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Chairman Malcolm Naish firstname.lastname@example.org
Managing Director Mark Naish email@example.com
Editor Clare Turner firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Editor Naomi MacKay email@example.com
Advertisement Manager Athee Waran firstname.lastname@example.org
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Leader - with Mark Naish
6 News - the latest toy industry headlines 10
Retail News - what’s happening on the retail scene
People News - all the movers and shakers
Media News - the multimedia rundown
Licensing News - what’s hot in licensed products
on’t Miss - a sneak peek at unmissable D products for buyers
22 What’s New - fresh launches that you need to get your hands on 24
mbassadors - our footie-obsessed testers try out a A hat-trick of toys from Winning Moves
Talking Retail - retailers share their best sellers
mbassadors Arts & Crafts special - our young A testers get creative with Aquabeads
Trade Talk - the latest from suppliers
heeled Toys - a look at new products W in this core sector
36 D olls & Collectables - a round-up of what’s new and trending 43
Arts & Crafts - check out these creative toys and kits
Special Reports 28
Retail Interview - with Mendel Singer, founder of Belgian retailer ToyVs
40 Retail Interview - with US retailer Michael Olafsson, owner of Monkey Fish 52
Toymaster Show Preview
Trends Column - the U.S. Toy Association talks about the latest hot toy trend
Media Analysis - Generation Media examines the importance of social media
Retail Opinion - John Ryan explores the concept of checkout-free shops
Indie Opinion - Diary of a Toy Shop by Amanda Alexander, owner of Giddy Goat Toys in Manchester
Consumer Insight - The Insights Family discusses kids’ environmental awareness
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At the heart of retail toysnplaythings.media
At the heart of retail Also by Lema Publishing
s spring arrives in full force, we can look forward to the first Toymaster show since 2019. I mean, wow, THREE years since the last show! Of course, whatever you might think of lockdowns, it feels unreal that we would ever live in a time when a major exhibition would be delayed that long. But, hooray - it’s back and it looks likely that this year’s will be one of the best, with buyers returning after such a long absence. If you were on the fence about attending - get out there and see your fellow toy friends! Talking of trade events, applications are now open for London Toy Fair. After it returned in January to a great fanfare and some very The Fence happy visitors and exhibitors, Club raised it was just great over £20,500, to reconnect. So of which if you haven’t booked your £10,000 will stand, why not? go to The good news, Ukranian though. is that the country is children grinding back through the to some sense Samaritan’s of normality post-Covid. The Purse usual doom merchants are still rattling their sabres, but it seems that the public at large just want to return to regularity. This hasn’t been helped by the war in the Ukraine making headlines. On that note, The Fence Club raised over £20,500, of which £10,000 will go to Ukranian children through the Samaritan’s Purse charity. Members walked a 25k challenge, with Steve Wells commenting; “We met some amazing people on the way, of all ages, shapes, and experience – all raising money for amazing causes. The camaraderie was excellent. We laughed all the way, except perhaps for the final 5K, which was eerily silent apart from our creaking joints!”
AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE
The heroic walkers included: Simon Anslow, Jacqueline Taylor-Foo, David Bowman, Carolyn Bowman, Mark Mark Collinson, Amanda Naish Collinson, and Keith Elmer. The 50k walkers were David Bramford, Derek Scott, and Steve Wells. Congratulations to them all. Donations can still be made by visiting: www.justgiving.com/ fenceclub. On the subject of the Fence Club, if you haven’t already booked your place for the Fence Club Golf Day, taking place on 16 June, do it now! As Simon Anslow said: “After a successful return last year, the Fence Club Golf Day is being held at the prestigious Oakdale Golf Club in Harrogate. The premier social and fundraising event of the summer is a must for golfers of all abilities, but if you are not a golfer, come to the great dinner in the evening, which is the highlight of the event, with lots of fun, friendship and great Yorkshire hospitality!” Open to both Fence club and Non Fence Club members as teams of four or singles players or two balls, come and enjoy a great Industry day out. For more details contact Simon at email@example.com. This issue we visit Belgium and interview Mendel Singer, founder and CEO of ToyVs, a bricks-and-mortar store and online retailer. Founded in 2018 initially as an ecommerce business he realised that a bricks-and-mortar retailer can offer a level of service that online just can’t match. Head to page 28 to find out more. As part of our focus on international toy retailers we also headed over the pond to Philadelphia to speak with Michael Olafsson, co-founder of Monkey Fish Toys. Running for 20 years, again first as online and for the past 12 years with a 2,600 sq ft store! Read his story on page 40. So, back to the Toymaster Show, which starts on 17 May and is destined to be a great event. I look forward to seeing you all there.
Image credit: Ravensburger AG
Ravensburger Invests in board game crowdfunding platform Wonderwall picks up awards Wilton Bradley’s new Waterwall product has scooped more accolades. It has received a recommendation from The Good Play Guide, founded by child development expert Dr Amanda Gummer, and has also gained an award for Top Summer Toy from US toy news, reviews and gift guide website The Toy Insider. Waterwall helps to teach kids aged three to eight about gravity, angles and water flow. With a range of modular accessories included, kids can have fun creating their own water flows and seeing their problem-solving skills come to life as they pour water from the top. Made from sustainably sourced wood, Waterwall is weather-resistant and can be used outdoors or indoors thanks to the included bucket, which catches the water when it reaches the bottom.
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Ravensburger is investing Euro 4 million in the Polish start-up Gamefound. The international board game crowdfunding start-up is the first to receive funding from Ravensburger’s innovation and investment programme Next Ventures. “With Gamefound, we are investing in a strong team of founders with industry expertise; a start-up with extremely high potential in our core segment of board games,” said Thomas Bleyer, group director corporate development & new business at Ravensburger AG, who is responsible for the Next Ventures programme. Gamefound (www.gamefound.com) was founded in 2019 as a spin-off of the board game publisher and crowdfunding expert Awaken Realms. Gamefound’s specialised services help board game developers interact with their community and transform ideas into games. Gamefound was soft-launched in 2021 and has already hosted more than 30 campaigns, which raised over USD 22 million in total funding. Ravensburger’s investment will enable the rollout of the platform to all interested creators worldwide.
University Games makes Forbidden deal
University Games has acquired Racoon Tycoon, Mosaic, and the rest of the intellectual property of Forbidden Games, the brainchild of Glenn Drover, game designer and president of Forbidden Games. Racoon Tycoon is the leading game from Forbidden Games, which launched its first game, Railroad Rivals, in 2018. This year the company will introduce its next hit game: Mosaic, which has raised more than $1.2 million through its first round of crowdfunding. University Games plans to increase the introductions of new games and help Forbidden Games reach a global audience. Forbidden Games will become a division of University Games. University Games will realign its Briarpatch and Front Porch games division to create product lines that best fit the addition of Forbidden Games. “I am extremely excited that our games will join the impressive product line at University Games, where they will benefit from University’s broad market penetration and channel expertise,” said Glenn Drover, who will be joining the team at University Games as VP of the Strategy Games Division. He added: “I anticipate being able to add a ton of value for University Games in a booming category that weaves perfectly into their existing strengths.” Bob Moog, president of University Games, said: “Glenn is a highly regarded game designer and business leader in the strategy game category, with more than 30 years of experience. When he says that he can help us, he isn’t talking poppycock. We are psyched!” 6
donates toys to charity More than 400 toys have been donated to two charities by the INDX Toys and Nursery Show. A total of 80 exhibitors donated a wide range of toys to support the work of a homelessness charity and a hospital charity. Rosie Marshall, head of toys and children’s gifts (AIS), said: “We were blown away by the generosity of our exhibitors and would like to thank them so much for their support. These toys will really make a difference in the local communities where they will be received. The donation will be split between Worcester Street Kitchen and Radio Cherwell.” Worcester Street Kitchen is a homeless charity that will be raffling off the toys to fund its work supporting and feeding those in need. Radio Cherwell, based at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, will use the toys to entertain and engage children receiving treatment.
TOYS ENCOURAGE KIDS TO ESCAPE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY
Plum Play wins
Queen’s Award for International Trade Lincolnshire-based business Plum Play is one of 226 national organisations to be recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Now in its 56th year, the Queen’s Award celebrates outstanding businesses in four categories: Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity. This year, Plum Play has been recognised with the award for International Trade, which highlights businesses that have demonstrated substantial growth in overseas earnings and commercial success within their sector. The business specialises in outdoor play equipment with a focus on creating products that are sustainable and durable. Established in 1988 by husband and wife team Jonathan and Diane
Schaffer, the company is now run by their son Paul Schaffer, who is managing director. The award is a significant milestone for the company, which has offices in the UK, Hong Kong and Sydney and exports to more than 50 countries. Paul Schaffer said that he was “extremely proud and honoured to receive the prestigious Queen’s Award”. He added: “From launching our first toy over 30 years ago to now, selling to more than 50 countries, it’s been quite a journey! “Plum Play was set up to offer toys that look great, are super safe and have that all-important fun factor. This award is a recognition of all our hard work and will increase opportunities for us to break into new markets and raise further awareness of the brand.”
Mattel focuses on cutting plastic use Mattel has announced a new goal to reduce plastic packaging by 25% per product by 2030. This initiative is featured in the company’s 2021 Citizenship Report, which provides a progress update on Mattel’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy and established goals. They are organised into three pillars: Sustainable Design and Development; Responsible Sourcing and Production; and Thriving and Inclusive Communities; representing the ESG areas where the company believes it can have the greatest impact. Mattel is focused on reducing plastic materials from product packaging, including polybags, window sheets, and blister packs, as part of its packaging strategy and reduction approach.
Jennifer Lynch, content developer & toy trends specialist at The U.S. Toy Association, looks at hot play trend The Great Play Escape The U.S. Toy Association’s trends team predicts that The Great Play Escape will be one of the hottest toy trends in 2022, with toys that offer both a mental escape through digital worlds as well as travel-ready toys to take on the road. As the Metaverse continues to drive trends across multiple industries in 2022 - including toys - consumers can expect to see more AR/VR technologies in the play space as well as products tied to immersive gaming worlds. And for those that want to stay grounded in the physical world but still seek an escape, there are plenty of options that are travelthemed and ready to take on the go. Here is a sample of the toys and playthings to look out for in 2022: Minecraft Transforming Turtle Hideout Playset and Figures (Mattel) Based on the virtual gaming world, this giant-sized Minecraft Turtle transforms into a multi-level hideout and command base for Steve and his turtle friend. The playset features a giant Turtle’s mouth that opens to reveal a secret entrance and window with changing ocean views. Bluey’s Caravan Adventures (Moose Toys) Kids can pretend to go on a caravan adventure with Bluey’s family and friends and bring the preschool series to life. The playset opens to reveal a second storey and cosy bunk beds as well as a flip-to-reveal kitchen in the back of the van. LEGO Friends Vacation Beach House (LEGO) This modular LEGO Friends set is packed with features and accessories so kids can play out their summer days by the sea. The set boasts a swimming pool as well as scooters and a banana boat for off-site exploring. Tonies (tonies) Kids can escape into storyland by placing their devicecompatible figures on a Toniebox for a screen-free listening experience that includes stories, songs, and more. New for 2022, a Wild Kratts tonie character will let children explore animal-related science concepts and stories of adventure, mystery, and rescue with the Wild Kratts. Be sure to check out The Toy Association’s 2022 Toy Trends Briefing to get the lowdown on the top trends that will be driving global toy sales through the holiday season. Visit www.ToyAssociation.org/trends to learn more.
NEWS Jakks Pacific sees highest sales and earnings for 14 years
Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson to speak at Toy Industry Day Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE (pictured top left) is confirmed to speak at this year’s Toy Industry Day, taking place on Wednesday June 29 at Great Fosters Hotel, Egham, Surrey. Tanni Grey-Thompson is Britain’s best-known Paralympic athlete, a BBC Sports Personality of the Year and holder of the OBE and DBE. Born with spina bifida, she has won 14 Paralympic medals and a slew of international sporting awards. Alongside Tanni, there will also be a presentation from Don Williams (above, top right) of KPMG, who will be discussing the retail climate, as well as a hot buffet lunch and networking opportunities for members. The Industry Day will take place in the morning from 10.15am after the BTHA AGM, which will start at 9.30am. Tickets are priced at £50 + VAT, with subsequent tickets £25 + VAT. There is limited capacity at the venue so be sure to register early. To see the full schedule and book tickets, head to www.btha.co.uk/ industry-day.
Goliath snaps up Australian toy company Goliath has announced its acquisition of Colorific, a family-owned STEM, craft, activity, preschool and educational toy business based in Melbourne, Australia. Colorific, established in 1990, has been a leader in innovative DIY products for more than 30 years, having sold more than 50 million products to 40-plus countries. It has won multiple product, supplier and business awards over the years, and in 2019 Colorific was inducted into the Australian Family Business Hall of Fame. Mark Levi, Colorific’s managing director, said: “For some time we have been looking for a partner to replicate the success we have had here in Australia on a global scale. We are excited to have found the perfect match with Goliath, another innovative and highly successful family toy business. We would like to take the opportunity
JAKKS Pacific has revealed its latest financial results, which show it has posted its highest Q1 net sales and earnings per share in 14 years. The results for the first quarter 2022 showed that net sales were $120.9 million, up 44% compared with $83.8 million last year, and the highest Q1 net sales since 2008. Its costume business has more than doubled compared with Q1 2021. “Our 2022 is off to an exceptional start,” said Stephen Berman, Jakks chairman and CEO. “For several years we have talked about maintaining a disciplined focus on growing evergreen toy categories and brands to deliver consistently improving, yet sustainable, results. In addition, this approach can also benefit from the excitement and enthusiasm that new entertainment content can generate. As the year begins, we are starting to see strong results as more consumers discover and embrace films like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Disney’s Encanto, and want to deepen their relationships with the characters by engaging with a broad array of our toys, Halloween costumes, day-to-day roleplay and many other related products.’’ Net sales for the first quarter were $120.9 million, up 44% versus $83.8 million last year, led by strong growth in Action Play, Dolls/Dressup and Costumes offset by slight weakness in Outdoor/Seasonal. Gross profit in the first quarter was $29.9 million or 24.7% of net sales, compared to $26.1 million or 31.1% of net sales in the prior year. Improved product margins and lower royalty expenses were not enough to offset a significant year-over-year increase in ocean freight and related expenses.
Peppa Pig splashes into the Yoto library to thank our loyal customers, suppliers and amazing team members who have been with us for the journey” “The acquisition of Colorific by Goliath represents a great new chapter in our company’s story,” said Jochanan Golad, Goliath Group CEO. “With Goliath’s global distribution, we are well placed to bring Colorific’s innovative ranges to the world. We’re extremely excited to grow Colorific’s successful brands such as: Build a Bot, Wood WorX, Kids Projects, Metal Worx, FairyLites, Watch Me Grow and more.”
Yoto, the audio platform for kids behind the Yoto Player, and recently launched Yoto Mini, has collaborated with Penguin Audio to bring Peppa Pig titles to its audio library. In a first for the platform, children will soon be able to immerse themselves into the world of Peppa, with two short story collections: At Home with Peppa, and Peppa Pig: Bedtime Stories, which provide over an hour of tales. The new release, At Home with Peppa, invites listeners to join Peppa as she embarks on a range of activities and adventures. The audio adventures, produced by Penguin Audio, aim to create a relaxing environment for children before bedtime. Peppa Pig: Bedtime Stories includes dialogue, songs and sound effects from the hit show.
Barbie pays tribute to HM The Queen
This year, in celebration of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Barbie brand has recognised Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the longestruling monarch in British history, with a Tribute Collection Barbie doll made in her likeness. The Queen Elizabeth II Barbie Doll is instantly recognisable in an elegant ivory gown and blue riband adorned with decorations of order. The tiara is based on Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara – famously worn by The Queen on her wedding day - and miniature medallions on ribbons are inspired by the Royal Family Orders. The pink ribbon was given to The Queen by her father George VI, and the pale blue by her grandfather George V. Since 1959, the Barbie brand’s purpose has been to inspire the limitless potential in every girl and remind them they ‘can be anything’. That message has never been more relevant than it is today. Last year, the Barbie brand launched the Tribute Collection to celebrate visionaries for their incredible contributions, impact and legacy as trailblazers. The Queen Elizabeth II Barbie Doll is presented in a box inspired by the styles present in Buckingham Palace, made from a 3D ornate die-cut border which frames the doll, and an inner panel showing a throne and the red carpeting inspired by the palace throne room. The box is printed with a crest-shaped logo and a badge commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.
Curated meetings go international Following its successful beta trial and launch at Spring and Autumn Fair, Curated Meetings is now opening its doors to buyers and brands from across Europe and the rest of the world, inviting them to take part in this new way of doing business at Autumn Fair on September 5 and 6 at the NEC Birmingham. The programme is open to retailers and buyers who have purchasing responsibility and are actively sourcing across product categories including toys, home decor, housewares, party, beauty, wellbeing, seasonal, accessories, jewellery, white label and more. Curated Meetings facilitate efficient, 15-minute pre-scheduled, one-to-one meetings between qualified buyers and relevant suppliers based on a mutual interest to drive new business opportunities together.
Hornby goes loco for Platinum Jubilee Severn Valley Railway has partnered with British model company Hornby to produce a limited edition collector’s model of a special locomotive. The limited edition of 1,500 models will feature SR West Country Class 34027 ‘Taw Valley’, the locomotive that will soon appear in a purple and silver livery in honour of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, renamed as ‘Elizabeth II’. The leading heritage railway sparked worldwide excitement in February this year when it revealed its plans for the head-turning repaint. The name ‘Elizabeth II’ was selected by public vote, and has received royal approval via the Cabinet Office. The loco will be renumbered as ‘70’ to reflect the seven decades of Her Majesty’s reign. Hornby marketing and product development director Simon Kohler said: “Hornby has had a strong relationship with the Severn Valley Railway for a number of years, and the opportunity to produce this model is the absolute pinnacle of our association.’’ The Hornby 00 gauge model will be issued in a strictly limited edition of 1,500.
Aquarius is ready to rock Aquarius has launched a new range of rock music-themed products for the European market. Featuring some of the world’s most notorious acts, the range has been designed to help retailers reach a dedicated and engaged audience of music fans. The line-up includes a host of interesting takes on traditional formats including games, playing cards, and puzzles for the range’s key licences: David Bowie, AC/ DC, Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash, and The Grateful Dead. Plus, the collection’s hero product, a new Kiss-themed board game approved by Kiss frontman Gene Simmons himself, will join the range this autumn. The Kiss Tour Board Game invites players to put on the best shows, collect tons of cash, and leave rock and mayhem in their wake. The first player to hold a concert in each city on the cross-country tour wins. For ages 12-plus. Emulating a classic vinyl disc, Aquarius’ line-up of classic rock picture discs are great gifts for music fans. Each puzzle uses a precision cutting technique to ensure a perfect fit for all puzzle pieces. 9
NEWS The Entertainer rocks with spring competition for families The Entertainer last month launched The Entertainer Rocks, a competition that encouraged families to head outdoors in the search for special pebbles this spring. The Entertainer Rocks is a nationwide competition that encouraged families to explore their local areas and enjoy some spring fun together, with the chance of winning a £20 gift card to redeem at The Entertainer. Until 30 April, children across the UK were tasked with finding their town’s special pebble, which featured the retailer’s iconic brand character Jack. By simply returning the stone to their local store they received a prize. With pebbles hidden in 171 towns and cities, each home to an Entertainer store, searchers had to be eagle-eyed as there was just one pebble to find in each location. The competition offered a great opportunity
for locals to come together to seek out the limitededition stone and win exclusive prizes. Gary Grant, founder and chairman of The Entertainer, said: “We’re continually exploring new ways in which we can encourage families across the UK to spend time together and explore the great outdoors, so we hope our visitors enjoyed The Entertainer Rocks activity together this spring.”
“We’re continually exploring new ways in which we can encourage families across the UK to spend time together and explore the great outdoors, so we hope our visitors enjoyed The Entertainer Rocks activity together this spring.”
Oscar collaborates with Squishmallows
Care Bears head to Primark and Home Bargains
Oscar, the Smyths Toys Superstores’ animated icon, is adding another single to his growing discography by collaborating with toy company Jazwares. The video for his new single, Welcome to Squishville, takes viewers through his journey through the town, where he meets with a selection of Squishmallows favourites. This single follows Oscar’s success on YouTube (which boasts more than 35 million views) where he often collaborates with other celebrated characters. Oscar is signed to Sony Music’s Magic Star label. This pop-inspired number sees Oscar break out his guitar-playing skills. The song details Oscar’s adventures in Squishville, and his connection to each of his new friends. In the video, Oscar performs Welcome to Squishville in front of a crowd of his new pals, including Squishmallows favourites Cam the Cat, Fifi the Fox, and Lola the Unicorn. Oscar cruises around Squishville on a levitating platform, before encouraging the Squishmallows to join him. Jazwares marketing director Alexandra Painter said: “This collaboration is a testament to the phenomenal growth in the popularity of Squishmallows. We are thrilled to welcome Oscar to perform in our beloved Squishville. Welcome to Squishville is an unbelievably catchy pop song from Sony Music that perfectly captures the positive and inclusive values of Squishville by Original Squishmallows.” She added: “Teamed with the music video, produced by Moonbug Entertainment, Oscar’s new single provides an opportunity for fans to engage with Squishville and the Squishmallows Squad in a whole new way.” Welcome to Squishville is the latest in a series of singles from the animated singing sensation.
