Progressive Preschool January/February 2023

Page 32

Introducing the COSATTO baby toy range by Sambro See back cover for more! ® The B2B Publication For Preschool Products and Retailers ISSUE 61 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2023
A DV E R T I SE M E N T

THIS MONTH

P r e s c h o o l N e w s . n e t is the new online resource for the preschool product and retail sector. From the publishers of Progressive Preschool Magazine and the organisers of the Progressive Preschool Awards, this new website and e-newsflash portal will provide the very latest news, views, and analysis across the preschool product and retail sector.

elcome to 2023… and given how the years since 2020 have panned out, we could all be forgiven for keeping everything crossed that the next 12 months gives us an easier ride.

We enter the New Year the same way we left the old one, however. Cost of living is at the forefront of everyone’s minds – both business and consumer – with the impact having already being felt in the run up to Christmas. While the toy industry is usually more robust than a lot of industries when it comes to economic hardship, as one of our contributors this month pointed out, when people are having to focus on heating and eating, there is no question there is going to be an impact.

fewer but well thought out gifts. However, one nursery independent went as far as to say it was the worst Christmas on record for 34 years.

WLaunching with an unrivalled email subscriber base of 12,087 readers, a twice weekly newsflash will land directly in the inboxes of everyone in this fast-paced industry. A modern, easy to navigate website will provide a central resource for the trade too, offering news, in-depth articles, an industry jobs board, retail analysis, digital issues of Progressive Preschool, and much much more.

It’s clear the strain is being felt across the board – for toy suppliers, while container costs have now come down from the startling figures seen in early 2022, the current Covid situation in China is once again raising fears of the impact on the supply chain, whether it be in the factories or at the ports.

Follow us at:

PreschoolNews Advert 165 x 245_Layout 1 04/01/2018 16:20 Page 1

Max Publishing Ltd, United House, North Road, London N7 9DP

The independent retailers we spoke to for our first edition of the New Year reported mixed fortunes. Some said that December was steady, with a last minute rush for gifts as consumers took advantage of the extra weekend shopping day, although shoppers were spending more time browsing and choosing

The magazine and awards do a great job in joining the dots between toy, nursery, gift, apparel, publishing, and of course licensingand this digital offering will further enhance our position as a trade media partner that offers a tangible response to advertising investment.

But – and there is a but –glimmers of positivity and stories of opportunities being grabbed have been filtering through. Golden Bear and the successful launch of its Curlimals brand is a case in point. The same indie retailer who had an awful Christmas has big plans for 2023, while others are launching new showrooms, focusing on the wider community and actively looking for ways to restore customer confidence in shopping and the retail environment.

For both suppliers and retailers, innovation is going to be key as the year unfolds – as Golden Bear’s Barry explained, cut through can still be achieved with the right innovative

T: 020 7700 6740 F: 020 7607 6411 www.max-publishing.co.uk

PreschoolNews net is the new online resource for the preschool product and retail sector. From the publishers of Progressive Preschool Magazine and the organisers of the Progressive Preschool Awards, this new website and e-newsflash portal will provide the very latest news, views, and analysis across the preschool product and retail sector.

Copyright 2023. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information in this magazine was correct at the time of going to press, the publishers cannot accept legal liability for any errors or omissions, nor can they accept responsibility for the standing of advertisers nor any organisation mentioned in the text. Views of contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers.

Launching with an unrivalled email subscriber base of 12,087 readers, a twice weekly newsflash will land directly in the inboxes of everyone in this fast-paced industry. A modern, easy to navigate website will provide a central resource for the trade too, offering news, in-depth articles, an industry jobs board, retail analysis, digital issues of Progressive Preschool, and much much more.

ISSN 2515-8570

The magazine and awards do a great job in joining the dots between toy, nursery, gift, apparel, publishing, and of course licensingand this digital offering will further enhance our position as a trade media partner that offers a tangible response to advertising investment.

ADVERTISING AND COMMERCIAL:

All advertising on the website is duplicated to each and every newsflash, giving advertisers huge visibility and direct impact to retail buyers.

Preschoo News net is published by preschool sector experts, for preschool trade experts.

EDITORIAL AND CONTENT:

Jacqui Parr jacquip@max-publishing.co.uk

Jo Pilcher jop@max-publishing.co.uk

Rob Willis robw@max-publishing.co.uk

Sam Loveday saml@max-publishing.co.uk

Preschoolnews.net is published by preschool sector experts…

product at the right price. This is echoed by Touker Suleyman who, following his motivational speech at the Progressive Preschool Awards last year, spoke exclusively to PPS for this issue, reiterating that if you have a unique product with a unique selling point, buyers will look at it.

And speaking of positivity, PAW Patrol is marking 10 years this year – it is one of only a handful of preschool franchises that have managed the milestone and a veritable feast of new content and brand activity is planned in celebration. You can read more in the dedicated special supplement with this issue.

There will be plenty of innovation on display, too, at London Toy Fair, Spielwarenmesse and Spring Fair, some of which we have highlighted in this issue. The PPS team will be at all three of the shows and we look forward to catching up with as many of you as possible.

All advertising on the website is duplicated to each and every newsflash, giving advertisers huge visibility and direct impact to retail buyers.

Until then, stay positive.

P r e s c h o o l N e w s . n e t is published by preschool sector experts, for preschool trade experts.

The Progressive Preschool Team

Samantha Loveday, Rob Willis, Jo Pilcher and Katie Roberts-Mason.

For the latest news visit PreschoolNews.net

03
2023
Above: There will be plenty of innovation on display in 2023, at Toy Fair (above), Spielwarenmesse and Spring Fair.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY
@Prog_Preschool
PreschoolNews Advert 165 x 245_Layout 1 04/01/2018 16:20 Page 1
@Prog_Preschool
LEADER
24 TH -26 TH JANUARY 2023 OLYMPIA LONDON Pre-register for your FREE visitor badge at toyfair.co.uk @ToyFairUK *Please note Toy Fair is unfortunately not open to the public* For more information on exhibition & sponsorship opportunities please email Rebecca@btha.co.uk For PR opportunities please email toyfair@retailpr.co FEATURING Fun!,JustPlay,Basic BandaiCONNETIX, UKLtd,KEEL TOYS,NoffleStudios,plusmany more!

The latest updates from across the preschool industry.

Reflecting on a strong 2022 for soothers.

Parents Insights Future forecasting for 2023.

Guest Columnist

Jen Fuller, founder of Etta Loves on understanding baby development.

Enter The Dragon PPS speaks exclusively with Touker Suleyman.

PPS catches up with some of the independent retail winners from the PPS Awards 2022.

Saving The World From Boring Baby Stuff PPS speaks to Sambro about its collaboration with Cossato.

Event Focus Looking ahead to Toy Fair 2023.

The Golden Touch PPS catches up with Golden Bear’s md Barry Hughes.

Event Focus What is happening at Spielwarenmesse 2023.

Event Focus Previewing preschool brands at Spring Fair 2023.

Joie de Vivre Joie reflects on 2022 and what’s to come in 2023.

New In Nursery What the nursery sector brought in 2022 and what to expect in 2023.

Event Focus Looking ahead to the INDX Kidswear show.

Retailer In Numbers Retailer revelations from The Fabric Bug.

For the latest news visit PreschoolNews.net

Meet The Team

Rob Willis robw@max-publishing.co.uk

Samantha Loveday saml@max-publishing.co.uk

05
WHAT'S INSIDE
CONTENTS
Jo Pilcher jop@max-publishing.co.uk 06 News
13 Gfk
15
17
20
27 Retail Champions
37
53
32
50
59
68
71
77
79
50
Katie Roberts-Mason katierm@max-publishing.co.uk
32 20
Gary
Freeman garyf@thisismethod.co.uk

Indies report mixed fortunes for Christmas trading

With inflation reaching a 41-year high in October, and overall retail sales dipping in November, figures were showing a slight increase in sales by midDecember last year, making it an uncertain time for retail as they headed into the final Christmas trading weeks.

The mixed reports in the lead up to Christmas have been replicated in the post-event reports. Some had steady sales over December, with a last-minute rush for gifts. Julie Logan, owner of The Olive Branch

Toyshop, commented: “Overall sales and footfall were steady. We had an excellent and above average week leading up to the Christmas weekend which helped greatly.

“Prior to this, November and early December were very unpredictable with unusually quiet periods mixed with very positive days. Customers seemed to spend more time browsing and shopping carefully for perhaps fewer but very well chosen gifts.”

Others reported a more steady sales period. Lisa Clay, owner of Armadillo Toys, explained: “Christmas last year was amazing for us and we had exceptional sales in the run up. I

Sustainability to the fore in 2023

Toy companies have been underlining their commitments to sustainable changes across their businesses and products as the New Year begins.

Geomagworld will be discussing its sustainability programme during the upcoming trade fair season, with UK country manager Clive Wooster telling PPS: “Geomag is incredibly proud to be working in a complete circular economy in regards to sustainability. Our commitment to the environment and sustainability is unwavering and is the heart of our strategic direction. Sustainability is not a task to complete, but rather an iterative approach towards a better environment, society and economy.”

The company’s Magicube line will be expanded this year with the new blocks made with 100% recycled plastics, “ensuring the construction toy world is even more respectful of

our planet” Clive added. Meanwhile, Liz Ireland, director of Bigjigs Toys, is predicting that planet-friendly toys will be a growing trend across playrooms in 2023. “Parents today are more eco-conscious than ever, so we expect that families –where possible – will favour products that are kinder to the environment,” Liz commented. “Bigjigs Toys has been creating eco-friendly toys for more than 30 years, but sustainability will be an even bigger focus for us in 2023. Alongside our expanded FSC Certified range, all new Bigjigs Toys products have a zero tolerance approach to plastic packaging. We also work with ethical brands, such as Green Toys, and source sustainable materials for all products in our collection.”

Juratoys is another company

suppose with the constant negative news stories in the media about the cost of living crisis, we were a bit concerned that sales may be affected. Fortunately for us this did not happen.”

Outside of toy shops though, it seems it might be a different story. Ian Davidson, owner of Babylicious, said: “All I can say is that Christmas was the worst on record after 34 years in this industry. I’ve never known anything quite like it. The government needs to cap the energy prices and fear mongering needs to stop in the news.

“In general, the industry is becoming lost in cyber space and it’s

which has been working hard to grow its FSC offering, with UK commercial director, Neil Montgomery, telling PPS it will continue to make this an ongoing priority. “Consumers are looking to buy products with the environment in mind and we feel that we have a fantastic FSC/plastic free offering across all of our brands.”

NEWS TOP STORY
06 For the latest news visit PreschoolNews.net
Above: The new launches in the Magicube line will feature blocks made with 100% recycled plastics.

KEEPING YOU UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST STORIES

store: “I always love a new year with a new start; we have a lot planned for 2023 starting with a brand new Mamas & Papas Showroom starting the end of January. We are always looking for new ideas to grow and love change… roll on the new stock from Harrogate.”

Julie remains positive: “There is no doubt that 2023 will be challenging but we will stick to the basics of providing good value, quality products and a warm, friendly and supportive service.

looking bleaker and bleaker for high street stores.”

Caroline Pizzey, owner of Little Poppets echoed the downturn in sales: “The store was very quiet during December unfortunately. This isn’t unusual for this time of year and we always prepare ourselves. We decided this year that we wouldn’t purchase the usual Christmas toys etc for the shop floor and concentrated on online sales.

“This is the first year we are not rolling into the New Year with an abundance of Christmas stock –quite refreshing.”

Having survived an uncertain Christmas, though, indies have plans to grow in many ways going into 2023. Ian expands: “I have big plans for this year, and if we have a good January and February, it will be okay.”

There are new plans for Caroline’s

“I think 2023 will be about finding ways to restore customer confidence in shopping and the retail environment.”

And Lisa plans to focus on the wider community over the coming year: “Looking forward to 2023 I am hoping to build on the momentum from last year. We are very well supported locally and I want to continue to grow our ties with our customers, local schools, charities and community groups.”

PAW Patrol marking 10 years with One Big Celebration

Preschoolers around the world have been ‘on a roll’ with PAW Patrol for the last decade, capturing the hearts of parents, licensees, retailers and other partners.

This year will see Paramount and Spin Master mark 10 years of the preschool franchise with ‘One Big Celebration’, highlighting the positive, enduring influence of the show and pups on the everyday lives of preschoolers, while for partners it’s about celebrating the outstanding success of the PAW Patrol franchise to date.

2023 will see the biggest year yet for content including a 22-minute anniversary themed special episode; a spring content theme, Aqua Pups; its first ever spin off series premiere, Rubble & Crew; plus the theatrical release of PAW Patrol: The Mighty

Movie, the sequel to the hugely successful film debut in 2021.

Supporting the special episodes and themes, new core season 9 and 10 premieres will roll out across the year, day and date on Nick Jr. and Paramount+ in the UK, as well as Milkshake on Channel 5 later in 2023.

New short-form content on both Nick Jr. and PAW Patrol YouTube channels, existing seasons on Netflix and a new multi-platform console game release will further add to the

celebrations, while there is also a host of brand activity planned.

Ultimately, 2023 is set to be a year-long celebration of ‘pup culture’ with Charlotte Hyson, director of CP marketing at Paramount Consumer Products and Experiences UK, commenting: “We’re celebrating, so we would like everyone who has ever loved the franchise to be joining in as much as they can, as well as recruiting the new to join in the party.”

07 For the latest news visit PreschoolNews.net
29-30 JANUARY 2023 Curated by buyers for buyers brought to you by Sunday 29 January 09.00 - 18.00 Monday 30 January 09.00 - 16.00 Visit or Exhibit Scan and secure your place

KEEPING YOU UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST STORIES

BTHA reveals 2022 Toy Retailer of the Year finalists

The shortlist is: Independent Toy Retailer of the Year (single store): Wigwam Toys, Brighton; Toys N Tuck, Southend on Sea; and JJ Toys, Gerrards Cross.

Independent Toy Retailer of the Year (multi store): MIDCO Toys; Morleys Department Stores; and Toy Barnhaus.

The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) has revealed the finalists for the Toy Retailer of the Year Awards 2022.

Multiple Toy Retailer of the Year: The Entertainer; SMF Toytown; and Smyths.

Omnichannel Toy Retailer of the Year: The Entertainer; Smyths; and Argos.

Online Excellence Award: VERY; Amazon; and Argos.

The winners of the prestigious Toy Retailer of the Year Awards including Overall Toy Retailer of the Year for 2022 will be announced, along with any other special BTHA awards, on Monday 23 January 2023 – the eve of London Toy Fair 2023.

“Congratulations to all this year’s Toy Retailer of the Year finalists, all of whom have demonstrated outstanding commitment, creativity and excellent collaboration with suppliers over the past 12 months,” commented Graham Canning, BTHA chairman. “They are all very deserving of our shortlist for 2022. We look forward to announcing this year’s winners during Toy Fair 2023 alongside the TRA who will also announce the Toy and Supplier of the Year winners for 2022.”

INDX Toy & Gift confirms date change for 2023 show

AIS is bringing forward the date of the INDX Toy & Gift show this year to 14-15 March.

