaigns with resonance and standout for your target market. ■ P ost-pandemic marketing requires a delicate balancing act to reflect an evolving landscape. Ensure that digital versus TV, parent versus child targeting and cost versus innovation is finely tuned to drive your brand forward.Eb

■ E ffective brand placement is vital in a fast-moving market place. Data-led strategies and decisions are key to ensure placement is in keeping with progressing trends to gain traction and drive sales for your brand.

■ L ook after the bottom of the marketing funnel. As the world leans increasingly towards online retail, ensure your virtual shop window and checkout process is streamlined and consumer-friendly.

■ T hink ‘glocal’ with smart crossterritory campaigns for increased cost saving and to increase opportunities for innovative campaigns that reach mass audiences.

■ M ake data-driven decisions and put testing and measurement at the heart of your campaigns. ■ U se insight to keep ahead of the curve in a progressive marketplace.

■ C ontent-led strategies are king. They boost brand performance.

Generation Media has state-of-the-art data tools, planning systems and insights as well as a specialist global team to guide you through 2021 and help you vaccinate against bad planning. Get in touch today for a virtual coffee and to discuss how we can help your brand.

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All aboard with Gibsons GIBSONS

TEL: 020 8661 8866 | WEB: WWW.GIBSONSGAMES.CO.UK EMAIL: SALES@GIBSONSGAMES.CO.UK A new year means new puzzles and games! Gibsons, the family-owned jigsaw puzzle and board game company founded in 1919, has a whole host of products to start the new year - and they will be available from the end of January. Gibsons has added a third game to its Transport for London [TfL] licensed range. Connecting London is a TfL game where players must race to build Zone 1 of the London Underground by placing tiles on the board. Make connections and lay famous landmarks to earn scoring tokens and win the game! There are now nine products in this popular range. Players can explore, learn and play without limits with Gibsons’ Card Game for Rebel Girls. This game is the latest addition to Gibsons’ range of Rebel Girls licensed products. Players must build a team of extraordinary leaders, warriors,

pioneers, creators and champions in this original set-collecting card game, that celebrates inspiring Rebel Girls from throughout history. Little Gibsons is a collection of bright and colourful jigsaw puzzles and games that is tailor-made for inquisitive children. Wonderful Wildlife is an addition to this

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range and this 100XXL piece puzzle is just the trick for teaching little ones about the natural world. As with all Gibsons’ jigsaws, the company uses 100 per cent recycled puzzle board, FSC paper, and works with some of the best artists from all around the world. Gibsons has made some positive changes to its processes, so you can be sure its puzzles are kinder to the environment. Biodegradable clear labels are now used to secure lids instead of shrinkwrap and Little Gibsons puzzle pieces are no longer packed in plastic bags.

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JANUARY 2021

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PRODUCT LAUNCHER

A gamut of gizmos GREAT GIZMOS

TEL: 01293 543221 WEB: WWW.GGTRADE.CO.UK EMAIL: SALES@GREATGIZMOS.CO.UK Product launches from Great Gizmos for 2021 include the launch of the Disney licence. This is a new venture for the company, which offers many new opportunities for the range of Science and Craft kits. The popular KidzLabs range is expanding again with some new titles. Discover the magnetic power of the earth with the Giant Magnetic Compass. Mousetrap Racer is a construction that is powered by a mousetrap spring. Children can make their own working traffic light system with Traffic Control Light. Catch intruders entering your room with the Magnetic Intruder Alarm. There are also two new games joining the range. First, Dinoworld Paint & Play: bring your game pieces to life using the paints included and guide them safely through the dangerous dino park by rolling the dice and making moves. Second, Electrobuzz Pirate Treasure Hunt: spin the wheel of fortune to discover what treasure you are destined for. Move quickly and carefully across the board to collect the treasure without triggering the buzz wire! The craft offering is also expanding with some creative new additions. Mould & Paint 3D Unicorn has everything included to make and decorate two unicorn figures. Create detailed fridge magnets and badges with Mould & Paint Wild Animals. Children will love adding the string of LED lights to the KidzMaker Fairy Light Bulb or creating a giant glittery lightup Unicorn Origami Room Light. Grow crystals and make a unicorn wonderland with Unicorn Crystal Terrarium. Brand new is the Disney range with lots of STEM products. Teach kids the wonder of robotics and anatomy with the Avengers Motorised Robot Hand. Construct a spider that scuttles up and down its string, with its legs moving from side to side, with Spider-Man Spider Robot. Children can rebuild the 100-year-old optical toy that 78

FACT! A new venture for Great Gizmos is the Disney licence, which offers science and craft kits

demonstrates the working principle of modern animations with Disney Animation Praxinoscope. Discover artistic abilities when colouring and designing the Frozen Colour In Mug. Frozen Mirror Chest is a kit with everything included to paint and decorate a mirror chest for trinkets. Children can learn about the solar system and watch the planets

move around the sun, powered by the sun itself or a back-up battery with the Toy Story Solar Hybrid Power System. Launch micro rockets up to 20 feet in the air with the Toy Story Pump Rocket. Design Your Own Princess Chest is available in Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. This is just a snippet of the Disney range that Great Gizmos has to offer.

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PRODUCT LAUNCHER

Play away! H. GROSSMAN

TEL; 01603 397 105 | WEB: WWW.TOBAR.CO.UK EMAIL: SALES@TOBAR.CO.UK The H. Grossman’s brands Tobar and HGL will launch some new products in 2021 and reintroduce delayed items. Everyone knows that pocket money items have been a tough sell online, so HGL New for 2021 is a Special introduced cost-effective Value Christmas Stockings Effects Scooter. Watch to help retailers and out James Bond: this consumers online and fast-moving machine instore to get the most will leave followers out of this category. eating dust (well, 2021 sees the addition of Tobar’s smoke actually), as the Mystery Toy Box. These scooter leaves behind an parcels of play comprise impressive vapour trail! 10 Tobar pocket money lines and the boxes will be themed by age, making selection easy for consumers. This is a costeffective gift item presented in easy-todisplay, colourful packaging. Keeping it simple is the theme of the classic collection from Tobar, with exclusively-designed wooden toys such as a Wooden Learning Clock, wooden interlocking building blocks, wooden stack n play Safari Animal and a collection of three wooden play n sound vehicles, a fire engine, ambulance and police car. The Atmosfear board game was launched by Tobar last year but delivery was delayed due to Covid restrictions. Now the Gatekeeper is back! Atmosfear is not just a board game, but an amplified experience in home entertainment with an interactive app that works across your mobile, tablet and home entertainment system. Plush is always popular and the multi-award-winning Animigos range has been a best seller for Tobar, with top-quality plush combined with interactive elements to give an added impetus to sales. This year, the Animigos World of Nature brings realistic details

Guess what…

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that make the premium plush range look just like the real thing. It’s educational too, with a fun facts booklet included with every toy. This year an Orangutan, Gorilla, Rhino, Badger, Goat and Red and Blue Macaw join the menagerie. HGL was very successful across its outdoor ranges last year and for 2021 there will be a number of new arrivals. Two notable introductions from the Ozbozz brand are the Tie Dye and the Rainbow Folding Light Up Scooters. These new themed scooters are bound to appeal as they join the award-winning Unicorn scooter. Rainbows are everywhere and these fold-up, light-up, go-anywhere scooters are packaged for maximum shelf space and optimum consumer appeal. 2021 will also see the launch of a new Special Effects Scooter. Watch out James Bond: this fast-moving machine will leave followers eating dust (well, smoke actually), as the scooter leaves behind an impressive vapour trail. Talking of fast-moving vehicles, Maisto and Bburago are launching a line-up of classic vehicles in 1:24 scale in ‘try me’ packaging. The Motosound range comprises the 2013 SRT Viper GTS, Ford Shelby GT350, Ford GT Heritage, Laferrari, Lamborghini Huracan and the Lamborghini Aventador Coupe. When the hood of each is pressed, a motor sound is activated along with the headlights. BB Junior has been a great success and M&B has created a world of fun for pre-schoolers. 2021 sees some additions such as the Ferrari Dash n Drive. This Ferrari-themed tower playset features a helter-skelter ramp, mock steering wheel, wing mirror and ignition key, plus your very own caricature ‘Ferrari’. Try me packaging is another plus for this gift item. Lovers of Ferrari can opt for the Junior Ferrari Light and Sound. Modelled on a

real Ferrari, this vehicle almost looks like a cartoon character, complete with big eyes on the windscreen. Press the button on top and the headlights illuminate while the car makes sounds. The BB Junior Jeep Light and Sound is a cute car specially made for little hands and the BB Junior Volkswagen Press and Go is a ‘my first’ Campervan to complete the new range. Take a look at the colourful and simple styling on the BB Junior Bathtime range. The BB Junior Splash n Play Submarine Projector is a fun new addition. This submarine bath toy has a projector in its base. Press the periscope and the submarine will project a sea-life scene directly beneath it. Pop it in the bath and it can project images on the bottom of the tub as it floats on the surface. Or bob on top of the waves with the BB Junior Splash n Play Tugboat: place the boat in water and it will automatically activate a water-squirting squirter in its chimney. The full BB Junior range of vehicles, bath toys and gift sets is available to view online.

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PRODUCT LAUNCHER

Winning bids and blasts HASBRO

TEL: 020 8569 1234 WEB: WWW.HASBRO.COM

Hasbro has added two products to its portfolio of beloved brands. Monopoly Bid joins Hasbro Gaming and Nerf Ultra Two joins the blaster brand Nerf. Get ready for an exciting quickplaying Monopoly card game! The Monopoly Bid game is a game of chance, luck, and strategy as players bid in blind auctions, pay with money cards, steal properties with Action cards, and change their luck with Wild cards. Played in rounds, everyone gets a chance to host an auction. When it’s time to bid on a property, players choose how much money they want to risk. Then everyone shouts, “One, Two, Three, Bid!” and lays their money cards down. The player who bids the most money gets that property; collect three property sets to win. The Monopoly Bid game is a great choice for game nights or parties or as an indoor activity for kids aged seven and up. Next up, experience the

ultimate in Nerf dart blasting with Nerf Ultra Two! Nerf Ultra blasters have advanced design and performance to deliver extreme distance, accuracy, and speed. They include ground-breaking Nerf Ultra darts - the furthest flying Nerf darts ever - featuring an innovative flight tip, Aerofin technology and Nerf Ultra foam. Nerf Ultra blasters work only with Nerf Ultra darts. The Nerf Ultra Two motorised blaster features fast-back reloading. The sixdart cylinder is open in the back, so you can look inside to see how many darts are left so you know when to reload. Hold down the acceleration button to power up the motor and press the trigger to fire one dart. Six Nerf Ultra darts are included, compatible only with Nerf Ultra blasters. And the darts fly through the air up to 120ft (36m). Distances are based on controlled testing; actual performance varies.