Sambro has developed a new range of Care Bear baby plush toys, which have launched in Primark and Home Bargains. The range, designed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the property, will see thousands of units delivered across selected Primark and Home Bargains stores. Care Bears celebrates its 40th anniversary with collaborations spanning multiple categories, including fashion, accessories, homeware, cosmetics, games, crafts, seasonal, travel and the metaverse. The Care Bear baby plush range will feature a choice of five plush Care Bear characters including, Cheer Bear, Wish Bear, Bedtime Bear, Share Bear and Sunshine Bear. Each bear has its own unique colour, belly badge and rattle in its tummy, making it an ideal comforting and sensory toy for babies. Collette O’Kane, Sambro chief operating officer, said: “The Care Bears resonate with fans of all ages, and we love hearing that fans who grew up with the brand 40 years ago are now introducing their own children to the Care Bears.’’
The Entertainer donates during Autism Week The Entertainer, the familyowned high street toy retailer, partnered with the National Autistic Society (NAS), the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families, to support World Autism Acceptance Week last month. To mark the event, The Entertainer donated 10% of all profits of Ready Steady Dough lines sold both in-store and online at TheToyShop.com to the NAS during the week. The Entertainer has an Autism Friendly Award from the NAS for its commitment to supporting autistic
customers and their families, and offers a quiet hour each morning across its 184 stores, in which music is paused and lights are dimmed where possible, to create a calming environment. Mark Campbell, CEO of The Entertainer, said: “We’re continually exploring new ways in which we can make The Entertainer stores a happy, safe and comfortable place for autistic customers.’’
Asmodee partners with GAME Asmodee has joined forces with GAME.co.uk for a special in-store experience. A total of £10,000 can be won each week in-store and online from 15 April until 19 May. Plus, everyone who purchases one of the selected Asmodee games is guaranteed to win GAME Reward Points, giving them money off their next purchase. The games included in the offer are: Dobble, Catan Ticket to Ride, 7 Wonders, Carcassonne, Splendor and Unlock!. James Arnold, Asmodee marketing director, said: “We’re really excited for this exclusive partnership as GAME is an important retailer for our board games. We’re committed to working increasingly closely and investing in marketing with retailers to drive both of our businesses. The mechanic is simple and we know game fans will enjoy taking part and winning those all-important cash prizes.” To be in with the chance of winning, game fans simply purchase an Asmodee Game at a GAME store or online, visit www.gamerolltowin.co.uk and enter the unique code from the receipt to see if they’re a winner. If they aren’t lucky enough to win a cash prize, they will still receive their GAME points to spend back in-store or online. Nick Arran, GAME managing director, added: “Teaming up with Asmodee was a natural choice as our customer base are big fans. Anything that makes their visit to our stores or online more enticing is a hit with us.’’ The partnership is being supported by digital posters in store windows, social media posts and website banners on GAME and Asmodee UK pages, inclusion in mail outs to customers, POS in-store, plus games in stores are also stickered.
THE ‘FAB’ FOUR
It’s rare that four people with a combined buying and merchandising knowledge gained from working for a major retail group come together to offer their 100 years of experience to suppliers and retail buyers to aid them in their working practices, writes Malcolm Naish. Turning traditional consulting on its head by working collaboratively with clients, together they will work to drive sustainable and profitable growth for the brands that they engage with. The ‘Major’ that all four worked with for so many years was John Lewis, and their belief is that there is a better way to do business by forming a bespoke solution to fit client’s business needs. The ‘fab four’ are: Elaine Hooper, Anna Berry, Neil Amer and Sara Allbright During their time with John Lewis, the categories that they covered included toys, gifts, homeware, tableware, glassware, Cookshop, seasonal & beauty. Over my many years working in most of
the above product categories, the majority of my advertisers would consider The John Lewis Partnership as a major business partner, therefore the ‘fab four’s’ knowledge of buying and merchandising should be of huge help to both the supplier and retailer. With a hands-on approach, their aim is to provide professional guidance to clients both large and small. They realise that one size does not fit all and that every solution is handcrafted and uniquely tailored to each different case. Retail100 is able to cover business planning, assortment review, sourcing, customer, brand, on-line and sustainability. This also includes private label product development, licensing, critical path management and innovation. They are already working with a number of clients and would welcome hearing from interested parties. Please take a look at their website www.retail100consulting.co.uk and you can email them directly at Hello@retail100consulting.co.uk
Hamleys unveils new gaming space Hamleys, on London’s Regent Street has opened its newest retail space dedicated to gaming. The space allows customers to play the very best in video gaming with state-of-the-art technology, learn tips and techniques from gaming experts, experience gaming challenges and then take home the top-rated tech and accessories from leading brands. The purpose-built area is located on the lower ground floor and has the latest consoles, bestselling games and accessories from brands including Xbox, Nintendo, Razer and more. Hamleys also received a drop of the bestselling PS5 and Xbox Series X & S, just in time for launch with units available to purchase on the night. The retailer says that the immersive and interactive area offers the only dedicated multibrand, gaming space in London, with interactive zones to play and explore, with a ‘Pit Stop’ Racing Area, Razer laptops and other state-of-the-art tech, showcasing BAFTA Games Awards winner Forza Horizon 5, Fortnite, Gran Turismo 7, Rocket League, and Minecraft. Hamleys Gamers will be on hand every day giving their tips and tricks on how to win points, level-up and become a gaming champion. It also features the Hamleys Streaming Pod, where budding streamers can grab some cool content on the go, shot in the one of the most Instagrammable gaming spaces in town. The specially designed 3,000sq ft space, complete with 13 play zones, and LED lighting, brings a new direction for Hamleys, “It’s hugely exciting to be able to open a dedicated area to gaming within Hamleys and become a serious player in the category, bringing the ‘online’ in-store, and giving customers the innovation they come to Hamleys for,’’ said Sumeet Yadav, CEO, Hamleys. “Unveiling this space gives us the opportunity to deliver the very best in products, knowledge and experiences in the gaming sector. We look forward to taking this area from strength to strength, partnering with the best in the gaming industry and becoming the hottest launchpad for the next innovation in gaming.” To celebrate the launch, Hamleys hosted the ultimate Gaming Night, hosted by YouTuber and Twitch star, SunPi, and included guests such as Syndicate and Archie Hamilton showing racers just how it’s done with his super speedy Forza lap times, alongside Williams Esports Test Drivers. With a DJ, live entertainment and more, guests were given the opportunity to take coaching tips from the Hamleys Gaming Pros, race against Archie and see Fortnite pros scoring big on one of the hottest games on the market.
MGA Entertainment appoints new trio MGA Entertainment, Inc. has announced the appointment of three new account managers to its UK team. Jamie Gordon joins as senior national account manager, responsible for grocery and discounter channels. Having previously worked as an Asda implant and having led the Morrisons account for Hasbro, he joins MGA with vast experience in this sector.
Casdon Toys Casdon Toys continues the growth of its team with the appointment of Tara Mortimer as senior national account manager. Tara brings a wealth of knowledge and industry experience from previous roles at Sainsbury’s Argos, Tesco and Smyths. Casdon has gone from strength to strength, growing from a team of 18 to 39 over the past two years. Phil Cassidy, managing director at Casdon Toys, said: “We are excited to welcome Tara to the Casdon family. With the variety of industry experience she brings, I have no doubt that she will help us achieve the plans we have for the coming year and beyond.” Commenting on her new role, Tara said: “I am thrilled to be joining Casdon, a company I have known and worked with for many years, albeit on the other side. Their product range has always been very impressive, but this year more than ever. I am thrilled to be part of the team at such an exciting time.”
Tomy announces new addition to the sales team Boasting 17 years of experience in the toy industry, Samantha Whittaker has joined Tomy as national account manager. Samantha brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm for toys and games. She will work exclusively across Tomy’s growing games portfolio, including Drumond Park, Zanzoon and Tomy Games, which contains names such as LOGO 2nd Edition, Articulate!, and Pop-Up Pirate. Tomy UK sales director Kingsley Matthews said: “It was important that we found just the right person that will help us maintain the fantastic work already achieved, while continuing to help us develop and grow within the category.’’
Laura Leigh-Mills joins in the role of ecommerce national account manager, having previously held the position of national account manager with Carte Blanche. Andrew Kay is the third new addition to the MGA team, as national account manager. His previous experience includes 13 years with toy company Funko.
Sambro creates new ethical and sustainability role Sambro has created a new ethical and sustainability manager role, which has been filled by Lisa Longley. Lisa comes to Sambro with more than 10 years’ experience in the manufacturing industry, and will oversee the implementation of a new sustainability programme and manage the ethical compliance of the toy company’s supply base. She will work closely with suppliers and vendors to ensure that Sambro’s ethical sourcing requirements are met, and that all factories meet the needs of Sambro, its customers and licensors. Her first job has been to create an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) committee and draw up a policy with clear objectives which she will ensure are met. These include responsible sourcing and supply chain management; safeguarding the health, wellbeing and safety of Sambro employees; proactive management of consumption of resources and energy; and sourcing goods and services that generate a positive impact with customers. Lisa will also take responsibility for overseeing the prevention of discrimination and the promotion of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as well as the company’s anti-corruption and anti-bribery measures.
Toymaster welcomes new member Salmons Department Store in Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland, has joined Toymaster. Salmons, which celebrates 60 years in business this year, has departments covering toys, arts and crafts, giftware, books and many other categories. Toymaster said they would like to welcome Salmons to the Toymaster family and wish Megan, Donna, Bernie and Dermot the best of luck!
Danny joins Moonbug
brings in new head of global toy brands
Spin Master has appointed Doug Wadleigh as head of global toy brands. The newly created position within Spin Master’s Toys creative centre is part of the company’s new organisational design, which is being implemented to enable and accelerate future growth. Wadleigh will oversee the development and health of all global toy brands, reporting to Chris Beardall, Spin Master’s president of toys and chief commercial officer. He will be responsible for profitable growth across all toy categories and will lead product development and drive alignment with the sales and operations teams. “Doug has deep experience with industry-leading toys and games manufacturers, coupled with a strategic mindset and proven track record of accelerating growth,” said Chris. “With Doug’s leadership, combined with the strength of our diversified toy portfolio, Spin Master is well positioned for continued growth and to deliver on our vision of creating play experiences that spark creativity and imagination in kids around the world.” Doug is an industry veteran, having held leadership positions within prominent global companies, including Mattel and Warner Bros. During his 20-plus year career at Mattel, he successfully set both creative direction and brand strategies for some of the world’s best-known brands including Hot Wheels, Disney Princess, and WWE. Most recently, he served as president and global CMO of Goliath, where he established a new toy innovation and marketing studio in Los Angeles and was responsible for developing category, brand and product strategies for the existing portfolio.
Creative Kids appoints UK MD New York-based craft and activity company Creative Kids continues its expansion in the UK with the appointment of Grant Gie, who will head up operations in the UK as managing director. Grant has worked in the toy industry for more than 14 years. He joins the company following his most recent role as international sales director at Melissa & Doug, having previously held senior roles at Sambro and Hasbro. Creative Kids is already established within the UK and is becoming known for its extensive arts & crafts and STEM toy ranges, with both successful owned properties and an increasing licensed property portfolio. The company has also just signed a multi-year, multi-national licensing partnership deal with Hasbro to produce a range of Play-Doh products. Grant said: “I never fail to be inspired by the ingenuity and innovation from toy companies, and Creative Kids is such an exciting company to be a part of.’’
Ferreira moves up at Fanattik Fanattik, the UK-based pop culture gift licensee, has appointed Luiz Ferreira to the position of sales director. Luiz started with Fanattik as a consultant three years ago, before taking on the head of sales role. As sales director he will be managing relationships with gift retailers throughout the UK, mainland Europe, MENA and Australasia. Fanattik is a gift, home décor, barware and collectables licensee for Hasbro, CBSViacom, Universal Studios, Microsoft, Bethesda, Capcom, Studio MDHR and many more. Luiz suits the Fanattik ethos well; a gaming and film fan, he brings more 20 years’ experience working with pop culture merchandise to the role.
Moonbug Entertainment has appointed Danny Spronz as head of global loyalty & promotions and EMEA retail development. In this role Danny will be responsible for driving the loyalty and promotions programmes at Moonbug as well as developing the EMEA retail strategy across Moonbug’s portfolio of properties, including Blippi, CoComelon and Little Baby Bum. The newly-created role will include setting the strategy for Moonbug’s loyalty, rewards, QSR (quick service restaurants) and third-party promotional programmes. He will build global programmes with key international partners to both expand brand awareness and affinity with the Moonbug target audiences. For the retail element of the role, he will be overseeing all EMEA retail activity. Spronz is based in the UK head offices, working closely with the Moonbug team in the US. Prior to Moonbug, Danny was managing director EMEA at PocketWatch, where he was responsible for all business operations, advertising sales, consumer products licensing and content sales across EMEA. Before this, he was vice president digital partnerships & influencer marketing EMEA at The Walt Disney Company, where he managed overall talent strategy, partnerships and management for the company’s on-screen and digital influencer talent. Moonbug Entertainment is an award-winning global entertainment company. Moonbug’s line-up also includes Little Angel, My Magic Pet Morphle, Supa Strikas, Go Buster, Playtime with Twinkle, Gecko’s Garage, ARPO and many more.
Melissa & Doug introduces new sales director Melissa & Doug has strengthened its international team based in Rickmansworth, Herts, with the recruitment of Jeremy Robinson as sales director for the Northern Europe region. Reporting to managing director international Francisco Anselmi, Jeremy will have responsibility for managing existing and new business within the UK, DACH [D-Deutschland (Germany), A-Austria, CH-Confœderatio Helvetica (Switzerland)] and the Nordics. Francisco commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have Jeremy joining our international team. We only hire people we believe will make a difference here. Jeremy not only brings a wealth of industry experience, but also growth and team mindset.” Jeremy added: “This is an exciting time to be joining Melissa & Doug, and I’m delighted to be part of the developing team. There is a huge amount going on, including the addition of licensed ranges, the move into new product categories and the acceleration of the company’s FSC programme. We will be working harder than ever to support our existing clients, and I’m excited at the potential we have to develop new trading relationshops.’’ 13
POP, the free-to-air television channel for six to 10-year-old children, aired the UK premiere of the musical adventurefilled animated TV series Barbie: It Takes Two last month. Created by multinational toy manufacturing and entertainment company Mattel, Barbie: It Takes Two follows Barbie ‘Malibu’ Roberts and Barbie ‘Brooklyn’ Roberts as they enrol in a performing arts high school in New York City. Setting out to record a music demo and taking odd jobs to fund their dreams, the pair still find time to explore the Big Apple and travel back to Malibu to visit family and friends. Filled with stories and friendship, family, passion and perseverance, the series follows the duo as they work and have fun chasing their dreams.
Hot Wheels film is put into gear The company behind TV series such as Lost and Westworld, and movies including Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and Cloverfield franchises will be working on a live-action Hot Wheels film Bad Robot has teamed up with Mattel and Warner Bros. Pictures for the high-throttle action film, which will bring to life this beloved, multi-generational franchise and showcase some of the world’s hottest and sleekest cars, monster trucks and motorcycles. “As the global leader in car culture, Hot Wheels has been igniting the challenger spirit in auto enthusiasts for generations,” said Robbie Brenner, executive producer, Mattel Films. “Fans of all ages are now in for the ride of their lives with the incredible talent of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot joining us alongside Warner Bros. Pictures to transform Hot Wheels’ legendary IP into a thrilling story for the big screen.” Mattel Films and Warner Bros. Pictures are also partners on the upcoming motion picture, Barbie, due for release in 2023. Mattel is also working on movies based on American Girl, Barney, Masters of the Universe, Polly Pocket, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Thomas & Friends, UNO, View Master, and Wishbone.
above and beyond on Netflix The second season of Octonauts: Above & Beyond makes its global debut on Netflix this month. In the new episodes, the Octonauts will continue to explore dynamic landscapes, experience new climates, rescue animals and protect the land they live on. Highlights include a 22-minute special, Rainforest Rescue, which sees the Octonauts embark on an adventure through the Amazon rainforest canopy. The launch of Octonauts: Above & Beyond Series 2 is timed to support the rollout of the new toy range from global master toy licensee Moose Toys. Set to launch this summer, the new collection will bring the show to life with figures, vehicles, playsets, plush and more.
Helping kids make movies Wow! Stuff and award-winning stopmotion animation studio Aardman have announced a collaboration on a global consumer products initiative: MovieMates. Launching first with the blockbuster franchise Jurassic World, MovieMates is a range of collectable, highly detailed and articulated action figures mounted on a nonremovable ‘film rig’ that comes with a free MovieMates app. Using the figure/s and the stopmotion app, kids and kidults can recreate movie scenes or make new ones of their own. Wow! Stuff’s head of licensing Kenny McAndrew said: “MovieMates allows kids to show off their movie creations on social media without having to be the star of the show.’’ MovieMates will be on sale in July.
Putting the fun
Tiny Pop, the free-to-air TV channel for kids aged four to six, premieres the International Emmy-nominated Mush-Mush & the Mushables on 21 May. Produced by La Cabane and Thuristar in co-production with Cake, Mush-Mush & the Mushables are putting the fun back into fungi! As pocket-sized Guardians of the Forest, each Mushable has a special gift. While MushMush can communicate with nature, Lilit shines bright like a light and Chep has an impressive memory. While on their wild adventures, they get to know their unique talents, learn their limits and find there is still a lot to discover about growing up.
Time to earn
arents now spend an average of two hours and 24 minutes on social media – every, single, day. This uncompromisable dwell time and frequency provides a vital connection point for brands to reach their target audience in a way that no other media can. Where traditional media choices such as Linear TV advertising push a one-way and blanket message, social media provides an intimate two-way conversation where you earn eyeballs rather than buying them. As such, consumers have begun to expect a deeper level of connection with a brand on social media. This relationship is particularly important within the toys & games sector as buying for children is often emotionally driven, particularly at Easter where toys are often gifted in replace of (or in addition to) the traditional Easter eggs (NPD figures showcase a 16% & 11% increase in sales value over March and April respectively in 2021 vs. 2020). What’s more, 87% of parents consult social media platforms before they make a purchasing decision; it is now a Social requisite and unavoidable media provides part of the consumer path to purchase. Not to an intimate mention the newest ‘kid two-way on the block’ – TikTok which continues to be THE conversation social platform of choice where you earn among parents. But earning eyeballs on eyeballs rather social requires strategy: than buying persistent, impersonal, and overly salesy messaging them can be ineffective on these platforms and reflect poorly on a brand. Companies must look to build an audiencealigned strategy with ‘thumb stopping’ content to ensure that audience connection is strong, and brand messaging and values resonate.
With that in mind, here are our five top tips for employing a successful social media strategy this spring: 1. Imitate the emotions of your audience.Spring is often a time of new beginnings; a fresh sense of optimism is in the air as the sun begins to shine as days become longer, and families are spending time
together. By recognising and imitating the feelings of your audience, your followers will soon begin to resonate with you as a brand that understands them. Spring is the time for engagement, and social media allows brands to deliver that. If you haven’t already – why not run a craft competition across your social channels to engage with your audience? 2. Amplify successful posts. The cost of Facebook/ Instagram advertising continues to offer brands an effective low-cost entry point to build fan pages by advertising outside their follower base. Take advantage of this to amplify some of your popular posts and increase your customer base. 3. Engage with your audiences. Ask questions and inspire customers to use your social channels – request your followers’ top tips for activities with a toddler and get them to use your platforms as a hub to create discussion. Encourage user-generated content and shared experiences. 4. Discover conversations relevant to you and your brand and get involved with them. Searching hashtags is the easiest way to do this. Show active support for causes, campaigns and charities aligned to your brand strategies, to demonstrate your brand values and personality. 5. Test, learn and refresh. Ensure you are ahead of the curve with your brand and use a measured test and learn process that ensures you’re using all functions on social platforms to maximise your reach and engagement and success. For the latest on how to do this using TikTok, reach out to me a member of the team, to gain access to our latest Generation Coffee Break Podcast, where I and Loveday Weller – associate director of content - had a coffee and a chat with Charlene Bridgman, agency partnerships manager at TikTok. And finally, of course, discuss your social media strategy with the team at Generation Media. We’d love to have a chat to talk to you about how to navigate social for your brand specifically – so do get in touch.