The show – which has also changed its name from INDX Toys & Nursery Gifts to reflect a more inclusive product offer –was originally due to take place in April at Cranmore Park.

Organised by Associated Independent Stores (AIS) – the UK’s leading buying group for fashion, home and leisure – the show’s new direction is a result of feedback from retailers and suppliers, and the March dates have been chosen to align with the industry’s key order-writing window.

“By bringing our next show forward to 14-15 March, we’ll be offering greater accessibility to a

wider audience,” explained Rosie Marshall, head of toys and children’s gifts at AIS. “We understand that April is a key time for our garden centre and department store retailers, so holding the show in March will enable them to see the latest products and be prepared for the Easter holiday trade.”

In addition to covering licensed products, toys, games and preschool, the 2022 show also effectively launched into the ‘nursery gift’ arena, and building on that success, the 2023 show will see further expansion into the gift sector, allowing for a strengthened product showcase to fit a wider variety of retail spaces.

Key toy suppliers which will be exhibiting in 2023 include Character

Options, Top Model, Hasbro, Funko, Moose, Ravensburger, Spin Master and Schleich. They will be joined by gift sector suppliers including Hippychick, Tonies, Happy Horse and Bam Bam. Head to www.indxshows. co.uk for further details.

The move in dates means that the show can offer greater accessibility to a wider audience.

For the latest news visit PreschoolNews.net

NEWS
09
TOP STORY
Above:

Come out to play

Discover the most beautiful, handcrafted toys, brain-teasing puzzles and must-have gadgets all in one place.

Find out more at springfair.com

Organised by

KEEPING YOU UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST STORIES

TOP STORY

Sambro extends deal with Hasbro

Sambro International has extended its rights with Hasbro, adding a number of brands to its product portfolio for the UK and EMEA region including preschool favourite PJ Masks.

Sambro has held a long-term contract with Hasbro since 2008 and since 2020, Sambro distributes its extensive range of Peppa Pig arts and craft toys across Europe and the UK, as well as plush across Europe.

The latest deal will see Sambro distribute numerous new product lines within the My Little Pony and Transformers franchises,

Pinocchio and Friends welcomes new licensees

with PJ Masks launching in 2024, across the UK and the heartland of Europe with a focus on Benelux, GSA, CEE, Nordics and France.

“Hasbro has long valued its working relationship with Sambro and we’re thrilled to continue to work with them to help lift consumer experiences across these new franchises,

especially in the growing value channel,” commented Marianne James, vp consumer products for Eurasia at Hasbro. “Our new franchises will allow consumers to express their fandom in new ways through our ever-expanding collection of licensed toys and games and we’re excited to see what’s to come as part of this newly extended contract.”

Clare Rix, commercial manager at Sambro, added: “This new licensing deal builds on the success of our existing relationship with Hasbro and its Peppa Pig franchises, a relationship which has spanned 14 fruitful years.”

Playmobil and Disney reveal new partnership

Lisle Licensing has welcomed a brace of new licensees for Pinocchio and Friends, the reimagined TV series about the famous wooden puppet.

The series – which became a ratings winner on CBeebies when it launched earlier this year – is poised to launch its master toy range from Flair GP in the spring, following a positive unveiling at Brand Licensing Europe.

Fashion UK is on board to create a range of apparel including daywear, outerwear and pyjamas, expected to launch at retail in late spring.

In addition, Smiffys will lead the dress-up category, developing a range of costumes including key characters Pinocchio and Freeda. Plus, in an agreement brokered by Rainbow’s in-house CP team, Kennedy Publishing is producing a bespoke Pinocchio and Friends magazine featuring stickers, colouring in pages and activities.

Right: Pinocchio and friends is building a strong licensing programme.

Playmobil has secured a new partnership with Disney, marking the first licence for its toddler portfolio.

Six play-sets will join the Playmobil 1.2.3 portfolio inspired by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet, all launching in summer 2023.

Each of the play-sets will include multiple educational features based on three connected learning stages that support a child’s individual development.

The sets also aim to help toddlers to explore the world, as well as supporting them in developing skills needed as a foundation for their future – replicating the curious nature of Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh.

Sorting shapes, stacking blocks, discovering sound effects, counting first numbers, first role-play and lots of other elements: all these features enhance cognitive abilities, fine motor skills and creativity, as well as language and social skills – with the Disney characters as role models.

For the latest news visit PreschoolNews.net

NEWS
11

REFLECTING ON A STRONG 2022 FOR SOOTHERS

As we review the first 10 months of data for 2022 for total Babycare categories tracked by GfK, it has been a positive year in terms of value, following a rough two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the end of October 2022, value was up 15% compared to Jan-Oct in 2021, and 27% versus the same period in 2020. Compared to 2019, the market was behind by 6%.

Looking at how the total market has performed in terms of volume, however, is not the same positive story. Volume sales continued to decline year to year. Between Jan-Oct 2022 volume dropped a minor 0.3% compared to the same period in 2021 and 1% compared to 2020. However, the comparison to the pre-pandemic market in 2019 a fall of 18% shows how much ground has been lost.

SOOTHER SALES ENJOYED A SUCCESSFUL 2022

For the period Jan-Oct 2022, Soothers saw the highest value sales since GfK began tracking the

product group. Value for Soothers was up 13% compared to the same period in 2021 and 22% versus 2020, both just behind the growth for total Babycare. When compared to 2019, Soothers posted 10% value growth. Prior to 2022, 2018 had been the highest value year for Soothers currently, value is 9% higher than we reported for Jan-Oct 2018.

The rising value is being driven in part by price increases over the last few years, and especially during 2022. Looking annually from 2017 to 2021, between Jan-Oct there was on average a 5% rise in average selling price for Soothers. That changed in 2022 when we recorded a 10% increase in the average price for a Soother. This growth is driven by inflation and the cost of materials and is also impacted by consumers trading up to premium brands.

Our analysis shows that higher prices have not impacted demand as volume sales of Soothers in 2022 was up 2% versus Jan-Oct 2021 and 6% compared to 2020. Despite

being one of the few categories in Babycare to experience volume growth in 2022, it was unable to improve upon its 2019 position and a comparison reveals it was down 9%. However, based on the gradual increase of volume over the last three years, it is possible that in 2023 we will see volume return to similar pre-pandemic levels.

Part of the success has come from sales of Soothers for children aged 12 months and over. Demand for Soothers for this age group grew 29% value from Jan-Oct 2022 versus the same period in 2021. Compared to 2016, the value for this age group has grown 647%. Volume sales experienced a similar trend, up 19% versus 2021 and 479% compared to 2016.

GRADUAL MOVE TO ONLINE PURCHASING

Traditional in-store buying remains the popular way for consumers to purchase Soothers, however, the amount of volume and value moving online has slowly increased since 2021. This will also have an impact on the market value as consumers spend on average 34% more for a Soother online versus in-store.

THE OUTLOOK FOR NEXT YEAR

Looking forward into 2023, Soothers will continue to see success as GfK expects the volume of sales continues to return to pre-pandemic levels. Continued demand for products for children 12 months and over will also continue to help the category grow. Other factors such as continued price rises will help support continued value growth.

© GfK 2022 – A strong
Great Britain – Soothers Source: GfK GB PoS Data. *Year-to-date (YTD) figures based on January – October. 25% 14% 9% 10% 22% 13% vs 2016 vs 2017 vs 2018 vs 2019 vs 2020 vs 2021 Value Soothers Growth Year to Date* -13% -15% -14% -9% 6% 2% vs 2016 vs 2017 vs 2018 vs 2019 vs 2020 vs 2021 Volume
1
year for Soothers
13
RESEARCH
GfK’s Emma Wade reviews the market performance for Soothers during 2022.
Come and see us on stand N2 at Toy Fair janod.com Juratoys UK Ltd • sales@juratoys.co.uk • 0208 878 2133

FUTURE FORECASTING

This is the fifth year of our coveted Future Forecast 2023 report and is proving to be a highly anticipated and critical tool for the industries we work with to strategically plan for the year ahead. The report has previously predicted the rise of Direct to Consumer (2017), Generation Speak (2018), Co-Creation (2020) and last year predicted the furthering of flexible working.

This report is using our class of one insight methodology and ties into our purpose that aims to put kids, teens, parents and families at the heart of everything we do. The report, which uses the company’s extensive knowledge and insight of surveying more than c700,000 family members across 22 countries every year, has continued to track and monitor the impact of several key factors such as environment, economy, education, technology and changing audience habit. This results in a real-time understanding of these factors into how they are transforming the attitudes, behaviour, and consumption of kids, teens, parents and families around the world. This year's predictions include:

■ The perfect storm of postCovid impact and economic downturn will inevitably impact the sea of subscriptions on offer to consumers. Subscriptions will need to merge to stay relevant against this global economic background.

■ Gaming will come to the

high street by merging virtual experiences with real time shopping and eventbased high street fun.

■ Gamified communities will become a greater factor in your brand ecosystem in order to reach your target audience. How you execute it will be critical.

■ Demonstrating your values and sustainability mission in an authentic way will be important in a world where audiences continue to increase their power and collective voice on brands that do or don’t adhere to their high standards – and most critically their spending power en masse could make or break your brand.

■ Linear is making a return in the wake of economic concerns and the growing urge to cut costs.

■ A kid first world will continue to grow with non-kid focused sectors looking to develop their brand and marketing strategies to include family and kids. The power is with kids and that

■ The eco system available to brands to reach an increasingly fragmented audience is growing. An ecosystem approach to your brand is critical to face 2023 with the chance of reaching kids, teens, parents and families.

Nick Richardson, founder at The Insights Family comments: “It feels only five minutes ago since we were writing our last Future Forecast. There is no doubt that kids, teens, parents and families are enduring a challenging time with conflict, inflation, poverty all on the rise, while food, disposable income and individuals' mental health all in decline. That said, our Future Forecast is intended to be a positive report making predictions on what we think could be coming next based on our research, data, insights, and instinct.

“We continue to see that the speed of change (which does not necessarily mean evolution) quickens, and with society becoming more fragmented, flash trends are rife and that means organisations need to increasingly take a data driven global, regional, and local approach to how they go about their business. And of course, that is what we exist to do, it is to provide you with the most reliable market intelligence on kids, teens, parents and families to help you make decisions with clarity and confidence.”

The complementary Future Forecast report is available to download by visiting: get. theinsightsfamily.com/futureforecast.

Below: Future Forecast 2023 predicts some

in the kids, teens, parents and family universe to watch out for this year.

RESEARCH
15
The Insights Family launches its Future Forecast for 2023, predicting some of the key trends in the kids, teens, parents and family universe to watch out for this year.
Left: Nick Richardson, founder, The Insights Family.
of the key trends

BRIGHT EYES

Most parents are aware that their new baby’s vision isn’t very good. Perhaps they know it’s blurry, perhaps they believe that they can only see in black and white (which is in fact a myth) but one thing is for certain - watching your baby grow and change in their first year is a truly magical experience.

When it comes to baby vision, there is so much going on in their eyes and brains that is both interesting and useful to know as a parent. By understanding our babies’ developmental stages, we are able to most appropriately stimulate their vision.

My journey of discovery about infant vision started the moment my then four week old daughter Etta locked eyes onto my monochrome jumper during a feed. It sparked an idea that led me to set up the first visually sensory baby company, Etta Loves, which takes the science of how and what babies see to make baby essentials do more than just their primary purpose.

With an idea in my head, and no former knowledge about the science of vision, my first hire for Etta Loves was our orthoptist Laura (aka an expert in infant vision). Laura works in NHS hospital clinics, seeing infants that are referred with suspected visual problems, as well as lecturing on orthoptics. Laura was, and still is, critical to the business. From our very first patterns, to now - six years onLaura provides us with the knowledge for accurate scales, spacing and shape preference that go into our design brief. This ensures that every print we produce is perfectly optimised to a babies’ visual ability.

For example, did you know that babies can detect a strong red and green from birth, but the colours appear very muted and unsaturated compared to how we see them as adults? In addition, babies don’t have 3D vision until around five months old. This is because the muscles that hold their eyes straight and enable a 3D image to be sent and processed by our brains are immature at birth – which also explains why babies go cross-eyed on occasion. These facts, and many more like them, are what enable us to create our age-appropriate products from birth to 12 months and beyond.

Because the area of infant vision is so vast but also has many unknowns, I also wanted to see how we could

can take questions that we don’t have the answer to – like our most recent study regarding infant colour preference – and design research that provides new and previously unknown answers to how babies’ see and what they like to look at.

put Etta Loves at the forefront of visual research and, in turn, use new research to create even better products and patterns. I investigated universities with specialist baby vision divisions and far and away the most highly respected one was The Baby Lab at the University of Sussex, which prompted me to invest in funding our very own PhD student to drive the latest learning into my brand. What’s fascinating about working with the university is that not only can we test and optimise our current prints, but we

In a nutshell the world around us offers a wonderful sensory experience for babies every day. What we do at Etta Loves is take everything that is known about baby vision and translate it into beautiful patterns placed on things parents and carers need anyway – playmats, muslins, pram toys and more – that make your day that bit easier while baby stares contently and makes babies even more magical and mesmerising while supporting their vision. Our latest project with Laura and the university was to look at the dizzying array of baby sensory videos on YouTube and work out how we could make one far better for infant vision, and far more relaxing for parents too. So, we have created the optimum sensory animation for little ones, for free, on YouTube. This clever animation is rooted in science and features patterns that research shows us babies love to look at, movement speed that babies can track and a connecting soundtrack to optimise their visual learning through watching. It’s just one of the many ways we are innovating to bring you and your little one the best possible experience for their incredible eyes and brains.

17
GUEST COLUMNIST
Jen Fuller, founder of Etta Loves, explains how by understanding babies’ developmental stages, we are able to most appropriately stimulate their vision.
Above: Jen Fuller, founder, Etta Loves.
Find Etta Loves sensory magic at  www.ettaloves.com Etta Loves sensory video https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=BNRcQLYYRsg&t=6s
“ What we do at Etta Loves is take everything that is known about baby vision and translate it into beautiful patterns placed on things parents and carers need anyway. ”

Where Sleep Begins

BEST SELLING BEDSIDE CRIB
UK’S

Snüz was created in 2014 with the vision of providing stylish sleep solutions for parents, starting with their iconic and award-winning bedside crib, SnüzPod. Since then, Snüz have grown to lead the way in baby sleep and have recently expanded their offering into the adult sphere with their new Pregnancy Support Pillow, SnüzCurve.

Snüz are dedicated to creating products and having conversations to help make nap times as stress-free as possible. With their nursery furniture, sleeping bags, sleep aids and mattresses, Snüz are proud to produce products that make a real difference in helping provide a better sleep.

CONTACT THE SNÜZ TEAM TO DISCOVER WHERE SLEEP BEGINS... 01789 734 022 | trade@greensheepgroup.com SnuzCloud SnuzPouch SnuzSurface SnuzBaskit SnuzKot SnuzFino SnuzCurve

A regular on BBC One’s Dragons’ Den, Touker Suleyman is one of the UK’s best-known retail entrepreneurs. Following his motivational speech to the audience at the Progressive Preschool Awards 2022, PPS sits down with him to find out more about the babycare companies he has a stake in – including the award-winning Matchstick Monkey – and what inspires him to invest in a brand.