GUESS WHAT… Monopoly Bid is a new quickplaying card game of chance, luck, and strategy as players bid in blind auctions, pay with money cards, steal properties with Action cards, and change their luck with Wild cards

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A plethora of puzzles JUMBO

TEL: 0161 428 9111 | WEB: WWW.GALTTOYS.COM/JUMBO In what was an unprecedented year, 2020 saw consumers focusing on activities that promote relaxation and wellbeing. Jigsaw puzzles and board games quickly became firm favourites, with Jumbo providing enjoyable and inspiring products to puzzle fans old and new. The company is launching a new range, Falcon Contemporary, to kick-start 2021 on a positive note. This collection features carefully-selected artists representing a wide range of styles sure to appeal to puzzlers worldwide. Each of the 1,000-piece puzzles, including ‘Piccadilly Circus’, ‘Flora and Fauna’ and the topical ‘Life in Lockdown’, shines a spotlight on the finest in modern artwork and designs. The range uses only 100 per cent recycled cardboard and has been developed with smaller, more compact boxes. It is free from plastic shrink wrap too, to create a more sustainable way to puzzle. The exquisitely illustrated Falcon de Luxe range is expanding in January with a selection of 500 and 1000-piece puzzles. New releases include the 500-piece ‘Covent Garden’ and ‘The Dining Carriage’ for some welcome escapism, while the nostalgic 1,000-piece ‘The Milkman’ and ‘The Hairdressers’ provide a stroll down memory lane. January brings the latest release from Jan van Haasteren, the puzzle brand in The Netherlands with a growing UK fan base. The hilarious 1,000-piece ‘South Pole Expedition’ will undoubtedly deliver some seasonal laughter with a raucous

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snow-covered scene. Jumbo is releasing three new 1,000-piece Wasgij puzzles in January to put fans to the test, including Wasgij Original 36 – ‘New Year Resolutions!’, Wasgij Jumbo is launching Mystery 20 – ‘Mountain a new range, Falcon Mayhem!’, and Wasgij Contemporary, to Destiny 22 – ‘Trip to the Tip!’. Wasgij is the original kick-start 2021 on a brainteasing jigsaw, which positive note. Each challenges puzzlers to use of the 1,000-piece the humorous illustrations, puzzles, including and their imagination, to piece together the ‘solution’ the topical ‘Life in to what’s on the box. Lockdown’, shines a The Disney Classic spotlight on modern Collection is spreading the artwork and designs magic of your favourite movies and releasing three 1,000-piece adult puzzles including ‘101 Dalmatians’, ‘Lady and the Tramp’, and the enchanting ‘Cinderella Movie Poster’. The Disney Pixar Collection has also added 1,000-piece ‘Pixar’ and ‘Frozen 2’ puzzles, featuring Pixar characters’ colourful snapshots. To keep puzzle progress safe and secure, Jumbo’s Portapuzzle and Puzzle and Roll ranges provide tidy storage solutions that allow puzzlers to store and transport their favourite jigsaws conveniently. New for 2021, ‘Stratego Assassin’s Creed’ is the eagerly-awaited special edition of the strategy game where stealth and

DID YOU KNOW?

secrecy are key. Players are transported back in time to 12th century Jerusalem, to commence battle between the Assassins and their nemesis the Templars. The new year’s excitement doesn’t end with Jumbo’s January releases; the company has products scheduled throughout 2021. In April, Falcon de Luxe introduces ‘The Bandstand’ and ‘The Blacksmith’s Cottage’, and a ‘Holiday Fiasco’ is sure to become a firm favourite from the Wasgij brand. There is lots more to come in June and September, while festive puzzle fans will be delighted to learn that the popular Christmas editions for both Falcon and Wasgij will be launched in June.

toysnplaythings.media 14/01/2021 16:57



PRODUCT LAUNCHER

Leap towards learning LEAPFROG

TEL: 01235 555545 WEB: WWW.LEAPFROG.CO.UK

New for S/S21 are some amazing new learning toys from LeapFrog that will help children learn shapes, colours, numbers and even French! With the Fun-2-3 Instant Camera, children can insert a photo and press the blue button to learn all about animals, numbers, shapes and colours with the five colourful photo cards. To explore another photo, press the red button to eject it for pop-up fun! Look through the colour viewfinder to explore four different colours and turn the lens to learn opposites such as night and day. A new addition to the popular 100 Words Book and 100 Animals Book, children can explore words about places that kids love with the 100 Words About Places I Go bilingual learning book. Featuring age-appropriate words, this interactive book teaches about people and objects in 12 places in both English and French. Go to the beach in any season and discover words in two languages about things to bring and surprises to find. The school, the park, the farm, the amusement park and more locations can light 86

Product Launcher 2021NM-3.indd 27

GUESS WHAT…

Transform play time with the Pull-Along Butterfly Book! Get active with a pull toy that LeapFrog is launching a bilingual encourages kids to walk, move learning book. Featuring ageand stretch, then settle down appropriate words, this interactive with the detachable book to book teaches toddlers and preexplore the butterfly life cycle schoolers about places and objects and more. Roll the butterfly in both English and French to watch it wobble and see its antennae move. Music and animal sounds play as you push or pull up a child’s world and spur the butterfly. The butterfly encourages imagination. A total of 10 toddlers to stretch like a cat, roll like a pig touch-sensitive locations and flutter and fly like a butterfly. When on each page teach about it’s time to sit, detach the interactive words, colours and counting book to meet Butterfly and some animal in the context of 12 unique places. Inspire friends. Pressing the music button plays toddlers and pre-schoolers who are ready story time sounds and songs. Hear about to go places! the butterfly’s life cycle, colours, counting, Explore music, colours and counting and animal sounds and names. Wobble, while creating a dazzling light show grow and learn! with the Learn & Groove Rainbow Lights Piano. Little musicians can press the piano keys to learn numbers one to eight in English and French. Using the mode selector dial, explore different instrument sounds. Two learning games can be played identifying colours and numbers. The two song pages play two popular songs. Follow the numbered notes and learn how to play the tune. Press the melody button to hear 17 delightful melodies.

toysnplaythings.media 14/01/2021 16:57



PRODUCT LAUNCHER

Be a Barbie girl

MATTEL

TEL: 01628 500000 WEB: WWW.MATTEL.COM

Mattel continues to create worldclass play experiences for kids, with brands that bring products that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. It offers toys across multiple categories including dolls, preschool, games and action play, as well as partnerships with global entertainment companies. In 2021, Barbie momentum will continue with its mission to show girls that ‘You Can Be Anything’. Q1 kicks off with diverse additions to the Barbie Fashionistas range, even more unboxing fun with the new Colour Reveal Series, and two new dolls joining the Barbie Extra line-up, which launched in December 2020. Inspired by the new Barbie content special is the Barbie & Chelsea Story set and Chelsea Jungle River Playset. Bringing pet play to life is the new Puppy Party playset and adding magic to the range and a dramatic transformation is the Dreamtopia Colour Change Mermaid. Mattel’s dolls portfolio

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continues to expand with Polly Pocket, the original micro doll, adding the Koala Purse to the Large Wearable Compact Assortment, along with new animalthemed compacts in the Pocket World Assortment. Cave Club has new characters Bashley and Rockelle - and new to the portfolio is Spirit: a range covering horses, dolls, collectables, and playsets, all inspired by the Dreamworks animated film, Spirit Untamed! In the pre-school category, 2020 was a big year for Mattel’s IPS brands, as Fisher-Price celebrated making childhood more fun

for 90 years. An expansive range sees new products across the portfolio, from supporting baby at birth to toys designed to entertain toddlers. New solutions in Baby Gear include the Soothing Lights Bassinet, the Fold Flat Bassinet and the Sit-me-up Floor Seat in an ontrend new print. The newborn range introduces new sleep solutions with the Calming Clouds Mobile and Lumalou. The Infant range sees expansion to Linkimals with the Sit-to-Crawl Sea Turtle, plus the new Eco Rock-A-Stack, Game on the Go and Busy Beats Boombox. Meanwhile, Little People introduces the Food Truck, and Fisher-Price Imaginext adds new characters to its DC Super Friends and Jurassic World collection.

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Thomas & Friends continues to introduce kids to the bigger world around them through new products such as the Bridge Lift Thomas & Skiff playset. Thomas fans can create their own exciting adventures with the new rainbow-themed small push-along engines - and for younger fans, there’s the new Stack and Wobble Train. Young conductors can build their own Tidmouth Sheds at home with the Thomas & Friends Connect & Go Sheds. Turning to action play, Hot Wheels drives ‘Challenge Accepted’ further than ever in 2021 with the Hot Wheels City Toxic Snake Strike and City Speedway Hauler. New to the track builder segment is the Infinity Loop, which lets kids build, stunt and boost. The Hot Wheels Monster Trucks range continues to expand with the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Stunt Tire Playset. In 2021, Mattel’s partners include Disney, Universal and Mojang. The Pixar range will grow with new Interactables Figures: these talking action figures not only recognise characters from their own Pixar movie but from across the Pixar Universe classics, such as Toy Story and the Incredibles. Minions is another addition to the Mattel portfolio, with a range of action figures that will support the film release in the summer. Fans of Disney Pixar Cars will love the new Dinoco Car Wash and Minis Crash Course, and

JANUARY 2021

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In 2021, Uno celebrates its golden anniversary with new products and campaigns planned the Jurassic World toy range continues to expand following the recent launch of Camp Cretaceous on Netflix. New to the Mattel Minecraft toy range are the Mini Elementals; mini pixelated characters are introduced into a mining play pattern. Mattel continues to strengthen its games portfolio with an extensive offering, introducing new lines

alongside iconic favourites. In 2021, Uno celebrates its 50th anniversary with new products and exciting campaigns planned. There are also some great Uno licences including Mario Kart, Harry Potter and Minecraft; each game features a special move that is unique to the licence. Following the incredible performance of Pictionary Air in 2020, Mattel is expanding the range in 2021 with new Pictionary Air Kids vs. Grown-Ups!