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 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more
Being relevant on social media for your target parents is vital to success for toy brands, says Generation Media Director of Business Development Alex TaylorSmith
Picture Credit: Eamonn Conway
Coming soon -
checkout-free toy shops? It’s a year since Amazon introduced checkoutfree shops, and the technology looks likely to be available for indie retailers sooner than we thought, says John Ryan
here are times when visiting a toy shop is a bit much. Admittedly these periods are pretty restricted, but then so are the moments when large numbers of shoppers flow through a toy retailer’s doors. For the most part, it’s about Christmas, with the rest of the year being a matter of satisfying the demands of your nearest and dearest as their birthdays draw near. How much better might it be then if, when the crowds are there, you could be on hand to advise and cajole in the manner that you should be able to? Yet it’s at exactly that time that the checkout queues exercise their siren call and dictate that you have to do something else. So how about giving up on the cash register and mingling with the shoppers instead? Anyone who has been in London over the past year is likely to have encountered an Amazon Fresh grocery store. There are now 17 of these across the capital (the first opened just over a year ago in Ealing), and the premise is simple. Using the Amazon app, which is linked to your bank account, you generate a QR code, which you wave over a scanner at the entrance barriers at each Amazon Fresh store. Hey presto, the gates open, you walk in, get what you want and then walk out without paying. Except, of course, you have. Your progress around the store has been monitored by a combination of overhead cameras and weight sensors, and anything you remove from the shelf (unless you put it back) is totted up and your bank account takes the hit as you leave the store. Meanwhile sales ‘associates’ (and there are relatively few of them) are busy filling and tidying up and yes, they have time to answer your idle enquiry about where you might find the parmesan cheese. Until very recently, it was only Amazon that was embracing this form of ‘contactlesss, checkout-free’ retail, but now others are beginning to follow suit. The imitators are Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Carrefour, and others - and it makes sense. Time-pressed convenience store shoppers have no wish to spend their precious minutes in a queue at lunchtime as they wait to purchase a meal deal. But suddenly we have moved beyond convenience. In the US, travel retailer Hudson News, which sells paper, books, confectionery, cards and sundry toys, has opened two checkout-free stores, in Dallas and Chicago. Those hurrying to get to their gate on time can now make a dash into one of these, grab what they want, and still make the 10.30 to Austin, TX. And if this sounds a little far from home, then consider WHSmith. The UK high street name has opened a checkoutfree store - its first in North America - in New York’s
LaGuardia airport. This may still be 3,500 miles from us, but WHSmith is a familiar name, and it has chosen to use Amazon’s technology to make its contactless vision a reality. Now you really can pick up a paper, a fluffy toy and a Hershey bar and make a run for it. The reason this has happened is that the price of entry to the checkout-free revolution is crashing - and continues to do so. In this instance, there really is real second-mover advantage inasmuch as the potential hiccups that will almost certainly have been encountered by Amazon since its first Fresh stores opened have now been dealt with. The tech giant has gone to market with a system that not only works but is also increasingly affordable. By this stage, gentle reader, you will have guessed where this is going. Will it be possible at some point in the notso-distant future (a year or two at most) for shoppers to be able head to non-food shops that are not part of a very big company and enjoy the benefits of ‘just walking out’, as Amazon puts it? The answer is almost certainly yes. Less than a year ago, surveys seemed to be around everywhere asking how long before Amazon Fresh-style shopping becomes the norm, with the options being a year, three years, five years, 10 years or never. Things are a little clearer than they were in early 2021 and it seems probable now that we will see a mass change within the next five years, at most. There will, of course, still be checkouts, as there are those of us who would still prefer this status quo, instead of trying to get an app to do its stuff. That said, there is no reason to presume mass resistance to this change and, done well, it makes shopping both easier and more efficient. From a toy shop owner’s perspective, the positives outweigh the negatives. Getting down among your customers is what the best shopkeepers always wish to do, and not having to worry about the cash-taking operation would certainly be a step along this road. The cost of installation, even allowing for further price reductions, will naturally be hefty, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be worthwhile. Frequently, shifting stock is about selling, and being freed up to do this is one way of ensuring that this takes place. Futuristic perhaps, but by no means a pipe dream. Stores without checkouts are coming and your rivals will almost certainly be casting an eye over what’s possible and how it will improve their prospects.
John Ryan is Stores Editor of business magazine Retail Week. He has worked for the title 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.
Amanda with Jo
Latest shop window by Ruth and Karen
Diary of a toy shop Amanda Alexander, owner of Giddy Goat Toys in Didsbury, Manchester, ponders on the varied skillset of the independent toy retailer
school teacher friend came into the shop for a chat during the recent half term. As she turned to leave, she said: “So, what will you do now? Will you just go on your phone?” Baffled by her comment, I asked “what do you mean?’’. She replied: “So, do you just mess around on your phone now until a customer comes in?’’ After I stopped laughing, I explained to her that actually, no, I had a lot of stuff I needed to do. I had orders to place, a pile of invoices to add to my accounts system, some bills to pay, and a whole bunch of new products to put on the website - plus about 100 emails to wade through, paperwork to file and a pile of catalogues that I’d like to read but was expecting a delivery (in which case, I would have to unpack that, price it up, and put it out on the shop floor). I also needed to look at my energy contracts as they were due for renewal. You really do wear a lot of hats running a small business and, on the occasions when I wonder if I should or could get a ‘proper’ job again, I worry that employers won’t want someone who has worked for themselves. But actually, we have a very varied skillset. Marketing, accounts, customer services and purchasing are the obvious ones, but there are many other skills required to run a shop, however small. During lockdown I also had to pick and pack all the online orders - and my
Business life admin is no more fun than personal life admin, and if I run out of tea bags at work, I’m likely to have a staff walkout
Amanda on a staff night out with her growing team of ‘Giddies’
addiction to the game of Tetris while a student turned out not to have been a total waste of hours after all. There’s something really satisfying about neatly packing various items of different shapes and sizes securely into an appropriately sized box, and I have to say many online retailers should incorporate Tetris playing into their staff training programme, because I’ve seen some shockingly packed boxes or parcels that arrive in ridiculously oversized boxes, with loads of packing paper - which I merrily recycle and reuse in my shop! I love the variety that running your own business requires but of course, I like some jobs more than others. Obviously, interacting with customers and buying new stock are always going to rank higher than choosing a new broadband supplier and organising the annual PAT [Portable Appliance Testing]. But you really do need to have an overview on everything. Business life admin is no more fun than personal life admin, and if I run out of tea bags at work, I’m likely to have a staff walkout. Or if I don’t get bills paid on time, I risk being in trouble with the HMRC or losing the respect of suppliers. When we moved from being purely a bricks-and-mortar retailer to an online retailer during Covid, I added a few more hats to the hat box: order packing (of course) but also improving my marketing, digital and social media skills to reach a wider demographic. I also spent more time considering health and safety and staff welfare once the shop reopened. Having everyone back in work - and taking on some part-timers - has meant I’ve been able to outsource not only some jobs I’m not so keen on, but also things I realise other people are better at. I’m lucky to have a lady called Ruth who does the card and gift-wrap buying. She has a great eye for detail, creates fantastic window displays, and generally makes things look nice (I called it ‘Ruthing’; I bung some new products on the front shelves, and she makes them into a nice display). I’ve always been a slapdash Annie - I can get
through things quickly but I’m not a bowsand-ribbons kind of girl and I have zero patience for faffing with displays - so Ruth is invaluable for making the shop look nice. And now I’ve got someone who makes the shop SOUND nice too, in terms of our social media and newsletters. Being practically minded, I tended to write matterof-fact ‘hello we have nice toys’ posts. Then, just before Christmas 2020, I took on Jo to help in the shop for a few hours a week, and I recognised that she was very good at sparkly-glittery-jazz-hands posts, which tag in suppliers and products and include hashtags. So, I merrily handed over our social media and newsletters to her, and she’s doing a fantastic job. Another responsibility I’ve slowly started to hand over is the accounts. One of the newer members of staff has experience of accounts and admin, so I’ve been able to pass some paperwork to her. As for the packing of online orders and unpacking of deliveries, I employ some lovely students who do a few hours each week. Of course, there still seem to be a zillion things to do on any one day. But I do remember that in my previous life as a depot manager, the more staff you had, the more time you seemed to spend doing admin, meetings and reports and not interacting with customers at all - unless there were complaints. At least because I’m not reporting to anyone (other than my accountant, I guess), I’m still very much literally on the shopfloor, which is great and, I think, key in knowing what customers want. Although my visual and social media marketing skills may be lacking, I hope my communication skills are such that once customers have found their way to the shop and like what they see, they will appreciate the personal and friendly service and come back. And who knows, maybe I will eventually take on enough people, with enough variety of skills and experience, that I can outsource all the jobs and get to the point that I can just “mess around on my phone” in between customers. I wonder if I can find an online version of Tetris….
Saving the planet
one toy at a time T
he next generation of consumers are incredibly connected via social platforms, making them more switched on to social issues than any generation before them. Surrounded by idols their own age, such as Greta Thunberg or Isra Hursi, kids are hyper-aware of current environmental issues and how the issue of global warming threatens to affect their lives. In the past six months, one in four kids aged three to nine worldwide listed climate change as their top social concern.* This issue underpins the attitudes and behaviours of young people, with 55% of the same demographic saying that they often consider the impact of their actions on the environment. Sustainability is at the forefront of kids’ minds as they choose what products to buy and look for companies to demonstrate transparency and commitment to these issues. Increasingly, sustainability is a topic that is being taken very seriously within the global toy industry, with many manufacturers and brands making pledges to rethink their impact on the environment. LEGO is a key example of a brand that has committed itself to making a positive impact by building a sustainable future. It has stated that it aims to make all core LEGO products and packaging from sustainable materials by 2030. Additionally, one of its schemes, called LEGO Replay, promotes a circular economy by giving consumers the chance to pass their bricks onto children in need of play, promoting reusing and recycling. Kids aged three to nine who say that the environment is their biggest concern are 15% more likely to name LEGO as their favourite toy. This suggests that the popularity of the bricks is tied to how they represent the values of their audience. For toy brands, much of the sustainability emphasis has been around reducing the use of plastic as
much as possible. In recent years, we have value. One of the main barriers to passing seen the rise of plastic-free packaging, on toys may be that people do not know more use of renewable materials in how to pass them on safely, highlighting the products whenever possible, and global opportunity for toy brands and manufacturers leaders committing themselves to the to partner with kids’ charities that could manage carbon neutral mission. donations. Supermarkets and Mattel has pledged to recycling points could also offer Sustainability achieve 100% recycled, easy drop-off points, making it recyclable or bio-based easier for parents to act in an is at the forefront plastic materials by 2030. environmentally-friendly way. of kids’ minds as Similarly, Hasbro has The environment is also a top they choose what reissued environmentallyconcern for parents, ranking products to buy friendly versions of as the fifth biggest concern and look for iconic toys including Mr among parents across the world. Potato Head and Nerf According to Parents Insights data, companies to guns. This highlights the it ranked as the fourth biggest demonstrate opportunity for brands to concern among parents surveyed transparency and embrace sustainability as a in the UK over the past six months. commitment to challenge to innovate and As the primary source of money improve both their product these issues for kids aged three to nine, it is design and business key for brands to mirror the values operations to act as leaders in the of parents when planning their marketing toy industry. and product strategies. By adapting to fit the When we look at the impact of toys changing priorities of families across the UK, toy on the environment, we can consider the brands and manufacturers not only benefit by lifecycle of a toy. In a rather unique way, earning the support of today’s parents but also toys are one of the few consumer goods gain the loyalty of future consumers. that can be reused, passed on or stored * All data taken from the last six months of away due to emotional and sentimental data in the Kids Insights portal.
Saving the planet is high on the agenda for kids under 10, so it is vital that toy brands can be seen to take eco issues seriously, says Nick Richardson, CEO and founder of The Insights Family
The Insights Family is the global leader in kids, parents, and family market intelligence, providing real-time data on their attitudes, behaviour and consumption patterns. Kids Insights surveys 7,780 children every week aged three to 18. Parents Insights surveys more than 3,800 parents of children between the ages of one and 16 every week. Both services operate in 22 countries across six continents and in total survey more than 469,040 kids and 228,800 parents a year. This means that the company interviews a new family member somewhere in the world every 45 seconds. The Insights Family produced an exclusive 2022 Toy Report: The Year of STEM for London Toy Fair, the UK’s largest dedicated toy, games and hobby trade show in January 2022. Sign up to receive your free copy at try.theinsightsfamily.com/tnp
Spin Master renews Warner Bros. DC Super Heroes deal Spin Master has renewed its global licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and comics and graphic novel publisher DC for the Batman franchise and other DC Super Heroes. Spin Master first joined forces with WBCP in 2018 as the toy licensee for DC in the action figure, playset, roleplay, and vehicle categories for the period of 2019-2022, and has now extended the relationship for a four-year term beginning in 2023 through to 2026. Spin Master president, toys and chief commercial officer Chris Beardall said: “It’s been an honour to work with WBCP on this heroic and innovative line of action figures, vehicles and playsets, bringing the adventures and stories of Batman, DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains into fans’ homes around the world.’’ Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Batman opened in March and Spin Master’s The Batman toy line-up is available now.
Magformers launches its first licensed toys Magformers UK has introduced its first-ever licensed products by bringing the Baby Shark global phenomenon to the magnetic construction toys category. The company has launched the Baby Shark Friends Set and Baby Shark Family Set in its latest Stick-O range of magnetic toys for preschoolers. The two branded sets feature all-new Stick-O pieces, including large magnetic balls imprinted with cute shark faces and magnetic fins and tails, in the instantly recognisable Baby Shark yellow, blue and pink colours. Magformers UK managing director David Kelly said: “Baby Shark is a YouTube sensation and an incredibly popular TV property through its relationship with Nickelodeon. Partnering with such a globally-recognised phenomenon as Baby Shark will make our toys even more appealing and engaging.”
Star Stable gallops into toy licensing with Just Play! Swedish games company Star Stable Entertainment has signed a global toy line deal with Just Play for its gaming brand, Star Stable Online, via Finnish and Canada based licensing and animation studio Ferly. The first toy line will hit the market in 2023. The deal will see the partners develop a collectable range of dolls and horses based on some of the most beloved and iconic Star Stable characters from the game. It will also feature other items for the dedicated fandom and for horse and animal lovers. Staying true to Star Stable’s commitment to putting its community first, there are also plans to gather input from its global fanbase during the product development process. Inspired by the storylines from the game, the merchandise gives players the chance to enjoy their favourite characters in both the physical and digital world. The news follows the successful mobile launch of Star Stable Online in February, which is now available globally for iOS users via the App Store.
Rocket Licensing has big dreams for new property Rocket Licensing has announced that it will be representing children’s book property, Little People, Big Dreams and will build a consumer products programme for the inspirational brand. Little People, Big Dreams is a series of illustrated biographies exploring the lives of outstanding people, for readers aged three to seven. The subjects of the books range from designers and artists to scientists and activists, all of whom have achieved incredible things, but began life as a child with a dream. Told as a story, with a facts and photos section at the back, the children’s series, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books and created by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, has sold more than 7.5 million copies and been published in 35 languages. The brand offers the perfect way to celebrate key milestones - Marie Curie on International Women’s Day; Frida Kahlo on World Book Day; a variety of sporting icons like Muhammad Ali for sporting events, Stephen Hawking for British Science Week; and Nelson Mandela during Black History Month.
BLE catwalk Brand Licensing Europe has revealed fresh details of its 2022 fashion theme, including daily catwalk fashion shows streamed throughout ExCeL London, a futuristic fashion keynote and tactile, inspirational product showcases. Ten, 15-minute fashion shows will hit the central catwalk across the three event days, with each show themed around key licensing categories. Categories include: collabs, food & beverage, footwear, kids, sports & athleisure, sustainability, and culture & the world. Each show will be streamed live to TV screens on the show floor as well as in the central visitor boulevard of ExCeL and outside on the West Podium screen. BLE takes place from 20-22 September.
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: Organic seaside knitted soft toys Company: Best Years Tel: 01327 263504 Email: email@example.com Web: www.bestyears.co.uk
Product: Bluey Multi-Character Switch-it Tri-Scooter Company: MV Sports & Leisure Tel: 01217488000 Web: www.mvsports.com
Product: Exit: The Lord of the Rings. Shadows over Middle-earth Company: Thames & Kosmos Tel: 01580713000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.thamesandkosmos.co.uk
Product: Museum Suspects Company: Coiledspring Games Publisher: Blue Orange Tel: 020 3301 1160 Web: www.coiledspring.co.uk
Product: Busy Builders Company: Orchard Toys Tel: 01953 859539 Email: email@example.com
Product: Favourite Tales: Little Red Riding Hood and Other Fairy Tales Company: Tonies Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.tonies.com
Product: LEGO Princess Peach Company: LEGO Tel: 00800 53465555 Web: www.lego.com/en-gb
Product: Knight Rider - K.I.T.T. Company: Playmobil Tel: 01268 490184 Email: email@example.com Web: www.playmobil.co.uk
Product: Solar System Baff Bombz Company: Zimpli Kids Tel: 0 845 459 1818 Email: Sales@Zimplikids.com Website: www.zimplikids.com
WHAT’S N WH Football’s coming home! Winning Moves
020 7298 951 firstname.lastname@example.org www.winningmoves.co.uk The World Football Stars range has quickly established itself as one of Winning Moves’ best-selling ranges. The Top Trumps pack, featuring the top 30 players from world football, is consistently ranked as a top seller at retail and online, with almost 80,000 packs sold in the UK last year. In addition, Top Trumps Match and Top Trumps Quiz have entertained football fans across the country for the past few years. The beginning of 2022 saw the addition of World Football Stars Guess Who to the range. Players can choose from 24 of the world’s best footballers in the much-loved guessing game. This now completes the full range: Top Trumps, Top Trumps Match, Top Trumps Quiz, 1,000 piece puzzle, Monopoly and Guess Who. With the Premier League coming to a thrilling end this month, football fans across the world will start turning their attention to the upcoming World Cup in November and we’re sure to see lots of football-based gifting in time for Christmas. Will football finally come home? We don’t know. But this year, thanks to Winning Moves’ World Football Stars range, it will for many families.
Bruder vehicles on the move Bruder (Alpha Toys Ltd) 0353 6763800 | email@example.com | www.bruder.de The Bruder construction vehicles themed world features toy vehicles that have been finished to a high level of detail and include comprehensive functions. This also includes toys designed for the younger Bruder fan. With the new tipper, Bruder offers a great dump truck for children aged twoplus. The model has a detailed cab and is equipped with articulated steering. The dump truck is also equipped with a large, fully functional tipping trough for use in the sandpit. The Bruder police, meanwhile, are being reinforced and expanding their area of operations to the water. In order to
be able to operate on any type of water in the future, a 4x4 police pickup truck with boat and emergency diver will be added to the Bruder emergency services range. The service vehicle is based on the well-known RAM 2500 and has a light and sound module mounted on the roof. Just like the real thing, the toy features a crew cab with four doors. All doors open to accommodate four bworld figures. The front axle can be steered using the included steering wheel extension, and the tailgate opens to transport it during play.
NEW Bear number necessities Orchard Toys 01953 859539 firstname.lastname@example.org The Number Bears game is an introduction to addition and subtraction that helps teach number bonds in a fun way to children. Aimed at kids aged five-plus, Number Bears’ gameplay involves players racing their bear safely home to its cubs by turning over number cards and solving mathematical problems. As well as a game, it’s a learning activity and teaching aid, making it a great tool for parents, enabling them to support their children.
Bold design MV SPORTS & LEISURE 01217488000 www.mvsports.com We don’t talk about Bruno, but everyone’s talking about Encanto! The multi-award winning sensation has inspired yet another vibrant-wheeled range from MV Sports; featuring iconic character graphics, bold enticing colours and visually decadent designs. Become part of the family Madrigal with the folding inline scooter. This model is perfect for any Encanto fan, featuring bold floral designs on neck and stem, ‘uniquely me’ Mirabel on the anti-slip griptape, and easy-fold mechanism for simple transportation and storage.
Schleich launches egg-citing range Schleich
01279 870000 | email@example.com www.schleich-s.com/en Following the success of Schleich’s collectable offering over the past two years, the company has has strengthened its portfolio within the sector beyond the more traditional blind bags, with its first range of mystery collectable eggs featuring cute baby animals. Part of the magical world of bayala, there are six Hatching Baby Dragons in blue coloured eggs and six Hatching Winged Baby Kittens in pink eggs to collect, including two rare transparent, sparkling figures. Each of the limitededition baby animals comes in its own egg, which can be used to store the figure as well as a small collector poster. The Dragons and Kittens are available in a counter display unit with a total of 22 eggs in each. Schleich UK trade marketing manager Paul Dearlove said: “This latest collectable range provides a new play pattern and collectable concept for Schleich fans, while offering an incremental sales opportunity for our retailers. Visibly attractive and sub-£5, the eggs drive both till point impulse buys and pocket money purchases.”
are on the case! Epoch Making Toys 0208 049 1377 firstname.lastname@example.org Aquabeads fans can look forward to taking their fabulous creations with them wherever they go with the introduction of this portable carry case. The Beginners Carry Case is a handy case that allows creative kids to take Aquabeads anywhere - to a friend’s house, on holiday, on a train or even a plane! Perfect for those who have just begun their Aquabead-ing adventure, the set comes complete with 900 beads in 24 colours. The case can be personalised too, using the design pegs to decorate it with kids’ favourite designs. For crafty kids in need of a refill, they’ll never run out of beads again with the portable Mega Bead Trunk, which has a whopping 3,000 solid, jewel and star beads in 30 colours, a carry case, creation display and template designs including colourful unicorns, rainbow, moon, and hearts.