20 THE BIG INTERVIEW
ENTER THE
Inset: Originally a fashion entrepreneur, Touker Suleyman has made significant investments in the baby sector.

Touker Suleyman has an eye for a winning product. Of his 2016 decision to invest in Matchstick Monkey – now the UK’s top teething toy and the winner of multiple awards – before the product had even launched, he recalls: “I wasn't really looking at the baby sector until Matchstick’s founder Katie Windridge came to see me to talk about her bag company [Forbes & Lewis]. She had a little monkey teether with her. That was it. I think it was only about 10 minutes before I’d decided to invest.”

Cute and sturdy with easy-grab handles, Matchstick Monkey is a baby-safe silicone teether that can also be used to deliver pain relief to the hard-to-reach back gums via its bobbled head. Katie had designed the product after her two daughters both suffered terrible pain while teething, and she’d found it impossible to rub teething gel onto their gums without getting her fingers bitten.

Touker was struck by the uniqueness and functionality of Matchstick Monkey’s design, and by Katie’s business acumen. He immediately set to work, switching production of the product to a factory he knew well. “They’re Procter & Gamble’s biggest manufacturer of toothbrushes; there's over a billion dollars of investment in plant equipment there,” he says.

From the get-go, Matchstick Monkey proved a hit with parents, and today the product sells in 60 countries worldwide. Under Touker’s guidance, the business has expanded into bath toys, feeding and babycare products, plush toys and more.

“We’ve cornered the market with Matchstick Monkey,” says Touker. “It’s a very credible brand. It’s got brand loyalty, it’s got brand elasticity.” Comforters will soon be added to Matchstick’s portfolio, following the recent acquisition of Dumforter, manufacturer of award-winning 3-in-1 dummy, teether and comforter products. “The Dumforter will be redesigned with a Matchstick aesthetic, so that it makes sense within the Matchstick Monkey range,” explains Touker.

Touker originally made his millions in the fashion trade (his company Low Profile Group still owns UK fashion label Ghost and men’s outfitters Hawes & Curtis), and also has interests in bicycle marketplace Bike Soup, marketing and advertising company Intelligent Futures, and a number of property businesses. So, what’s the draw of the baby sector?

“With the fashion business, you’re essentially vulnerable to ups and down,” Touker explains. “The baby world is not as volatile. It’s quite small, and it’s fairly easy to pick up distributors

around the world. It’s more of a steady-as-she-goes business.”

While Matchstick Monkey continues to thrive –with its Gigi Giraffe Teething Starter Set recently picking up a Gold Mother & Baby award for Best Teething Product – Touker is also developing several other brands in the baby and nursery space. He is an investor in Babocush, another product designed by a mum looking to solve a particular problem, in this case, her newborn’s inability to self-soothe owing to painful acid reflux. Kerry Nevins found it hard to settle her son anywhere other than on her chest until she came up with the idea for a “reverse baby rocker”, which would allow him to lie upright on his tummy rather than on his back.

Right: Little Hoppa’s sustainable and “beautifully designed” products are aimed at the top end of the market.

Left: Matchstick Monkey, the teething brand that first captured Touker’s attention. Below: The Babocush Comfort Cushion offers little ones relief from painful colic.

THE BIG INTERVIEW 21

Touker has been able to open up doors to expand the brand internationally and, again, is adding to the product range. “Babocush is a very steady business, and big in the States. We realised pretty quickly that the brand also needed its own bouncer, so just recently we designed and developed one.”

A similar approach was taken with Pottiagogo. The lightweight travelling potty, with an easy-opening and folding mechanism that can be operated with just one hand, was designed by businesswoman Anne-Marie Perkins, and was recommended to Touker by a senior buyer at Asda. “It’s a very slick design, and we thought Anne-Marie was very credible,” says Touker. His involvement in Pottiagogo is fairly new, but brand expansions so far include a teddy-bear-shaped changing mat and a backpack cleverly designed to carry the travel potty, mat, and other essentials.

Touker’s baby sector portfolio is wide-ranging, embracing teething, toys, feeding and potty training products, at a range of price points. At the top end is Little Hoppa, a brand producing planet-friendly, multifunctional nursery products, including a 3-in-1 Activity Set that transforms from a baby gym for little ones, to a bouncer, to a children’s play table.

“Little Hoppa came on Dragons’ Den ,” recalls Touker. “It was premium product, sustainable and beautifully designed, with strong appeal in the highend market.”

With a £500 price point, the Hoppa won’t be gracing every nursery. “We’re not looking to sell hundreds of thousands,” Touker says. “The targets are not huge. However, revenue makes up for it.”

Retailers, including Harrods and Kidly, can take advantage of drop shipping, so they can replenish stock as and when it sells.

“We’ve just taken control in the last few months and the first delivery is arriving in the next couple of

weeks,” Touker says. “We've already pre-sold part of that and we'll probably sell out quite quickly.”

Touker isn’t fazed by 2023’s gloomy economic forecast. “Whether it’s a teether or a changing bag, these are international products. In the UK alone, there are 800,000 babies born every year. So long as babies continue to be born and mothers need certain products, it will be okay.”

Further acquisitions could be on the cards. “We’re now considering toothbrushes for babies, sustainable wooden toys, a whole range of products… I think there will be opportunities next year, especially with smaller brands, where people just want to give up and sell their businesses. We’ll look at them and if the product makes sense, if it’s unique, and if it can add value to the business, then we'll make an offer.”

Finally, does Touker have any words of wisdom for start-up brands looking to break into the baby sector?

“My advice would be, don't give up. Yes, it’s difficult to get into retailers. However, what I do know is if you’ve got a unique product with a unique selling point, buyers will look at it.”

Bottom left: The Pottiagogo range of products is designed to take the stress out of toilet training. Below: Bath toys, tablewear and plush are just some of Matchstick Monkey’s brand expansions.

THE BIG INTERVIEW 23
Right: Touker delivering his motivational speech at last year’s Progressive Preschool Awards.
For license enquires contact: Faye Rashad Email: faye@misirli.co.uk T: +44(0) 116 2645 860 “Delivering innovation, quality and value on time....every time.” TIGHTS BABYWEAR GIFTING UNDERWEAR SOCKS NIGHTWEAR “Delivering innovation, quality and value on time....every time.”
www.misirli.co.uk @MisirliUKLtd misirliukltd

Last year’s Progressive Preschool awards celebrated the efforts of independent retailers in the preschool space, providing a much-needed boost following another uncertain year for the high street. PPS catches up with some of the winners to find out how 2022 was for them and what their plans are for the next 12 months.

RETAIL CHAMPIONS

AND CONTENT, NEWBIE AND ME WINNER OF BEST INDEPENDENT NURSERY RETAILER

“The biggest challenge has been opening the new Birmingham store, which opened on the run up to the Black Friday weekend. The timing was perfect as so many expectant parents joined us for the opening making it a successful launch. There have been so many highlights this year, but to name a few; The exclusivity of the Egg Stealth, launch of the new Silver Cross Dune & Reef, the backlog of stroller season, our mother and baby event with Mini First Aid, breaking our record on social media, growing on TikTok, and of course, winning

the Best Independent Nursery Retailer Award.

“Without giving too much away, we are going to continue to do what we do best - offering carers and expecting parents a place to explore the amazing range of nursery products in-store. We are always learning and developing, whether it’s from a Google review, or from a customer in-store, feedback is key.

“The award honestly means the world to us. It’s recognition of our hard work, and that we are doing the right thing. The best part of winning this award is that everybody involved at Newbie and Me has played a part. From the staff on the shop floor giving amazing customer service, to the owners of the business planning our next move - we are a big family who all believe in Newbie and Me.”

27 PPSA INDEPENDENT WINNERS
Above: Philip says that there were many highlights in 2022, including the opening of a new store in Birmingham.
Join us at Toy Fair and Spring Fair to see our new ranges for 2023! 5-8 Feb 2023 Hall 5 G14-H15 24-26 Jan 2023 STAND F65 register your visit at: www.toyfair.co.uk www.springfair.com

“The last 12 months have been spent attempting to achieve some stability after the unpredictability experienced since 2020. We are very fortunate to have amazing customers who understand the experience of visiting the toy shop, versus purchasing online and the one of the highlights will always be seeing the happiness of our customers and their children when they find exactly what they want, despite not having any idea before they walked in the door.

“As for challenges, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis is a major concern, we are a business but want to ensure that we provide a great service and a wide range of toys that are inclusive to everyone and offer opportunities

USMAN ALI AHMED, OWNER OF TOYS4YOU WINNER OF BEST INDEPENDENT GIFT RETAILER

“2022 was an eventful year for Toys4you, as with all businesses it has been a tough year due the cost of living crises, however as a business we try to find a positive from all the negativity that is going around. People have become savvier with what they are buying, so they are after quality stuff at affordable price and that’s what we are currently doing. In April 2022 we opened our first physical store in Sutton Coldfield and after a few months we came on board with Toymaster as a member and the brands we stock massively increased.

“As with other businesses we talk to, online sales have dropped which is natural as after the pandemic people prefer to shop in store more, so in-store sales increased.

“2022 brought its own challenges, due to increases in costs like utility bills and staff wages. We are trying to keep our heads above water and are hopeful that in upcoming months things will improve.

“We have high hopes for 2023; our focus is to further build our brand and encourage people to buy local and support individual retailers rather than big chains, which treat toys as a profit commodity rather than an experience and a smile on little ones’ faces.

“Our store is not like an ordinary retail store you walk into, as we find it boring and repetitive. Our store is more retro with fixtures and fittings made of recycled wooden pallets and it’s stocked in such a manner that children can reach the products easily. However, all of this brings its own challenges, and we will be changing our layout to improve the customer experience in-store.

for people to provide gifts to their loved ones. We always want to ensure that we can find your perfect gift and cater to your specific circumstances.

“We will look to continue growth in the area in 2023, we developed a strong online presence during the pandemic and this is another aspect of the business we would like to grow.

“We have been running the business for 40 years this February and our aspirations are always the same: provide our customers with the level of care that we would give to our family and look to continue the great work we do within the local community, whilst promoting the 'shop local' campaign to support the many amazing small businesses in the area.

“Winning this award is truly an honour. It was hugely unexpected but so appreciated. This validates all the hard work that goes into running the business. This is also an award which we share with our customersthey are our most valuable asset and we are constantly learning from them, even after all these years.”

Above left: Kamlesh says winning the Best Independent Retailer award is “truly an honour”.

“We have quite a few events planned for 2023 and we have plans to run with local bid and the shopping centre management. We will be running Pokémon trading events, plus competition for Warhammer enthusiasts and some mascots visiting our stores. We will be involving some local community groups to run in-store sessions for kids to minimise the time kids spend in front of screens and learn at the same time. Keep an eye on our social media channels and website to keep up to date with such events.

“Toys4you is part of Humify which provides equal opportunities to the most deprived in society in the UK and internationally. We have plans this year to extend this support and involve in projects where we will contribute to the betterment of the society.

“It was a great honour to receive the Progressive Preschool award and we were extremely delighted to be acknowledged for the all the hard work that our team and staff does. We are very sure that every other nominee for this award was as capable if not more, of winning this award.

“To be called an award-winning shop provides an endorsement to the exceptional customer service we provide and also the quality of products we sell in our store. Also the category of award we won is a reflection of personalised service we offer in store to people who come to our store looking for gifts for the little ones.”

29 PPSA INDEPENDENT WINNERS
Left: Usman Ali Ahmed and his wife Mehak Rauf (pictured) run Toys4You with Arihant Parekh and his wife Nakita Parekh.
ExclusiveandpreferredpartnersofKayesofCardiff Kayes are exclusive or major distributors of many leading brands sales hotline: 029 2036 3678
ExclusivetoKayes Kayes is proud to offer the largest selection of branded and character merchandise and pocket money toys, via its vast distribution network to the independent trade. email: orders@kayes.co.uk Allthisandmoreunderoneroof Schleich, Ravensburger, Brio, Jumbo, Bruder, Playmobil

‘SAVING THE WORLD FROM BORING BABY STUFF…’

Sambro International has announced its unique licensing partnership with Cosatto, the iconic brand famed for its mantra of ‘saving the world from boring baby stuff’. With a wealth of experience in preschool licensing, combined with Cosatto’s expertise in the baby care sector, the companies are planning for growth in 2023 for the UK & EMEA regions. PPS catches up with Sambro’s brand and licensing director Clare Rix as well as Vicky Morley, creative director at Cosatto, to find out more.

“W

e’re genuinely excited to be working with Cosatto on its first range of baby activity toys,” opens Clare Rix. Introducing the Cosatto brand into our licensed portfolio was a strategic move – further bolstering our preschool portfolio and strengthening our ‘from birth’ product offering.”

Sambro has a longstanding and award-winning creative relationship with many of the top licensors including

Disney, Hasbro, Paramount and Mattel among others. This new partnership extends Sambro’s target market into a younger arena, complementing its existing portfolio.

Utilising Cosatto’s in-depth knowledge and distinctively strong brand identity with a design-led approach, the new Cosatto activity baby range by Sambro features bestselling designs including Unicorn Land, Mister Fox and Dragon Kingdom. These lively designs encourage developmental play through tactile and whimsical discovery.

THE BIG INTERVIEW 32
Mr Fox Tummy-time Roller.

“Cosatto is an iconic British brand through and through, with an inclusive, fun and values-driven culture and a real focus on developing products that put babies and parents first,” explains Vicky Morley, creative director at Cosatto.

Suitable from birth through to preschool, the variety of textures, fabrics, sounds and discovery elements are sure to keep inquisitive babies and toddlers entertained. The range includes comforters, pram clip-on toys, activity cubes, tummy-time rollers and spiral activity toys to keep little ones active and engaged. The enchanting designs are a delight to brighten up nurseries and baby care environments everywhere.

Sambro will deliver an initial range of around 20 products, launching in spring 2023, with the first toys set to be showcased to retailers, buyers and media at January’s Toy Fair (stand F16) at Olympia – then exhibited at Spielwarenmesse (Hall 12.0 G17) in February.

“Sambro really impressed us with their expertise in the sector, as well as their understanding of our values and approach to creating toys that inspire creative play - leading to happy babies and parents,” adds Vicky.

She continues: “Pattern and colour are Cosatto’s key trade points and we’re really happy these shone through in this latest range from Sambro – with the fabrics and designs used and the little flashes of colour appearing across the range.

“We’ve been careful to ensure the products place the needs and development of babies at the heart of the range. We’ve also created our first ever range of tummy-time rollers, crafted to inspire educational and developmental play.

“We’re also really excited to launch spiral activity toys, which can be attached to cots, prams and more, helping build baby’s hand eye co-ordination skills and which are really fun to look at and play with.”

The new partnership with Sambro and Cosatto is a perfect match and a strong addition to Sambro’s growing portfolio of licensed brands.