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PRODUCT LAUNCHER

@shellandthelittlies

Major moves MOOKIE TOYS TEL: 01525 722769 | WEB: WWW.MOOKIE.CO.UK 2020 was a hugely successful year for Mookie Toys. Seeing products fly off the shelves, the company is looking forward to another successful 12 months with the development and release of showstopping games, creative arts & crafts lines and adventurous outdoor products. Swingball did outstandingly well throughout 2020, consistently featuring in NPD as a best seller - it seems everyone wanted the chance to beat their toughest opponent! In 2021, Swingball will be getting a sleek new look with an improved all-surface base in an all-new colour line-up. Dramatic improvements have been made to the product to not only improve performance, but also to make it easier to merchandise in-store. 2020 was also a huge year for TP Toys, with many parents investing in outdoor play. 2021 will see the Explorer Blue Climbing Frame introduced with exciting new pattern plays, as well as the launch of a premium Black Edition with additional features. If little ones love the outdoors, they will also love the new TP Treehouse Wooden Play Tower, which includes a variety of extensions to make this treehouse the ultimate play zone. TP is also excited to launch a real working sink that incorporates water play into some of its best-selling products. After the success of Break the Board last year, Mookie is set to launch more games from Yulu. New to the table is Axtreme: an adrenaline-high, interactive axe-throwing game, with lightweight, flexible axes and an 90 Product Launcher 2021NM-3.indd 29

@whatkatysaiduk

Guess what… The tie-dye trend has exploded and it’s here to stay! Mookie’s brand Tybo, a messfree solution to tiedye, is the perfect way for kids to get involved. The Tybo Design Studio was a sell-out line in the UK last year and, after successfully launching in the US, Tybo has now gone global

electronic target, supported by a strong media campaign including TV, YouTube and social media. Another new release is Buzzer Beater where, you guessed it… you have to beat the buzzer. Inspired by TikTok challenges, the buzzer brings a competitive aspect to the game with a vertical spinner to give a real-life game show effect watch out for its social media and influencer campaigns. Mookie’s partnership with robotics expert Silverlit is still going strong. 2020 saw the successful release of Robo Kombat Balloon Puncher, extending the Robo Kombat range that launched in 2018, showing that this is an evergreen brand for Mookie. Exost will be making its mark with a strong branding strategy, focusing on a multi-product digital campaign supported with hero line Xmoke on TV: a remote control car with smoke coming out of its exhaust! Then there’s BioPods: build up

these robotic creatures in pods and watch them move - with multiple mini Biopods to collect and the BioPod In Motion, a buildyour-own robot dinosaur with gesture control and sound effects. Mookie will have a strong TV plan to support the new Biopods range. Finally, the tie-dye trend has exploded and it’s here to stay! Mookie’s brand Tybo, a mess-free solution to tie-dye, is the perfect way for kids to get involved. The Tybo Design Studio was a sell-out line in the UK last year and after successfully launching in the US, Tybo has now gone global. Tybo has two new products launching in 2021, Tybo Dip Studio and Tybo XL, which will be supported with a strong TV campaign throughout the year. Another new arts & crafts line is Jelly Sand. Also supported by TV, it’s inspired by quick-andeasy play patterns, with an end product that looks great every time. Simply add the face, layer the coloured sand, dip into water and watch your creation come to life. Mookie Toys is looking forward to seeing everyone’s creations.

toysnplaythings.media 14/01/2021 16:58


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Moving forward

MV SPORTS & LEISURE TEL: 0121 748 8000 WEB: WWW.MVSPORTS.COM EMAIL: INFO@MVSPORTS.COM MV Sports has an array of wheeled and outdoor toys across both own-brand and licensed categories. Within its licensed portfolio, the company has a wide variety of properties such as Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Disney Princess, Batman, Spiderman and Frozen 2, to name but a few. In 2021 MV Sports will be expanding its licence portfolio with the addition of eight new licences. In pre-school, there are Blue’s Clues and You, Kindi Kids, Baby Shark, Marvel Superheroes, DC Friends and CoComelon. The Baby Shark range will be expanded to include inflatables. Within older girls there is Kindi Kids, and for boys, The Eternals. The company has also announced a new premium range of Banksy Graffiti stunt scooters, skateboards and BMX products. Paw Patrol and Disney Princess will boast a design refresh for 2021, with new colours and character artwork. Also new in the range is the Switch-it Tri-scooters and bikes featuring four character plaques - so every day can be a new adventure with a different character of your choice; simply clip the character plaque onto the tri-scooter. Sales of Barbie have significantly increased year-on-year and in 2021 the Barbie range will enjoy a makeover, with more pops of colour. There will also be a mermaid Barbie range featuring reversible sequins, glitter deck and a mermaid-shaped doll holder. For older riders, Batman and Spider-man remain strong, with Nerf also seeing amazing growth last year. For 2021, MV Sports has expanded the Nerf category with a Nerf Assault Go-Kart, featuring two blasters and 10 darts integrated into a cool, removable front fairing wrap. There’s also a 16in BMX 92

GUESS WHAT…

conformant to the latest safety legislation. Hedstrom continues to hold strong in the outdoor MV Sports has announced arena with a co-ordinated a new premium range range of quality metal play of Banksy Graffiti stunt equipment including slides, scooters, skateboards and swings, trampolines and BMX products multi-plays. Well received last year was the Musical style bike with the same configuration Toddler Swing with built-in integrated into a frame wrap. soothing sounds, and the 3-in-1 Following a successful first Swing with a comfort moulded year, the premium wheeled range seat that converts easily into uMoVe will expand to include three different configurations sparkle, neon, floral and fashion as the child grows. Wooden finishes, while extending into play expands, with new categories such as ride-ons, sustainably sourced wooden balance bikes, skates and lithium sand and ball pits, water scooters: all incorporating tables and mud kitchens. premium componentry and eyeKickmaster is still hitting catching designs. all the targets with a Introducing Li-Fe: MV Sport’s fastcomprehensive range of growing e-scooter goals and football sets. With brand. With an the football season upon us expanded range and the Euros looming, now’s of kids and a good time to stock up adult commuter on best sellers such as the models, its lithium Close Control Trainer, Quick range offers an ecoUp Goals and Premier Goal friendly form of transport sets. Look out for the new in a lightweight, compact, Quick Pitch concept and fouron-trend format. The use of way Football Tennis Set. lithium ion (Li-Fe) batteries provides long-range potential off a single charge (ideal for commuting), while the battery delivers immediate torque straight to the wheels for maximum acceleration and a smooth exciting ride. Large wheels ensure that Li-Fe scooters can handle bumps in the road, and each model is tested and

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Play the game ORCHARD TOYS

TEL: 01953 859 539 | WEB: WWW.ORCHARDTOYS.COM EMAIL: SALES@ORCHARDTOYS.COM Orchard Toys is launching eight new lines this month. Its diverse offering includes games featuring footballers, mermaids, dinosaurs and unicorns, for children as young as two years old through to older kids. Wiggly Words is a brain-teasing dominoes game for the whole family that makes spelling fun. Dizzy Donkey is a hilarious game that offers a refreshing take on gameplay for children from the age of five. Players must act out crazy combinations to collect cards in this fun charades game that the whole family will enjoy. This exciting game is high-energy and guarantees lots of laughs. It is also a great way to help children to understand different feelings and emotions.

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Suitable for dinosaur fans aged four-plus, Dino-Snore-Us has players racing to retrieve the most dinosaur eggs from the T Rex. But watch out: if the T Rex wakes up, everyone lets out a big roar and you must return to the start! Piece together a charming, colourful world with Mermaid Fun. This 15-piece puzzle shows an underwater scene with mermaids and their friends that will capture the imagination of children from the age of two. Penalty Shoot Out is

a mini game that is small in size but big in fun, and perfect for young football fans. Who will score the most goals and win the penalty shoot-out? Unicorn Jewels is a colour guessing game. Count up the most jewels for your unicorn’s treasure chest. Take turns to guess the colour of the jewels on the cards and, if you are correct, add them to your playing board. Suitable for children aged from just two, First Farmyard Friends includes two 12-piece jigsaw puzzles which feature friendly farmyard animals to piece together. Also suitable for children aged from just two years old, First Jungle Friends includes two 12-piece jigsaw puzzles which feature friendly jungle animals to piece together.

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Let the Funtime roll PADGETT BROS

TEL: 01226 381 188 WEB: WWW.PADGETTATOZ.CO.UK EMAIL: INFO@PADGETTATOZ.CO.UK The Funtime range of preschool toys continues to get bigger and better, and another year brings an increase in turnover and another gain in market share. Several of the Funtime items now appear on Amazon’s best-selling Learning & Activity Toys. The Funtime range gives customers a choice of an excellent-quality product for the pre-school market, that should sell all year round. There are several new items, including the Unicorn Rainmaker, Unicorn Spin & Roll Bubble Balls, Poppy the Unicorn Pile Up and the Spinning Unicorn Merry-Go-Round. Found in many of the country’s leading retailers in Funtime packaging as well as customer’s own brand, there are more than 150 items in the range, with plenty to cover a variety of price points.

JANUARY 2021

“Quite simply, the range sells through for the retailer, while achieving an excellent margin. In new eye-catching packaging, the Funtime range is strengthening year on year”

Funtime can be purchased through a UK warehouse in new packaging or from Hong Kong on an FOB basis, either in Funtime artwork or customer-specific packaging. Its eye-catching packaging, high margin and high turnover make a winning combination.

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GUESS WHAT… Elfie will be starring in the upcoming Home Alone movie remake, due to be shown on Disney+ later this year. This long-awaited sequel is sure to be enthusiastically received by fans of this extremely popular franchise

Elf antics

PMS INTERNATIONAL GROUP TEL: 01268 505050 | WEB: WWW.ELVESBEHAVINBADLY.COM EMAIL: SALES@PMSPLC.COM The naughty Elves Behavin’ Badly managed to bring some muchneeded cheer to the country in the run-up to Christmas. To seal their position as the nation’s number one pranksters, they enlisted the help of their ambassador Vicky Pattison, best known for appearing on MTV show Geordie Shore and ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!. She pulled a hilarious prank on her fellow ambassador and good mate Pete Wicks, star of ITVBe’s The Only Way Is Essex. Roping Pete into helping spread Christmas cheer across London, he was stunned when the 10-metre tree he was asked to switch the lights on promptly snapped in half! The construction of the tree was made possible by a team of theatrical engineers who specialise in big-scale prank events. Vicky and Pete were 96

certainly able to indulge their naughty sides during filming, with uproarious results. The stunt has been viewed over half a million times. 2020’s successful social media campaign saw the Elves’ following increase by over 50 per cent across all channels. The brand’s other celebrity ambassador Chris Taylor, a contestant in the 2019 series of ITV2’s Love Island, spent a whole day pranking the public in a busy shopping centre. The resulting fun-filled videos attracted more than 1.4 million views. Chris employed his mischievous charm to hilarious effect, providing amusement and fun throughout the day. The mischief and mayhem started

with Chris jumping out of a huge, giftwrapped box - to the great surprise of passing shoppers. He then, while dressed in elf garb, walked along the street carrying a huge pile of presents, which looked sure to topple over onto people’s heads. Then, perched on a toilet in a lift at the shopping centre, he provided unsuspecting shoppers with more laughs. Chris completed the day by joining the Elves for a choreographed dance routine to the tune of the Beyonce’s hit Single Ladies. 2021 will see the Elves continuing with their naughty pranking and PMS International Group is excited to exclusively reveal that Elfie will be starring in the upcoming Home Alone movie remake, due to be shown on Disney+ later this year. This long-awaited sequel is sure to be enthusiastically received by fans of this extremely popular franchise.

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Phen-elf-menal success PMS INTERNATIONAL GROUP TEL: 01268 505050 WEB: WWW.ELVESBEHAVINBADLY.COM EMAIL: SALES@PMSPLC.COM Following another successful campaign, the pranking but lovable Elves Behavin’ Badly range has proved to be as popular as ever. The affordable Elf Dolls - Elfie and Elvie - are distributed by PMS International, which offers a wide range of Elf Doll choices. These vary from poseable Elves to Elves with 14 electronic sounds, from laughter and giggling to some rather unsavoury noises! PMS has sold more than seven million Elf Dolls to date in the UK. Many retailers had to reorder stocks in the run-up to Christmas 2020 due to higher-than-anticipated demand. PMS also offers a range of more than 100 accessories for dressing up the Elves and to serve as props to assist in the Elves’ pranking escapades. By far one of the greatest growth areas has been in pranking and jokerelated accessories. The collection, which includes Elves Pooey Friends (joke ‘poo’ with googly eyes), a new range of quality jokes and pranks, Farting and Laughing Bags, and even a Complete Fart Kit for Naughty Elves, have all proved to be extremely popular. A fashionable addition to the range last year was items that can be personalised. Christmas Eve boxes in cardboard or wood, Write On/Wipe Off Message Boards, 10in high A-Frame Warning Signs and Clear Red Drinking Bottles with an Elf head on the lid have been proven best sellers. Joining the collection in 2021 will be packs of six assorted designs of Elf

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Christmas cards, available in both kids and adult selections. Other additions are melamine Elf-design partyware consisting of bowls, plates, tumblers and matching serving trays, and an enlarged range of Elf dress-up outfits including Rainy Day, Banana Onesie, Santa and Snowman outfits. The pranking phenomenon looks set to continue for many years to come, with Elves Behavin’ Badly at the forefront. The combination of celebrity

7 MILLION PMS has sold more than seven million Elf Dolls to date in the UK ambassadors Vicky Pattison, Pete Wicks and Chris Taylor saw the Christmas 2020 media campaign break all previous Elves Behavin’ Badly social media records with over 30 million views. The trademark and registered design associated with the Elves Behavin’ Badly collection is heavily protected by IP rights, which PMS vigorously enforces on all occasions.