L A I C E P S S R O D A S S A B AM
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e oing to b g ’s e r e h ,t y the year footie fans to tr in r e t la up ng World C a couple of you e h t d n a d summer game. We aske s is h t s o e l ur men’s E r in the beautifu all-themed gam o w e h t tb ve With st than e ning Moves’ foo e r e t in e in mor rick of W t t a h a out
World Football Stars Monopoly
Harry, 7, says: “Lots of my favourite footb all players are in the game!’’
Harry, who is nearly eight, enlisted the help of older brother Sam to play this game. Mum Sarah says: “The game is a great modern version of the original version I used to play as a child. It’s something we can all play as a family because it’s suitable for all ages from eight up. “Harry loved the football theme, as it has lots of recognisable players - many of them his favourites. “On first impressions, it was really easy to set up and the rules are easy to understand. Plus it is very appealing to children who love football, so goes down well in my house full of boys! They don’t always want to play board games, but the combination of familiar gameplay and the footie theme made it far more appealing. “Instead of Leicester Square and Park Lane, each square belongs to a famous footballer - such as Mo Salah or Harry Kane. Train stations are replaced by football stadia, including Wembley. And instead of the top hat, car and ship, there are football tokens including a mini goal, ref’s whistle and trophy. “This is definitely a game that Harry - and we - can play over and over again!’’
World Football Stars
Five-year-old Albie is already a big football fan, just like his dad Paul, so this footie-themed Top Trumps card game was a big hit. Paul says: “I loved playing Top Trumps as a kid - but we never had a football one - I’d have loved that! So it was lovely to play a game with Albie, so we could share something from my childhood. “There’s 30 cards in the set including big names such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suárez and many more. “It’s interesting to find out stats about them - how many caps they’ve earned, how many goals they’ve scored and so on. “The great thing about Top Trumps is there’s plenty of reading and maths going on while you’re playing, so it’s a win-win!''
Dad Paul says: “It was nice to play this with Albie - Top Trumps is a game I played as a kid’’
World Football Stars Top Trumps Match Board Game Young Albie also played this matching game from the Top Trumps stable - and even challenged his dad to a game.
Mum Kelly explains: “The idea behind the game is to match five of the footballers in a row - either horizontally, vertically or diagonally by slotting the cubes into the playing screen. “But it’s not that simple - because if your opponent turns over the Top Trump card, they could take your Albie, 5, says match and win the game. This is a “I like the gam great game that really gets the child e because it has thinking about their strategy. They all my favourite player have to think ahead, work out what s. I managed to be they must do next - and learn that at Daddy by gett there are winners and losers! All ing five in a row with M great lessons to learn while having bappe, who is my favo fun playing a game. urite PSG player’’ “The set-up for this game is very easy and straightforward. The carry case makes it ideal for taking on holidays, outings and sleepovers at grandparents'/ aunties' and uncles' houses. There are not too many pieces to put together, which also helps, and they are all stored in the neat carry case.''
Winning Moves 020 7298 951 | email@example.com www.winningmoves.co.uk
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If you wo uld like t o take pa in Talkin rt g Retail, we’d love hear from to you. Plea se email news@to ysnplayth ings.med ia
TnP loves to hear your views. This month we ask retailers about their plans for in-store events and their predictions for the Next Big Thing
Jade Oliver-Deacon Owner, The Toy Shop Okehampton, Devon With Covid restrictions relaxed, are you planning any in-store events? Not yet. In my opinion, it's still too early to consider doing those sorts of things. Hopefully, Covid case numbers will continue to fall and we can start to look at in-store demos in the summer. What do you think is the next big thing for 2022? Dinosaurs are ‘in’. They are always popular, but everyone I spoke to at Toy Fair mentioned the new Jurassic Park film that is due out later this year.
“Dinosaurs are ‘in’... everyone I spoke to at Toy Fair mentioned the new Jurassic Park film that is due out later this year”
Owner, Cachao Toys Muswell Hill , London With Covid restrictions relaxed, are you planning any in-store events? If I’m completely honest, I’m struggling to think too far ahead! Business has been pretty good recently. I have days that are terrible and days that are great - but overall turnover is good, which puts a lot more pressure on me. I like to be physically in the shop as much as possible to get a feel for what’s going on. But I’m also trying to stay on top of paperwork, orders and deleting annoying emails - my time gets used up very quickly. So, the short answer is: yes, I'd love to do some in-store events, but I haven't gone any further with planning any.
What do you think is the next big thing for 2022?
open to I'm not too bothered about the next big thing. Usually, the crazes that go around are made of something unsustainable materials, which inevitably end up new but in landfill. I'm done with it. I like to stick with good I’m very old tried-and-tested classics, or variations of them: conscious of toys that have long-lasting play value and can be the effect it’s passed on rather than chucked out. having on the I'm always open to something new but I’m very conscious of the effect it’s having on the planet planet and and I’m trying to do what I can to minimise the I’m trying to impact. I’m not perfect and don’t claim to be do what I can totally sustainable. But I do what I can. to minimise I get excited when I find a small business that the impact” has made a go of creating a new product that you don't see everywhere. So often I hear from my customers that the child they are buying for 'has everything'. So, I need to find different products that they don't have. Of course, I have to have staple products too, but it's the little guys that get me passionate about selling again. At Toy Fair I found a really cute company called Button and Squirt. Owner Ria Painter-Coates has a really clever collection of Amazing Animals flash cards and colouring books - beautifully illustrated and educational. I also found amazing (handmade in Guatemala) flying discs from Buena Onda Games. And at Top Drawer I saw some lovely crafty products (not necessarily for kids), which I’m really excited to get in. I like to think outside the box! 26
Julia Wingate Owner, The Trading Post Kingsbridge, Devon With Covid restrictions relaxed, are you planning any in-store events? We have reintroduced our Saturday offers, where each week we offer a free goodie bag linked with a brand or supplier. This has been well received by our local customers, who are venturing back instore more regularly.
What do you think is the next big thing for 2022? All the toys with true 'green' credentials. We particularly like the Green Toys range from Bigjigs Toys and Adoptables from Keel Toys.
Debbie Maloney Senior Manager, Austins Department Store Newton Abbot, Devon With Covid restrictions relaxed, are you planning any in-store events? Not at present due to staffing levels, but we hope to plan for second-half trading. But we will participate in the Sylvanian Families loyalty scheme and the Schleich 3-for-2 offer.
Joseph Pulfrey Senior Buyer, Hobbycraft Group 100-plus stores across the UK With Covid restrictions relaxed, are you planning any in-store events? Our workshops are back! They’re even better than before. July 2021 saw the expansion of the Hobbycraft workshop programme to deliver fun and creative classes both in-store and online, powered by events booking platform ClassBento. Customers can choose a workshop to master a new craft or refine a longtime favourite, and most workshops come with a complete craft kit providing everything needed to craft along. It’s all about help and advice, and Hobbycraft’s expert craft colleagues will share all the tools and techniques for customers
“Our regular events are our speciality and we can’t wait to release our full schedule for 2022”
to continue what they have learned for other projects at home. Attendees can choose online and in-store options to suit their needs, and in-store workshop capacity will remain reduced to ensure customers can socially distance while crafting. Specifically for half term we held kids’ craft workshops to colour-in canvas, moulding and more, plus our usual colour-in ceramics workshops for our charity Together for Short Lives. The Hobbycraft workshop platform is dedicated to getting all of Britain making and creating, and continues to expand.
Amanda Alexander Owner, Giddy Goat Toys Didsbury, Manchester With Covid restrictions relaxed, are you planning any in-store events? We’ve recently started doing a storytime session on a Friday morning, which is held by Jo, who also does my social media. She used to run a story class franchise called Adventure Babies so she’s brilliant at it. I’m thinking we should also put the wooden train set back out on the play table, but we’ve got so used to it being in the area where deliveries are unpacked that I’m actually half reluctant!
Martin Blyth Director, Tickly Tapir Evesham, Worcestershire With Covid restrictions relaxed, are you planning any in-store events? Our regular events are our speciality and we can’t wait to release our full schedule for 2022. We had a fun, Schleich-inspired Easter Egg hunt in store to celebrate the release of Schleich’s new Limited Edition Easter Rabbit figures. We’re also working closely with CollectA on ideas for an Animal Figurine Fair in the summer. Further to our exciting events with Playmobil and Tonies last year, we are also working with them closely to finalise our plans for 2022 and ensure they are even bigger and better than last year.
What do you think is the next big thing for 2022? I think that the new Sophia’s Beauties range from Schleich is going to be an incredibly strong performer in 2022. It’s the first time that Schleich has included hair on its horse figures and the range of grooming tools available to go alongside these horses is very impressive. The new range is clearly differentiated from the existing Horse Club franchise and will certainly bring a whole new segment of the market into the magical world of Schleich.
What do you think is the next big thing for 2022? At this point in the year I honestly couldn’t say. Pushpoppers were obviously the big thing last year, so I’m waiting to see and hear from local children and parents to find out what they want…
Vicky Brown Owner, Just Williams, Two stores in Dulwich, London, and Beckenham, Kent With Covid restrictions relaxed, are you planning any in-store events? With restrictions lifting, we will get our demo table out so we can demo games. And we were excited to be able to run Easter Egg hunts in our stores once again this year. We have a few other events planned but want to see how our customers react before we organise too much.
What do you think is the next big thing for 2022? This is a tough one as there are so many new great products out there but I think the Unique Eyes dolls from Flair and the Timio from Toynamics will be big this year.
“We were excited to be able to run Easter Egg hunts in our stores once again”
RETAIL INTERVIEW TOYVS
Traditional with a twist
Customer service is king for Mendel Singer, founder and CEO of ToyVs, a bricks-and-mortar store and online retailer in Belgium Tell us about your business. I was looking for a career change and my friends and family suggested I start selling on third-party platforms. Long story short, I began with a couple of ideas and was then offered a deal on toys, and the rest is history and thank goodness for that, because I’ve always enjoyed working with kids. ToyVs was founded in 2018 as an ecommerce business, based in my family dining room. I used to store pallets at home (my kids had a blast thinking everything inside was for them!). Over time we grew and rented a small warehouse, and in 2020 - just before the first lockdown - we started renovations for a bricks-and-mortar store. It was the next step in developing our business. I realised that retail stores are here to stay and there is potential in growing in retail if you offer customers a unique and personal service. It’s an experience that ecommerce platforms don’t offer, and it’s something that can be maximised. We are based in Mortsel, which is a beautiful city about 5km from Antwerp. So, as of now, we have one bricks-andmortar location and our website. Our store is a medium size, and its shelves
are filled to the brim with toys. Our warehouse is just two doors down, which makes it easy for us to restock and fulfill orders; usually we ship the same working day.
We also offer Teddy Bear Mobile, which is similar to Build-A-Bear: kids choose a teddy (and accessories), stuff it themselves, and we can add a voice recording. And, as it’s a mobile service, we can rent it out for birthday parties or events. And although shops are open again, we still offer kerbside pickup, and delivery to customers who purchase larger items (within 2km of the store).
What’s the ethos behind it? Our slogan is ‘unleash your child’s imagination’. I love seeing children smiling, laughing, and having fun. We offer a wide range of toys that are entertaining for the entire family and get everyone involved.
How would you describe your range?
What do you offer that other toy shops don’t? We offer a very extensive range of STEM/STEAM traditional toys with a twist. Our toys are creative and entertaining. Kids learn while playing, letting their imaginations go wild. The store includes play tables with seating for eight, where kids can sit down, play, test the toys and experience them - and I can demonstrate products to potential customers to help them make the right choice.
Interacting with customers and giving them a personalised experience is something online shopping cannot replace
Traditional toys with a modern twist, or technological toys that are different from toys you would find in a traditional toy store. We try to carry products that give kids a sense of accomplishment that they’ve learned, built or created something that they can be proud of.
Where do you source new products? We normally attend the London Toy Fair, Toy Fair New York, Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg, Toy Fair Dallas, ChiTAG (Chicago Toy & Game Fair) and a few other smaller fairs. I prefer the smaller fairs because you often find real quality toys that are being overlooked.
What’s your selection criteria?
We stock items that are good quality and that will last, which kids will play with more than once and parents are happy to purchase - so when kids get bored, parents can say, ‘why don’t you go play with your XYZ toy?’. I know it’s against the grain - toy stores want more customers and if kids get bored, their parents will come back for something new - but my belief is that if they buy quality products that last, they will come back to buy more, because it keeps their kids busy.
What lines have you started stocking recently? Brainstorm Toys, LiteBee Kids Drones you either build your own drone, which is for kids aged six-plus, or we have a more advanced self-coding drone - and Jouef trains from Hornby Hobbies.
How do you attract new customers and maintain the interest of existing ones? I believe in traditional advertising with a twist (I’m not a big fan of social media). I think interacting with customers and giving them a personalised experience is something online shopping cannot replace. I’m a strong believer in word of mouth. We pride ourselves on customer service. I give every customer a personalised experience that they are sure to remember. For example, last Christmas we ran a special promotion: depending on what a customer purchased, they got to choose a couple of different items (such as a piggy bank, lip balm or pencil case) and we personalised them with their name. That way, customers got a little extra gift to give at Christmas. And if customers make a teddy bear, we offer a free T-shirt and print the teddy’s name on it free of charge. That way, during the year customers remember the toy shop that gave them something extra. Plus there’s our birthday registration service: customers can register on our website and a few days before their birthday, they receive a birthday card
■ 3 Doodler start pens ■ Geomag ■ Wrebbitt 3D Puzzles ■ Cobi Blocks
What are your top sellers? 3Doodler start pens have been a great seller. Then there’s Geomag, Wrebbitt 3D Puzzles, Cobi Blocks (they have great historical builds), science kits from Griddly Games and Thames & Kosmos, K’NEX and Tybo Tie-Dye Design, Also popular is Story Time Chess, which teaches chess to young children: each piece has a story behind it to help them understand how the pieces move and easily learn the game. That’s just a couple of examples of top sellers and brands that make the store stand out.
■ G riddly Games science kits with a 10% discount to use either on our website or in-store I think in every business it’s important to remember who the customer is. I believe it’s safe to say that in the toy world, it’s the kids more than the parents. When a parent comes in with their children, even if they don’t buy but you give their kids a fun experience - by letting them We try to play with toys on the table or handing them a balloon (not carry products only one for them but extra that give kids a ones for their siblings) - they sense of remember the toy store that let them have fun and play. accomplishment And when it’s actually time to that they’ve get a toy, they tell the parents learned, built or that they want to go back to created that particular toy store. We have many return customers. something that
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
they can be proud of
Putting a smile on a customer’s face or having a customer return to show me a picture of an accomplishment which the child they bought a toy for has built or done is really rewarding. I would really love it if a child became inspired by one of the toys they got at our store and went on to follow their passion and turn it something great, such as a career as a fashion designer, artist, or engineer and credited ToyVs toy store.
challenge is keeping our assortment fresh and finding new brands.
What do you perceive to be the biggest opportunities for your business? By continually reinventing ourselves and coming up with new ideas for shoppers. Retail is here to stay, and the aim is to stay ahead of the game by offering services that online shopping can’t compete with.
What’s planned for ToyVs in the future? I hope to start offering workshops in the store (and in schools) such as chess lessons, drawing, and basic coding. I would also like to start hosting game nights in the store. So instead of going out for a meal or watching a movie at home, customers could come here with their family and friends: reserve a time slot, choose from one of the games we carry, and we could offer some snacks. We stock adult escape room games and detective games, which are really hot now.
What’s your favourite toy or game? I don’t really have one. I love sitting down with my kids and just taking out a toy and using our imagination while playing. I find that traditional toys and games are still the best.
What’s the most challenging part of your job? Since we specialise in STEM/STEAM toys, it’s always a challenge explaining that we are a different kind of toy store. We have had customers come in with their kids commenting that we don’t have Paw Patrol, Disney Princess, or Barbie. But once they sit down at the play table and I show them how a certain toy that they are interested in works, they get excited! Another
Keep on moving Kids love a toy with wheels - whether it’s something they can ride on, push or send speeding off with a remote control - this is one category that just keeps on moving off the shelves!
he wheeled toys category is one that covers a myriad of products, from scooters and ride-ons to remote control vehicles and toy trains and cars, so there’s plenty of opportunity for sales. When it comes to outdoor toys such as scooters and ride-ons, the good news is that 2021 saw an 8% uptick in sales compared with 2019, according to figures from NPD. The stars of the show in the toy vehicles category, which also saw a rise of 7% in sales, compared with 2019, were Hot Wheels and Monster Jam. Another interesting development in this category is the pledge by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to make private e-scooters legal on roads. Phil Ratcliffe, joint managing director at MV Sports & Leisure, comments: “The future is bright but is shifting towards more powered products as a
commuter revolution gets underway. This will influence how both kids and adults will travel to school, college, and work. Our plans are spearheaded by our new e-scooter project, which is rapidly taking shape with new models, and some exciting new developments in the category. There is a widespread expectation that e-scooters (which are already very popular) will become street legal in the next few months, which will unlock a huge opportunity for switched on retailers - as it has already done in other European markets. ’’ The new legislation is slated to be included in the Queen’s Speech on May 10. The benefits of wheeled toys Catherine Hallissey is a psychologist who works with parents and children to address parenting challenges and help children become more confident and resilient. She explains some of the
developmental benefits of ride-on toys: “The benefits of ride-on toys for toddlers are many. Most obvious is that a well-chosen ride-on toy can be heaps of fun AND help to develop a child’s balance and co-ordination along with gross and fine motor skills. “All the pushing, pulling, kicking and pedalling helps children develop their gross motor skills. Learning how to balance themselves on the toy while co-ordinating their movements is an incredible skill to develop. It encourages them to engage in physical activity, helping them to develop strong muscles, strength and endurance. Steering and navigating around obstacles helps to develop spatial awareness. “Developing their skills in these areas brings great benefits to the child’s sense of self and their place in the world. The ability to move under your own power builds confidence in your own abilities.’’
Ask the retailer We asked: How are sales in this category at the moment?
Sales of wheeled toys are strong, particularly toy vehicles. They always sell well throughout the year, especially as they come in a wide price range so can be good pick-up toys and ideal gifts. Brio trains are steady sellers for us. As for other wheeled toys, scooter sales are steady throughout the year but are picking up now that the weather is getting better. What are your best sellers in this category?
Best sellers of vehicles are without a doubt Hot Wheels, then
Teamsterz light and sound fire engines and London buses. We find at this time of year ice cream vans sell well too! What would you like to see more of?
Eco vehicles, which are made out of recycled plastic, such as those from Green Toys or the Dantoy BIOplastic range, are very popular, but these tend to be aimed at the younger market. It would be great to see more environmentally-friendly vehicles aimed at the slightly older age group.
Vicky Brown, Owner, Just Williams , two stores in Dulwich, London and Beckenham, Kent
ELECTRIC GO KART
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Blizzard of Bubbles WILTON BRADLEY 01626 835400 www.wiltonbradley.com With Wilton Bradley’s Xootz Kids 3-Wheeled Bubble Scooter, kids can leave a blizzard of bubbles while they zoom along. Then there’s the Xootz bubble scooter in Pink or Blue. Watch little faces light up as they ride along on their three-wheeled scooter and bubbles magically appear. Simply add bubble solution to the front-mounted bubble machine and watch as hundreds of bubbles blow away in the wind behind. The three-wheel scooter design is easy to control and steer, making it ideal for youngsters, while the handlebar can be adjusted from any height between 64cm70cm, so can grow with the child. Easy-grip handles and anti-slip footplate ensure a comfortable and safe ride. Suitable for ages three-plus.
Powered by the sun THAMES & KOSMOS 01580 713000 www.thamesandkosmos.co.uk Thames & Kosmos has made an effort to decrease the amount of single-use plastic in its products, and much of the packaging is cardboard. The company is always keen to showcase alternative energy topics in its science kits and toys. Solar-powered Rovers teach the next generation about how solar cells work and about harnessing energy from the sun by building five different solar-powered models. The wide range of eco powered kits offers a great way to learn about engineering.