“Last year we celebrated 25 years in business, as well as it being one of our most successful years to date. 2023 looks set to be even bigger and better for Sambro, as we not only drive forward plans in the baby and preschool space but plans for new ranges and collections which have innovation, design and fun at their very heart,” concludes Clare.

THE BIG INTERVIEW 33
“ Sambro really impressed us with their expertise in the sector, as well as their understanding of our values and approach to creating toys that inspire creative play - leading to happy babies and parents.”
Vicky Morley, creative director at Cosatto
The newest additions to the launch range will be showcased in January at London Toy Fair (stand F16) at Olympia – then exhibited at Spielwarenmesse (Hall 12.0 G17) in February. Inset: Dragon Kingdom Comforter. Below: Dragon Kingdom Activity Spiral. Below right: Mr Fox Activity Book.

CAPITAL

GAINS

The fact that Toy Fair 2023 had sold out all of its exhibition space by September 2022 says everything you need to know about where the show sits in the affections of the UK business. Simply put, it’s the very definition of a ‘must attend’ event.

“For the toy industry, being able to work together in one collaborative space is super important,” explains Liz Ireland, director at Bigjigs Toys. “We are delighted to get the opportunity to meet face to face with our customers again. It makes a huge difference and gives us chance to continue building lasting relationships.”

Right: The new 16-piece Magicube set will launch in spring 2023.

Below: Casdon has expanded its licence with De’Longhi and is looking to take role-play to ‘the next level’ with its new launch.

Below right: Juratoys will be unveiling Janod’s new Dino collection at Toy Fair.

Bigjigs will be making the most of the platform by showcasing 45 new products including its first ever FSC Certified train set, crafted with a woodland theme, and its first dress-up range which will include scientist, firefighter, doctor, police and princess sets. Other new lines will include the Montessori-style Animal Playbox activity sets (in dinosaur and farmyard themes); pull-along toys including the FSC Pull Along Bunny & Baby (made from sustainably harvested FSC Certified wood); and the FSC Baby Walker.

Notably, Liz is predicting that planet friendly toys will be a growing trend across playrooms in 2023.

“Parents today are more ecoconscious than ever, so we expect that families - where possible - will

favour products that are kinder to the environment. Bigjigs Toys has been creating eco-friendly toys for more than 30 years, but sustainability will be an even bigger focus for us in 2023.”

For Juratoys, Toy Fair is a great way to showcase the 200+ new products that it launches every year. For 2023, it will be taking a step back in time with Janod’s new Dino collection which includes six new Push Along Dinos, a set of three wooden Dino Surprise Eggs and a Diplodocus-themed wooden garage. There is also a Dino Activity Table (designed with eight activities) and the wooden Portosaurus Ride On Dinosaur.

“Toy Fair has always been very important to us as the first opportunity to showcase our collections,” comments Neil Montgomery, UK commercial director at Juratoys, pointing out that the company will also be showing new lines from Kaloo and Lilliputiens. “The timing of the show is always so positive, celebrating newness in the New Year - and this year we have a lot to celebrate so we are especially excited. It is a chance to meet retailers old and new and further nurture relations and it’s also such a great platform to showcase all our brands in one space.”

Geomagworld’s UK country manager, Clive Wooster, highlights the importance of Toy Fair for being able to meet major

EVENT FOCUS 37
Having sold out four months ahead of the show opening, the UK’s preschool trade will be making their way to London’s Olympia for Toy Fair 2023 from 2426 January. PPS chats to some of the exhibitors to find out what they will be showing in the preschool space.
Inset: Toy Fair 2023 sold out four months ahead of the show’s opening date.
INNOVATION AND FUN AT THE HEART OF EVERYTHING WE DO FASHION DOLLS TO FIDGET WITH CLICK IT SPIN IT PUSH IT POP IT CUSTOMIZE FROM HEAD TO TOE! 100+ LOOKS STYLE LOOKS WITH STICKERS! my closet DRESS UP, PLAY & COLLECT EM’ ALL! BABY SHARK SONG PUPPETS SILLY SING-ALONG MICROPHONE BABY SHARK SONG CUBES © The Pinkfong Company. © 2023 Viacom COME VISIT US AT LONDON TOY FAIR, STAND G94 GET IN TOUCH TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT SALES@TOYTOPICGROUP.COM @TOYTOPICUK @TOYTOPIC COMING IN 2023 ©2023 &TM Spin Master Ltd. All rights reserved.

buyers and independent customers in an efficient time period. The company will have updates and new products in the Magicube line, which Clive says is “going from strength to strength”. Spring 2023 will see the introduction of a 16-piece set including 10 magnetic blocks and six doublesided cards providing 12 activities. Just as importantly, the company will be launching its new POS support system which includes new FSDUs and demonstration tools.

“We’ll also be shouting about the huge successes we have had, and continue to have, across our sustainability programme,” says Clive. “Geomag is incredibly proud to be working in a complete circular economy in regards to sustainability. Our commitment to the environment and sustainability is unwavering and is the heart of our strategic direction.”

MILESTONES MARKED

This year will be the 68th year at London Toy Fair for Casdon. Last year provided the company with the perfect platform to launch its new branding, as well as a number of product launches including new licence, Joseph Joseph. 2023 will see Casdon follow this theme, expanding its range through the existing portfolio as well as introducing a number of colour refreshes.

“We have five new products to unveil at Toy Fair for 2023,” begins md Phil Cassidy. “We have expanded our licence with De’Longhi and are taking role-play to a new level with the innovative De’Longhi La Specialista Barista Coffee Machine. We are also adding two new play-sets to our Joseph Joseph range - the Joseph Joseph Salad Set and Joseph Joseph Wash & Scrub. Building on our range of hair play toys which appeared on ITV’s This Morning in 2022, we will be showcasing the new Ultimate Styling Case.

“For pretend play experiences that mimic activities outside of the home, we are also unveiling a new refresh to our range of ‘retail’ products. Helping children with communication,

mathematics and social skills through fun role-play experiences, the Casdon Shopping collection includes an updated Supermarket Till, Play Food and Shopping Trolley.”

Phil concludes: “Toy Fair is such a great opportunity to support the

industry and to be able to showcase our 2023 range face to face with new and existing partners.”

Another company with some major new launch plans at the show is Orchard Toys, which is adding 10 new games to its line-up. “‘Learning Made Fun’ sits at the heart of each new game – and all are teacher tested,” says Simon Prest, sales director at Orchard Toys. “There will be a special show offer for retailers, featuring a free stock pack, which can be discussed with the Orchard Toys sales team. The Kayes sales team will also be there for independent retailers.”

Top left and right: Dinosaur Dig and Nutty Numbers will headline Orchard Toys’ new educational games.

Above: Bigjigs Toys will be showcasing 45 new products.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TOY FAIR

“Toy Fair is a special event for the Bigjigs Toys family - we look forward to it every year,” offers Liz. “Beyond the thrill and anticipation of unveiling our new products, it also gives us a chance to discover emerging trends and connect with our current and potential future customers. We always leave feeling incredibly inspired.”

Juratoys’ Neil says that the show is a “true milestone” and kick starts every new business year “in style”. He comments: “The time away has certainly emphasised how important it is to properly connect to our customers and Toy Fair providers the perfect space for this. We love to engage and excite our buyers with the new products and collections we have on offer for the coming year.”

Geomagworld’s Clive also highlights the importance of finding new business at Toy Fair, commenting “we rarely leave the show without having captured new customers”.

Launch highlights will be hero game, Dinosaur Dig – which aims to help children aged 4+ develop colouring matching, memory and dexterity skills – and Nutty Numbers, a fun and educational counting game. Fellow new games include Farmyard Families, a first matching and posting game for 2+; Bug Hunters, where players 3+ race to build one of four large bugs; and Unicorn Fun, a selection of three unicorn-themed games in one box.

When it comes to what he would most like to achieve from Toy Fair 2023, Simon is clear: “Seeing as many customers as possible and getting a positive reaction across the board for our new lines.”

And there is a similar response to that question from PPS’ other contributors, too. “Great meetings with all our customers and a bulging order book,” says Geomagworld’s Clive; “We just can’t wait to share all of the fantastic new products we have spent months designing and building. It’ll be a great chance to catch up with our current customers and hopefully connect with new ones, too,” offers Bigjigs’ Liz; “We would like to reconnect with some customers we met in 2022 and to gain some momentum across garden centres, department stores and key accounts,” says Juratoys’ Neil; and Casdon’s Phil concludes, “we have some very exciting products to unveil, and we just can’t wait to share these with our customers. Bring on Toy Fair 2023!”

EVENT FOCUS 39
Call 01329 227300 or v i sit www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk Follow us inspiring kids’ imaginations for 50 years A nostalgic gifting range to celebrate shared mem ies with Mickey Mouse. See us at.... Top Drawer - Olympia 15th - 17th Jan. Stand L58 Toy Fair - Olympia 24th - 26th Jan. Stand B21 Spielwarenmesse® 1st - 5th Feb. Hall 1, Stand A28

TOY FAIR 2023

HALILIT

Halilit is launching the Taf Toys Urban Garden Collection at the 2023 Toy Fair and Spring Fair trade shows. The range consists of ten new and exciting developmental baby toys that are inspired by the community gardens, giving all babies the opportunity to embrace nature through the bright and blooming collection. With a spinning tummy-time book, gym, rattles and more, there is something for every price point. Tel: 01254 872454 www.halilit.co.uk   Stand E16

KAYES OF CARDIFF

Kayes of Cardiff will be at Toy Fair 2023 with Orchard Toys. It’ll be showcasing all the new introductions for 2023 building on the successful range of the very popular educational and play products. Kayes is servicing a vast number of independent retailers throughout the UK with branded and pocket money toys through its sales network of company representatives and agents, along with its sales team based at its Cardiff HQ. Tel: 029 20363678 www.kayes.co.uk Stand E10

ORANGE TREE TOYS

The team at Orange Tree Toys are very excited to show off the new products for 2023 at London Toy Fair and Spring Fair. It’s launching a beautiful Woodland Animal range in lovely autumnal colours, as well as new additions to its London collection, and some brand-new Scotland lines. There is also a great selection of pocket money toys being introduced across its ranges. There will be additions to its licensed collections, including some new lines to its Disney Winnie the Pooh range, and a small brand-new range of Peter Rabbit TV products.

Tel: 01242 244500 www.orangetreetoys.com Stand F65

GEOMAG

The Original Magicube system now allows kids to learn to build with shapes with the addition of the blocks and card sets. These sets provide progressive play activities which will guide children on how to build shapes, and to combine different shapes and colours, developing creativity and space vision skills. The Blocks & Cards Set allows for more educational content thanks to the six cards with 1:1 scale matching with the blocks real size, making it a perfect preschool STEM toy. A simple, magical system, just like all its magnetic constructions at Geomag. Tel: 07577 371545 www.geomagworld.com Stand D34

IMC TOYS

Best-selling nurture doll brand, Cry Babies introduces Cry Babies Loving Care, which transitions the brand journey from Tiny Cuddles to core Cry Babies dolls. Suitable for 18 months and over, the new Loving Care Fantasy Jenna and Hannah both include removeable pyjamas, matching dummy, and personalised accessories, as well as painted hair and eyes, and fully articulated bodies. As with all Cry Babies, the Loving Care dolls cry real tears, which magically stop once their dummies are placed in their mouths.

Tel: 01904 720908

www.imctoys.com Stand E94

NEW PRODUCTS 41
2-in-1 10” Training Bike Safety Helmet Playhouse Tent Tri-Scooter Balance mode Pedal mode Subject to Licensor Approval. A-meow-zing products

TOY FAIR 2023

KALOO

Experts in the most charming soft toys, Kaloo is delighted to launch the perfect keepsake gift for any new arrival, birthday or special occasion. Introducing the truly adorable Carré Douceur soft comforters. Available in a range of six charming colours, the extra special comforters are sure to become any little one’s favourite companion, whilst also protecting the world they are inheriting by being made entirely from recycled materials.

Tel: 0208 8782133 www.kaloo.com Stand N2

TONIES

Tonies is delighted to be exhibiting at Toy Fair. As the UK’s fastest growing preschool toy brand in 2022, it’s thrilled to be introducing its 2023 Tonies and new accessories.  It’ll be unveiling an amazing Sleepy Friends range – the first ever tonies licensed brand of Tonies to support families during bedtime.   Tel: 0203 1921492 www.tonies.com Stand C42

GOLDEN BEAR TOYS

Golden Bear Toys will be debuting new family games, Squirty Gertie and Farty Freddie. Smart Ball Soccer Bot, a new indoor football trainer will also be introduced, alongside Little Long Legs, extendable 5ft friends that walk talk and produce magical poops! Additions will be unveiled to award-winning ranges Curlimals and Windy Bums and expanding on its licensed collection, new offerings from Bing, Hey Duggee and In the Night Garden will also be welcomed.

Tel: 01952 608308 www.goldenbeartoys.com Stand E69

SMART TOYS AND GAMES

Smart Toys and Games will be returning to Toy Fair celebrating its 30th anniversary, and also showcasing more than ten new products. One of the new releases is its new game for preschoolers. SmartGames ‘Safari Park Jr’, is suitable for ages three plus. This puzzle game allows younger children to safely play with the figurines and use the toy as a shape sorter and path finder.  It’s a 2-in-1 learning game for toddlers - puzzle or play and let their imagination go wild!  Tel: 01903 885669 www.smarttoysandgames.co.uk Stand F42

TRENDS UK

Trends UK’s new Minds Alive range is packed with learning activities and games. Hands-on learning is a proven, engaging and effective way for children to really learn. The electronic learning toys introduce colours, shapes, the phonic alphabet, spelling, counting, music, movement and more, whilst playing. This can make learning less stressful when faced with these tasks in nursery or Key Stage One at school.

Tel: 01702 208175 www.trendsuk.com Stand H42

NEW PRODUCTS 43
IT’S SHOW TIME ! WE PROUDLY INTRODUCE “DAISY” & “REG” AND OTHER TOYS THAT PLAY MINI MOVIES/CARTOONS & MORE - WITHOUT BATTERIES! COME AND SEE THE WIDE SCOPE OF THIS NEW INNOVATION AT LONDON TOY FAIR 2023 - STAND GH4 PLEASE CONTACT : MOVIESINCTOYS@GMAIL.COM IT’S SHOW TIME ! WE PROUDLY INTRODUCE “DAISY” & “REG” AN D OTHER TOYS THAT PLAY MINI MOVIES/CARTOONS & MORE - WITHOUT BATTERIES! COME AND SEE THE WIDE SCOPE OF THIS NEW INNOVATION AT LONDON TOY FAIR 2023 - STAND GH4 PLEASE CONTACT : MOVIESINCTOYS@GMAIL.COM IT’S SHOW TIME! WE PROUDLY INTRODUCE “DAISY” & “REG” AND OTHER TOYS THAT PLAY MINI MOVIES/CARTOONS & MORE - WITHOUT BATTERIES! COME AND SEE THE WIDE SCOPE OF THIS NEW INNOVATION AT LONDON TOY FAIR 2023 - STAND GH4 PLEASE CONTACT : MOVIESINCTOYS@GMAIL.COM IT’S SHOW TIME ! PROUDLY INTRODUCE “DAISY” & “REG” AN D OTHER PLAY MINI MOVIES/CARTOONS & MORE - WITHOUT BATTERIES! AND SEE THE WIDE SCOPE OF THIS NEW INNOVATION AT LONDON TOY FAIR 2023 - STAND GH4 IT’S SHOW TIME ! WE PROUDLY INTRODUCE “DAISY” & “REG” AN D OTHER TOYS THAT PLAY MINI MOVIES/CARTOONS & MORE - WITHOUT BATTERIES! COME AND SEE THE WIDE SCOPE OF THIS NEW INNOVATION AT LONDON TOY FAIR 2023 - STAND GH4 PLEASE CONTACT : MOVIESINCTOYS@GMAIL.COM

TOY FAIR 2023

PLAYMOBIL

Some of the most popular Disney characters will be coming soon with the very first license for Playmobil 1.2.3. Six playsets inspired by Disney’s Mickey and Minnie Mouse as well as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet will be launched summer 2023 for fans of all ages. Each of the Disney playsets includes multiple educational features based on three connected learning stages, that support a child’s individual development. Thus, parents can easily choose the right toy to help improve their toddler’s skills.