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Turning market changes and challenges into opportunities… PREMIER DECORATIONS LTD TEL: 020 8624 5555 WEB: WWW.PREMIERDEC.COM/HALLOWEEN-COLLECTION EMAIL: SALES@PREMIERDEC.COM Premier Decorations sees opportunities in the necessity of change and the current difficulties that the market and businesses are facing. Premier always sees the full half of the glass and takes the positive side of every situation and challenge. We have all faced a number of obstacles these past 12 months and without a doubt all businesses, small and large, have been affected. They have had to adjust and find new, safe and effective ways to reach demands of the market and everyday consumers. Online selling has seen incredible growth and has become an integral part of consumer shopping habits and choice. Premier has worked to improve its online services making it easier than ever to shop. Premier provides detailed information regarding the specification of every product alongside a whole library of images and video that is available to support customers’ own needs for online. The search facilities have also been improved to make sure customers don’t miss out on any of the products available due to inefficient search criteria. Halloween has seen significant growth this year and people are spending more and more for this holiday, looking for new, different and spectacular items. Premier’s soft acrylic range of shapes and characters, having been highly successful for Christmas

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is now launched for the first time at Halloween. There’s a number of new and exciting SKUs available, all of which customers are able to peruse via the printed Premier Halloween catalogue as well as via its online portal. Exciting large and very large inflatables with playful disco lights or colour-changing LEDs have also been added into the range due to the uplift in sales for this type of product, which seem to have become a must-have for Halloween décor. These are an ideal product for the online market and Premier has a number of tools available to help support sales. Family and indoor activities have started becoming traditional for Halloween and in anticipation there are new ranges of gadgetry toys, plush animated toys and activities such as spinning and dancing witch hats or spiders, sensor-controlled aircrafts, 3D puzzles or mini blocks completing the Halloween 2021 range. The gory animated characters are still a lead seller and Premier has expanded its offering with some exciting new

animations from small to very large, all with lights and sound and sensor activated. Get ready to scream as they will creep you out! Halloween lighting also has quite a few surprises packed in for you. Premier’s outdoor lit garden stakes play spooky sounds and are sensor activated. These, alongside the new amazing lit Halloween motifs, give a great visual and audio impact to your celebrations. The Premier showrooms have measures in place to make them Covidsafe and the sales account managers would be glad to make an appointment for you to visit. Alternatively you can always place your order online by registering for an account.

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Camaraderie and connection RACHEL LOWE GAMES & PUZZLES

TEL: 07957 186064 | WEB: WWW.RACHELLOWE.CO.UK EMAIL: SALES@RACHELLOWE.CO.UK

Award-winning board game designer Rachel Lowe will release 10 new licences in the first quarter of 2021. The products, including board games, puzzles and card games, are now available from www.rachellowe. co.uk. At the core of each one of them is family, camaraderie, and connection, all of which are present when people come together to play a board game or complete a puzzle. The official The Elf on the Shelf Board Game is available alongside a 100-piece puzzle and a snap card game, bringing more festive fun to Christmas time. Rachel has also worked with Beano Studios to create a board game and two puzzles (200 and 1,000 pieces) featuring iconic characters such as Dennis the Menace and The Bash Street Kids.

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FACT! The Beano is the longest-running British children’s comic and in August 2019 celebrated its 4,000th issue. 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of Dennis the Menace appearing in the magazine

The Beano is the longestrunning British children’s comic and in August 2019 celebrated its 4,000th issue. The 70th anniversary of Dennis the Menace appearing in the magazine is being celebrated in 2021. Beano Studios was launched in 2016 to drive the brand into new markets while producing entertainment across a range of content including TV, digital and film. Mr Bean has become a global superstar since he first appeared on British TV screens in January 1990 and this year, Rachel has released a 1,000-piece puzzle depicting the muchloved character. Rachel will continue to work within the world of comedy this year as she develops a board game and a 500 and 1,000-piece puzzle to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the hit show, Friday Night Dinner. This sitcom is one of the most-loved comedy shows currently on TV. Now in its sixth series, the award-winning show is about the Goodman family and their tradition of having dinner together on a Friday evening - potentially with a guest appearance from their neighbour Jim and his dog Milson.

Rachel is extremely proud and excited to launch this impressive slate of products for their passionate fanbases around the world. The new items will be available alongside Rachel’s current range including Call the Midwife and WWE: Road to WrestleMania. The WWE: Road to WrestleMania board game, released in 2019, is available with a 500-piece puzzle and playing cards, allowing WWE fans across the UK to become part of the electrifying global pop-cultural event. The products feature WWE Superstars including John Cena, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Becky Lynch and have been popular with WWE’s passionate fanbase. The Call the Midwife products, which comprise a board game, puzzle and playing cards, have continued to be popular in their third year of release.

toysnplaythings.media 14/01/2021 17:02


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Time for a bear hunt RAINBOW DESIGNS

TEL: 01329 227300 | WEB: WWW.RAINBOWDESIGNS.CO.UK EMAIL: SALES@RAINBOWDESIGNS.CO.UK Rainbow Designs is kicking off a momentous year, celebrating 50 years of the Home of Classic Characters, with the launch of some new collections as well as the return of some much-loved brands to the Rainbow family. Set to join the Rainbow family in February is the We’re Going on a Bear Hunt brand, with the introduction of a super soft, cuddly and not-so-grizzly 20cm bear soft toy and a colourful wooden shape puzzle featuring the animals from the much-loved children’s storybook to play along with. There will also be some new additions to the tremendously successful Adventures of Paddington toy range for pre-schoolers that launched last Autumn. The range, which features a super soft Deluxe Paddington Plush, 22cm soft toys of Paddington wearing

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Rainbow Designs is celebrating 50 years of the Home of Classic Characters in 2021

his famous coat and hat and Paddington in his pyjamas, as well as collectable Paddington figures with movable arms in outfits from the series, and a super fun Play Bus, will be joined by some fun-packed playsets. These include the Paddington’s Rescue Set, Abracadabra Magic Pack and a Multi-Figure Set that feature stars of the show, Jonathon and Pigeonton. The fun-packed The Adventures of Paddington toy range is perfect to help spark imaginations and encourage pre-schoolers to create their own adventures with Paddington. The Home of Classic Characters are delighted to be welcoming back the iconic Peanuts brand and the coolest Beagle on the planet, Snoopy, to the Rainbow Designs’ family this January. The Everybody Loves Snoopy range features Charles Schulz’s muchloved characters including a super soft Snoopy Soft Toy, a Cuddly lying down Snoopy and the Cuddly Snoopy and Woodstock Soft Toy.

Arriving in January is a series of new wooden toys to join the hugely popular and much-adored Guess How Much I Love You and Fun with Spot collections. There will be colourful new Wooden Shape Puzzles and Wooden Building Blocks, as well as a playful Spot Wooden Pull along and a beautiful Guess How Much I Love You Wooden Pull along featuring both Large Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare. There will also be a colourful new Spot Wooden Bowling Set and an entertaining Guess How Much I Love You Balancing Toy with printed wooden pieces including the little nutbrown hare for little ones to try to stack up, creating entertainment for everyone when they all fall down. Hitting the big screen in June 2021 is the new Spirit Untamed movie, the new animated stand-alone sequel to the movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and the highly-successful TV series. To celebrate the release of the film, Rainbow Designs will launch its Dreamworks’ Spirit collection. The range features a collection of soft toy horses and characters including Spirit, Lucky, Boomerang and Chica Linda.

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A fun new toy range for Spring 2021


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A raft of new ranges RAVENSBURGER

TEL: 01869 363 830 | WEB: WWW.RAVENSBURGER.COM EMAIL: SALES@RAVENSBURGER.COM Ravensburger is launching more than 200 new products in 2021, building on a portfolio that has delivered strong growth throughout the past year. New additions to the awardwinning GraviTrax interactive track system will continue to provide a multitude of ways to challenge Gravitraxers. Building on the successful launch of GraviTrax PRO, there are many new adrenalinefuelled additions in 2021. These include bigger, even more impressive sets and lots more add-ons to continue to thrill existing GraviTrax fans, as well as encourage new kids into this action-packed system. An engaging advertising creative is set to roll out, which will showcase this dynamic range at its best. A raft of new puzzles will join the children’s jigsaw portfolio, many of which have been commissioned by Ravensburger’s UK-based product development team. Leading licences such as Gigantosaurus, Super Mario, Bluey, CoComelon and Baby Shark join the company’s line-up, as well as puzzles celebrating much-anticipated movies such as Minions: The Rise of Gru, Disney’s Raya & The Last Dragon and Paw Patrol, the Movie. Ravensburger’s generic children’s puzzles have seen extremely positive growth, especially on My First Puzzles. This range is a great introduction to puzzles and features themes highlighted in the Department of Education’s Early Years Foundation Stage guidelines.

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Ravensburger’s adult puzzle portfolio continues to go from strength to strength, with the company maintaining the number one spot by £ value for January to October 2020, according to NPD statistics

Ravensburger’s adult puzzle portfolio is continuing to go from strength to strength with the company maintaining the number one spot by £ value for January to October 2020, according to NPD statistics. Other new highlights for 2021 include 99-piece Puzzle Moments, offering an entry point for those new to the pastime or a handy timeout for seasoned puzzle fans. Other introductions include work from artists including Aimee Stewart and Matt Sewell, plus special commissions from British artists Rebecca McCullogh and Veronique Oodian. And adding a new dimension to puzzling and riddle-solving too are Escape Puzzles, offering themed challenges and a great way to puzzle in a group. The company will continue to drive its Positively Puzzling campaign throughout the year. With impressive growth demonstrated in 2020, Ravensburger’s market-leading 3D puzzle range will benefit from new additions during 2021. 2020 saw the launch of the Lamborghini Huracan, one of Ravensburger’s most successful 3D puzzle launches to date. There will be a spotlight on the supercar fleet and new impressive buildings will launch too. A packaging refresh across the range delivers a fresh look and strong standout, with clear product benefit communication. For spring, get ready to see the much-loved 3D Minions puzzles and strong generic 3D puzzles.