Roleplay ride-ons Simba Smoby Toys UK | 01620 674 778 | firstname.lastname@example.org Simba Smoby Toys UK’s Smoby brand offers little ones a stylish introduction to the wheeled toy category, with a host of fun ride-ons to pick from. With the Smoby Builder Max Tractor with Trailer, kids can become a real site foreman! This serious bit of kit measures 1.82m in length and is perfect for kids aged three-plus. It features an adjustable seat and can be pedalled along to get the job done. Kids will love helping mum and dad in the garden; the Smoby Builder Max Tractor comes with a functional digger and detachable trailer to the rear, and a shovel at the front. Not to forget the horn at the steering wheel, which is sure to be a popular feature. The Smoby Stronger XXL Kids Pedal Tractor with Trailer is a high-quality, safe and sturdy pedalled tractor, with a chunky, modern design. Ideal for little farmers aged three-plus, who want to lend a helping hand in the garden, this ‘giant’ tractor has a maximum length of 161cm and features tyres with cool, off-road tread, an bonnet that opens, and an accompanying trailer. The strong, wide trailer allows little helpers to carry sand, stones, twigs and more, and the in-built horn means parents will always hear them coming!
SKATEBOARD QUICK RELEASE BUCKLE
FOLDING IN-LINE SCOOTER
FOLDS FOR EASY STORAGE
DOUBLE KICKTAIL DECK
PUNCTURE PROOF TYRES
Reach hyperspeed sales! TNP MAY AD 2022 -Lightyear v2.indd 1
Ride the rainbow MV SPORTS & LEISURE 01217488000 | www.mvsports.com Let your true colours shine with MV’s new Rainbow High collection. This stunning new range, based on the best-selling and eye-catching fashion doll collection, features bold, rainbow colour pops and exciting character graphics for any true fan to immerse themselves in. The folding inline scooter features fully printed anti-slip griptape, and reactive footbrake - and folds quickly and securely for easy storage and transportation. This readyto-ride scooter is both functional, with adjustable handlebar height, and beautiful, featuring fully-printed stem wrap and engaging Rainbow High graphics. Join the gang and ride on with the Rainbow High 14in bike, featuring rainbow tassels, character-printed crash pad, caliper brakes and removable stabilisers. The fully-printed chainguard is enclosed for additional safety, the seat and handlebar heights are adjustable and spoked wheels with pneumatic tyres ensure a comfortable ride. Ride in style with the Rainbow High safety helmet, comprising a ventilated shell, adjustable size dial, quick-release buckle and lightweight EPS inner. Colourful, character graphics cover the outside while removable foam padding ensures an adjustable comfort and fit. This stylish, fresh Rainbow range is complemented with an eye-catching, colourful pop-up tent, tepee, dream den with lights, 3-in-1 Scootin’ Suitcase, lithium scooter and 16in bike. The newest addition to the range is a bright and bold inline scooter with light-up LED wheels and stunning gold tassels, for the ultimate Rainbow High fan.
Wheel into action SPIN MASTER 01628 535000 www.spinmaster.com/en-GB From the new Batman range to preschool favourite PawPatrol, Spin Master has something for action fans of all ages. Alongside The Batman movie release, Spin Master has launched a selection of movie-themed RC vehicles for fans to enjoy. Those looking for fast-paced play will love the Batmobile Turbo Boost RC. The remote control Batmobile features authentic styling from The Batman, a light-up engine and turbo boost speed. Perform epic back wheelies with the dual joystick remote control. The Batmobile Turbo Boost RC can drive in any direction and race up to six vehicles at once without interference from up to 60 metres away with its 2.4GHz dual remote control. Similarly, the new movie Batcycle RC with a fixed Batman figure features an easy-to-drive remote control, and authentic details inspired by The Batman that bring the Batcycle to life. For younger adventure seekers, Spin Master has an exciting new selection of vehicles from preschool favourite, Paw Patrol. The Rescue Knights transforming Deluxe Vehicles see Chase and the gang’s vehicles get a medieval makeover with dragon-inspired details and an exciting rescue tool transformation.
Revving up the action! BASIC FUN! 0118 925 3270 | Tim.Ives@basicfun.com Basic Fun!’s Tonka tough construction vehicles are packed with wheel appeal. Designed to be played with both indoors and out, the Tonka line-up comprises vehicles of all shapes and sizes. And with the brand celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, wheeled toy enthusiasts can expect a truck load of actionpacked fun. To mark the brand’s big birthday, there’s a Special Edition Mighty Tonka Truck. The Commemorative 1968 Tonka Dump Truck, which is inspired by the first-ever Tonka Dump Truck toy, is sure to stand out on shelf with its unique colour and design. Also not to be missed this year are the all-new Tonka Mighty Monster RC, which combine the thrill of Monster Trucks with Tonka Tough styling. Available from A/W22, this incredible line marks the introduction of Tonka’s first RC made with real steel and 4WD monster action. This epic set of wheels comes with Monster Grip Tires, with the signature ‘T’ tire tread.
DIGITAL & PR CAMPAIGN
SIMBA SMOBY TOYS UK
For more information please contact email@example.com
Dolls and collectables is a category that is not standing still. Toy makers are always looking to add play value, increase collectability and keep up with trends and consumer demand…
olls and collectables is an ever-popular sector that has year-round appeal. Last year’s top 10 Christmas toys chart (according to NPD) was topped by Barbie’s Dreamhouse from Mattel, and also featured another three toys from the same category - L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Doll Asst, Rainbow High Doll Asst, and Polly Pocket World Sweet Treat Compact Asst. So this is a category that is going nowhere any Chloe Burrowes, time soon! Dolls is the third largest senior brand manager, supercategory in the toy Vivid Goliath sector (14% of all toy sales), according to NPD figures, and despite an 11% drop in sales compared with 2019, fashion dolls has grown by a massive 56% in the past two years. So what does the sector look like according to suppliers - and what can we expect in the near future? “Collectables is still a booming category for us with no signs of slowing down,’’ says Chloe Burrowes, senior brand manager at Vivid Goliath. “We’ve seen great success in this sector with licensed products such as our Ryan’s World Mystery Figures selling an average of 30,000 units to avid Ryan viewers every single month, and early sprouts of success with our new for 2022 launch, Recyclings. This
Collectables is still a booming category for us with no signs of slowing down
eco-conscious collectable is saving the world one bottle cap at a time, by reusing plastic bottle caps, which normally would have been destined for landfill, into an array of cute characters. “Our next step is to move into Dolls under the Recyclings umbrella with six collectable Recyclies. The Recyclies all come with two surprise Recyclings pals for the child to unbox. The aim is to create a compelling range across Collectables, Doll & Playsets, compounding the key sustainability message behind the range, which is so important to retailers and consumers alike.’’ And all these changes are being led by the consumer, as Kasia Leskow, marketing manager at Zapf Creation UK, explains: “There are definitely changes in demands from parents, which have developed in recent years. These have moved along in line with the news agenda, social awareness, and of course the pandemic. We’ve seen that parents are searching for toys with longevity. Managing childcare alongside this new hybrid of work and home life, parents need toys for their children that will keep them engaged and happy for longer periods of time. They also need toys that encourage independent play. “Our brands have always delivered in these areas, and we have been well equipped to respond to these needs. Toys that develop, engage and entertain
children every day is exactly what our dolls deliver.’’ And of course longevity and play value can be boosted by big-ticket items, says Chloe Burrows at Vivid Goliath: “We find larger-scale playsets really help to bolster a collectables range and offer the next logical purchase step for a consumer who wants to expand their collections. “Recyclings will see a Collection Truck Playset added into the range for A/W22 – this freewheeling truck includes an articulated front and side dumper and an eye-catching rainbow design. Each Collection Truck comes with an exclusive Recyclies Rainbow doll; a true Trash to Treasure Queen and a Recyclings. Ryan’s World also benefits from a selection of big-ticket playsets, our most exciting this year being a largescale titronic treasure chest, which transforms into the Mega Mecha Titan before your eyes.’’ Sustainability concerns are also coming to the fore now, as awareness continues to grow. At Zapf Creation, Kasia says: “There is a growing call for environmentally-conscious options in the toy market. In January 2021 we committed to plastic-free packaging, and banned single-use plastics including cable ties, sticky tape, viewing windows, plastic bags and blister packs from all of our new packaging. We also reduced packaging sizes, increasing efficiency
DOLLS & COLLECTABLES
and therefore the environmental impact of transportation and storage of Zapf Creation products. “We’re continuing to develop in this area, but our changes have already had a huge impact. We cut production of single-use plastic by over 40 tons in the first 12 months of the initiative and our aim is to have fully plastic free packaging for all of our items by the end of 2022.*’’ Vivid Goliath is also making progress in this area, says Chloe Burrows: “With our Recyclings brand, the name really says it all! Our Recyclings use 70% recycled plastic from bottle caps, plus the packaging is made from recycled materials and is recyclable too. Recyclings will save more than 30 million bottle caps by the end of 2022, and we’re proud to be selling the world’s first recycled collectable. Each Recycling saves five bottle caps from landfill, which not only means guilt-free collecting but also encourages kids to take an interest in sustainability and reduces our carbon footprint. “It’s great that there’s a thoughtful toy/collectable choice for a greener, cleaner planet available at a comparable price point to nonrecycled lines.’’ So what else can we expect from this category? According to Chloe at Vivid Goliath: “More cuteness, collectability and innovative unboxing experiences supported by digital worlds. The key to these ranges is to provide new characters and styles for the consumer to buy into to support the collectability of the range. For Recyclings Series 2, we’ll have another 102 styles to collect with everything from a sparkling diamond to a glow in the dark Alien – this is on top of the 90-plus to collect in Series 1! It’s important that we build a digital world around the physical product to aid kids’ engagement with the brand. Both on Ryan’s World & Recyclings, we have a strong presence on YouTube with videos to showcase the product. The Recyclings channel, despite being in its infancy, has already racked up nearly 3million views! This digital space is developed further through interactive app games which further fuse the physical and digital worlds and provide the all-important link back to retail.’’ *Valid at end of February 2022 - NPD UK February Report Zapf Creations.
The benefits of dolls Virginia Mendez, author of Childhood Unlimited: Parenting Beyond the Gender Bias, explains the benefits of doll play for all children: “Toys are great for entertainment but they are also amazing learning tools. Different kinds of toys help certain developmental areas, and that is why it’s vital that boys and girls are encouraged to take part in all kinds of play. It will come as no surprise that while toys aimed at boys encourage activity and adventure, many girls’ toys send the message that life is all about appearance and caregiving. Play that includes dolls and roleplaying helps with empathy and caring skills; for older children they can improve social, planning and language skills, as they create a story. “When we talk about girls being ‘naturally more caring’ or being more talkative, we tend to ignore all the external factors that influence them while developing these traits. Now that we know that we want our boys to be more emotionally intelligent we might be able to start from the beginning, by letting them explore and develop those skills further through play.’’
Did you know?
Encouraging kindness SIMBA SMOBY TOYS UK firstname.lastname@example.org 01620 674 778
Steffi is getting active with the Steffi Love Sport, a yogathemed set, which allows kids to position their flexible Steffi doll in all her yoga poses, and comes with a pink dolphin to make friends with
Simba Smoby Toys UK continues to fill young minds with pretend play possibilities, with its doll brands: B-Kind and Steffi Love. B-Kind is the beautiful new collection that offers families a greener option in the doll aisle. Designed to promote positive messages of kindness, creativity, and compassion, these dolls have been created to be more environmentally friendly. The B-Kind dolls are made from recycled materials, and come presented in eco-fashions. What’s more, each character comes boxed in reusable packaging made from recycled materials. A ribbon that serves as the box handle can be used as a hair tie, while the packaging can be used to construct a Kindness Board - a space to share kindness goals, which can also be used as a background play scene. There are five characters to collect; each has her own interest, from going green, to saving the oceans, to ending bullying. Relatable for the children of today, the dolls’ passions highlight the importance of being kind to the environment, animals, and to each other. To add to the fun, the dolls come with a different DIY activity, such as making an upcycled doll’s outfit, creating a set of BFF bracelets, and more. From Steffi Love comes a host of new fashion doll themes. From sporty sets to the Happy Animal theme, all the way through to hairdressing, fashion and fantasy concepts, there are so many new lines to pick from. Sure to be a hit is Steffi Love Swap Mermaid. Steffi has been transformed into a beautiful mermaid. Children can give Mermaid Steffi a makeover by turning over the sequins to reveal a new look; she even comes with hair extensions to complement her sequin mermaid tail scale. For fitness-themed fun there is Steffi Love Bike Tour; this Steffi doll comes with a bicycle, helmet, basket, dog and baby! There’s also Steffi Love Sport, a yogathemed set, which allows kids to position their flexible Steffi doll in all her yoga poses.
DOLLS & COLLECTABLES
The sky’s the limit! VIVID GOLIATH GROUP 01483 449944 | www.vividtoysandgames.co.uk
Style up and play this spring EPOCH MAKING TOYS
0208 049 1377 | email@example.com For the first time, fans of Sylvanian Families will be able to immerse themselves in the world of beauty, fashion, makeovers and pampering with the new Style & Play range from Epoch Making Toys. Starting off with the Sylvanian Families Princess Dress Up Set, children can use their creativity to mix and match dresses, a tiara, accessories, and shoes, to give Persian cat Lyra a princess makeover. Further stimulating imaginative roleplay is the Pony’s Hair Stylist Set. This set features everything a hair Pony’s Stylish Hair Salon is a salon needs. It comes with the two-storey playset with more Pony mother Serafina, styling than 30 cute accessories for tools and accessories – all hair and make-up play, from contained in her cute cart. hair pieces, and curling irons From Autumn, the Pony to face masks and colourful Friends Set brings the most cosmetics fashionable animals to the Sylvanian Village. This stylish set contains Chestnut Pony Vera and Silver Pony Giselle, a stylish freestanding mirror, hair accessories and fashion items. Plenty to create glamorous new looks! The jewel in the crown of the Sylvanian Families beauty empire comes with the release of Pony’s Stylish Hair Salon. Make your appointment with Sally, pick a hairstyle from the styling book and give your Pony a makeover while sitting at the beautiful dresser. The two-storey playset includes more than 30 cute accessories for hair and make-up play, from hair pieces, and curling irons to face masks and colourful cosmetics. Fans can let their hair down and unleash their creativity with Pony Sally in charge of their mane. All sets are suitable for children aged four and upwards.
Goliath is unveiling a new launch of an historically successful brand in the form of Skydancers. Reimagined from the 90s classic and featuring the same magical play, the beautiful Skydancer characters will captivate the imagination of a new generation when they take flight. Fuschia Fantasy, Purple Licious, Miss Mint, Coral Cutie and Sapphire Sparkle are the Skydancers making their return in July. A product with a huge legacy of success, selling 22 million units between 1995 and 1997, the new improved version is set to make a mark with an entire new audience (and some hankering after memories past). Each of the dazzling Sky Dancers has their own enchanting power, from keeping their Kingdom in full bloom to super speed and flying among shooting stars. Although each Sky Dancer will have her own unique style, the mesmerising flying play pattern unites them all. Pull the string on the decorated base, and watch as your Sky Dancer performs a dazzling dance through mid-air. With no batteries required, you can experience the magic again and again.
Time to Glo-Up!
CHARACTER OPTIONS 0161 633 9800 | firstname.lastname@example.org Character Options continues to Glo-Up the doll category with a second series of its hit fashion doll collection, InstaGlam Glo-Up Dolls. Girls can look forward to the A/W arrival of Series 2 of the InstaGlam Glo-Up Dolls. This is a range that is all about empowerment, confidence, and inspiring children to be who they want to be, with the latest wave bringing a new Glo All Out theme. Each 10in articulated doll in this wave comes dressed in a super-cool, funky and fashionable outfit, with each character expressing their own unique style. And with 28 fashion and accessory surprises to unbox, girls will love taking their Glo Up doll through a series of beauty makeovers and transformations. With a new on-trend Streaming Studio playset also available to collect in the second half, including an exclusive doll, this is a range that is sure to attract an even bigger following this year.
Collect them all! SPIN MASTER
01628 535000 | www.spinmaster.com/en-GB
Hey baby! JURATOYS
0208 878 2133 | www.lilliputiens.be/en Juratoys presents a new doll collection by Lilliputiens. There are 11 dolls to choose from, as well as clothes and accessories. The products are made from 100% recycled polyester and GRS certified with FSC certified packaging. Pictured is Rose: a doll who loves cuddles, just like a real baby. Under her fashionable dress (which can be easily put on and taken off), she wears a nappy, which you have to change regularly- just like a real mummy or daddy. If she’s a little sad, the magnetic dummy will offer some comfort. Rose is 36cm tall and because of her weight feels like a real newborn baby.
Spin Master has a fantastic selection of collectables at a great price for pocket money collectors, from popular brands such as Hatchimals and Wizarding World, to newer brands such as P.Lushes. Expand your Hatchimals CollEGGtibles collection with sweet siblings from the new, adorable Hatchimals Families. Each family has their own unique look and theme inspired by their favourite activities. Discover eight Hatchimals Families, including the Cat Dancers, Lion Artists, Bat Musicians, rare Dog Pilots, super rare Fox Pageant Stars and more. The Sibling Pack is the perfect way to start building your families. Each Sibling Pack comes with a new Hatchimals egg, full of fun surprises: one Big Kid, one Baby, a pair of wings for the Big Kid and a reusable egg that becomes a cool hangout. For little fashionistas, the micro Purse Pets from Spin Master are an excellent choice for those looking for a small bag that makes a big impact. These tiny totes each have their own unique look and feature pop art-inspired eyes that roll when you open and close the zip. The new Micro Purse Pets collection features six different animals with unique fabrics and textures like denim, soft Sherpa plush, holographic patent faux leather, glitter accents and so much more. In time for the release of The Batman movie, Spin Master has launched an exciting selection of collectable, movie-themed action figures for fans to enjoy. The 12in movie action figures are the perfect choice for any fan looking to create their own epic Batman adventures. Each action figure features 11 points of articulation, a cloth cape and detailed movie styling that brings the character to life. DC fans can start their collection with action figures including Batman, Selina Kyle (Catwoman), The Penguin, and more. Also available are 4in movie action figures, which take adventure to the next level with accompanying mystery cards and three unique accessories. Another great collectable choice for little style icons are P.Lushes Pets. These designer plushies from all around the world love to look their best. This stylish squad of fabulous fashionistas serve chic with a sprinkle of attitude and a whole lot of glitter. Luxe, premium fabric and a sparkling collar enhance their fashion-inspired looks. Collect them all, including the Limited Edition and Special Edition rare plush. Spin Master also offers a great For collectors who love a bit more action, selection of pocket money Spin Master also offers the official 1:64 scale collectables from the Harry die-cast Monster Jam monster truck with Potter themed Wizarding all-new trucks to collect. These lean, mean, World brand - ideal with the Monster Jam machines feature more details recent Fantastic Beasts film and graphics than ever before, with official release. The Wizarding world BKT Tyres, stylised chrome 3in mini dolls are highly rims and an authentic detailed, bringing the beloved chassis with chrome Harry Potter characters to life. detailing. Each Similarly, the Harry Potter and 1:64 scale toy Ginny Weasley friendship set truck now and the Luna Lovegood and comes complete Cho Chang friendship set each with a driver contain two 7.6cm collectable moulded into the dolls plus two patronus to driver’s seat and bring magic to life a barrel, ramp or crushed car accessory play piece. Use the accessory to create your own stunts and jumps, just like in the live shows.
The eyes have it FLAIR GP email@example.com 0208 643 0320 Children will be spoilt for choice in the dolls’ aisle
with Flair’s two new collections. Unique Eyes are fashion dolls with ‘magical eyes’. These dolls follow the gaze of anyone observing them. There are three core characters to collect. Kids will love their soft, brushable hair, and their realistic, articulated bodies that can stand up. Super Cute Little Babies is the baby doll brand designed to inspire girls to help protect the planet. These lovable babies have superpowers and have been chosen to help save the planet.
RETAIL INTERVIEW MONKEY FISH TOYS
‘ Every day is like being at the North Pole!’ Michael Olafsson, co-founder of Monkey Fish Toys, shares his experience of the Stateside toy retail scene from his store in Philadephia What’s your career background?
Tell us about your business.
My 30 year-plus journey has included sales, product development, business development and retail store development with major brands including ExxonMobil, Starbucks, Nestlé and Applebee's. Interestingly, these experiences have been quite synergistic in my efforts with my [co-founder] wife KC to grow Monkey Fish Toys - in other words, the experiences have fed off one another.
Why did you decide to open a toy shop?
If we can provide joyful memories to parents, grandparents and children, we've hit our main goal!
Toys have been a life-long love going back to childhood. I can still remember the joy I felt when my mom would take me to my favourite toy store: Mr. Big Toyland in the Massachusetts suburb of Waltham. We strive to replicate that every day with our customers. If we can provide joyful memories to today's parents, grandparents and children, we've hit our main goal!