Tel: 01206 548111 www.playmobil.co.uk Stand UL206

HAPPY LITTLE DOERS

Happy Little Doers is a multi-awardwinning children’s toy brand that designs and makes educational activity flashcards, games and prints for kids. Its products are designed to inspire children to reach their full potential by helping them discover their favourite way of learning through play. Each product encourages both mental and physical development, learning of essential skills and are designed to bring out confidence and happiness in every child.

Tel: 07884 186804 www.happylittledoers.com Stand GH15

RAINBOW DESIGNS

New exciting 2023 lines for The Adventures of Paddington toy range include a new ten-piece tea set, a fun-packed Paddington Dress Me Up soft toy and a fun Paddington Bike and Sidecar play set. Plus, to celebrate Disney’s 100 Years of Wonder, there will be the adorable new Mickey Memories and Mickey and Friends collections as well as the UK launch and distribution of the exciting Animal Adventure soft toy collection.

Tel: 01329 227300 www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk Stand B21

WILTON BRADLEY

The Xootz Bumper Car Electric Ride-On allows little ones to spin a full 360 degrees with its simple joystick or remote controls. With its simplified joystick controls they can zoom around of speeds up to 0.75mph. There is no assembly required, parents can simply connect the battery wire and it’s ready to go straight out of the box

Tel: 01626 835400 www.wiltonbradley.co.uk Stand E89 & E98

MOVIES INC

Movies Inc. is the brand for toys that deliver little ‘movies’. Each toy contains a very simple mechanism that displays individual pictures - when rotating, these pictures give a repeating cartoon. This innovation marks a big shift in early years’ toys, never before have the optical-illusion curiosities of yesteryear been combined with modern playthings.

Tel: 07958 123696

moviesinctoys@gmail.com Stand GH4

NEW PRODUCTS 45
PRESENTS DAISY AND REG! (ON HIGHCHAIRS, PRAMS ETC) ANIMATING PUSH/PULL TOY FOR SEATED & WALKING CHILDREN (HANDLE DETACHES)

Lilliputiens creations are full of unexpected details and activities, a constant source of wonder, discovering and learning.

Lilliputiens creations are full of unexpected details and activities, a constant source of wonder, discovering and learning.

Juratoys UK Ltd.

Juratoys UK Ltd.

Tel: 0208 878 2133 E: sales@juratoys.co.uk

Tel: 0208 878 2133 E: sales@juratoys.co.uk

Come and see us on stand N2 at Toy Fair

TOY FAIR 2023

HUFFY

Huffy has brought the magic of Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm to the UK with its new ranges of bikes, electric scooters and ride-ons. The collection covers all properties and wheel sizes, ranging from balance bikes to 16” wheels, scooters and battery powered ride-on toys and includes family favourites from Disney Princess, Frozen, Spider-Man, Cars, Lightyear, Star Wars and Minnie Mouse.

Tel: 0330 9127543 www.huffy.co.uk Stand B80

JAZWARES

Jazwares is delighted to introduce new product launches from much-loved preschool brands CoComelon, Spidey and His Amazing Friends, Blippi and Dino Ranch at Toy Fair 2023. Highlights to the CoComelon range include the new ten inch, CoComelon HugMees plush, new style figures, vehicles, playsets and bath toys, plus the Peek a Boo JJ Doll and Dancing JJ Doll. Tel: 0203 5980270 www.jazwares.com Stand N8

LEARNING RESOURCES

Count on Learning Resources for 2023’s best educational toys and games that help children learn through play. Visit Numberland on its stand and discover all the new ways children can play and learn with the friendly Numberblocks from the award-winning TV series. Visitors can see its new educational puzzles and Numberblocks Memory Match Game that help young children build early years maths skills.

Tel: 01553 762276 www.learning-resources.co.uk Stand D36

CREATIVE KIDS

Babies are treated to a feast of the senses every time they pull something out of the Sense & Grow Tissue Box. It’s loaded with 15 coloured scarves with a range of textures to feel and sounds to explore. Pulling and grabbing the scarves also helps develop fine motor co-ordination. Tel: 07827 880159 www.creativekids.com Stand UN62

JANOD

The 2 in 1 Tricycle from Janod provides little ones two options for active fun. It can be used as a rocker to build balance and confidence, and when little ones are ready, converts into a super cute, no pedal trike.

Tel: 0208 8782133 www.juratoys.co.uk Stand N2

NEW PRODUCTS 47
TOYS LAUNCHING SS23 lislelicensing.com +44 (0) 7399 474 994 becky@lislelicensing.com @lislelicensing Watch Now on Flair StandE39 Pinocchio and Friends™ © 2023 Rainbow S.p.A. Where your brand deserves to be. Licensed by... costumes apparel magazines master toy

TOY FAIR 2023

ONE FOR FUN

The Animigos World of Nature range from One for Fun has won acclaim and awards for the lifelike depiction in plush of the world’s animals. This year even more exotic beasts join the family along with some more familiar friends. The Okapi, Arctic Fox, Malayan Tapir, Snow Leopard and Capybara are some of the more unusual additions whilst a Pointer puppy, grey fluffy cat, seal pup, dolphin, hamster and a bat are more well known and loved.

Tel: 0141 6132525 www.oneforfun.com Stand E49

FABULA TOYS

Driven by a mission to balance screen-time with active play, fabula helps young children continue to enjoy their most viewed digital content – nursery rhymes – by bringing them alive through traditional play. Designed around the Early Years Learning Goals fabula products are available online, in shops across the UK and more recently, the Middle East.  Tel: 07494 649522 www.fabulatoys.com Stand GH10

MV SPORTS

MV Sports is bringing to life the magical movie Encanto through an exciting array of scooters, playhouse tents and bikes. With vibrant colour-ways and beautifully floral graphics, the distinctive Encanto artwork will shout loudly off-shelf or off-page. The folding inline scooter is perfect for any Encanto fan featuring its’ bold floral designs on neck and stem; a ‘uniquely me’ Mirabel on the anti-slip grip tape and easy-fold mechanism for simple transportation and storage.

Tel: 0121 7488000 www.mvsports.co.uk Stand E75

VIVID GOLIATH

Vivid Goliath is excited to take its first steps into the infant sector with Modimi, a future focused range of Infant toys that grows with baby to toddlers. The range is made from durable, recycled materials and offers a wide variety of sensory and cognitive play experiences without compromising on the fun. The range encourages the development of fine motor skills, colour recognition and hand strength whilst allowing toddlers to enjoy building and creating. Tel: 0333 2072041 www.vividtoysandgames.co.uk Stand B70

BANDAI

Bandai is launching the first ever Milo toy range. The range will include an initial launch of plush Milo and Friends, feature dress up, Milo plush with sound and phrases, mini vehicles, bath play, figurines and a hero playlet for Q4. Partnering with DeAPlaneta Entertainment, Bandai is the master toy license holder for the animated series.

Tel: 0208 3246160 www.bandai.co.uk Stand N17

NEW PRODUCTS 49

Inset: The company’s Hey Duggee Transforming Duggee Rocket Toy actually made it into space last year.

GOLDEN TOUCH

While the past few years have undeniably been challenging, Golden Bear has been busy taking the opportunities which come with so many things happening in a fast changing world. From the successful launch of Curlimals and the creation of a virtual Toy Fair platform – which has now been incorporated into a hybrid trade fair presence – through to advances in its digital marketing and continued growth within the licensed arena, the company has certainly not been resting on its laurels. PPS catches up with managing director, Barry Hughes, to find out more.

Like every one of the last three years in particular, 2022 contained lots of change and hurdles, but also lots of opportunities, Barry Hughes, md of Golden Bear Toys, begins by telling PPS.

Among the challenges experienced across the toy industry as a whole –including container costs (although

Barry says these are now nearly down to where they were pre-pandemic), Covid disruption, exchange rate changes - the company enjoyed international growth, a successful launch for its own animated plush brand Curlimals, plus also saw its Hey Duggee Transforming Duggee Rocket Toy launched for real into space.

Left: Curlimals has been “selling like hot cakes” since July 2022 and has exceeded expectations, says Barry.

THE BIG INTERVIEW 50

Above: Barry Hughes, md, Golden Bear.

“That was crazy,” exclaims Barry. “We’d known that the BBC were planning it but were sworn to secrecy –and I was actually in a meeting in Hong Kong with the factory which made the rocket when it popped up on a newsflash that it had happened… it was one of the strangest meetings I had last year!”

Meanwhile, Curlimals has been a metaphorical rocket in terms of sales. It was number one in special feature plush in volume in NPD in November 2022 and has hugely exceeded expectations, says Barry. “It’s now taking the world by storm – not just in the UK – and we have lots of other markets coming online in 2023; this helped us grow internationally by 30+% last year.”

The Curlimals range is due to be expanded further this year, while Barry also teased new products for Bing, Hey Duggee and In the Night Garden including a Peek-aBoo Bing, a Sleepy Time Duggee and a refresh of the ITNG plush range.

There will also be lots of completely new launches, too, says Barry: “While licensed preschool remains our core and our bedrock, we’ve also expanded into other areas. We’re now in games and will be launching the family friendly Squirty Gertie and Farty Freddie – we’ve seen how kids react to them already so we can’t wait to play them on our Toy Fair stand. Our Smart Ball soccer range has been going great guns, and with the World Cup going up until Christmas it has been growing and growing for us. We have a new exciting higher price point item called Soccer Bot, which we are excited about demonstrating on the stand. We’ve also got a toy line like you’ve never seen before called Little Long Legs – it’s really fun and will get a lot of attention at Toy Fair.”

Barry explains that Golden Bear has been very focused on real product innovation and he teases that the company will be speaking to licensors about developing its own intellectual property that it can put across multiple licences.

FUN OF THE FAIR

“We’re really excited about attending London Toy Fair again,” says Barry. “Our hybrid stand which utilises our virtual Toy Fair platform that we invested in at the start of the pandemic will be back. It will have new launches and new prototypes, while everything else will be available on the touchscreens that we’ll have around the stand. I was so proud of the stand last year – it makes life so much easier; you can find anything on the touchscreen, from carton size through to the assets that we have… it’s wonderful.”

Barry continues: “We’re also very excited about Nuremberg; as it’s back for the first time since 2020, we think it will be very well attended. Trade fairs are definitely important and it’s great to be back face to face. It is also great to show all of our partners, licensors and retailers how we have diversified and changed in the business over the last three years.”

As well as the innovations on the product side, Golden Bear has also been agile and flexible with its marketing. It has a photo studio on-site at its Telford headquarters and its own digital marketing team, with Barry saying the company has learnt so much in that world in the last year in particular.

Indeed, Barry’s aim for 2023 is to continue to drive Golden Bear towards its vision of being the “most pioneering and innovative UK-owned toy company”. He offers: “I’ve been really pleased to see some posts on LinkedIn where people have mentioned how pioneering and innovative we are. Three to four years ago, we were more perceived as being traditional, so I think that’s been wonderful and I’d like to continue that journey, as well as growing both domestically and internationally.”

Although the cost of living crisis is very much front of mind, Barry believes that there is still growth to be had this year.

“The toy industry is normally more robust than a lot of industries when it comes to economic hardships, but when people are having to focus on heating and eating, it is having an impact, and we’re seeing that globally. But we know that companies which change and pivot when there are tough times are the ones that have great success. We pride ourselves on analysing insights and then acting on them quickly. We’re a small family run company so we can move quickly… we will continue to do that and take advantage of opportunity.”

He continues: “Curlimals has proved there is still growth to be had; it’s been selling like hot cakes since July 2022. When you’ve got the right product that offers innovation, difference, value for money, you can still get the cut through.”

Speaking of cut through, but this time on the football pitch, Barry’s other aim for 2023 isn’t something in his control: “Personally, I would like to be cheering Arsenal on to Premier League success… although I have a feeling that Man City might interfere with that!”

Above left: Bing continues to be a key licence for Golden Bear with new launches due this year.

The ITNG plush range will be refreshed this year.

THE BIG INTERVIEW 51

Inset:

BACK TO

TOYCITY

Described by one supplier as “a meeting place for old friends”, the return to Nuremberg this year will be much welcomed by the preschool industry. PPS talks to several suppliers about how much the show has been missed, the new launches they will be highlighting and what some of the trends of 2023 could be.

For the first time since 2020, the preschool toy trade will be packing its bags and heading to Germany for Spielwarenmesse this year – and it sure does feel good.

Taking place from 1-5 February, the show has been missed on both a personal and professional level, as Nick Saunders, sales director at Brainstorm, explains to PPS. “First up we love coming to Nuremberg and being in the city for this huge toy event,” he comments. “We have some great nights out with customers and fellow exhibitors; it’s a lot of fun. On a professional level we have missed that face to face dialogue with customers and I know that our international distributors and retailers have missed that also.”

Nick continues: “We would like to see Nuremberg become THE international trade event for toys. Pre-pandemic Hong Kong was so important but had already started to lose its lustre for Brainstorm as a selling event. Nuremberg is easier for us Europeans and still attracts a global audience; I hope that global element will continue to grow. Certainly from the dialogue we have had with some customers they cannot wait to come to Nuremberg again.”

Right: Brainstorm will be showcasing a number of new developments in its portfolio.

For Molly Francis Coleman, company director at Roma Prams, the show is a great opportunity to meet buyers from all over the world. “We love hearing about trends in different areas. Exhibiting is important to show how much our range is evolving every year,” Molly tells PPS.

2022 was a strong year for the company and Molly is looking forward to showing new collections for 2023 at the show including its collaborations with the nursery industry. “The egg dolls pram has been extremely popular, so we can’t wait to show it off at its first toy fair,” she says. “Our toy range continues to be inclusive, with something for every taste and budget. We promise more of the same for 2023. Our range is very visual. It’s important to see and feel the quality of an item, the texture of the fabrics, the finishings. This is something we can’t replicate without buyers seeing it in person.”