Strong momentum in the games category continues to build and Ravensburger is set to continue the growth with a strong portfolio across licensed, family and immersive games through the coming year. There will be a focus on its classics collection and some new strong additions including the hilarious Upsidedown Challenge Game. Among the licences showcased in 2021 game launches are Minions: The Rise of Gru and Disney’s Raya & The Last Dragon. Evergreen game Mini Memory welcomes new licences to the range including Disney Classic, Marvel Super Heroes and Star Wars The Mandalorian. Brio World Smart Tech Sound innovation delivered exciting news for Brio in 2020. Once again, the brand raised the bar in railway play and there is more to come in 2021, including an adorable Steaming Train with real working steam effect and adorable pocket money trains too. BRIO will be supported throughout the year with a heavyweight marketing programme.

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The power of imagination SCHLEICH

TEL: 01279 870000 | WEB: WWW.SCHLEICH-S.CO.UK EMAIL: SCHLEICH@SCHLEICH-S.CO.UK Whether it’s animal fun or fantasy play, there is so much to discover in Schleich’s six different play worlds, with exciting new products and packaging formats, and new collectable ranges of unicorns, fantasy creatures and pre-school mix-and-match animals, supported by the brand’s biggest-ever marketing programme. Continuing to bring nature to life, Schleich will introduce new figurines and playsets in both of its pre-school collections. The Farm World range is a firm favourite among parents and young children alike and, as well as some adorable new domestic pets, there are new farm friends, including the Llama, Highland Bull, and Silver Dapple Mare. New playsets include the Sunny Day Mobile Farm Stand, and the Happy Cow Wash with 360-degree turntable and working water shower for cleaning Schleich cows and calves. Schleich will also be expanding its Wild Life offering. Little ones can learn about the amazing animals that live on this planet, including the Manatee, Emperor Penguin, Platypus and Vulture with a new range of play sets, with animal figurines unique to these sets. These include the Polar Playground, with narwhal and adorable polar bear

cubs, Alpaca Set, Meerkat Hangout, and the super cute Nutty Mischief, with two raccoons and a playful skunk. September will see the launch of a new pre-school collectables concept. Each of the six Wild Life and six Farm World animals comprise two interchangeable halves, that combine with other animals in the range for collectability. The front part of the animal is Schleich’s unicorn visible in the packaging, while collectables the back part is a surprise. This promises great fun and range from the educationally-valuable play, as the magical world of Elephant joins up with the Donkey bayala launches and the Gorilla joins with the Pig! in January, with Schleich’s unicorn collectables range from the magical world of six new glittery bayala launches in January, with six unicorn foal new glittery unicorn foal figures figures to collect to collect. The mini figures come in pouch packaging in a 24-piece CDU for pocket money appeal. Series 2 follows in July, with 12 Fruit Unicorns, each with cute little fruit markings and lots of glitter! There is also a

Guess what…

highly sought-after magical gold unicorn foal to collect. Schleich’s other new collectables range, Eldrador Mini-Creatures, is an extension to the successful Eldrador Creatures line. There are 17 mini creatures in blind bags to collect: four from each of the four worlds of Eldrador, Lava, Ice, Jungle and Stone, together with a rare gold figure. These are priced to encourage pocket money purchase and collectability. The figures can be stacked, and further game play comes 108

from joining forces with four Robots, who combine with the mini creatures for awesome battle play. The August launch is supported by a full TV and digital marketing campaign. The fantasy world of bayala will see a new family of Mandala unicorns, while the Eldrador Creatures world welcomes several new figures, including the Rock Beast and Shadow Panther. Schleich’s TV-advertised Horse Club brand sees several new horse breeds and playsets added to the range. January sees the introduction of the Pura Raza Espanola, German Riding Pony and Hanoverian breeds, which are bound to be a hit with avid collectors. The Horse Club range will then see a major upgrade as the four girl rider figures - Hannah, Sofia, Sarah and Lisa become fully articulated for even more authentic play. All new sets will now feature fully movable figures - look out for The Friendship Horse Tournament with obstacles and jumps. Sarah’s Camping Adventure will be followed by a new SUV and horse trailer to add to the equestrian spectacle. Horse Club will continue to be supported by a full schedule of TV and digital advertising, influencer, and PR activity. Schleich is also introducing five new dinosaur figures this month, including the classic Brontosaurus, fearsome underwater Mosasaurus with movable jaw, Kaprosuchus and Ceratosaurus. And following the launch of the TVadvertised Dinosaurs play world last year, adventures now take to the skies with the Dinosaur Air Attack and Jetpack Chase sets, before centre stage is given to the Large Volcano Expedition Base Camp.

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JJuly l highlights hi h hli ht include i l d the th Friendship F i d hi Horse H Tournament T t and d th the 4 girl i l riders id d will illl b become fully f movable! Other new sets include Sarah’s Camping Adventure, Tori’s Horse Stall and Emily’s Horse Wash All new sets include fully movable Horse Club figurines with improved functionality! September highlights include the Horse Adventures with 4x4 and Trailer For more information, please contact your Schleich® representative, or contact us on 01279 870 000 or schleich@schleich-s.co.uk

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Siso pitched for success! SISO TOYS UK

TEL: 01620 674 778 WEB: WWW.SIMBA-DICKIE-GROUP.COM/EN/HOME/ EMAIL: SALES@SISOTOYSUK.COM There will be a host of new arrivals across the Simba Smoby Toys UK portfolio in 2021. While Smoby will be taking the fun outdoors with new innovations in playhouses and rideons, Steffi Love and her younger Fresh for spring sister Evi will be strengthening their is Smoby’s plastic hold on the doll aisle with new play Teepee. With its themes and features. Plus, expect to see a whole lot more from the simple design pre-school favourite Masha and and a neutral the Bear, as well as the YouTube colour palette, sensation Ryan’s World. the Teepee First up, the company’s trusted has a modern, Smoby brand is a one-stop shop Scandinavian for outdoor toys, with its extensive appeal. Designed collection of playhouse real estate to evolve as for tots, as well as a cool ridechildren grow, on, and more. Fresh for spring is this product Smoby’s plastic Teepee. With its transforms in simple design and a neutral colour height from palette, the Teepee has a modern, Scandinavian appeal. Designed to 159cm to 183cm, evolve as children grow, this product making it suitable transforms in height from 159cm for kids aged from to 183cm, making it suitable for two to 10 kids aged from two to 10. What’s more, thanks to its UV resistance and sturdy foundations, the Teepee can be pitched both indoors and outdoors. The Garden Playhouse is perfect for budding gardeners aged two years and over, it comes with 15 accessories, and brings the natural world into the role-play world for lots of green-fingered fun. Also, watch out for the largest Smoby house to date - the fully-customisable Neo Friends House, which can be purchased individually or with a kitchen. Meanwhile, Smoby’s ride-ons offer an introduction to the wheeled-toy category. Rolling onto the scene for spring is the Foldable Robin Tricycle, the Be Move Tricycles for children aged 15-months-plus, and the City Ride On Tricycle. Another brand that is going from strength to strength in 2021 is Steffi Love. With Steffi’s fully articulated body, little ones can dream up hours of imaginative play. Look out for the Steffi Love Baby Doctor. The pack comes complete with a

DID YOU KNOW?

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Dr Steffi doll and a cute baby doll with a colour change feature. Little ones can use warm water to simply wash away baby’s fever. Plus, imaginations will head Down Under with the Steffi Love Koala pack. Kids can help Steffi - who comes dressed in her safari outfit - care for the mummy and babies at the Koala rescue centre. There’s lots to come from Evi Love, too. Steffi’s younger sister is set to make a splash with her glittery mermaid outfit from the Evi Love Glitter Mermaid 3 assortment, and girls will go bananas for Evi Love Monkeys, thanks to Evi’s adorable expedition outfit, and the inclusion of two baby monkey figures. Following another strong year as Master Toy Partner in 2020, the new year will also see Simba Smoby Toys UK continue to drive demand for its Masha and the Bear collection, with its ongoing marketing campaign. The firm’s line-up of toys, inspired by the show that pre-schoolers can’t get enough of, now comprises a wide selection of Masha dolls, Bear plush, feature-packed playsets, and collectables. The Masha 23cm soft bodied Doll, Masha 40cm Bear Plush, and Masha 23cm doll and 40cm Bear will continue to benefit from TV promotion in 2021, as will the Bear House Playset, which opens to reveal Bear’s cosy cottage inside. Alternatively, go bigger and delight young fans with Big Bear House Playset, which features two levels of play, multiple interactive features, sound effects, and comes with a couple of figures and furniture pieces, for play straight out the box. You’ll also want to meet an exciting introduction for A/W21:

the Masha Shake & Sound Interactive Doll promises to bring the world of Masha and the Bear to life for young fans. Meanwhile, speeding onto the scene from the die-cast brand Jada comes another year of fun from Ryan’s World. This property remains a firm favourite among surprise-loving, toy-obsessed children! The Ryan’s World Mystery Eggs will remain a top pocket-money pick, thanks to the collectable die-cast vehicles hidden inside. Each yellow egg contains one fantasy race car. With the Combo Panda Speedster and Ryan’s Muscle Car included, there are 12 to collect plus one chase vehicle.

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Caped crusader flies high SPIN MASTER

TEL: 01628 535 000 | WEB: WWW.SPINMASTER.COM EMAIL: UK_SALES@SPINMASTER.COM 2021 is another big year for Spin Master with the launch of new and refreshed products across the company’s biggest brands, including DC Batman, Paw Patrol, Monster Jam, Kinetic Sand and Hatchimals. Following the success of Paw Patrol’s Dino Rescue range, the popular pre-school brand will launch its Moto Pups line in 2021 with new themed outfits and deluxe vehicles. The highlight of the range is the Moto Pups HQ Playset, which features exciting sounds and a motorcycle launch ramp and looks just like the headquarters from the show. Nick Jr’s Paw Patrol Moto Pups will be hitting screens from March, as will TV advertising, digital support and an influencer-led PR campaign. Also new to Paw Patrol in 2021 is the Rocky Reuse It Truck, which makes its debut in January. Equipped with rolling wheels and moving arms, this recyclingthemed truck makes it easy to play out imaginative missions with Rocky and the rest of the Paw Patrol team. The Rocky Reuse It Truck will be supported with TV advertising, digital and PR activity throughout spring. Batman is getting an upgrade for 2021 with the introduction of Spin Master’s range of Bat-Tech themed 12in action figures. Within the range sits the all-new Deluxe 12in Batman figure, upgraded and equipped with expandable bat wings, lightup accessories and more than 20

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Guess what… Batman is getting an upgrade for 2021 with the introduction of Spin Master’s range of Bat-Tech themed 12in action figures

sounds and phrases for enhanced play. The new Batman toys will be supported by TV advertising throughout spring and through a creative, influencer-led PR campaign. 2021 will see several additions to Spin Master’s Kinetic Sand products, with highlights including new Shimmer Sand packs and the Ice Cream Treats Playset. This comes with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry scented Kinetic Sand, six different tools and moulds and six topping accessories to create ice cream sundaes, waffles and more. The new ice cream themed range will be supported through an extensive PR campaign, including creative stunts, media outreach and influencer

partnerships. For Spring/ Summer, Spin Master will launch the new Hatchimals Wilder Wings range with lots of freshly designed Hatchimals characters including new Wilder Wings Pixies. Each has their own fabric wings with bold patterns, and every character comes with a different look and two themed accessories. The new Wilder Wings CollEGGtibles range features more than 10 styles. The 100-year-old plush brand Gund

is introducing Beautifurtails in 2021. There are three different animals to choose from: Unicorn, Pegasus and Kitty. Each features an extra-long fluffy tail and, at 28cm tall and 81cm long, they make a statement. Spring/Summer will also see the launch of the Monster Jam 1:24 El Toro Loco RC. Featuring authentic styling and official BKT tyres, it’s almost like driving the real thing. Also coming in 2021 is a new range of collectable Monster Jam Mini Trucks. Spin Master is introducing several refreshed games in 2021 including Hedbanz Blastoff, and movie-inspired games including Harry Potter Catch The Snitch, The Goonies Board Game and a deluxe version of the classic Jumanji game.