We are a speciality toy retailer in West Chester, a quaint college town outside Philadelphia. We started as an onlineonly retailer over 20 years ago and evolved into bricks-and-mortar retail about 12 years ago. This evolution was almost by accident: we had outgrown our basement and garage and needed to find a new place to operate. This led to us finding a small retail/warehouse space nearby, which basically ‘forced’ us into retail - and we haven't looked back! Our store is 2,600sq ft with another 1,600sq ft of warehouse and activity area for parties and events.
What’s the ethos behind it? Our goal is to put smiles on the faces of our customers - adults and kids alike - by providing a great in-store experience highlighting cool, fun toys and games, with the icing on the cake being our talented and eclectic team.
Why is it called Monkey Fish Toys? I asked my daughter, who was five years old or so at the time, what
would be a cool name or mascot for the store. For some reason, she blurted out ‘monkey fish’ (perhaps they talked about monkey fish in school that day). The name stuck because it puts a smile on everyone's face and people remember it. I will admit we get calls about once a month from people thinking we are a pet store!
Are you a member of any trade associations? Yes, ASTRA [American Specialty Toy Retailing Association] and The Good Toy Group, which is a fantastic group of 100-plus independent toy retailers from across the US. These groups are a key factor in our ability to not only stay on current trends but to establish great partnerships with the brands we represent.
How would you describe the range? Spanning from infant to adult. Adult has been a newer and growing focus since the pandemic - in addition to kids, we're striving to make sure tweens, teens, parents and
Best Sellers ■ LEGO ■ M elissa & Doug ■ M attel (Hot Wheels, Barbie, and games) ■ P okémon (trading card game)
grandparents can find something cool as well, especially with games and puzzles. One of the best examples of this trend towards catering to older ‘kids’ is what LEGO is doing with the higher end of its range.
What are your key categories and brands? LEGO is our top seller - we have the best LEGO selection in our area, and possibly eastern Pennsylvania. Other key brands include Pokémon (we run a club and a league), Mattel, Melissa & Doug, Playmobil, Fat Brain Toys and Schylling. But in all, we represent more than 100 great brands in our store.
How do you source new products? We find ideas in several ways including trade associations, social media, having great vendor reps, and developing products ourselves (we have a few in the pipeline and had our first successful product launch back during the spinner craze). We attend the New York Toy Fair, ASTRA events, and some local shows each year. We try very hard to keep up with trends from our customers and their kids our daughter is a great source of ideas as well!
What’s your selection criteria? Simply, quality product at a ‘fair’ price - and a brand/product must help fill a niche or complement a segment of the store. The last thing we want to do is have 'competing’ products that confuse our customers (for example, why have four lines of toddler toys when we have Fat Brain Toys?). Additionally, when we ‘test’ a new brand/product, the buy-in
■ S chylling (mainly smaller fidget/fun toys)
should be commensurate with the risk: in other words, we're not going to do a huge buy of a new brand/product until our customers show demand. The popper fidget trend of 2021 is a good example of this approach. We tested it, then only plunged in after seeing huge demand signals in our sales.
What lines have you started stocking recently?
We are undoubtedly bullish on the toy and game business for 2022, peppered with a dash of caution, so we're ready for any curve balls thrown our way
We’ve expanded our range of Fat Brain Toys, added Amahi Ukuleles and other musical items, and added more Speks and Hands Craft (both due to adult demand) and more Franklin outdoor toys. We have also started to expand our candy/novelties offer.
What are your predictions for what will be popular this summer? The fidget popper craze continues to remain strong but is fading a bit. Other classic fidget toys such as Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty have seen a resurgence. Plush (Squishmallows, for example) remains strong. Games found a new resurgence with the pandemic and are only getting stronger as people want to pull away from their screens. Outdoor play is likely to be a big sales driver this summer as people continue to celebrate some normalcy and ability to travel.
What are you most excited about? I’m a huge LEGO fan, so I always look forward to each year's range and they seldom disappoint, with this year's range being more expansive than ever based on what we've seen so far! Additionally, early indications are that the level of innovation with both existing and new brands seems higher than ever. Every 2022 catalogue we get our hands on is emphasising the ‘new’ more than ever! We are undoubtedly bullish on the toy and game business for 2022, peppered with a dash of caution, so we're ready for any curve balls thrown our way.
What do you offer that other toy shops don't? We have got to differentiate ourselves to survive in our market (we have two Targets, a Walmart, and other toy sellers all within 20 minutes of us). Some of our key differentiators include free gift wrapping, our large LEGO selection, parties (birthday and other themes), free local delivery in our county, and a dedicated game room.
How do you attract new customers and maintain the interest of existing ones? We work hard to strike a balance between making sure our customers (and potential new customers) know we are there for them, but not being obnoxious about it - how many of us like the daily email blasts we get from big-box retailers? While we do not ‘live by the discount’, we do send a periodic email with key updates, specials, and
RETAIL INTERVIEW MONKEY FISH TOYS
On unicorns and dinosaurs… A couple of our team members - Vivian and Julie - hit a home run recently by designing and developing new feature areas in the store for unicorns and dinosaurs, which are two of our best-selling themes. Why does this matter? Three key retail learnings: first, empower every team member - yes, even the part-time folks have tons to offer if you let them… process is great, but don’t forget creative expression. Second, sell what sells. I know that’s quite trite, but it’s something we need to periodically remind ourselves. Supply more of what our customers demand, not just what we think they should want (if I had a buck for every time I’ve been wrong in my buys, because I forgot this). Third, be willing to take calculated risks and try new ideas. The toy business, like so many others, is constantly changing, and we (indie retailers especially) need to adapt or perish. This includes looking for new trends, trying new brands and reinventing our store experience. Ironically, we approach our business much like I approach trading stocks: play the game, cut your losses quickly, but let your winners run! So, next time one of your team suggests something, even if it’s outlandish, you may want to take that calculated risk and go for it you may just find a unicorn!
coupons. Our open rate is well above industry norms (30%-plus) and our opt-out rate is less than 1%. We use Facebook and Instagram heavily and are using TikTok more and more - our team is the source for most of our content! We are known for our great selection, our in-store events (pre-Covid), and we have won several local parenting awards for being the best toy retailer in the area.
What’s the Covid situation in the US? We closed in spring 2020 and reopened that summer with restrictions - these have eased with vaccination rates. We are fortunate to be in an area with a very high vaccination rate, which has helped to keep both Covid and restrictions at bay. Now, as we approach summer, we're seeing more normalcy than we have in two years.
What changes have you made in light of Covid? We've had to greatly limit in-store events, but we are easing back into
Thanks to the amazing talent in this industry, there's so much innovation in the marketplace - we just need to make sure we find it!
them. The team still wears masks out of caution since so many of our customers are young (and therefore not vaccinated). We ask customers to wear masks as well, but do not mandate it.
What opportunities has the pandemic created for your business? It's truly helped us become great at omnichannel, including local delivery services. It’s also rekindled customers’ desires to appreciate the in-store shopping experience, especially when they are able to support local businesses such as ours.
What’s planned for Monkey Fish Toys in the future? Methodical growth in our trade area (eastern Pennsylvania) including both in-store and online. We're also planning to roll out our own products in a very selective manner.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Toys, toys, toys - every day is like being at the North Pole! Seeing happy team members, happy customers and
ringing sales is the true reward. I can attest to the sentiment that it's not work if you love what you do!
What’s the most challenging part of your job? Now, supply chain (as with most retailers). But longer term, staying competitive with Amazon and large bricks-and-mortar retailers. I'm not quite sure if this is happening in the UK, but it seems like every retailer in the US is trying to sell toys, from pharmacies to hardware stores - we need to continue to develop our edge, which is giving our customers great service, cool unique items and lots of smiles!
Where do you perceive the biggest opportunities? Building back our in-store activities/ events, so we can go back to providing that true experiential offering. Additionally, as we grow, establishing or enhancing key processes will help remove obstacles for us - making it easier for our team members to service our customers. A recent example of this is in the area of revamping inventory management, from ordering to receiving to selling to paying the bills.
Where do you face the biggest challenges? Increasing costs, leading to squeezed margins. There will never be a lack of great new products. Thanks to the amazing talent in this industry, there's so much innovation in the marketplace - we just need to make sure we find it!
What’s your favourite toy? LEGO (toy) and Tenzi (game). My ideal relaxation? A good beer and a LEGO set!
ARTS & CRAFTS
The arts & crafts
movement Arts & crafts experienced a massive resurgence during lockdown, and it looks like interest is still high. TnP discovers what benefits these toys bring - and reveals the latest toys that you could see flying off your shelves in the next few months
rts & crafts experienced a massive resurgence when we were all confined to our homes, and not only is it popular with parents because it represents time away from a screen - but it has a number of developmental benefits for children. According to NPD figures, the Arts & Crafts sector last year held on to 56% of the gains it made during the lockdowns of 2020, ending 2021 at 5% above its 2019 Getting lost in performance. Brands that arts and crafts continue to do well include activities is a Crayola, Play-Doh and powerful way in Spin Master’s Kinetic Sand, which children can which was named both express their inner top toy in the category in the US and Europe’s Top worlds, which in Gaining Toy Property in turn can help Arts & Crafts. them connect with Despite the fact that themselves, with participation has dropped benefits to a little in the past 14 years or so, according emotional and to the Statista Research psychological Department, around 70% wellbeing of children aged five to 10 Dr Gauri Seth took part in arts and crafts
activities during 2019/2020. So that’s a huge target audience of potential customers. And with awareness of the state of the mental health of children and young people at an all-time high as the pandemic starts to loosen its grip on everyday life, the benefits that these activities have on wellbeing will not go unnoticed. Dr Gauri Seth is a psychiatrist and parent coach - she works with parents and care-givers to enhance emotional connection with children. She says: “Getting lost in arts & crafts activities is a powerful way in which children can express their inner worlds, which in turn can help them connect with themselves, with benefits to emotional and psychological wellbeing. “The art of connecting with oneself is a powerful life skill. With increasing issues faced by children and young people from screen and digital tech overuse, we do need to turn to the arts to help children have productive time away from screens, so they can connect inwards with their authentic self. “I also think arts & crafts are activities we can do with others, and the shared experience of co-creating a tangible visible product, which one
can keep and display, can allow our children to connect with others, too. We could encourage children to draw or paint with their parents, taking the opportunity to be present, observe and draw. Connection with caregivers is a powerful mental health intervention. Emotional connection and attunement can help a growing mind with self-esteem, self-worth, and sense of self. Therefore, arts & crafts can help contribute to solving a health emergency in our societies, where rising rates of mental ill health are creating significant challenges for many.’’ Another benefit of this sector is that it is so popular among children, as Catherine Hallissey, a psychologist who helps parents address parenting challenges and helps children become more confident and resilient, says: “First and foremost, most kids love it and tend to naturally gravitate towards the process of creating for its own sake. All that scribbling, drawing, cutting and pasting help to develop fine motor skills, giving a strong foundation for writing skills. It provides a rich sensory experience that is crucial to development. “It promotes creativity and encourages children to express themselves and take risks in their
ARTS & CRAFTS
Colourful creations VIVID GOLIATH 01483 449944 | vividtoysandgames.co.uk
Being immersed in a creative activity can be a mindful experience, reducing stress by pressing pause on the busy pace of life. There is ample research to show that play, fun and creativity play a significant role in developing resilience, something we all want for children Catherine Hallissey, psychologist art. Open-ended art, where the possibilities are endless, helps children cope with uncertainty and develop flexibility in their thinking. It strengthens planning, problemsolving and critical thinking skills, which are absolutely essential in our modern world. The more exposure children have to these types of activities, the more creative they become in their artistic expression. “Art can be an incredible way to safely process emotions and experiences, helping them to understand themselves and their world. Being immersed in a creative activity can be a mindful experience, reducing stress by pressing pause on the busy pace of life. There is ample research to show that play, fun and creativity play a significant role in developing resilience, something we all want for children.’’ Along with these huge benefits for mental health and wellbeing, arts & crafts can aid physical development, as early years and parenting expert Kirsty Ketlye, explains: “Doing arts & crafts gives children the opportunity to express themselves and their feelings creatively, develop their imagination and can help boost self-esteem by allowing them to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in what they have done. “Cutting with scissors, sticking and painting all require the use of fine and gross motor skills, which strengthen the muscles in the hands, fingers, wrists and arms - all needed for writing - and these skills also require concentration, so they are great for helping children to focus. Plus they help enormously with hand-eye coordination. “Arts & crafts can also help develop vital maths skills too - shape recognition, making patterns and measuring out length, for instance. They are great for helping develop colour recognition and painting is an easy way to colour mix and learn about primary and secondary colours.”
Crayola ignites the imaginations of young artists through a colourful range of stationery, kits and toys. The successful range of Colours of the World launched in 2021 will continue into 2022 with a range of crayons, pencils and markers bolstered by a new colouring book. Colour Wonder introduces the much-anticipated licence Bluey from Q1 to an already strong portfolio of preschool character favourites as well as the new Adventure Pups theme for Paw Patrol. Making a splash in 2022, Colour ‘n’ Style Friends will dive under the sea with a range of magical mermaids that allow kids to enjoy even more hair play and stylish mermaidthemed creations that can be redesigned again and again, including a holiday driver playset. Washimals sees the introduction of a super salon with five different ways to customise the pets including new pearlescent paint, washable stickers and scented spray within a large-scale salon playset. The gravity-defying Paint-sation range sees the introduction of a new Flip ‘n’ Spin Artists Pallet and Paint ‘n’ Stamp studio to allow budding artists the opportunity to continue to paint anytime anywhere with this spill proof painting system. The Crayola Super Glow Art Studio gives kids the power to create amazing art that glows in the dark! An illuminating new way to create using just rays of light - no ink or paint required. The reusable surface provides hours of non-stop creative fun. Use the light wand to create glowing artwork that will come to life in the dark, turn out the lights and watch your drawings glow.
Art by numbers RAVENSBURGER 01869 363 830 www.ravensburger.co.uk Ravensburger launched its Paint by Numbers range, CreArt, in the UK last spring, with an initial focus on a children’s range, which grew in popularity throughout 2021 as enthusiasm for arts & crafts products continued. The business already has a strong heritage with paint by numbers products and is positioned as the second market leader in the European arts & crafts category. Ahead of launch, the Ravensburger UK PD team carried out extensive consumer research to create an impressive range with strong appeal, rich content and designs that would appeal to the local market. The response to the 2021 launch of the CreArt children’s range was well received and also rated highly on consumer reviews. In 2022, 15 new designs will be added to the collection, including several popular licensed characters from blockbuster family movies including The Lion King, Miraculous and Frozen, in addition to two characters from the celebrated Harry Potter franchise, Harry and Hermione. Other new animal and pet children’s designs for this year include a spring Squirrel, Fawn, Badger, Unicorn, and a Penguin family, among others. Additionally, a new CreArt range for adults launches this spring, with designs that span pop-art and gift card styles, as well as beautiful landscapes. A colourful Giraffe, Zebra, Lion and Elephant make up the vibrant pop-art inspired collection, as well as motivational quote styles; Good Vibes, Love and Make your Dreams Happen. A strong consumer message focusing on not just painting one but collecting a ‘range’ and creating a stunning display to be proud of, will run through marketing and PR outreach.
Let’s get creative! CHARACTER OPTIONS 0161 633 9800 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.character-online.com The Character Options portfolio includes a host of fun brands to encourage children to get creative. Kids can make edible creations with fresh additions to the ChillFactor range - and there’s a huge marketing campaign to ensure the success of the brand. Remaining central to the range is the Neon ChillFactor Slushy Maker, which turns drinks into slushy treats in under a minute. New for spring, the Poppin Dots Frozen Dot Maker lets kids make edible frozen Dots; simply fill the trays with juice, milk or yoghurt and freeze them to create new flavours. There’s more to come in the second half including the ChillFactor Smoothie Maker, which makes milkshakes and smoothies; and the ChillFactor 3-in-1 Fruit Factory, which creates a variety of drinks and ice lollies. Plus, don’t miss the ChillFactor Ice Cream Maker, which makes ice cream in minutes using simple household ingredients. DoodleJamz, meanwhile, is the cool creative brand offering kids a fun, mess-free way to design, create, paint and play. Kids can pick from DoodleJamz JellyPics and DoodleJamz JellyBoards. JellyPics have transparent jelly with various colours of squishy beads; each frame comes with a cardboard backer with picture, allowing kids to use the stylus (or their fingers!) to sculpt the beads on top of the picture. JellyBoards have two layers of
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coloured jelly; the double colour depth offers more complexity in artistic creations, forming shapes of jelly or drawing in the negative space. Like JellyPics, JellyBoards come with a shaping stylus and removable paper background. Backgrounds can be swapped, and any picture used - simply upload and scale via the DoodleJamz website, then print, insert, and create! Another key creative line in Character Options’ portfolio is the Squeeze Ball Creator. This lets children create their own fillable squeeze balls. Take an empty, reusable ball and pop-in beads, glitter, gems and more. Then slip the ball onto the Squeeze Ball maker, fill it with liquid and lock it up. All that’s left to do is squeeze! Continued success for the collection is assured, with digital support and a high-profile influencer partnership soon to be revealed.
FEATURE ARTS & CRAFTS
Arts & crafts for all ages SPIN MASTER 01628 535000 www.spinmaster.com/en-GB
Colourful play TRENDS UK 01295 768078 | email@example.com www.trendsuk.co.uk Trends UK has a strong line-up of creative brands available from summer onwards. The company is introducing the new Paint Pop Paint Sticks range, featuring a selection of mess-free colouring, and launching Crayola Silly Scents Sand and Dough, which engages all the senses with brightly coloured tactile and delightfully scented play. Trends UK is excited to introduce its new range of Paint Pop Paint Sticks. The perfect introduction to painting and doodling, creative kids can paint away the mess-free way! Bright and colourful, the chunky shape is easy for little hands to hold, and the smooth, glide-on paint works with no need for water or brushes. Twist the stick and get ready to paint, whether at home or on your travels. Be creative on a wide range of surfaces including paper, card, canvas, wood and even glass. The range includes a wide variety of colours and finishes plus practical storage solutions. Paint Pop Creation Station enables creative kids to paint masterpieces wherever they are. The double-sided easel comes with six paint sticks, a cute wipe-clean duster, and 10 sheets of paper. It folds down for easy storage and comes with a carry handle for on-the-go painting opportunities. The Paint Pop range also includes the Paint Pop Fun Tub (20 paint sticks) and a Paint Pop Giant Storage Tube with 30 paint sticks. Plus, there are supplementary six- and 12-packs to keep the creative fun going. Trends UK will be introducing the range with major 360 marketing plans, PR and influencer campaigns. Meanwhile, the Crayola Silly Scents range offers brightly coloured fun in six fruity scents. The Crayola Silly Scents Sand features new moulding material that engages all the senses. With bright, bold colours, the fruit-scented sand is soft, tactile, and scrunchy - and responds to manipulation into all kinds of shapes. Crayola Silly Scents Sand is available as single poly bags or as a selection of activity kits with moulds and coloured sand with fruity scents. With Crayola Silly Scents Dough, kids can squish and shape colourful dough with six fruity scents. The Unicorn Fun and Dinosaur Fun activity play packs include moulds to create colourful scented unicorns and dinosaurs. The egg-shaped Crayola Silly Scents Dough comes with three dough packs and shape cutters, making it the ideal pocket money purchase.
Spin Master has a great selection of arts & crafts toys for children of all ages. Younger kids will love the imaginative play of Kinetic Sand, while older ones will enjoy the creativity of Cool Maker and Orbeez. Kinetic Sand is squeezable sand that ‘magically’ sticks together, never dries out and gives hours of endless imaginative play and flowing fun. On offer this summer, the Kinetic Sand Treasure Hunt is a new playset packed with six layers of secret reveals and nine hidden treasures to discover. Once the chest is unlocked, children can dig through the sand to uncover surprise tools and decipher the hidden clue by checking out the secret message rolled into the sand. Dig and discover brown and secret gold sand with tools to find colourful gems. The Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory Set includes everything needed to create mesmerising sand surprise reveals and satisfying videos – just like the ones online. With more than 10 different tools and moulds, and two pounds of colourful Kinetic Sand including rare black sand, there’s so many ways to create. Those wanting to unleash their inner archaeologist can dig and discover dinosaur bones with the Kinetic Sand Dino XCavate. Open the dino crate with the 2-in-1 crowbar featuring a pickaxe and shovel. Pry open the lid and watch as the crate opens to reveal black Kinetic Sand. Then dig to reveal one of three sets of dinosaur bones. Search for the hidden amber fossil treasure tool, then fluff the sand and put the bones together to build a dinosaur. For children who like things a little sweeter, the Kinetic Sand Ice Cream Cone Container is filled with two scents of all-natural Kinetic Sand that combine to smell like the popular ice cream flavours of Mint Chocolate and Strawberry Banana. Collect all of the containers and discover even more ice cream fun with the Ice Cream Treats Playset. The Kinetic Sand Scents sets are also deliciously scented Kinetic Sand options. These 226g bags are filled with coloured Kinetic Sand that smells just like sweet treats such as Sour Apple, Vanilla Cupcake or Chocolate Swirl. Another arts & crafts option is the new Orbeez Surprise Activity Orb. Each Surprise Activity Playset comes with 400 fully-grown Orbeez stored in their own activity container. Unbox the surprise activity orb to reveal one of three mystery activities: The Flow, The Bounce and The Squeeze. After a simple set-up, kids and adults can enjoy the soothing sensory experience of playing with these juicy gems.
little fashionistas will love the unboxing and manicure experience of Cool Maker GO GLAM Nail Surprise. In every GO GLAM Nail Surprise kit, there are more than 40 press-on nails with surprise effect features, such as water reveal, scented, scratch reveal, and glow-in-the-dark. With 12 GO GLAM Nail Surprise styles to find, including Rock ‘N Roll Chic, Kawaii Cutie, Seashell Shimmer and VSCO Vibin’, there’s a mani for every mood. For more ways to style, look for the Cool Maker GO GLAM U-nique Nail Salon. Cool Maker girls’ toys and GO GLAM Nail Surprise toys for girls are suitable arts & crafts gifts for kids aged eight and up. These toys make fun gifts for birthdays and special occasions for girls who love to create.