Understandably, growth is a key aim from exhibiting at Spielwarenmesse: “Roma is always looking to expand our retailer network. We’re in over 300 independent and Toymaster stores. We’re always looking for new avenues to sell to and new markets to approach for 2023,” Molly concludes.

EVENT FOCUS 53
The Baby and Infant Articles sector of Spielwarenmesse remains a key part of the show.
Get in touch on +44 (0)1473 321900 or email sales@henbrandt.co.uk • www.henbrandt.co.uk Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm 5 Wentworth Road, Ransomes Europark, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 9SW, United Kingdom. Rely on Henbrandt – great stock, brilliant service, and a true understanding of the products that sell via your retail channel. If you’re not working with us – we welcome you. This month featuring Including all the top sellers: Fun Snaps ✸ Marbles ✸ Rainbow Springs ✸ Flying Gliders ✸ Toy Soldiers And many more lines - check out the website and get in touch! Fun Toys for Girls & Boys Pocket Money Toys • Putty and Slime • Tattoos and Stickers • Boys Toys • Girls Toys and much more…

SOCIAL CONNECTIONS

Creative Kids is another company which has “deeply missed” the show, as international sales manager, Maria DeFreitas, explains: “There is no better way to sell your products than showing them in person. Making social connections with customers is priceless and we will always value that.”

Creative Kids will be showing a number of new lines during Spielwarenmesse. These will include the Deluxe Glow Board from Lite Brite (which will be in the New Product Gallery), plus the Little Tikes Wood Pull Along Cozy Coupe.

Maria continues: “ASMR [Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response] has become a social media trend in the past few years and we have a new range called ZZAND that taps into the sensory benefits of ASMR. Our brand new ZZAND Totem Tumble is a unique creative set that features the fascinating free flowing ZZAND that can be moulded into totems transforming it into a fun balancing game, too.”

Indeed, Maria believes that ASMR will be among the main trends for 2023. She offers: “Definitely the ASMR factor will be trending for 2023 as it’s currently huge on TikTok. Sustainability will also be crucial as we all understand retailers and consumers want to see less plastic and we, as suppliers, have to be innovative as we continue to reduce plastic going forward.”

NEW CUSTOMERS

“We really are looking forward to meeting new customers, as well as everyone we haven’t been able to see for the past few years,” Maria concludes. “We want to showcase our brand new catalogue, new lines and refreshed products and show the sheer breadth of our ranges.”

For The Puppet Company, Spielwarenmesse has become more important than ever since the pandemic.

“Our products really come alive when you can actually see, touch and play with them - it’s amazing how many smiles we get from buyers when they’re on our

Right: The Puppet Company expects the current focus on sustainability and increase in eco products to continue to grow in 2023.

TREND WATCH

Above:

stands,” says Sam Lockey, sales director at the company. “Demonstrating how our puppets work and different display options and solutions is really important - we always say that our products simply ask to be played with and working with our retailers to make sure that they are displayed in the best possible way is very important. We’ve missed the buzz of trade shows, and have actually missed the city of Nuremberg itself - we love it there.”

Having not been to the show since 2020, The Puppet Company has a lot of new things to showcase, says Sam. These include the Eco Walking Puppets, Wilberry Eco Cuddlies and Wilberry Knitted Dinos ranges, alongside new Monsters and Finger Puppets among others. The company will also be introducing some new festive favourites for 2023 and beyond with its My First Christmas Puppets and new Wilberry Minis.

The Puppet Company’s Sam. “We believe there will be more of a shift away from plastic to more recycled, sustainable offerings with reduced packaging.

“With these uncertain times we also expect there to be a move towards smaller, more affordable collectable items with fewer ‘big ticket’ purchases.”

Meanwhile, Roma Prams’ Molly is expecting to see more ‘outdoorsy’ toys, saying: “Post-pandemic, everyone wants to get outside and play.”

Sam continues: “Nuremberg has always been a very important show for us, both in terms of meeting new customers, showcasing new products and catching up with our existing customers to discuss how things are selling in their markets. Nuremberg enables us to meet our international customers and show them new designs in person which always helps, but more than that we love hearing how their businesses are going and seeing photos of their wonderful window displays.

“The show is also important for meeting new and existing manufacturers – we’re always looking at growing and evolving our collections and being able to discuss ideas in person is very beneficial.”

EVENT FOCUS 55
“We expect the current focus on sustainability and increase in eco products to continue to grow, especially at the lower end of the budget spectrum, as consumers become more aware of the impact of purchasing on the environment,” says
Above left: Roma Prams will be showing new collections for 2023 including collaborations with the nursery industry. Creative Kids will be showing its eco friendly Little Tikes wooden collection.

SPIELWARENMESSE 2023

EDX EDUCATION

At Edx Education it’s always exciting to exhibit at the Spielwarenmesse Nuremberg International Toy Fair.  It’s launching many new educational toy ranges in 2023, including a new Green-n-Learn eco range of toys made from bioplastics, award-winning Rainbow Pebbles in soft pastels and vibrant neon, and many new constructions sets, including a STEM accredited My Gears construction toy range.   Tel: 01732 773399 www.shopedx.co.uk Hall 12.0, Stand E-05-2

ORCHARD TOYS

Orchard Toys will be showing new games and puzzles, alongside its extensive portfolio of award-winning educational games, jigsaws and activity books, offering retailers a wide choice of product. Launch highlights include Dinosaur Dig, the hero game, and Nutty Numbers headlining the brand’s new educational games. The new collection is ideal for preschoolers and beyond, with Farmyard Families and Bug Hunters leading the line-up for younger children.

Tel: 01953 859539 www.orchardtoyfair.com Hall 10.0, Stand H-13

SMIFFYS

Smiffys has added to its Julia Donaldson range for early 2023, following the success of its debut range. It’s launching new costumes including the Gruffalo’s Child, Gruffalo’s Mouse and Princess Pearl from Zog. Also new for 2023, Smiffys have a range of Peter Rabbit classic accessory kits. Perfect for dress up and play, the range includes tutu kits and capes featuring the classic illustrations and pastel colour palette.

Tel: 0151 7099449 www.smiffys.com Hall 9, Stands D-29 & E-38

AMSCAN

Amscan has had a major influx to its licensed portfolio, ready to kick off 2023! With everyone’s favourite, Bluey now available covering its three major categories; foil balloons, party, and dress up, where all products are focused on being sustainable. In addition, it has even more muchloved classics joining the dress up portfolio featuring Pip and Posy, as well as Peter Rabbit.

Tel: 01908 288500 www.amscan.co.uk Hall 9, Stands A-55 & C-58

RAINBOW DESIGNS

2023 will see Disney mark 100 Years of Wonder, and to celebrate, Rainbow Designs is launching two dedicated nursery collections; the Mickey and Friends range and the Mickey Mouse Memories collection. Also on display will be the best selling Once Upon a Time and Signature collections featuring Beatrix Potter’s mischievous bunny, Peter Rabbit and his friends, in an extensive range of adorable soft and wooden toys. Tel: 01329 227300 www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk Hall 1, Stand A-28

NEW PRODUCTS 57

www.enesco.co.uk

ENESCO LIMITED, Brunthill Road, Kingstown, Carlisle,Cumbria, England, CA3 0EN

UK Customer Services Telephone: 01228 404022 Email: uksales@enesco.co.uk

Used in single

Overseas Customer Services Telephone: +44 (0)1228 404066 Email: eurosales@enesco.co.uk BEATRIX POTTER ™ © Frederick Warne & Co., 2023. All Rights Reserved.

SPRINGING TO LIFE

Kids, Toys and Play will be situated in the Gift area of Spring Fair and will host well-known names such as Hippychick, Smart, Blade & Rose, and many more, as well as relative newcomers to the industry, including Pods, Scrunch and Happy Little Doers.

Suppliers agree that Spring Fair’s central location and range of categories makes it a good way to present to existing customers, and also pick up new accounts. Alan Houghton, head of sales at Hippychick - which will be launching a selection of puzzles and new wooden toys and plush ranges at the showtells PPS: “Spring Fair is always a good show for us to catch up with our fantastic existing retailers and we always meet new ones too.

Above:

Left: The Puppet Company’s new Bedtime Bears are dressed ready for bed and have a matching pocket pal.

Right: There are some new additions to the Wilberry Collectables mini-sized range and new Wilberry Favourites from The Puppet Company.

“This trade show gives us the opportunity to introduce and showcase our new products for the year and obtain strong feedback, and it helps secure good business opportunities for the spring summer season with our retail partners.”

Bev Cochrane, national account manager at Orange Tree Toys, agrees: “Spring Fair is a great venue and location for many of our existing customers to visit and see our team and products. It is also a great platform to pick up a lot of new accounts. We have attended Spring Fair for many years now, missing only 2021, and it was really missed, we are all looking forward to 2023.”

Orange Tree Toys is excited to present its new woodland range at the show, including new concepts, as well as its new Peter Rabbit TV rabbit range and a new Disney collection.

The positivity around the show continues with Amanda Peffer, founder of Blade & Rose: “We love the show and it’s something Blade & Rose has showcased at many times in the past – we’re really excited to be back with a strong collection for SS23.”

Blade & Rose will be launching a range of new characters in its SS23 collection, along with some familiar faces, like Peter Rabbit.

A number of those who exhibited for the first time in 2022 are returning. Celeidh Cook, co-founder of Eco

59
Spring Fair returns to the NEC Birmingham from 5-8 February 2023, and the preschool industry is readying new products and ranges to show at the annual multicategory trade show. PPS catches up with some of them to find out their plans.
EVENT FOCUS
Inset: The SS23 collection from Blade & Rose features some familiar faces. Safari Park Jr from Smart challenges little ones to get the animals in the perfect position for their photo.
w w w.rubiesuk.com Now on CBeebies

#SBS VILLAGE

Rascals, explains: “We decided to trial Spring Fair in 2022 because we’d heard great things about the home shows and we were desperate to meet people face-to-face after two years of closures. Due to the success of 2022, exhibiting again in 2023 was an easy decision to make.”

A new range will be joining the Blade & Rose stand at Spring Fair. While prototypes have been shown recently, the final product will be making its debut, ready for orders.

Enesco marketing and product director, Helen Cottrill, echoes the sentiment: “We had such a successful show in 2022, that it really was an easy decision; we have a slightly different space in 2023, which will be easier for our team to present our product launches to customers. Spring Fair really is the platform to showcase all of our new and bestselling lines; we have the space and the time to really spend time with our customers. That face-to-face contact is so important.”

For the fourth year, Spring Fair has partnered with Theo Paphitis’s Small Business Sunday to offer 12 new winners and two past winners who had been unable to exhibit previously, the opportunity to present their designs at Spring Fair. From the preschool sector, the SBS Village in Hall 4 will include handmade toys from The Wonky Woolins, plus creative, physical, musical, literacy, numeracy, social and scientific learning activity packs from Busy Brain Activity Packs.

Wilberry Collectable mini-sized range. Looking ahead to Christmas, My First Christmas Puppets will also be on show, alongside new Christmas Wilberry Minis and a Reindeer Finger Puppet.

Debra Tiffany, marketing manager at Brainstorm Toys, concurs: “We, like everyone, have adapted our business over the past few years to compensate for the absence of trade shows, but there really is no substitution to meeting face-to-face.”

Brainstorm will add to its Torch & Projector range, with a new Nick Jr Baby Shark’s Big Show version, as well as a Tractor & Truck Torch & Projector.

The Scion collection is Enesco’s big preschool launch, with final product on the stand, the team hopes the iconic Mr Fox will appeal to a whole new audience.

The return of in-person shows is very welcome. Katy Rugman, marketing and product director at The Puppet Company, comments: “Whilst the industry as a whole did an amazing job with virtual shows during the pandemic, and we’re very grateful to the show providers for giving us the opportunity to participate virtually, you can’t beat seeing products in person and talking to buyers face-to-face.

“We pride ourselves on our customer service and getting to know our customers, discussing their business and ambitions means we can cherry pick across the range to put together really diverse, fun collections that will sell for them.”

Bedtime Bears are new for The Puppet Company at Spring Fair, while the team has also continued to add to the

Above: The new Scion collection from Enesco features careful attention to detail and the iconic Mr Fox character.

Left: Peter Rabbit is a new licence for Orange Tree Toys and lines will be on the stand at Spring Fair.

Below: Orange Tree Toys is particularly excited to launch its new Woodland collection.

Some will be celebrating, too. Smart Toys and Games brand director, Karen Clarke, tells us: “This year’s event will be particularly exciting as we will be celebrating our 30th anniversary, which is an impressive milestone and we look forward to having the perfect opportunity to commemorate with the industry at Spring Fair.”

A new game for preschoolers – Safari Park Jr – will be on the Smart stand. Suitable for ages three and over, the toy and puzzle game allows younger children to play with the figurines and use the toy as a shape sorter or path finder.

With so much on show for the preschool market in 2023, it seems Spring Fair is well worth a visit.

Left: The new Torch & Projector additions from Brainstorm beam different images onto walls and ceilings and double as a torch.

61 EVENT FOCUS
Right: Wonky Woolins is one of the 12 #SBS winners exhibiting at the show.
The Home of Sustainable Toys We’ll be in Hall 5 Spring Fair! Stand no. 5H30 The Home Email: Info@insideouttoys.co.uk | Tel: 01908 969969 | @inside_out_toys_uk www.insideouttoys.co.uk of Sustainable Toys See you at We’ll be in Hall 5 Spring Fair! Stand no. 5H30 email us at: a copy of our To request Product2023 book sales@insideouttoys.co.uk

SPRING FAIR 2023

ENESCO

Enesco is hopping with happiness to announce a larger-than-life plush will join its best-selling re-invented, reimagined and totally renewed line of Beatrix Potter soft toys. The new plush has been developed in collaboration with Penguin Ventures on behalf of Frederick Warne & Co. Everyone’s favourite bob-tailed bunny and mischief maker, Peter Rabbit, is presented in a brand-new jumbo format, measuring in at a whopping 69cm.

Tel: 01228 404022 www.enesco.co.uk Stands 4C61, 4C60-D61

INSIDE OUT TOYS

In this latest collection, jumini’s designer has incorporated friendly safari animal characters into a range of wooden toys, using a combination of vibrant colours and natural wood. All products in the range are manufactured using sustainably sourced FSC certified wood, and plastic has been removed from packaging wherever possible. Tel: 01908 969969 www.insideouttoys.co.uk Stand 5H30

WILTON BRADLEY

Wilton Bradley is proud to present a new product in its Playhouse brand; Waterwall. It’s a must have for households with imaginative toddlers, teaching kids about gravity, angles and water flow. This wall is packed with limitless combinations for them to enjoy a different creation every time they move the pieces. 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.

Tel: 01626 835400 www.wiltonbradley.com Stands 5G20-H21, 4G26

BIGJIGS TOYS

In 2023 Bigjigs Toys will be launching new products which include its new dress-up sets. Young heroes can save the day and put out pretend fires in their firefighter costume, or nurse teddies back to full health in their doctor dress-up outfit. Kids can also choose from its new builder, scientist, police and princess sets. All dress up sets are packaged with recyclable materials and zero plastic.