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Thrills and spills THAMES & KOSMOS

TEL: 01580 713000 | WEB: WWW.THAMESANDKOSMOS.CO.UK EMAIL: SALES@THAMESANDKOSMOS.CO.UK Thames & Kosmos (T & K) has some exciting new arrivals in both its board game and science kit ranges planned for release in 2021. In its award-winning Signature series, the company will launch a thrilling Roller Coaster Engineering kit, which is suitable for children from the age of eight-plus and will reach UK shores in August ready for the A/W season. Aspiring engineers complete challenges that require them to build their own working roller coaster models of all shapes and sizes and conduct fun physics experiments, while following stepby-step assembly instructions. T & K is also launching The Massive Erupting Volcano - the biggest volcano in its German

Fact! Thames & Kosmos is launching The Massive Erupting Volcano in 2021 - the biggest volcano in its German parent company’s 200year history

parent company’s 200-year history. In the board game range, T & K is launching two new dimensions to its bestselling EXIT-The Game series. The EXIT puzzle, available in the spring, allows novice and expert players alike to enter a completely new and thrilling escape room experience, combining the tension of an escape room and the excitement of a puzzle. In addition, the company will release an English-language version of its parent company’s best-selling EXIT advent calendar, due to reach the UK in the Summer. There will also be three new EXIT-The Game titles joining the bestselling range which saw sales soar by over 100 per cent in 2020 to more than 250,000 units sold in the UK, with no end to its popularity in sight.

EXmIeTseries

a ies The G + cop K ,000 250 in the U sold 2020. in

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New additions TOMY

TEL: 01392 281 900 WEB: UK.TOMY.COM

The Ricky Zoom range is set to accelerate into 2021 with an expansion of Tomy’s popular toy range. Products include Maxwell’s Transforming Trailer, the Wind and Launch assortment, Fix it DJ! and Super Rev Loop. A key launch for 2021 is Maxwell’s Transforming Trailer. Available in March, kids can convert Maxwell’s Transforming Trailer into a mobile repair station, and including both Maxwell and Ricky bikes, kids will love recreating roadside rescue scenes from the show, guaranteeing hours of zooming fun. Toomies is set for an egg-citing year ahead with the launch of two products - the 2 in 1 Transforming Tractor and the Stacker Decker Bus. Take your egg-shaped friends for a ride on the Stacker Decker Bus or push along the 2 in 1 Transforming Tractor and enjoy the bright colours. Both toys will help children as they develop fine motor skills with the mix-and-match ability. Spring-Summer 2021 will see the launch of the Lamaze Garden collection, featuring five products that not only look good enough to eat but will help and encourage baby’s development and strengthen fine motor skills and problem solving. The five products - Candy the Carrot, Bea the Banana, Bitty Bug Book, Archer

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Britains is celebrating its centenary with the launch of two classic models as part of its heritage collection, the Case IH 1066 and the Case IH 4894 from the 14+ Prestige Collection. The two models are a nostalgic addition to the range and will help the brand continue to grow throughout 2021

the Apple and Olive the Orange - tie into the ever-increasing trend of healthy eating, for both parents and babies. Celebrating its 100th year anniversary this year, Britains will see the launch of two classic models as part of its heritage collection, the Case IH 1066 and the Case IH 4894 from the 14+ Prestige Collection. The two models are a nostalgic addition to the range and will help the brand continue to grow throughout 2021. Another exciting addition for 2021 is from Claas, which is a new licence for Britains with Xerion 5000. It will launch on January 2 along with the Case IH Maxxum 150. Finally, for little ones wanting to add to

their growing farm collection, the John Deere Build- A-Buddy Range is the perfect addition, especially for children who love the great outdoors. The range includes Build A Buddy Johnny, Build A Buddy Bonnie and Build A Buddy Corey. Each character has interchangeable parts that can be used on each vehicle, encouraging creativity and imagination. Add a corn head to Johnny Tractor or a tractor front to Corey Combine - the possibilities are endless!

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PRODUCT LAUNCHER

Puzzles prove popular TREFL

TEL: 07850 779797 | WEB: WWW.TREFL.COM EMAIL: SALES@SJR-ASSOCIATES.CO.UK Trefl SA – Puzzles and Games, is the biggest company that manufactures puzzles and games in the CEE region and one of the biggest manufacturers in Europe. The family company, founded in 1985, consistently builds on its position and works to constantly expand both its offering and production capabilities. Trefl’s puzzles and games are targeted at adults as well as children and are based on well-known and popular characters. Trefl holds most of the major licences for children’s puzzles, such as Disney, Warner, Hasbro, Mattel and Viacom. The company also has a wide portfolio of licensed games with a strong focus on the UK. Trefl says its advantages as a Polish factory are large production possibilities, the variety of products offered, high-quality materials, and

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“2020 has shown that there is a need and desire for traditional games and puzzles in the modern world of technology, where puzzles are a very popular pastime for families and people of all ages”

a fully-controlled production process. In 2020 the company opened a new research & development centre, where it started to improve the ideas for new products, mainly puzzles and games. In addition, considerable investment was made during 2020 to increase the amount of top-class machinery that it has, to increase production capabilities, and attempt to further meet the supply and demand worldwide. Puzzles have been a highly desirable product throughout the pandemic and demand has reached unprecedented levels. This, along with the working challenges that the pandemic has brought, has unfortunately meant that

Trefl has had to delay or turn away some customers’ orders. However, Trefl has taken the necessary steps to increase the capacity and service demands for 2021. 2020 has shown that there is a need and desire for traditional games and puzzles in the modern world of technology, where puzzles are a very popular pastime for families and people of all ages.

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New additions! TRENDS UK

TEL: 01295 768078 | WEB: WWW.TRENDSUK.CO.UK EMAIL: SALESADMIN@TRENDSUK.CO.UK 2021 heralds the addition of new market-leading pre-school licences to Trends UK’s popular ELA portfolio. Starting the year, there is the launch of a new Paddington Learning Suitcase based on The Adventures of Paddington animated TV series. With lots of interactive fun, Paddington asks questions about numbers, colours, members of the Brown family and his favourite marmalade sandwiches (obviously). The Learning Suitcase joins the Paddington Paw Pad launched in late 2020 and will be supported with a UKMums. tv campaign in January and consumer press, competitions and PR in the spring of 2021. The ELA line-up will be joined by the new Peppa’s ABC Keys Fob. Shaped like the Pig Family’s red car, it will provide fun learning about colours, sounds and shapes, at a great year-round price point. And Hey Duggee fans will be keen to get their hands on the new Sing & Learn Hey Duggee Microphone, featuring music from the much-loved TV series and questions via the quiz button. Later in the year, Trends UK is introducing new properties with unique play patterns based on the popular

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Did you know? learning concepts Numberblocks and Alphablocks. Ideally suited to help children have fun with numbers and letters, Numberblocks and Alphablocks are already used by many teachers, so will be familiar and engaging characters for this target audience. Following a stellar year for creative and artistic toys, there are some exciting new lines joining the awardwinning Little Brian Paint Sticks range. The new Bath Paint Sticks make bath time much more fun - and they don’t stain the bath and tiles! Also new are Chunkie Paint Sticks: at four times the size of a regular Paint Stick, these are ideal for activities such as pebble painting, which is a craze that is set to continue. Meanwhile, Trends UK is expanding the award-winning Science Mad brand to include scientific equipment. Expect to see a strong branded presence at retail with telescopes, microscopes, digital metal detector and walkie talkies joining the lineup. The new Science Mad Weather Station will launch in late spring. This 5-in-1 kit has all a child needs to measure wind speed and direction, rainfall and temperatures. We all love discussing the weather, so this is the ideal set for families to explore the seasons with. Next up is Nerf Bunkr. These inflatable Nerf battle zone accessories got everybody talking in 2020,

Trends UK’s new Machine Works 4-Cylinder Hybrid Engine Kit will reveal what really goes on under the bonnet. It creates a working model of a 4-cylinder hybrid car engine and provides a representation of how the internal combustion engine and electric motor work together in a hybrid system. With increasing interest in new eco technology in cars, this introduction is extremely topical!

picking up a Dad’s Choice Award along the way. In spring 2021 there are colour refreshes for the popular Take Cover assortment Cone & Barrel and the Nerf Bunkr Challenger Pack. New items are scheduled for release later in the year, so watch this space. Finally, there’s the Machine Works Engine Kits. For the first time, kids can learn how a hybrid engine really works. Trends UK’s new Machine Works 4-Cylinder Hybrid Engine Kit will reveal what really goes on under the bonnet. This kit creates a working model of a 4-cylinder hybrid car engine and provides a representation of how the internal combustion engine and electric motor work together in a hybrid system. With increasing interest in new eco technology in cars, this introduction is extremely topical!

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Weather Station New Chunkie & Bath Paint Sticks Hybrid Engine Kit

We all love to talk about it! Study and record the weather with this kit.

Thomas & Friends Alphaphonicsâ„¢

Construct a fully working Hybrid Engine model

Exciting Thomas & Friends ELAs

Interactive first tablet

Paddington’s Learning Suitcase

Peppa’s Phonic Alphabet

Count with Marshall

Learning is fun with Peppa

10 interactive coins!

Flip & Learn Phone Fun with numbers and colours!

Hey Duggee Smart Tablet 5 fun activities to explore

Trends UK (National Accounts)

Wind Designs (Independents)

For media enquiries:

Email: salesadmin@trendsuk.co.uk www.trendsuk.co.uk

Email: sales@wind-designs.com www.wind-designs.com

Tel: +44 (0)1295 768078 Tel: +44 (0)1353 724140 Ane Olesen:

Peppa Pig © Astley Baker Davies Ltd. © 2020 Hasbro and Entertainment One.

©Spin Master Ltd. TMPAW PATROL and all related titles, logos, characters; and SPIN MASTER logo are trademarks of Spin Master Ltd. Used under license. Nickelodeon and all related titles and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

BBC logoTM and © BBC 1996. Something Special logoTM & © BBC 2004. Mr TumbleTM & © BBC 2015. Licensed by BBC Studios.

75(1'6 )3 72<6 1 3/$<7+,1*6 ; '(& E LQGG

Ane@wirepr.co.uk

HEY DUGGEEâ„¢ and character logosâ„¢& © Studio AKA Ltd 2014. Licensed by BBC Studios. BBC logo TM & © BBC 1996.

©2020 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2020 HIT Entertainment Limited.