Creative construction THAMES & KOSMOS 01580 713000 www.thamesandkosmos.co.uk
A Flair for creative fun! FLAIR 0208 643 0320 | firstname.lastname@example.org Flair’s arts & crafts portfolio is bursting with creativity, with new crafty concepts and muchloved heritage favourites. One brand that is sure to incite nostalgia with parents and grandparents is Plasticine. This modelling material, that never dries out, is great for teaching children about colours, proportion sizes and more. And, from July, there is lots of creative play to be had with two new licensed Plasticine lines. Plasticine Shaun the Sheep Model Maker Farmyard Fun set lets kids create their own Shaun the Sheep characters, complete with the illusion of a woolly texture. Once modelled, the characters can be displayed in the 3D farmyard scene. The second line is the Plasticine Morph Animation Maker, which includes everything you need to become the next budding stop-motion film director. Children can model their very own Morph and Chas characters, who made their TV debut on the children’s BBC art show Take Hart in the 1970s and are back in a new Sky Kids series: The Epic Adventures of Morph. Create a scene, add in your own Morph and download the app and begin the shoot!
Creatto was a craft kit that did very well over lockdown due to its design flexibility and fun construction, and parents and children alike seemed to get the bug. As the Creatto range has grown, Thams & Kosmos has noticed that demand has grown with it. This year’s additions to the Creatto range include Sea Life and Sabertooth Tiger sets. The kits have been made more environmentally friendly by decreasing the amount of single-use plastic - they are constructed of partially recycled plastic - they are also charged by USB, and contain energy-savvy LED bulbs. Creatto engages children’s creativity, allowing them to create the items pictured or use their imagination to produce an item that is unique to them.
Learn to draw with CoComelon LISCIANI email@example.com www.liscianigiochi.com Lisciani is inviting kids to enrol in art school, with the CoComelon Drawing School. Lisciani is a global educational company that has been designing, developing and manufacturing educational toys and games for the past 30 years. And now, with its licensed CoComelon offering, children can join JJ and his siblings as they explore and learn to draw. With the CoComelon Drawing School, little ones aged three-plus can get creative with their favourite on-screen friends. The Drawing School comes with four writing and erasing boards, an erasable felt-tip pen, and an exercise book with lots of drawings that serves as a guide. With this kit, kids will have fun while developing creativity and imagination, just like they would in a real art school!
Outdoor crafting ONE FOR FUN 0141 613 2525 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.oneforfun.com The Colour Your Own Cardboard Playhouse from Tobar is billed as the perfect outdoor craft project for children. Just slot together the house (fixings or glue are not required) and let kids loose with crayons and pencils on the pre-printed design. This build is great fun whatever the weather, indoors or out! The Colour Your Own Tent version is also available in a Unicorn and a Dinosaur theme. And take a look at the Aqua Jelly Art Sets. Create your own super squishy characters in multi or mono colours with these simple craft sets. Mix the components into one of the moulds provided and then select the colour combination you want to use. The mould is then submerged in water and, quick as a flash, your creation will set, ready to be squished and squashed as much as you like! Choose from Unicorn or Undersea Sets. Each set includes six moulds, six colour gel tubes and some setting powder. But the ultimate craft challenge is the Junior Engineers Workshop range. Using tools to fit metal pieces together with real nuts and bolts, these model-making kits can combine to make bespoke creations. Each comes with its own difficulty rating and the range includes sets to challenge every age and capability. The small sets are pocket money prices and include a plane, go-cart, motorbike and helicopter. Older children can tackle the Workshop Action Bot, a Ferris Wheel and an Aeroplane with moving propellers.
L A I C E P S S R O D A S S A B AM
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e eds som e n t s ju hat ive toy t designs t a e r c e h beads, t s of shapes and a u q A h all kind usy wit e b k t a o g m s o r f water t ng teste Our you n and a spray o tio imagina Blossom, five, and Oscar, eight,
Blossom, 5, says:
got creative with Epoch Making Toys’ “I like making flowers Aquabeads Beginners Carry Case and and there are lots of the Mystic Unicorn Set. colours - there’ s also The Beginners Carry Case lets kids take sparkles!’’ Aquabeads anywhere, making it perfect for visiting or travelling. With 900 beads in 24 colours they won’t run out of ideas! And they can even decorate the case itself and use it to display their creations With the Mystic Unicorn set they can create magical scenes, enchanted keyrings and wearable charms. It includes 1,500 solid, jewel and star beads in 24 colours, design pegs, template sheets and a creation display.
Dad Alex says: “Blossom loves unicorns so this was a great choice for her - and probably for lots of other little girls. There are lots of choices of beads to use all in one set, which saves having to buy a load of extra individual items. There are design templates to follow, but I also really like the fact that children can use their imagination rather than following a design build perfect for a five-year-old!’’ Blossom adds: “I like making flowers and there are lots of colours but my favourites are purple and pink there’s also sparkles.’’
Alex continues: “It’s great that not only are there lots of colours but also different shades, which helps children to learn more about the way colours work. Blossom loved all the different colours - and shapes, including stars, diamonds and of course some sparkles! I also like the fact that everything you need is in the kit - so there's no need to hunt around the house for extra bits and pieces. “To make something is a really simple process and Blossom was able to build from start to finish easily by herself. You don’t need to do much to get started - add water to the spray bottle and away you go. Very easy. “These are really bright and colourful toys - and there's such a variety included in each set. The Carry Case with its travel/storage facility will be really useful. We can take it away with us or the kids can take it when they stay at their grandparents. It also ensures we don’t lose beads all over the house! “I know both Blossom and Oscar will play with these time and time again. There’s so much variety included in each set, they can make something different every time - there’s no set design you must follow [though there are design templates to get you started if you wish], so the beads can be used in numerous ways. “Especially for Blossom, because she is younger and a bit more impatient, the fact that you can just open up the box and get going is a big plus. There’s no long prep times or complicated items needed to play with it. It’s open up and go.’’
How Aquabeads work Children create their design by placing the beads in the included tray. When they are happy with what they have created, they spray the water from the included sprayer, which helps to ‘glue’ the beads together. Once dry, the designs can be removed, and displayed.
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Epoch Making Toys 0208 049 1377 | email@example.com www.epochmakingtoys.com
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FOR SALES AND ENQURIES:
EMAIL: SALES@EPOCHMAKINGTOYS.COM • PHONE: 0208 049 1377
TnP loves to hear from suppliers. To be included in next month’s issue, please email
We speak to suppliers who will be exhibiting at the upcoming Toymaster Show from 17-19 May. Find out what they love about the show - and why you should visit their stand while you're there! FLORIAN LOH Area Sales Manager, Bruder What makes Toymaster an unmissable show for you? The Bruder team is thrilled to return to the Toymaster Show. Exhibitions like this one offer the attractive triple combination of strengthening existing partnerships, the opportunity to get in touch, and sit down with key decision-makers of local heavyweight key accounts, bringing the chance to establish new customers. What’s your star product at this year’s show? First and foremost is the new MB Sprinter series, which sees a cabin facelift on all existing MB Sprinter vehicles. There’s the municipal Sprinter in stable municipal optics and more top-selling models including the fire engine, the transporter with the blue metallic shining Roadster, the ambulance, the light blue animal transporter and the UPS. Why should visitors come to your stand at the show? We will be offering an extremely easily accessible, welcoming stand with a live shelf coverage of our entire range of products, together with highly-motivated staff ready to explain all relevant Bruder unique selling propositions that make it such a special brand – all this establishes the base for an unmissable booth at the upcoming Toymaster Show!
KERRIE CORRIGAN General Manager Coiledspring Games
will be great to catch up with the Toymaster membership following the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 shows.
What makes Toymaster an unmissable show for you? It provides an invaluable opportunity to connect face-to-face with our retail partners to showcase our fantastic range of jigsaws, games and puzzles. We are excited to exhibit our exclusive range from suppliers such as Schmidt, Playmobil, IELLO, Helvetiq and Blue Orange to name a few. The Toymaster show has a friendly atmosphere and is the show we most look forward to attending. It
What’s your star product at this year’s show? Wrebbit3D puzzle masters has released a new addition to its Harry Potter, Diagon Alley range - Gringotts Bank. This 300-piece 3D puzzle is a magical replica of the goblin-run Gringotts, complete with the terrifying dragon atop the building. Why should visitors not miss your stand? The Coiledspring stand will be located in the Drawing Room and will be packed full of jigsaws, games and puzzles that showcase a fantastic cross-section of our range. We will also be running some very special once-ayear show offers too.
g Director, Posh Paws
Lauren Shipman Brand & Marketin issable What makes Toymaster an unm ? show for you -to-face It’s the perfect show to meet face w them sho ts, den pen with inde our ranges and discuss how we can build the perfect ranges with them, so they can offer the best products to drive sales throughout Q3/4 and especially at Christmas.
Why should visitors not miss your stand at the show? We have a selection of fantastic deals available to members who visit our stand, aimed at our biggest nd products, and best licensed and own-bra , Sesame ions Min rld, Wo such as Jurassic e. mor y man Street and
Sales Account Manager, Zimpli Kids What makes Toymaster an unmissable show for you? We love the Toymaster show at Zimpli Kids, and we look forward to it every year. We enjoy catching up with industry friends as well as meeting new people, and of course we enjoy showing our new releases every year. This year we have loads! What’s your star product at this year’s show? Our star product for this year is the Zimpli Kids Advent Calendar. Packed with 24 elf-made gifts across our Gelli, Slime, Crackle and Baff Bombz ranges, we can’t wait for kids to unlock all 24 magical doors and uncover a mystery prize every day. Why should visitors not miss your stand at the show? Zimpli Kids continues to make bathtime funtime for kids, with a huge variety of Baff Bombz, including our Special Effects range, and my personal favourite, our Planet Baff Bombz set, with educational fact cards for each planet in our solar system. We have our colour-changing Floating Baff Putty, which comes complete with putty moulds for creating different sea life creatures! Floating Baff Putty is great fun at bathtime and makes a fantastic fidget toy as well. Not forgetting our Galaxy Slime Play and Baff ranges, which have glow-in-thedark stars for a galactic experience - and both products are great experimental items for the young scientists out there! We have a new Gelli and Slime range complete with inflatable toys for the bath. Then there is our Magic Paint Brush, which allows you to paint fun colours in your bath water! Last and certainly not least are our tested and trusted Gelli Baff and Slime Baff extended ranges, which are all now British Skin Foundation accredited as skin safe, for that extra peace of mind. There is so much to see from Zimpli Kids, all made in the UK; so stop by and say hello. You won’t be disappointed!
tnp.media Toymaster Trade TalkUSE.indd 1
Phone: 01604 662922 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It's good to be back, Harrogate! After an enforced break of three years, it's back! From 17-19 May, the Toymaster Show - a favourite of many - takes place as before at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate. With more than 100 exhibitors, and lots of new product, there will be plenty to see
he Toymaster show holds a transactional information. We special place in the hearts hear from many members that of many in the toy trade, this is a fantastic, time-saving whether they are members or service that cuts down on admin. not. As always, the Majestic As it's May, many visitors Hotel in Harrogate hosts the use the opportunity to tack event, giving the trade a unique on some extra time for a day space to do business, network or two's break, enjoying the and socialise. town's excellent restaurants and Whether independent retailers entertainment. are members or not, all can There's a reason Toymaster attend. The buying group has has been the success it is and approximately 160 suppliers, continues to be appreciated of which more than 100 will be by the trade. For both retailers exhibiting at the show. and suppliers it serves as a hub Regular attendees will know supporting all sides. We are about the friendly atmosphere consistently told how helpful - with the party on the Tuesday and supportive Toymaster is, night (always a good time had and in this day and age where by all) and the awards on the independents Wednesday. This year will see on the high the return of the Supplier of street face so the Year Award, plus Friends of many challenges, Toby. having a group As always, free lunches are on like Toymaster offer, making attending all the should not be more pleasant - and better than underestimated. an over-priced sandwich! Lema publishes As the biggest buying group magazines in for independent toy retailers in a number of the UK and Ireland, a large part categories, and of Toymaster's success can be not one of them attributed to the experienced has anything like friendly staff, offering excellent Toymaster! support to its members. Members benefit from central invoicing; DID YOU KNOW? paperwork can be the Toymaster retailers are free to retain their bane of any retailer own branding or brand themselves as a and Toymaster helps Toymaster store. with this. Members The Toymaster catalogue, published have access to TIMS twice a year (Spring/Summer and Toymaster Information Autumn/Winter) now offers members the option of having their own store's name System - a private, and address printed on the front secure website. They also have 24/7 online
Toymaster Intro.indd 1
Tuesday 17 May Show Times: 9am - 6pm Lunch Times: 12pm - 1:45pm AGM: 6pm, Buxton Suite (Room 133 - Members Only) Dinner: 7:30pm for 8pm Entertainment: Party Dress Code: Casual / Smart
Wednesday 18 May Show Times: 9am - 6pm Lunch Times: 12pm - 1:45pm Dinner: 7:30pm for 8pm Entertainment: Toymaster Awards Dinner Dress Code: Elegant/Smart
Thursday 19 May Show Times: 9am - 4pm Lunch Times: 12pm - 1:45pm
tnp.media 06/05/2022 17:29
Exhibitor List A
A.B.GEE: Lower Marquee ABRAMS BOOKS: Lower Marquee ANTONY NUNN: Lower Marquee ARTSTRAWS: Upper Marquee ASMODEE: Drawing Room
FIESTA CRAFTS : Upper Marquee FLAIR: Carriage Suite FUNKO: Regency Suite FUNRISE: Carriage Suite
LEAPFROG: Drawing Room LEARNING RESOURCES: Carriage Suite LEGO: Billiard Room
GALT: Carriage Suite GAMES WORKSHOP: Lower Marquee GB EYE: Carriage Suite GEEMAC: Reading Room GEOMAGWORLD: Drawing Room GIBSONS GAMES: Lower Marquee GOLDEN BEAR: Carriage Suite GOLIATH GAMES: Regency Suite GREAT GIZMOS: Lower Marquee
MAGFORMERS: Upper Marquee MAGIC BOX: Upper Marquee MAPED HELIX: Upper Marquee MATTEL: Harrogate Suite MGA ENT: Lower Marquee MOJO FUN: Upper Marquee MOOD BEARS: Upper Marquee MOOKIE: Carriage Suite MOOSE TOYS: Upper Marquee MV SPORTS: Upper Marquee
SCHLEICH: Lower Marquee SES CREATIVE: Upper Marquee SIKU Reading: Room SIMBA Upper: Marquee SLIME PARTY: UK Upper Marquee SMART TOYS: Upper Marquee SMIFFY'S: Upper Marquee SPIN MASTER: Lower Marquee
BACHMANN: Lower Marquee BANAGHAN: Reading Room BANDAI: Carriage Suite BASIC FUN: Carriage Suite BERTOY: Lower Marquee BIGJIGS: Upper Marquee BLADEZ TOYS: Billiard Room BLISS DISTRIBUTION: Upper Marquee BRAINSTORM: Billiard Room BRUDER: Reading Room
C CANAL TOYS: Billiard Room CARRERA REVELL: Upper Marquee CASDON: Upper Marquee CHARACTER: Reading Room CHEATWELL GAMES: Carriage Suite CLEMENTONI: Lower Marquee CLICK DIST: Upper Marquee COILEDSPRING: Drawing Room CRAFT BUDDY: Carriage Suite
D DEPESCHE: Lower Marquee DKB TOYS: Lower Marquee DKL - BEYSAL: Upper Marquee
H HALILIT: Upper Marquee HAPPY PUZZLE: Upper Marquee HASBRO: Lower Marquee HEXBUG: Upper Marquee HOBBY COMPANY: Upper Marquee HUFFY BIKES: Upper Marquee
I IMC TOYS: Carriage Suite
J JAKKS: Upper Marquee JAZWARES: Carriage Suite JOHN ADAMS: Carriage Suite JUST PLAY: Drawing Room
K KANDY TOYS: Lower Marquee
E EPOCH: Billiard Room EUROGRAPHICS: Carriage Suite
KAYES OF CARDIFF: Reading Room KEEL TOYS: Upper Marquee KIDICRAFT: Upper Marquee
T TKC: Upper Marquee TOMY: Billiard Room TOYNAMICS UK: Upper Marquee TOYS 2 MARKET: Upper Marquee TY: UK Regency Suite
UNIVERSITY GAMES: Upper Marquee USBOURNE BOOKS: Upper Marquee
ONE FOR FUN: Carriage Suite ORCHARD TOYS: Reading Room
PADGETT BROS: Upper Marquee PAPO: Carriage Suite PETERKIN: Carriage Suite PLAYMOBIL: Upper Marquee PLAYMONSTER: Upper Marquee PLUM PRODUCTS: Lower Marquee POSH PAWS: Upper Marquee PUPPET COMPANY: Upper Marquee
VIVID: Regency Suite VR DISTRIBUTION: Upper Marquee VTECH: Drawing Room
W WILTON BRADLEY: Lower Marquee WIND DESIGNS: Lower Marquee WOW STUFF: Upper Marquee WOW TOYS: Upper Marquee
R RACHEL LOWE: Upper Marquee RAINBOW DESIGNS: Upper Marquee RAVENSBURGER: Upper Marquee REDLANDS DIST: Upper Marquee ROBBIE TOYS: Upper Marquee ROYAL BRUSH: Upper Marquee RUBIES: Upper Marquee
Z ZIMPLI KIDS: Lower Marquee
# 8TH WONDER: Billiard Room
© P&Co.Ltd./SC 2022
Compatible with all Paddington figures
As seen on A and
Rainy Day Paddington
Multi Figure Pack
Bessie the amperva Campervan
Exciting new playsets arriving this Autumn!
See us at Toymaste r 17th-19th May
inspiring kids’ imaginations for 50 years MAY 2022 Toymaster Intro.indd 2
The Home of Classic Characters
Ryan and Harry are stars of the show! Vivid Goliath
Tel: 01483 449944 Web: vividtoysandgames.co.uk
Stand: Regency Suite In the preschool aisle, one in three kids in the UK now own a Ryan’s World toy and with more than 68 billion lifetime views, 2021 saw the strongest year yet in sales, up 17% year on year. From being the first Youtuber to feature in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and the first to ever speak to astronauts in space, Ryan’s success continues to grow with 82% of kids liking Ryan more than they did a year ago!’’ Moving into Series 9 for A/W22, there will be more newness across the core collectables with fans continuing to collect the latest styles of Mystery Figures, Squishy Figures and Surprise Putty. The range will also be bolstered with an all-news Series 7 Mini Mystery Egg, allowing kids to feel just like Ryan as they unbox and discover a whole host of Ryan’s World fan favourites including figures, stickers and more. Ryan is also flying into A/W 2022 with an exciting new theme – Titan Universe. Wherever a hero is needed... Red Titan is there to save the day. Meet Red Titan and his superhero gang as you explore Red Titan’s Universe with this limited-edition collection of heroic Ryan’s World figures. The range includes all of the Ryan’s World fan favourites including Mystery Figures, Mystery Micro Figures and the all-important Eggs. The range will also introduce a large-scale titronic treasure chest, which transforms into the Mega Mecha Titan before your eyes. Unbox, discover the surprises, then transform the chest into a robot for hours of Titan fun. The range will also be supported by engaging product videos featured on Ryan’s channel showcasing the theme and products to his legions of fans worldwide. Harry Potter Minifigures saw their highest-ever sales across 2021 and will move through to Series 7 in A/W22, bolstered by two new lines, the Collectible Snitch and a series of Collectible Wands, which are made from 100% recycled plastic. There are more than 18 to collect and the wands are modelled on the characters of the films’ own wands, with a limited-edition Harry Potter wand, the star of the collection!