Tel: 01303 212691 www.bigjigstoys.co.uk Stand 5H02

RAINBOW DESIGNS

Rainbow Designs will be showcasing its Bedtime Cuddles and Stories theme at Spring Fair, an important aspect in establishing good sleep habits and that essential bonding time. The ever-popular Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, Guess How Much I Love You, Elmer and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt soft toy collections, along with new additions, Maisy, Bagpuss and Giraffes Can’t Dance, all coupled with the adored character storybooks, make a wonderful gifting combination for those bedtime cuddles and stories.

Tel: 01329 227300 www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk Stand 3M10-N11

NEW PRODUCTS 63
foil balloons & costumes, available to order online now! Celebrate with your favourite dog, Bluey! Choose from party, ©Amscan 2023, ©Anagram 2023. All Rights Reserved.

SPRING FAIR 2023

HIPPYCHICK

Brand new and launching at Spring Fair 2023 is Crocodile Creek, the latest introduction to Hippychick’s toy and gift portfolio. The focus at the show will be on Crocodile Creek’s wooden puzzle sets – a range which includes floor puzzles, holographic puzzles and ‘almost impossible’ puzzles with themes that include planets, dinosaurs and wildlife.

Tel: 01278 434440 www.hippychick.com Stand 5G22

ZIGGLE

Dedicated to quality, affordable baby clothes and accessories, Ziggle will be showcasing award-winning products. Retailers can find new birthday and Christmas gift bundles, as well as much-loved products such as Cosatto accessories and ultra-soft Ziggle swaddles.

Tel: 01625 569530 www.ziggle.co.uk Stand 5G49

ECO RASCALS

Award-winning sustainable tableware brand eco rascals will be displaying its popular bamboo and silicone products at Spring Fair. With success across the globe, eco rascals has been providing eco-friendly children’s tableware since 2018. The brand will be showcasing a number of new and exciting products set to hit the shelves in 2023.

Email: hello@ecorascals.com www.ecorascals.com Stand 5F27

THE PUPPET COMPANY

The Puppet Company is delighted to be introducing some of its new collections at Spring Fair, especially its exciting new Eco ‘Walking’ puppets range made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The Puppet Company is committed to supporting customers, including sales promotions, reduced carriage paid orders and low minimum order quantities.

Tel: 01462 336040 www.thepuppetcompany.com Stand 5H10-J11

1 TWO KIDS

1 Two Kids is the official distributor of several children’s brands in the UK and Ireland. It’ll be exhibiting at Spring Fair and showcasing new lines for 2023 for Sophie La Girafe, nailmatic kids, play & go and 3 sprouts.

Tel: 01383 735134 www.1two.co.uk Stand 5M18-N19

NEW PRODUCTS 65
Toy Trends: The Next Big(jigs) Thing Exclusivepreview!first How one family business’ efforts is contributing towards eco-friendly play!
2023

2023 Toy Trends: The Next Big(jigs)Thing

Bigjigs Toys has been family-run since day one. All of its beautiful toys are lovingly designed in the UK and thoughtfully crafted to complement childhood development through fun, exploration and learning. The toy fair season is a major calendar highlight for the Bigjigs Toys family. These events do a wonderful job in bringing products to life and give the toy industry a chance to work together in one colourful and collaborative space. In 2023, Bigjigs Toys will be showcasing 45 exciting new products at Toy Fair, Spring Fair and Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg. Eco-friendly toys are predicted to become an emerging trend in 2023, as parents’ awareness of environmental issues continues to evolve. Bigjigs Toys has been creating sustainable products for more than 30 years. Alongside its FSC Certified range, it also works with ethical brands, such as Green Toys, whose products are made from 100% recycled milk bottles. Bigjigs Toys likes to think outside the (toy) box when it comes to managing its environmental impact, from sourcing sustainable rubberwood to reducing plastic by packing 95% of its proprietary lines in recycled cardboard. It

has also been redesigning its internal packaging in favour of paper and cardboard inserts, and has a zero-tolerance approach to plastic packaging for all new Bigjigs Toys products.

For the first time, Bigjigs Toys will be launching an FSC Certified Train Set in 2023 (Pictured below left). Animal-loving little ones will go wild for the adorable woodland theme, crafted from FSC Certified wood. Mini train enthusiasts can chug past toadstools, pine trees, and cute forest creatures as they make their way around the track. The railway set comes with high-quality wooden track pieces that form a figure of eight layout, as well as accessories such as a cafe, a bakery, an eco-friendly engine with two carriages and much more.

Other products Bigjigs Toys will be launching in 2023 include its new dress-up sets. Young heroes can save the day and put out pretend fires in their firefighter costume, or nurse teddies back to full health

Tel: 01303 212691 www.bigjigstoys.co.uk

in their doctor dress-up outfit. Kids can also choose from its new builder, scientist, police and princess sets. All dress up sets are packaged with recyclable materials and zero plastic!

Junior Jurassic fans will love Bigjigs Toys’ new Dinosaur Animal Playbox (Pictured left). Packed with plenty of play value, the playbox introduces kids to a world of friendly dinos. This fun activity set features chunky wooden dinosaurs such as a T-Rex, Diplodocus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Ankylosaurus, as well as exotic play pieces including a cactus, aloe vera plant and palm tree. It also comes with a fold-out scene for imaginary play, and the compact wooden box makes it ideal when on the go.

Then there’s the a-maize-ing Country Tractor & Trailer by Tidlo (Pictured above). Pocket-sized farmers can plough the fields of their playroom with this lifelike wooden tractor toy. Painted in shades of bright green, black and yellow, the tractor features realistic chunky tyres and a roomy trailer for transporting toy animals from A to B.

Bigjigs Toys will be at Toy Fair, Spring Fair and Spielwarenmesse 2023, so contact the team now to be one of the first to check out its innovative new products.

Toy Fair – Stand H39 I Spielwarenmesse – Hall 3, Stands A-35 & B-42 I Spring Fair – Stand 5H0
ADVERTORIAL

Inset: The Joie team celebrating a Mother & Baby Gold award in the Innovation of the Year category for its new Encore Spinning System.

JOIE DE VIVRE

2022 was a busy year for the team at Allison Baby, parent company of Joie, Nuna and Graco, with a slew of new launches and significant awards for key products. All of this followed on from the Outstanding Achievement Award for managing director, David Welsh, too, at the Progressive Preschool Awards 2021.

Sales for the year didn’t disappoint either, as Allison Baby saw a significant year-on-year growth in 2022, thanks to the continued support from its retail partners.

In a year full of highs, the company enjoyed a

Below: Joie has been supporting the Liverpool community as an LRC partner for six years through a range of initiatives.

SUPPORTING FAMILIES

standout moment only last month, scooping five gold Mother & Baby Awards, as well as silver and bronze, across all three brands – including a gold award in the Innovation of the Year category for Joie’s new Encore Spinning System.

The country’s economic situation has had a massive impact on families and businesses across the UK and the cost of living crisis is hitting many families hard, so Allison Baby is committed to ensuring it offers a wide variety of quality products at affordable prices through its Joie and Graco portfolios, both of which offer a range of innovation.

The Joie Signature range and Nuna, while at a higher

At the end of 2022, Joie joined Liverpool FC’s annual Operation Christmas Magic campaign, to donate £4,500 worth of pushchairs to five LFC Foundation community hubs. Families were invited to a festive play and stay session at Anfield Sports and Community Centre, where Reds legend Phil Thompson presented the pushchairs on behalf of Joie.

David says: “At Joie, family is at the very heart of everything we do, so we are honoured to be able to support this amazing cause at what can be a difficult time of year for families in need.”

68
THE BIG INTERVIEW
2022 was a year of highs for Allison Baby and the company is taking this positive feeling into 2023, with a host of new launches and other activity on the cards. PPS finds out more.

LATEST LAUNCHES

Joie ended 2022 with two new launches. First up was roomie GO – an easy to fold, bedside sleeper, ideal for travel. The sleeper is quick and easy to fold and packs up conveniently into a tiny package. It offers five tummy tilt options, mesh windows on each side and sliding panels which operate with one hand.

Meanwhile, mimzy recline is an adjustable aide for mealtimes, suitable from birth to toddler. The new seat has five recline positions, cradling little ones from birth to 15kg. Seven height positions, three footrest positions and a removable tray, mean the seat will grow with the child.

price point, are still accessible for those who desire products that utilise the very best materials and a high level of features.

The nursery industry has witnessed many changes over the years, primarily in the expectations of the consumer. Allison Baby’s head of product management, Damon Marriott, says: “The consumer is always on the lookout for new innovation – keeping products feature rich is key to their appeal. This is why we are always looking at new ways we can improve our products and better ways to keep children safe.”

With that in mind, Allison Baby is looking forward to some exciting car seat launches in 2023, across all three brands, allowing for expansion of the company’s R129/i-Size portfolio. The greatest innovation will be through the latest addition to the Nuna Pipa series infant carrier range, with the company honing its focus on its current product categories.

2023 will also see Allison Baby reaffirm its charitable commitments, having recently announced contributions of £150,000 to Variety Club, to fund another five sunshine coaches. These specially adapted, accessible minibuses cater for SEND schools and other nonprofit organisations, working with disabled and disadvantaged children and young people.

Managing director, David Welsh, explains: “Charitable giving is at the heart of the Allison Baby ethos so we are honoured to be able to continue to support such worthy causes for another year. I am very much looking forward to seeing what the New Year will bring for our company and I am expecting we will see more growth and prosperity as the country’s economy recovers.”

“ We have much to look forward to in 2023. We have a number of exciting new launches that will allow for enhanced ranging that will in turn lead to increased turnover and growth for our retail partners. ”

69
Above and left: mimzy recline and roomie GO joined the Joie portfolio at the end of 2022.
THE BIG INTERVIEW
Inset: Allison Baby scooped five gold awards at the Mother & Baby Awards 2022, along with one silver and one bronze, across all three brands.

finiti™

4in1 pushchair

Growth potential meets go potential with this driver of your dreams is perfection in action with tons of ways to use and fun ways to fold.

Perfection

For more information and all sale enquiries, please contact Joie on 01889 808 900 or email: uksales@joiebaby.com

2022 IN THE NURSERY MARKET

While the cost of living crisis is of course a cause for concern, the past year was fairly robust for the nursery market. Although consumers may be tightening their belts in many areas, sales of baby products, travel systems, car seats and nursery items are still essential for new parents and families. PPS takes a look at what’s been trending over the past 12 months.

Recent statistics from GfK showed that while sales volume in the baby care sector stayed stable throughout the first three quarters of 2022 (+0.2%), value was significantly up at +15%. Consumers are favouring premium products, a trend which began during the pandemic, and has continued.

A key factor in attracting consumers to higher value items is the continued innovation from the industry. 2022 saw several trends taking hold with new features, technology and designs appearing in essential nursery products.

LIE-FLAT CAR SEATS

Providing comfort and helping to aid a healthy development for babies, especially on long trips, a number of suppliers have introduced lie-flat carrycot style car seats. Maxi-Cosi’s Jade offers a 180° flat sleeping position, suitable from birth to six months.

Joie also introduced Calmi R129 which provides increased side impact protection by positioning baby’s head at the safest point in the vehicle, with a 180° lie-flat position and an insert to keep newborns properly positioned and supporting their necks and spines.

A NEW TAKE ON CLASSICS

A number of traditional nursery products have been redesigned over the past year, bringing a more modern look and incorporating them into home décor. Snüz reimagined the Moses basket with SnüzBaskit. Created using KinderFelt, a stylish and soft material giving a contemporary look, the basket is available in charcoal or light grey with a natural or dove grey stand.

Bugaboo introduced Giraffe – a chair to suit all ages from newborn to adult. Giraffe is available in five colours to suit any interior and embraces Bugaboo’s trademark Dutch design with a pyramid structure and solid wooden legs. Similarly, Cybex launched its Lemo chair, termed as the ‘forever chair’, again suitable from birth to adult. Lemo is also available in a selection of colours to blend in with interiors.

The Connected Home range from Maxi-Cosi features four smart products including a monitor, humidifier, light & sound product and crib light. The stylish range is sleek and modern and blends into décor with natural materials and subtle designs.

Left: Didofy has created a company based around making strollers easier to operate for parents.

Swedish brand, Babybjörn’s Potty Chair, Smart Potty and Step Stool were also given a monochrome makeover last year, to bring a classic addition to any bathroom during the potty training period.

Little Hoppa was founded to create products that were functional for babies, but also stylish. The first range won a Red Dot best-of-thebest award, and includes a 3-in-1 baby gym, bouncer and activity table; a 2-in-1 gym and bouncer; a bouncer and accessories.

INTO THE FOLD

A wide range of suppliers have worked hard to making folding wheeled goods easier than ever for busy parents. Didofy’s entire premise is around taking the hassle out of opening and closing strollers, by offering auto-folding and one-handed folding options. The company’s Aster 2 features MagicFold, meaning the stroller folds itself at the push of a button.

Graco’s Breaze Lite folds with the seat unit attached, by simply pressing each side of the chassis, while Bugaboo Butterfly folds and unfolds with one hand, locking into place automatically.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Becoming more eco-friendly continues to be a key concern for many. The Progressive Preschool Awards even honoured the efforts in a new Eco category in 2022. Child’s Farm, Kit & Kin and Muddy Puddles were all awarded a B Corp certification.

New features entered the reusable nappy arena, with the likes of the Pearl Pocket All in One Reusable Nappy offering solutions for babies as they grow, further reducing waste.

Clothing became more sustainable in 2022, with many examples like Gooseberry Fool’s Organic Cotton range, while both suppliers like Polarn O Pyret, and retailers such as John Lewis, offered subscription based clothing rentals. Meanwhile Kidswear Collective, a preloved children’s clothing brand, extended its partnership with Selfridges and expanded into Doha with its initiative.

71 NEW IN NURSERY

bébélephant have been appointed exclusive distributor for a new range of Mother & Baby branded cleaning products. The range includes a Toy & Surface cleaner, Carseat & Pushchair Cleaner and a Cleaning Water, come in various sizes.

Mother&Baby products are environmentally friendly and 100% recyclable to offer a long-term sustainable alternative to chemical-based alternatives. The range is 100% natural, mineral-based and the safest, kindest products to use to keep your little one healthy and safe from bacteria and viruses.

Given Mother&Baby’s position as one of the most trusted parenting media brands in the UK, this range will be a major disrupter in the market and is available from bébélephant with no MOQ.

Available from bébélephant info@bebelephant.com | 020 8202 1467 ■ Made in the UK ■ 99.99% effective antibacterial action ■ No harmful chemicals + safe for sensitive skin ■ The range is 100% biodegradable + the packaging is made from 100% recycled materials

NEW PRODUCTS FOR 2023

JOIE

It’s finally here – the stroller parents have all been waiting for. Introducing parcel – the newest stroller from Joie Signature. Weighing in at just 6.9kg it means no more heaving and hefting as it is designed to roll for years and is effortless to lift and store. Made for when parents’ hands are full and storage is limited, parcel will quickly fold making it perfect for tucking into small spaces or carrying on public transport. The extended usage lets parents think long term, giving their growing traveller a comfy seat all the way up to 22kg. With three ways to roll in one, incorporating carry cot, infant carrier and world facing modes, this is the only stroller parents will need for the years of adventures ahead. This is just one of many new products from Joie coming out in early 2023.