Expect so much more! PADDINGTONâ„¢ and PADDINGTON BEARâ„¢ © Paddington and Company Limited/Studiocanal S.A.S 2020 Paddington Bearâ„¢, Paddingtonâ„¢ and PBâ„¢ are trademarks of Paddington and Company Limited Licensed on behalf of Studiocanal S.A.S by Copyrights Group.

©2018 Little Brian. From Brian Clegg Ltd. ©2018 Haynes Publishing. © 2018 Trends UK Ltd. SCIENCE MAD is the Registered Trade Mark of Trends UK Limited.

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PRODUCT LAUNCHER

Diana’s debut VIVID TOY GROUP

TEL: 01483 449944 | WEB: WWW.VIVIDTOYSANDGAMES.CO.UK With 4.8 billion views a month globally of the YouTube channel Kids Diana Show (Tubefilter, October 2020), which features the six-year-old girl playing with her family and friends, Vivid’s Love Diana toys will launch in January across four key categories. Collectables - with a range of articulated mini figures of Diana, her brother and the myriad of other characters from her channel along, with a selection of playsets - will deliver entry and midlevel price points. Vivid will also be entering two new categories: role play/ dress-up and cosmetics. A/W will see the Diana fashion dolls given a Series 2 refresh. The range includes new outfits and accessories across both 6in and 13in varieties, allowing for more mashup fun and imaginative play. Inspired by the Animal Kingdom, meet Tiki & Toko - Animagic’s newest little family. This Gorilla duo have more than 100 different sound and movement sequences to discover and they can be played with both together and separately. The launch of Vet Squad in 2020 has seen roaring successes with a marketing campaign that reached over 44 million impressions. The HQ Playset launching in A/W will be Vet Squad’s largest scale playset yet, with two levels of play, and lights 120

FACT! With 4.8 billion views a month globally of the YouTube channel Kids Diana Show, which features the six-year-old girl playing with her family and friends, Vivid’s Love Diana toys will launch in January across four key categories

and sounds to bring adventures to life. Moving into the construction aisle, Vivid is launching ReaXion: a construction and domino brand. After building, it’s time to destroy! Watch your structure collapse in the coolest way with the stunts and triggers adding maximum effect. There are four different packs in the range. Ready for the ultimate super soft sand play? Super Sand is a range of high-quality magic sand already established, trusted and loved by families across Europe. The sand is super soft and lightweight yet buildable, so kids can easily create whatever their imagination inspires them to. Storyville is an audio reading experience that bridges the gap between books and play. Using RFI technology, the Storyville stage reacts when a play book or characters are inserted, to allow a child to feel like they’ve stepped inside a storybook. Moving into the colourful aisle of Crayola, 2021 will see the launch of a new play park for the Washimals pets series, which features scented pens. Crayola is also launching a drawing buddy Spin ‘N’ Swirl Oscar. Oscar the Octopus loves drawing and creating cool spiralling patterns

with his twirling tentacles. Building on a fantastic sales success in 2020, Goliath Games has big plans for 2021. Proven winners in pre-school and kids’ games, alongside new introductions, will expand the portfolio in family, adult and strategy categories - cementing the Goliath Games range as an allencompassing product offering. Many games saw their strongest-ever sales years in 2020 including Gator Golf, Catchphrase, On Your Marks and the breakout success The Floor is Lava game. There are many exciting new introductions for A/W. Science4you continues to deliver inspiring, fun and educational science kits across a variety of themes. Whether you want to understand more about the human body, explore space or learn what it takes to become a vet, there’s a kit for you. Ryan’s World goes from strength to strength with the Ryan channels racking up over four billion UK lifetime views (YouTube data, October 2020). Ryan’s World Tour is a key new brand initiative, with a product range based on Ryan and his adventures learning about different countries all over the world. The core of the range focuses on its collectability with single figure Mini Globes, two figure blind bags and a six pack of figures allowing children to build their collection. The World Tour Globe is set to be a winning key line for the theme.

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GUESS WHAT…

Hey baby!

Snuggle & Cuddle Fox is a soft fabric fox with lots of character who wants to be baby’s new best friend!

VTECH TEL: 01235 555545 | WEB:WWW.VTECH.CO.UK New for S/S21 are some additions to the award-winning VTech Baby range that soothes and promotes sensory development, while also entertaining little ones. My Friend Fawn by VTech is an adorable, cuddly little friend who is designed to comfort children. Fawn easily transforms from a soothing blanket to a dummy and teether holder and has a variety of soft fabrics that provide tactile stimulation. The lightweight design makes it easy for babies to hold and interact with.

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Pressing Fawn`s light-up face triggers three gentle singalong songs, 25 calming melodies, relaxing nature sounds and loving phrases that soothe little ones, while promoting sensory and auditory development. The electronic module is removable, allowing My Friend Fawn to be hand-washed. Snuggle & Cuddle Fox by VTech is a cuddly soft fabric fox with lots of character who wants to be baby’s new best friend! Fox`s soft fabrics and crinkle ears and legs provide comforting tactile and auditory stimulation. Pressing Fox’s light-up tummy triggers soothing 30 melodies, two calming sing-along songs, relaxing nature sounds, and loving phrases designed to soothe, while promoting sensory and auditory development. Fox is easy for little ones to hold,

cuddle and take on-the-go, which allows them to be comforted whenever they need it. Zoom along and sort the shapes with the Sort & Discover Car by VTech! This fun car features shape-sorting pieces that trigger responses when inserted correctly. When little ones place the shapes into the car, they hear the name of the shape, numbers and objects. Open the boot to remove the shapes for continuous play! Press the light-up button on the roof to hear sing-along songs and melodies, and stack the shapes on the roof to see how high you can get them! The car includes three lively singalong songs and 15 melodies.

toysnplaythings.media 14/01/2021 17:22



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Al fresco fun WILTON BRADLEY

TEL: 01626 835400 | WEB: WWW.WILTONBRADLEY.COM EMAIL: SALES@WILTONBRADLEY.CO.UK

Wheeled toys have long been a specialism of the Wilton Bradley team, with many years of experience in developing premium products, and now in more than 20 countries. The Xootz brand was completely refreshed last year, centred around ‘attitude’ and ‘breaking boundaries’. The mission is to promote, inspire and encourage kids to get outdoors and have fun without boundaries. Pivot, spin and drift with the Xootz Comet Electric Go Kart. Put your foot on the throttle, turn the wheel and start making cornering way more exciting. A high-torque, maintenance-free hub motor powered by two rechargeable 12V batteries delivers speed of up to 16km/h for an adrenaline-fuelled ride. Staying safe and in control is of course essential, which is why the Comet comes with two speed settings, a seat belt and automatic braking function.

Available in a black exterior with white Xootz detailing and alloys, the Xootz Comet Electric Go Kart takes karting up a level. New for 2021 is the BMW X5 Electric RideOn. Open the doors and climb on board and notice the MP3 player with AUX input. Beneath the bonnet are two motors, which are powered by the rechargeable 12V battery. With a threespeed drive and reverse gear, little ones can practise their driving in the ultimate driving machine. If they are too young to take the wheel, don’t worry; the included remote control lets you take control. Great for indoors or outdoors, the Xootz BMW X5 M Electric Ride-On will make light work of carpet, garden terrain or smooth tarmac, thanks to its four-wheel independent suspension. Every product in the Xootz e-range includes a manufacturer warranty and complete aftersales service from the

KARAOKE TIME! Mi-Mic is the future of karaoke! Kids can play their favourite songs directly from a mobile and sing along over the top. The Mi-Mic Bluetooth Karaoke Speaker can play any song direct from their device. Kids can put their preferred tune on, sing along and get extra creative by adding an echo effect and distortions to their vocals. All great performers know that vocals are only a part of the complete performance, and with seven colour beat-matching LED lights, the Mi-Mic lets them really put on a show. 124

in-house customer support team. It’s no secret that when it comes to outdoor play, children love to create their own, imaginary worlds. Playhouse complements this desire to dream with its range of kids’ garden play furniture. The new Playhouse Make N Mend Workbench is a workstation with a pre-drilled peg board for fitting tools. This will encourage role play and keep children entertained for hours enjoying DIY fun. It’s the perfect workstation for little craft fanatics, developing dexterity and hand/eye coordination. Then there’s the Playhouse Ice Cream Van. Watch kids play as they pretend to scoop ice cream in their own food van. Including a chest freezer with sliding door and serving hatch, alongside a blackboard menu to write on, they will have hours of fun before serving you their creations. This mini play van serves as a platform to fuel kids’ imaginations.

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COMING 2021

01626 835400

;RRW] &RPHW 7R\ZRUOG $' )LQDO LQGG

sales@wiltonbradley.co.uk

www.wiltonbradley.co.uk


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Right on track TOYNAMICS TEL: 0116 478 5230 | WEB: WWW.TOYNAMICS.COM/?LANG=EN EMAIL: SALES@TOYNAMICS.CO.UK Toynamics UK & Ireland has seen a very positive 25 per cent increase on last year, despite Covid-19. The company has adapted its way of working with retailers to increase marketing and promotions. Offering plenty of choice of quality product from trusted brands Hape, Nebulous Stars, NanoBlock and Skip Hop, 2021 is set to be Toynamics’ biggest year yet. Hape wooden toys go from strength to strength across many categories including Railway, Junior Inventor, Pre-School, Nursery, Music, Role Play, Nature, Sand & Water and more. Wooden Railway is a key category with lots of new sets, including two buckets sets where the bucket cleverly forms part of the actual set in popular themes. Innovation leads the way with remote Engine via an app and colour-changing track; there will also be heavyweight marketing across this category. Part of the Hape collection is the popular Magic Touch range, with the piano one of the biggest sellers in 2020. Retailers can now purchase a full array of Magic Touch instruments with the new guitar, large piano, keyboard, and a tablet in three languages. The newest addition to Toynamics’ brand portfolio, Skip Hop offers a range of nursery products for babies and toddlers. Playtime has a range of fun nursery toys full of character with a 126

spinning Yeti, Selfie Phone, 3 in 1 RideOns, soft toys and a luxury Activity Gym. New for the Skip Hop toy collection is the Dinophone, which is perfect for keeping babies aged six months-plus busy and happy with sweet sounds, songs and more. Brighten up tub time with Skip Hop’s best-selling bath time toys. Items new for 2021 include the Light Up Unicorn Bath Toy. This soft and squeezable toy lights up when it touches the water. Not to be missed is the Zoo Narwhal Ring Toss. Children aged 12 months-plus can enjoy trying to throw one of three rings onto Narwhal’s horn while he floats in the water, while also learning how to count. Keep an eye out for new products from Skip Hop’s other product ranges including feeding, lunch bags, changing bags, nursery and ride-on toys. Nebulous Stars provides Toynamics offers children aged from six years with creative play and craft full in-store sets. The brand is based support with around four fairy characters with POS and shoptheir own colours and identities in-shop displays, that bring the products to life. New for 2021 is the Firefly supported by Lantern Glass Painting Kit. Children multi-channel can paint beautiful designs to marketing insert into a pretty lantern which campaigns includes a lamp that gives the

Did you know?

impression of stained-glass windows with fireflies frolicking! Other highlights include Dress Designers, Wishing Jars, Snow Globes, Create Individual Hourglass, Dream Catchers, Mobiles, Secret Diaries and more. As licensed product is the biggest category, 2021 sees the expansion of the Pokémon collection with new characters and the new Sonic the Hedgehog collection. If licensed product isn’t for you, then NanoBlock also offers a wide range of animals, music and food categories for great pocket money purchases. Billed as the world’s smallest micro-sized building blocks, NanoBlock pieces can be used to construct amazingly detailed and realistic models across many themes, from a koala to London’s Big Ben. Other ranges include PolyM high-quality plastic coloured building blocks for little hands, which are flexible and can be washed up to 30 degrees, and the Kathe Kruse and Kruslings Doll ranges from Germany.