“Ryan is also flying into A/W 2022 with an exciting new theme – Titan Universe”
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PLUG & PLAY MODULAR PIECES
Water Wall 2021 Toyworld AD.indd 1
EDUCATIONAL & CREATIVE
SUSTAINABLY SOURCED WOOD
Set for blast-off MV Sports & Leisur
01217488000 email@example.com www.mvsports.com
Stand: Upper Marquee MV is excited to be exhibiting at the Toymaster show. Visit the stand in the Upper Marquee for some enticing deals and new opportunities! Lightyear is the most anticipated kids’ movie for 2022 and MV has a range that is certain to blast off, bringing to life this all-new movie through an exciting array of scooters, skateboards and bikes. With vibrant colourways and superb graphics, the distinctive Lightyear artwork will shout loudly off-shelf or off-page. Ready, set, goanna! with the biggest new preschool property Bluey. MV has a range of wheeled toys to support this hot new property including the Switch-it Tri-Scooter, which includes four different character plaques for added play value, a fully printed anti-slip footplate for stability, and adjustable handlebar height. Pedal along on the 2 in 1 bike; the ideal beginner bike, which easily converts from a pedal bike to a balance bike as your child grows in confidence. CoComelon goes from strength to strength with initial stocks selling out and an extended range coming through for Spring/Summer. Hedstrom, meanwhile, has been extended and repackaged for the summer season with some exciting offers available.
Living playfully Casdon Toys 01253 766411 UK@casdon.com www.casdon.com
Stand: Upper Marquee The third-generation family-run business Casdon Toys will be attending the Toymaster show, highlighting new products as well as a new licence. Expanding its range of childsized versions of much-loved household and retail products, a major focus during the show will be the new licence joining Casdon’s portfolio – Joseph Joseph. There are six products in the range, designed and officially licensed to look just like the real thing: the Joseph Joseph Chop2Pot, Elevate, Nest, Bake, Go Eat and the Extend, which takes water play to a new level. The Joseph Joseph Extend set comes complete with a wash bowl and tray to capture small spills, while water can be pumped from the bowl through the dispenser and back again
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for endless play. It includes cleantech brush, extend dish rack, cutlery, plates, and bowls that change colour when added to water for added play value. The Chop2Pot playset features the iconic Joseph Joseph folding chopping board and Elevate knife as well as four choppable play foods; an onion, tomato, carrot and potato. All of the foods showcase Casdon’s new product technology called ‘ChopPop’. The play food fits together with a ‘pop’ sound, allowing little hands to safely and easily ‘chop’ the food, and then ‘pop’ it back together. Casdon is also expanding its Dyson range with three new SKUs, including the Dyson Supersonic and Corrale Deluxe Styling Set. This dynamic duo incorporates mini versions of the Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer and Dyson Corrale Straighteners perfect for mini-me styling sessions. The set comes complete with two interchangeable nozzles, a barrel brush and detangling comb. Meanwhile, existing best sellers will see a contemporary colour refresh, in line with Casdon’s recent rebrand. The Kenwood Mixer will be available in white – just like the real thing. This mixer is billed as the only working children’s mixer on the market. Other contemporary, colour refreshes on display will be Casdon’s Morphy Richards Kitchen Set, Post Office Set, Pick n Mix Sweet Shop, Breakfast to Go and Pan Set.
toysnplaythings.media 06/05/2022 17:12
FULL TV & MARKETING
Tel: 01483 449944
Cross-category favourites Flair 0208 643 0320 firstname.lastname@example.org
Stand: Carriage Suite From an award-winning doll brand and a terrifyingly realistic line-up of MonsterVerse action figures, to a collectable range of mini figures and an outdoor line that’s endorsed by football legend Lionel Messi, Flair will present some of its must-have hero lines at the Toymaster show. A Toy Fair 2022 Hero Toy Award winner, the Unique Eyes Dolls are sure to enchant children with their ‘magical eyes’. These dolls follow the gaze of anyone observing them. There are three characters to collect. Kids will love their soft, brushable hair, and realistic, articulated bodies that stand up. Each character is available to purchase individually, styled in one removable outfit. The characters can also be bought as Total Look sets, which come with an additional outfit option. New for A/W is the Beauty Day Playset and Fun Ride Scooter with doll. Another unmissable collection is Flair’s Messi Training range, which is endorsed by football legend Lionel Messi. Promising to take outdoor training to a whole new level, the collection is designed to help improve football skills with a professional training method and equipment. Essential to the range is the Soft Touch Training Ball, which will help children work on their aim and control. It’s ideal for young kids, thanks to the extendable, height-adjustable cord and the size-2, solid foam ball. For older kids there is the Pro Training Ball S3, which is made from a durable TPU material that will withstand endless hours of training. Next, it’s time to brush up on fancy tricks with the Tricks & Effects Ball. The product’s streamlined design allows kids to make the best plays, while also helping them shoot like a pro! Meanwhile, for a high resistance ball with quality rebound, there is the Flexi Ball Pro; its hi-tech air chamber and surface texture offer better control. There are accessories too: the Messi Small Pop-Up Goal and the Messi Large Foldable Goal, which comes with a ball and pump.
There’s also a cool, collectable line-up of mini-figures to be discovered with Action Heroes. Launching for A/W, these interchangeable figures have pop and swap head and body pieces, and double-sided faces with different expressions. Children can mix and match the pieces to create new combinations; the more figures they collect, the more characters they can create. With playsets and action vehicles also available in the range, collectors can build their own Action Heroes world. There are two themes to collect, which bring the excitement of the police force and the awe-inspiring era of dinosaurs to the fore. Storytelling is central to the play pattern of this fun, action-packed range. Finally, the monster war rages in the action figures aisle, with MonsterVerse. Fresh for spring is a host of new themes released in the 6in Monster range, which are based on key movie scenes: Hong Kong and Antarctic. Plus, be sure to ask about the summer launch of the Deluxe Transforming Godzilla & King Kong Figure, as well as the City Battle Diorama and figures set. And, from A/W, collectors can get their hands on three new Toho Classic 6.5in figures, Shin Godzilla. Plus, check out the new additions to the 6in Basic Figure Monster collection: Godzilla from 2014’s Godzilla movie and Ghidorah from 2019’s King of the Monsters.
New plush from Posh Paws Posh Paws 01268 567317 email@example.com
Stand: Upper Marquee Gabby’s Dollhouse is the latest preschool toy in Posh Paws’ portfolio and perfect for Christmas gifting. Bring Gabby and her host of feline friends to life with the range of 10in and 7in brightly coloured and highly detailed soft toys that will be available in September. And, if you have not jumped on the Jurassic World bandwagon yet, then you need to now - as the movie hits UK cinemas on June 10 and it’s set to be a blockbuster summer for the franchise. Posh Paws is geared up ahead of the anticipated release with a huge range of roarsome soft toys. Minions 2: Rise of Gru movie hits cinemas in July and Posh Paws has the 7in Too Cute Minions in an assortment; 10in Kevin and Bob Minions, and a 12in Stuart Minion in a display box, ready to order now. New Sesame Street soft toys for summer include the award-winning Talking Cookie Monster, which features 15 sound effects, and the Squashy Podgie Elmo, Cookie and Big Bird characters, which are available in an 8in size. At the Toymaster Show, Posh Paws will be running a variety of exclusive offers for members across both its licensed and non-licensed properties.
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If you would lik e to take part in T alking Re tail, we’d love to h ear from you. Plea se email ne w s @ toysnplay things.m edia
How long have you been a Toymaster member? After opening, the Weymouth shop traded independently as Howleys for a while, and then Philip joined Toymaster and branded it Howleys Toymaster. He saw becoming a member as an opportunity to grow and compete. We’ve been a Toymaster member for 27 years. What will you be looking for at the Toymaster Show? The agenda will be: one, to support the Toymaster catalogue. We will be looking at all the lines that have been selected by the committee and putting orders down for those. That’s a given. New product is another one: to find something that hopefully ticks all the boxes of play value, innovation, and quality. But we will be looking for margin as well. We won’t be focusing on lowmargin products because the current
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Emma Dadswell Toys ‘N’ Tuck Southend, Essex Tell us a little about your shop.
Operations Manager, Howleys Toymaster Four stores in Weymouth, Bridport, Paignton, Dorchester Tell us a bit about Howleys Toymaster. We stock everything you’d expect in a top high street toy store. We have four branches in total: Weymouth, Bridport and Paignton (which each measure in excess of 2,000sq ft) and Dorchester (which is smaller at just under 1,000sq ft). The business has been going for 36 years. The Weymouth store, which is our flagship, was bought by Philip Moore in 1986. In recent years Philip has taken a back seat and his son Ian has taken over.
TnP loves to hear your views. This month we ask retailers for their best bits about the Toymaster Show and being group members
trading climate prevents us from doing that. We have to look for profit wherever we can. So, it’s a balancing act. Obviously if it’s a fantastic product, we’ll take a judgement call on it. But it’s going to be tough because we’ve got to preserve the bottom line. Any tips for anyone new to visiting the show? Enjoy it! Treat it as a great business opportunity to network with fellow members and suppliers alike. Listen out to what’s going on, get a feel for what the buzz is for Christmas and where the confidence is, and which suppliers have new products to give us all a bit of a lift. Of course, it’s a social occasion as well. So, my advice would be: work hard, play hard. Enjoy the evening entertainment but not too much, because you’ve got to go round buying the next day! What’s the best thing about being a Toymaster member? The strength of the brand is very important in the high street. And I like the unity of members and the support from the team in Northampton, who always give us as much information as possible. Obviously, there’s a great benefit in terms of the financial aspect: Toymaster negotiates on our behalf, and as a collective, to get us the best possible terms. As an independent, without Toymaster, that would be a massive challenge. The marketing support is fantastic too - our windows always look great thanks to Toymaster. And the catalogue is an excellent tool, both in the summer and more importantly at Christmas. It’s an excellent organisation to be a member of.
My dad (Alan) started the business way back in 1992 and I joined the business full time officially in 2010. Our shop is just off the high street in Southend; we moved into our current unit about 15 years ago but have been trading since 1992. This year marks our 30th anniversary, which is super exciting for us and as it falls in July we plan on celebrating all summer long with in-store events and competitions. We already have many suppliers on board to support us but are keen to get as many as possible involved as we can! How long have you been a Toymaster member? Since 2008. What will you be looking for at the Toymaster Show? Newness and deals! I will be looking to see what we can add into our current ranges for the second half of the year with suppliers we already deal with - and I will be exploring what anyone we don’t already buy from has to offer and if it fits in with us as a shop. We like to keep our product offering fresh so I’m always keen to get new products quickly. The other thing on my mind will be getting what I know we want at the best prices and working with the suppliers’ deals to make sure we secure some good prices! I’m quite happy placing forward orders if it secures a price point we are happier with. Any tips for anyone new to visiting the show? Don’t just go for one day! The show is so relaxed and well laid out that you really can take three days just trying to get round. It’s a different vibe to Toy Fair, where it’s all appointments and everyone has their stand tours planned out – it is a show for independents and everyone’s business is different so you need to make sure you’re taking the time with each supplier to build your relationships, and make it benefit your business. Every supplier comes with deals and it’s about picking what works for you and seeing who can help you develop your business. Also, if you’re new, it’s a great chance to chat to the Toymaster team face to face – if you are not already a member then they are there to explain the benefits. What’s the best thing about being a Toymaster member? The best thing about being a Toymaster member by a mile is TIMS, which is the central invoicing system. But other than that, it is the fact that you are still your own business, Toymaster gives suggestions, and has loads of resources available to members, such as the catalogues, window displays etc. And it gives you access to a LOT of suppliers. But at the end of the day every decision about your store and what toys you stock is completely your own.
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Co-owner, Salter Street Toys And Models, Stafford
Kellys Toymaster Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland
Tell us a bit about your shop.
Tell us a little about your shop. Our shop is located in the centre of Ireland. It’s 14,000sq ft of retail space. We’ve been in business for more than 50 years and have been part of the Toymaster group since we built the new store 15 years ago. How important is the Toymaster show? The Toymaster show is a very important show for us. At the show we’ll be looking to see new products that were not available to us at London Toy Fair, or Spring Fair in Birmingham. Seeing the companies that missed London will be vital as we have not had a chance to meet since before Covid restrictions were in place. Any tips for newbies visiting for the first time? Wear comfortable shoes as it can be a long but enjoyable day, Also, don’t be scared to just talk to people at the stands you would usually avoid. There will be a lot of deals available and this will be the show to buy at. What’s the best thing about being a Toymaster member? The best thing about Toymaster is the security of the group. Companies that would otherwise not entertain us will talk to us because of the Toymaster brand.
Almost 11 years ago, my husband agreed to L-R: Supervisor Sue us spending most of our savings opening a Greaves with co-owner toy and model shop here in Stafford. We are Dee Mellor a family-run business. The premises are quite small but we manage to fit in a wide range of what customers would hope to find in a traditional toy shop. How long have you been a Toymaster member? We joined when we opened in October 2011 and have found this to be one of the best things we’ve done. There’s always someone there to offer help and advice, without the pressure to purchase. Toymaster has always been very good for us. What will you be looking for at the Toymaster Show? My supervisor Sue and I will be looking at lots of things - but I don’t know how much we’re actually going to commit to buying, because everything’s rather quiet at the moment. We want to spend our money as best we can, but not spend too much that we’re struggling. We have a long ‘have a look at’ list. We’re doing quite well with jigsaw puzzles, so we’ll be ordering new releases from Gibsons. And we’ve started buying quite a lot of Crystal Art from Craft Buddy, so we’ll be going there. Then there’s LEGO, Pokémon, and The Octonauts. We’re also thinking of looking at Mood Bears, which we saw initially at London Toy Fair. It’s all about trying to find different things that keep people interested. Any tips for anyone new to visiting the show? Enjoy it, basically! There’s such a wide variety of suppliers that there’s something for everybody. You’ve just got to keep your eyes open to possibly find things that shops nearby to you haven’t got. And the functions in the evenings will certainly keep you entertained!
Kellihers Toymaster Toys d Upstairs, County Kerry, Irelan
p. Tell us a little about your sho hers Hardware Kelli in airs upst The shop is located ium-sized toy med a It’s tre. Cen n Tow e Shop in Trale . er 2019 We cater for shop and we opened in Novemb kids of all ages from and to baby toys up LEGO, jigsaws 'The Toymaster team . kids big the for games How long have you been a Toymaster member? Since January 2020.
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What’s the best thing about being a Toymaster member? Having the support of other members. We can network on the Toymaster Members’ Forum: post messages, ask questions and share information. For example, a fellow member is in Surrey, while we’re in Staffordshire, but we help each other out and split orders. It’s the benefit of having someone who can suggest ‘this is good’ or ‘have a go at that’. Plus, Toymaster always gives us news about whatever’s going on, from the latest offers to new lines and new licences. So it helps suppliers, and it helps us.
Donald Nairn Owner, Toys Galore, Edinburgh, Scotland Tell us a little about your business. Toys Galore stocks a wide and eclectic range of toys, from LEGO to Djeco. We do jigsaw puzzles, puppets, board games, Sylvanian Families, Barbie dolls, wooden railways, Duplo, Pokemon and so much more. How long have you been a Toymaster member? I’ve been a member for three and a half years. What will you be looking for at the Toymaster Show? Socialising and buying in for Christmas. It will be our first trade show since Toy Fair in 2020. Any tips for anyone new to visiting the show? It can be done in one day, but it’s more relaxing over two. What’s the best thing about being a Toymaster member? Discounts and invoice management.
A one-stop-shop for fun! Basic Fun! 0118 925 3270 Tim.Ives@basicfun.com www.BasicFun.com
Stand: Carriage Suite The Basic Fun! team will be celebrating Care Bears’ 40th year, Tonka’s 75th year and K’Nex’s 30th year at the show, as well as introducing some new launches. Basic Fun! will be launching a commemorative special edition 40th Care Bear. Care-a-Lot was the first bear to exist and there are more bears to meet, including Dream Bright, who encourages all to follow their dreams - she has ombre-style fur and a belly badge that depicts a heart with wings. And don’t miss I Care Bear, who is made entirely from recyclable materials. There’s a truck load of fun to be had with Basic Fun!’s Tonka collection, as the brand turns 75. The firm is launching a special edition Commemorative 1968 Tonka Dump Truck, inspired by the first-ever Tonka Dump Truck toy. Plus, the monster fun continues into summer, with the launch of the Mighty Monster RC: Tonka’s first RC made with steel and four-in-one monster action. K’Nex is celebrating 30 years of success. This ever-popular construction range, which fosters creative play and helps teach STEM-based concepts, offers a project for all to enjoy, which will always build bigger than the box! New for 2022 is the new sub-category CyberX build and battle range, which offers a next-
level building challenge as well reminding the consumer of the recently launched Classics and Rollercoaster lines. Now in its ninth selling season, Cutetitos has become an evergreen seller, thanks to regular refreshes and new collectable themes. Fresh for spring is a new wave of Carnivalitos: the candy floss scented animals that wrap up the delights of the carnival. Plus, there are two new waves of Unicornitos to discover, and say aloha to the new for A/W22 Islanditos - tutti fruity furry scented friends that smell tropical. From favourite brands to a new IP: Misfittens. This hilarious, surprise reveal range of misfitting kittens is based on the internet sensation #IfitsIsits. Misfittens come squished inside an assortment of cat pun-themed packs. Rescue the misfitting Misfittens and these fluffy friends will triple in size! Finally, Basic Fun! is to launch another collectable IP this autumn: Candy Pop! This candy-themed collectable range promises fun, interactive play and a sweet surprise reveal with each pop. Wrapped up in sweet-inspired capsules is a collectable character, along with stickers and a mini colouring sheet.
World of play Bruder
+353 6763800 (Alpha Toys Ltd.) firstname.lastname@example.org www.bruder.de
Stand: Pavilion Bruder will be showcasing the new MB Sprinter series on its stand, and will be announcing a cabin facelift on all existing MB Sprinter vehicles, starting with the high-volume municipal Sprinter in stable municipal optics, followed by further top-selling models: the fire engine - new with white ladder; the transporter - new with the blue metallic shining Roadster; the ambulance - new with an even more attractive colour and label design; and the light blue animal transporter; as well as the UPS within the well-established licensing layout. There will also be additions to the successful play theme sets with the launch of a licensed bworld DHL Shop, including several accessories (which
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perfectly complete the DHL Sprinter). And following the company´s focus on the bworld theme sets, further additions can be expected for Bruder fans. For Bruder´s prominent agricultural product range, there is the Krone Big Pack 1290 HDP VC with two square bales of hay. Make sure you don’t miss out on all these exciting novelties by visiting Bruder in the Pavilion of the Harrogate Majestic Hotel.
toysnplaythings.media 06/05/2022 17:13
Driving force Wilton Bradley Tel: 01626 835400 Web: www.wiltonbradley.com
Stand: Lower Marquee Wheeled toys have long been a specialism of the Wilton Bradley team, which has many years of experience in developing premium products. Now in more than 20 countries around the World, it’s established as a serious and credible contender in the wheeled toy market. Wilton Bradley has been creating a real buzz around its new Xootz Ride-On toy range, and is working with the best factories to create officially licensed products that are exclusive to the company in the UK, working closely with its customers to provide them with a competitive advantage. Since 2014, Xootz’ mission has been to encourage kids to get out exploring and spend less time cooped up indoors - and to do it in style! Xootz has developed a multi-awardwinning range of ride-ons to offer hours of thrills for kids. For example, kids can get stylish with the Xootz BMW Z4 Roadster Electric Ride-On. The officially licensed twin-seat BMW is a scale replica of the sporty Z4 Roadster and it makes a real statement. It features all the details of the full-scale powerhouse including the remodelled classic kidney grille, sculptured bonnet and working front lights. Suitable for children aged three to six, it has two opening doors and two adjustable seats with seatbelts, meaning you can have two children in the ride-on at the same time. The BMW ride-on also includes a tinted windscreen, a battery indicator, built-in music system with AUX input, and suspension on the front wheels to make light work of carpets, garden paths or smooth terrain. Reaching comfortable speeds of up to 3.6km/h, and with a slow start function for younger drivers, it is the ultimate driving machine for little ones to practise driving. It can be driven manually using the foot pedal and has a three-speed gearbox with a reverse mode. For less experienced drivers, it includes a remote control for parents to use. For practical transportation, the Xootz BMW Z4 Roadster Electric Ride-On includes a carry handle that slides out under the front and two training wheels at the rear. The Xootz Bumper Car Electric Ride-On, meanwhile, allows little ones to spin a full 360 degrees with its joystick or remote controls.With its simplified joystick controls they can zoom around at speeds of up to 0.75mph There is no assembly required. Simply connect the battery wire and it’s ready to go… straight out of the box. Suitable for children aged three and over.
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