Tel: 01889 808900 www.joiebaby.com

INGLESINA

Inglesina has announced the first of many exciting new launches for 2023. After listening to feedback from retailers and customers, Inglesina UK is launching a new 360 rotating car seat base available to all customers from the end of January 2023. The new Darwin 360 i-Size rotating car seat base is approved according to the SCIs R129/03 i-Size European Standard. Designed to fit both the Darwin infant carrier and toddler car seats, it offers parents an easy solution from birth to four years.

Email: jonathan@inglesina.com www.inglesina.com

HIPPYCHICK

Hippychick has a brand-new spring/summer 2023 Dooky collection. From sunshades to car seat covers, footmuffs and travel chairs, every travel accessory has been carefully thought out and designed to not only be practical, but beautifully stylish as well. The latest collection seamlessly coordinates using on trend colours and patterns.

Tel: 01278 434440 www.hippychick.com

GRACO

The FoldLite from Graco has a one-of-a-kind design which offers two ways to fold and less weight to carry. Its innovative Home Fold revolutionises the travel cot game, collapsing to only 26cm wide meaning it can be tucked away into any nook around the home. Parents can take it one step further and fold the cot down even further for increased portability. It also doubles as a playpen and is extremely easy to travel with, as it is 30% lighter than traditional travel cots.

Tel: 0800 9520063 www.gracobaby.eu

NEW PRODUCTS 73

NEW PRODUCTS FOR 2023

ICANDY

Now available in five stunning colourways; Black Edition, Dark Grey, Light Grey, Atlantis Blue and Light Moss, the exquisite new iCandy Core showcases striking styling, luxuriously developed fabric and cutting-edge features such as the multi-mode wheelbase and pioneering LED visibility hub light. The iCandy Core prioritises comfort for baby and ease of use, all whilst providing the multi-use functionality and longevity demanded by modern family life.

Tel: 01767 604400 www.icandyworld.com

JOIE

Joie is pleased to announce the latest arrival to its Signature collection –the i-Jemini, the most affordable premium baby car seat in the Encore Spinning System. I-Jemini pairs with the i-Base Encore to instantly transform into a 90-degree spinning car seat – an ultra-smooth, one hand motion turns the seat outwards to make buckling up a breeze. When it’s time for tiny travellers to graduate to the next seat, parents can up-grade to i-Harbour which works with i-Base Encore to give years of easy ins and outs.

Tel: 01889 808900 www.joiebaby.com

SNÜZ

Snüz, the iconic sleep brand behind the bestselling SnüzPod, is thrilled to unveil the SnüzBaskit. Bringing traditional comfort and portability into the modern world, the SnüzBaskit is a Moses Basket reinvented, making it bigger, stronger, and more breathable, than traditional Moses Baskets. 45% larger than a normal Moses Basket, the SnüzBaskit is suitable from birth to six months. It also introduces KinderFelt; a stylish and soft to touch material that not only gives the Moses Basket a contemporary look but is certified free from over 100 harmful substances. It’s made from 100% recycled materials and is also quieter and lighter than traditional wicker and maize baskets.

Tel: 01789 734022 www.littlegreensheep.co.uk

RED KITE BABY

The Push Me range offers something for everyone. Whether parents are out for a stroll, or a busy day out its great choice of buggies, strollers, joggers, travel systems and twin options make light work of anything. The new Push Me Koko in Amber & Slate is the ultimate compact stroller. It showcases a lightweight, sleek and stylish frame that delivers on all fronts. A deep padded seat featuring a luxury quilted finish allows plenty of room to take the stroller from birth to around four years of age.

Tel: 01454 326555 www.redkitebaby.com

NEW PRODUCTS 75

P r e s c h o o l N e w s . n e t is the new online resource for the preschool product and retail sector. From the publishers of Progressive Preschool Magazine and the organisers of the Progressive Preschool Awards, this new website and e-newsflash portal will provide the very latest news, views, and analysis across the preschool product and retail sector.

P r e s c h o o l N e w s . n e t is the new online resource for the preschool product and retail sector. From the publishers of Progressive Preschool Magazine and the organisers of the Progressive Preschool Awards, this new website and e-newsflash portal will provide the very latest news, views, and analysis across the preschool product and retail sector.

Launching with an unrivalled email subscriber base of 12,087 readers, a twice weekly newsflash will land directly in the inboxes of everyone in this fast-paced industry. A modern, easy to navigate website will provide a central resource for the trade too, offering news, in-depth articles, an industry jobs board, retail analysis, digital issues of Progressive Preschool, and much much more.

Launching with an unrivalled email subscriber base of 12,087 readers, a twice weekly newsflash will land directly in the inboxes of everyone in this fast-paced industry.

PreschoolNews.net is the online resource for the preschool product and retail sector. From the publishers of Progressive Preschool magazine and the organisers of the Progressive Preschool Awards, this website and e-newsflash portal provides the very latest news, views, and analysis across the preschool product and retail sector.

A modern, easy to navigate website will provide a central resource for the trade too, offering news, in-depth articles, an industry jobs board, retail analysis, digital issues of Progressive Preschool, and much much more.

With an unrivalled email subscriber base of 12,087 readers, a twice weekly newsflash lands directly in the inboxes of everyone in this fast-paced industry.

The magazine and awards do a great job in joining the dots between toy, nursery, gift, apparel, publishing, and of course licensingand this digital offering will further enhance our position as a trade media partner that offers a tangible response to advertising investment.

The magazine and awards do a great job in joining the dots between toy, nursery, gift, apparel, publishing, and of course licensingand this digital offering will further enhance our position as a trade media partner that offers a tangible response to advertising investment.

All advertising on the website is duplicated to each and every newsflash, giving advertisers huge visibility and direct impact to retail buyers.

All advertising on the website is duplicated to each and every newsflash, giving advertisers huge visibility and direct impact to retail buyers.

A modern, easy to navigate website provides a central resource for the trade too, offering news, in-depth articles, an industry jobs board, retail analysis, digital issues of Progressive Preschool, and much much more.

P r e s c h o o l N e w s . n e t is published by preschool sector experts, for preschool trade experts.

P r e s c h o o l N e w s . n e t is published by preschool sector experts, for preschool trade experts.

PreschoolNews.net is published by preschool sector experts, for preschool trade experts.

Brought to you by the publishers of

ADVERTISING AND COMMERCIAL:

ADVERTISING AND COMMERCIAL:

Jo Pilcher jop@max-publishing.co.uk

Jo Pilcher jop@max-publishing.co.uk

Rob Willis robw@max-publishing.co.uk

EDITORIAL AND CONTENT:

EDITORIAL AND CONTENT:

Jacqui Parr jacquip@max-publishing.co.uk

Jacqui Parr jacquip@max-publishing.co.uk

Sam Loveday saml@max-publishing.co.uk

Rob Willis robw@max-publishing.co.uk

ADVERTISING AND COMMERCIAL

Jo Pilcher jop@max-publishing.co.uk

Rob Willis robw@max-publishing.co.uk

EDITORIAL AND CONTENT

Sam Loveday saml@max-publishing.co.uk

Sam Loveday saml@max-publishing.co.uk

Katie Roberts-Mason katierm@max-publishing.co.uk

Preschoolnews.net is published by preschool sector experts…

Preschoolnews.net is published by preschool sector experts…

PreschoolNews.net

v
@Prog_Preschool
@Prog_Preschool

DRESSED FOR SUCCESS

INDX KIDS: NEED TO KNOW

When: Sunday 29 January 2023, 9am-6pm and Monday 30 January, 9am-4pm.

Where: Cranmore Park Conference and Event Centre in Solihull, West Midlands. Close to rail and road links and minutes from J4, M42.

Who: Over 130 brands have signed up across the clothing, footwear and accessories categories. A full list of exhibitors can be found here: www.indxshows.co.uk/indx-fashion/ kidswear/exhibitors

Website: www.indxshows.co.uk

As part of the INDX brand of trade shows - which celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2023 - INDX Kids is organised by Associated Independent Stores (AIS), the UK’s leading buying group for fashion, home and leisure.

Unique to the market, INDX Kids is curated by a team of buying and retail experts whose knowledge and experience combine to ensure visitors enjoy the latest trends from a commercial edit of exhibitors.

INDX Kids – which will take place on 29-30 January – covers clothing, footwear and accessories and will showcase a large selection of kidswear and preschool brands in the UK, with a focus on leading lifestyle ranges and sustainable collections.

The list of confirmed exhibitors – which stands at over 130 brandsincludes such newcomers as Babydif, Baked Clay Kids, Cua Cuak, Ducky Zebra, Eve Children, LEOKING, Little Prince London, Luca and Rosa London, Petit Voyageur, Adriana Mae, Kusi Kusi, Plumas, Piecci and The Gilded Bird.

Meanwhile, the footwear category will include key returning brands such as Petasil, Early Days, Baypods, Mercredy, Egos, Natural World, Slipfree and Biomecanics, plus new exhibitors TT Kids, Primigi, Barboleta, Fofito and Goodwear Shoes.

“We would like to thank the childrenswear and preschool industry for its continued support of INDX Kids,” comments Varsha Chohan, event organiser of INDX Kids. “Many exhibitors have been with us from day one and with their collaboration, combined with the input from the many new suppliers we’ve introduced over the years, we’ve evolved the show to become a staple in the buying calendar.”

Billed as a must-visit for all children’s stockists, INDX Kids provides a friendly, business and buyer-focused environment, as well as an unmissable opportunity to source new products and new suppliers.

Top: It’s all about ‘quality timeless designs’ in a pastel colour palette for Blues Baby. Below: Happy Horse has been creating soft toys for almost 60 years.

Right: Dutch brand BamBam offers contemporary gift trends with a classical twist.

Visitors can pre-register online here: www.indxshows. co.uk/indx-fashion/kidswear/ registration

“It’s a great time to be a preschool buyer because there’s so much newness in the industry,” says Annmarie Collie-King, childrenswear buyer at AIS. “We’re continuing to strengthen the footwear category by introducing more brands, and we’re working hard to ensure the January show has everything today’s preschool stockist needs.”

INDX Kids is free to attend and open to all retailers. Onsite parking is free, while visitors also enjoy complementary barista coffee and refreshments, plus free breakfast pastries.

77 EVENT FOCUS
INDX Kids is set to return to its West Midlands venue of Cranmore Park on 29-30 January, and with over 130 brands signed up, it’s set to be another bumper outing for the popular event. PPS finds out more.

WHAT’S NEW

INFANTINO

Infantino is thrilled to announce that yet another playtime triumph is joining its award-winning range of products. Introducing the enchanting and innovative Go Gaga Twist & Fold Tropical Gym, a truly adorable gym bursting with colour that will take playtime to the jungle. Suitable from birth, this super soft and exciting play space encourages new skills such as visual tracking, reaching, tummy time, and rolling.

Email: nivi@infantino.com www.uk.infantino.com

GROHANGER

The all new sustainable Grohanger has been designed to ensure fashion retailers of baby, kids and adult clothes minimise their carbon footprint when using hangers and is designed ready for closed loop re-use programmes. It’s available for all sizes of garment retailers from small independents to multinational fashion retailers, who care about sustainability.

Email: nick@grohanger.com www.grohanger.com

ENESCO

Following on from its hugely popular Beatrix Potter bibs and tabards, contemporary gift retailer Enesco, is excited to announce the launch of its brand-new Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Children’s Multi-Purpose Coverall, officially licensed by Penguin Ventures. Made with a wipe-clean fabric and featuring long sleeves, as well as a top-to-bottom Velcro fastening at the back of the piece, this Multi-Purpose Coverall will keep little one’s clothes clean and tidy without limiting the fun.

Tel: 01228 404022 www.enesco.co.uk

BÉBÉLEPHANT

bébélephant has been appointed UK distributors of the simple, yet effective range from Sleepybump. Sleepybump is a unique structure of bumps that brings bumpy pavements into the home. It’s designed and engineered to precisely imitate those exact gentle sensations of those bumps. Parents can just place Sleepybump on any surface and gently move baby’s pram or buggy back and forth.

Tel: 0208 2021467 www.bebelephant.com

JANOD

The Bolid School Bus from Janod is a wooden, sunshine yellow school bus. It features six removable passengers that little ones will love to create imaginative stories with. It ensures playtime is on the move!

Tel: 0208 8782133 www.janod.com

NEW PRODUCTS 78

BEST SELLERS

“Our bestselling products are without doubt our personalised Storytime Cushions. A unique and personalised gift encouraging the love of reading and listening to stories.”

THE FABRIC BUG IN NUMBERS

Having recently opened a second store in Mercia Marina, The Fabric Bug has been trading since 2008, with its first store in Sherwood Forest opening five years ago. The family-run business offers personalised gifts and traditional toys.

Above: The Storytime Cushions are The Fabric Bug’s bestseller.

THE LAST YEAR

“2022 has been different,” Joanne Barker, owner of The Fabric Bug, tells PPS. “Covid has seen lower footfall in the shop, but a higher average spend. There is definitely a growing interest in traditional wooden toys and ecofriendly products and we are optimistic about the coming year, despite the economic gloom.”

TRENDS

“We stock various soft toys made from recycled plastic bottles. The added green credentials to these supersoft and cute soft toys have seen a huge rise in popularity, especially our koalas.”

OLD AND NEW FRIENDS

“Our longest term supplier is probably The Puppet Company which designs the Wilberry range of soft toys. Our newest supplier is EatSleepDoodle – specialists in creative doodle gifts.”

Above: The Sherwood Forest store was the first to open five years ago.

Above: Joanne says customer service is The Fabric Bug’s strength.

IN NUMBERS

• “There are seven people in our team.”

• “In December, the average spend per person was £17.52.”

• “There were two boxes in our last delivery.”

• “We refresh our window display quarterly.”

• “Our Sherwood Forest store is the size of an old coach house (that’s what it once was). And our Mercia Marina store is the size of two average narrowboats.”

SHOP LOCAL

“A combination of the pandemic, current economic climate and our changing high streets has seen a surge in people choosing to support local and independent retailers. We would not have been able to open our second store without that support and we are extremely grateful.”

Above: The Fabric Bug offers a range of clothes, gifts and traditional toys.

GOING SOCIAL

“Social media is an important part of the business, though is probably not our key strength and not something we use as much as we should. We hope to develop that more to drive traffic to our website and our physical stores.”

BEING SEEN ONLINE

“Our in-store sales account for the majority of our turnover, our strength is our customer service and customers do like to discuss their requirements and view our products in person.”

Above: The Puppet Company (owner of Wilberry) is The Fabric Bug’s longest term supplier.

MY HERO!

“The Storytime Cushions are probably the hero, but also our Pocket Hugs, a small inexpensive token gift that lets someone know that someone cares.”

79 RETAILER REVELATIONS
Contact us: sales@sambro.com
at Toyfair 2023 Stand F16 24th - 26th January Olympia London Dragon Kingdom
Mr Fox Unicorn Land