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Tasty offerings WINNING MOVES

TEL: 0207 298 9500 WEB: WWW.WINNINGMOVES.CO.UK EMAIL: SALES@WINNINGMOVES.CO.UK 2020 created many challenges for us all. On the bright side, it also increased the number of puzzlers out there. As a result, playing cards and games experienced a surge in new customers, and Winning Moves looks forward to keeping players both excited and very busy in 2021! To replace the faceto-face showcase that the company usually hosts at London Toy Fair, Winning Moves has a digital Gift Guide available in January that will showcase all

JANUARY 2021

of its upcoming products. With new additions to existing ranges and a marketing campaign, there’s a lot in store. Winning Moves is kicking off the year with one of the biggest marketing campaigns it has ever launched. From mid-January, there will be a pack of Top Trumps included with every McDonald’s Happy Meal in the UK - reaching millions of households and bringing in millions of potential customers. The promotion aims to renew players’ love for the game, give kids and adults a break from their screens, and bring in

new generations of players as well. To further help promote the brand, Top Trumps will be undergoing a few changes. What was once one umbrella brand will now become four. Top Trumps Classics will feature all the educational content and fun that ‘camouflaged’ learning players have come to expect from the game; Top Trumps Juniors gives players the chance to spend time with their favourite characters; Winning Moves Top Trumps Specials offers the is kicking off the hottest licences; and Top Trumps year with one Limited Editions offers the latest of the biggest trends in a cassette-style case that marketing makes a perfect gift for all ages. Each campaigns it has segment of the brand will cater to ever launched different demographics and interests and will be supported heavily throughout the year.

GUESS WHAT…

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PRODUCT LAUNCHER

Bath time bundles ZIMPLI KIDS

TEL: 0845 459 1818 | WEB: WWW.ZIMPLIKIDS.COM EMAIL: SALES@ZIMPLIKIDS.COM Zimpli Kids was very busy behind the scenes in 2020 preparing lots of product launches for this year. The company has created a new range of children’s biodegradable Baff Bombz. First up, there’s the Special Effects Baff Bombz featuring Cloud, Rocket, Star and Moon. Debossed with the Zimpli Kids logo, the shaped white bath bombs may look plain, but drop them into the water and watch the magic happen! Cloud Baff Bombz sold out just one month after launch - you gently float the cloud into your bath water and watch it release a path of amazing rainbow colours. Due to the success of the Cloud and Rocket, the Moon and Star was created using the same colour-releasing concept. These are not to be missed. Next up is the Solar System Baff Bombz: discover our solar system and travel on a colourful fizzing, bath time adventure! This educational Baff Bombz set Includes

5

nine 35g Planet Baff Bombz and nine educational planetary fact cards learning about the planets has never been so much fun. Zimpli has also created the ultimate bath time add in your crackle colours and watch and playtime bundles, giving the Slime change colour and listen to it you the best of Zimpli Kids. crackle! All that’s left is to add your glowMega Baff Pack is a 12-use in-the-dark stars, switch off the lights pack, which includes two Slime and watch your slime glow. Galaxy Slime Baff, two Gelli Baff, two Crackle Play is 100 per cent safe and stain-free, Baff Colours and six Baff Bombz. and Slime Play is certified biodegradable. Mega Play Pack is a must-have 122021 without any toy fairs is so use pack of sensory fun! This ultimate disappointing for the toy industry. In light play pack includes three Slime Play, of this, Zimpli has decided to create its three Gelli Play and three Crackle Baff first interactive brochure. The company Colours. Both bath and play multi packs has been developing a range of new use Zimpli’s certified biodegradable Gelli lines for 2021 - and what better way and Slime and biodegradable Baff Bombz to showcase them than online with fun & Crackle. product demos, while meeting some of In addition, Zimpli has the team? Check out the full range for developed a Galaxy Slime 2021 at www.zimplikids.com/resources range for both bath and playtime: Galaxy Slime Baff and Galaxy Slime Play. Galaxy Zimpli has created its first Slime Play includes interactive brochure. The company clear Slime powder, has been busy developing a range two Crackle Colour of new lines for 2021 - and what sachets and glow in the dark stars. To start the better way to showcase them than sensory experiment, online with fun product demos, change your water to while meeting some of the team? clear slime with the Check it out at biodegradable Slime www.zimplikids.com/resources Play powder. Next,

GUESS WHAT…

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DON’T MISS…

Here’s a quick peek at some of the hottest and newest products. Buyers and retailers, get in touch with your sales contact now!

Product: Dream Seekers Company: Character Options Tel: 0161 633 9800 Web: www.character-online.com

Product: Gazillion Kid in a Bubble Company: Funrise UK Tel: 01908 555640 Web: funrise.com

Product: KidzMaker Light Up Origami Unicorn Company: Great Gizmos Tel: 01293 543221 Web: www.ggtrade.co.uk

Product: Barbie Mermaid Scooter Company: MV Sports Tel: 0121 748 8000 Web: www.mvsports.co.uk

Product: IIlusion Cubes Company: The Happy Puzzle Company Tel: 020 8953 4484 opt 3 Web: www.happypuzzle.co.uk

Product: Rainbow Drops Scented 12in Soft Toys Company: Posh Paws International Tel: 01268 567317 Web: www.poshpawsinternational.co.uk

Product: Magformers WOW Plus Set Company: Magformers UK Ltd Tel: 01270 446250 Web: www.magformers.co.uk

Product: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Soft Toy Company: Rainbow Designs Tel: 01329 227300 Web: www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk

Product: Smoby Garden Playhouse Company: Simba Smoby Toys UK Tel: 01620 674 778 Web: www.smoby.com/en/home


TNP

LOOKS BACK

Step back in time TnP founder Malcolm Naish takes a look back through time to reflect on industry goings on in January 2011, 2001, 1991 and 1981

January 2011

January 11991

Moving into a new year I was sorry to record that Toy & Hobby toy store group had been forced into receivership, having begun in 1976, built up a group of nine mega stores and working on a turnover of £13 million.

1991 was turning out to be a very tough year, but Bandai was enjoying fantastic sales of Ninja Turtles. Inevitably, several toy companies were copying the Turtle products, leaving Bandai no option but to take court proceedings against the guilty parties.

Our WH Smith games top 40 was dominated by Tonka with Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit at numbers one and two. Surprisingly, Monopoly was at number 17 and Scrabble in sixth place.

Arcade games were still big business back in the early days of 1991, with Gameboy and Sega’s games consoles driving sales.

I went to town in my Leader page for Toys ‘n’ Playthings following Toy Fair at Earls Court, complaining that there was a serious lack of buyers at the show and that when you consider how much time, money and effort went into mounting and exhibiting at the show, that those buyers who did not support the show deserved to be shot!

Bandai’s Turtles won the Toy of the Year award and I loved the BIG mistake the ‘Daily Express’ made when they asked the BATR’s PR man Gerry Masters for a quote. Gerry stated “Turtles made history.’’ The Daily Express quoted “Turtles are now history.’’

I was sorry to report that quality British soft toy manufacture Real Soft Toys had gone into receivership. Mike and Lynn Frances had created the company, with Mike’s two sons Nick and Jeremy owning and running the business for some years. I’m sure that cheap imported plush from the Far East led to their demise.

NPD figures showed a two per cent drop in December 2010 compared to the previous year’s trading. Much of this was due to heavy snow falls across the country in early December, and this bad weather plagued the country throughout December leading to far fewer people being prepared to brave the adverse weather conditions to do their Christmas shopping.

At least Boxing Day figures brought some relief, with estimated retail sales topping £2 billion.

Some gloom was around as rumours abounded that VAT increases would hit in early 2011.

Channel 4’s ‘100 Greatest Toys’ voted LEGO at number one and Monopoly at number two. How on earth they managed to place Barbie at 47 is quite beyond me. A few interesting facts emerged from the programme. Taking into account inflation, the seventies Chopper bike from Rayleigh would have cost you £360 to buy in 2011. I assume if you move on to 2021 it would be at least £500!

Another interesting fact to emerge was that every major American toy manufacturer turned down the opportunity to license Toy Story, thus giving Canadian newcomer Thinkway Toys the opportunity to make a fortune.

Some majors including Sainsbury’s were considering moving what would normally be their January Hong Kong buying trip back a month to December. All at TnP thought this was a ridiculous idea.

We published a report on toy trade salaries for 2010. A key accounts manager was earning £30- £35,000. A national accounts manager £35- £60,000, national sales managers from £50-£60,000 with sales directors pocketing £60- £100,000 p.a.

I wonder if they have increased that much during the past 10 years?

January 2001

January 1981

We celebrated our 20th year with our mega 308-page preview to the first Toy Fair to be held at ExCeL. Our view at the time was that once more hotels and restaurants were opened around the area, then it would become a great venue. Not quite sure we got that one right!

Star Wars product from Palitoy won Toy of the Year. First launched in 1977, four years on and it was still big business. Now, 45 years from launch, Star Wars is still huge business.

Interesting to note that the T.R.A. as they are known today were flogging Toy of the Year tickets at a mere £15.

UK suppliers were sad to learn that Jackie Stephenson, the head buyer at Beatties, was leaving to move to Turkey to work with that country’s version of Toys “R’’ Us. Jackie was a lovely lady, full of fun, but more importantly a very good toy buyer.

Appletree Toys was a new company that heralded a certain Mr David Welsh as their MD.

David’s handsome features appeared on our front cover – a little bit different to the previous year when we featured Barbie.

We bought rival toy trade magazine ‘Toy Trader’, doing the trade a huge favour by reducing the number of toy trade magazines down to just two.

I was somewhat worried that David’s appearance on our front cover might see a reduced take-up on our magazine, but the reverse was the case as we saw publication sales skyrocket!

Index decided to close 35 of its catalogue stores, integrating them into existing Littlewoods stores.

A very young Ross MacDonald was appointed sales rep for the North of England and Scotland for Bluebird Toys.

We were sad to record the death of John Gray – one of the founders of plastic kits specialist Airfix.

Tim Hall took up his role as MD of Ravensburger. Twenty years later and Tim continues to grow the business.

The BTHA announced its dates for the 2001 Total Fun show. The first show was a huge success in 2000, with both exhibitors and the public very happy with the show. For the exhibitors, the consumer coverage, including impressive TV coverage, kept them pleased.

Our ‘In the Pink’ monthly financial page commented that personal computers were enjoying a real sales boom with an increase in home ownership year-on-year of over 40 per cent. This had been achieved partly by the big drop in the cost of buying a home computer. If only I had recognised this fact back then, I could have invested in home computer shares and made a fortune!

I wrote that Tomy was setting up its own UK company with a certain Mr Peter Brown to head up the sales and marketing department.

JANUARY 2021

131


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