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The B2B Publication For Preschool Products and Retailers

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Take Mealtime to New Heights Designed to make mealtime easier, our Sit-to-Step High Chair converts to a kitchen helper for growwith-baby versatility.

STAGE 1: High Chair

STAGE 2: Toddler Step Stool

Folds for easy storage


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March/April 2013

this month MARCH/APRIL 2020



Max Publishing Ltd, United House, North Road, London N7 9DP T: 020 7700 6740 F: 020 7607 6411

Writing the leader is always the very last thing that we do as we are putting an issue to press – it’s the best way to take an step back for an overview of what’s going on in the sector and summarise the mood of the industry at large. As we go to press, preschool suppliers, retailers and other companies are all making their own best attempts at applying Above (l to r): Jacqui Parr, Jo Pilcher, Rob Willis and Samantha Loveday, part of the most up-to-date government the Progressive Preschool team. information as each day brings fresh news of the coronavirus – or COVID-19 – pandemic. As part of an industry which relies so heavily on relationships and meetings, it has been unnerving to hear reports of the problem unfolding as many of us returned from walking the aisles of London Toy Fair, Spielwarenmesse or Spring Fair. All we knew then was that the coronavirus was likely to cause some problems with show attendance and travel, with potential impacts to supply chains. Fast-forward to today and we know that those impacts are real, wideranging and will only continue to grow in severity over the coming weeks as each day seems to bring fresh news of trade shows, awards events and other public gatherings being cancelled or postponed and travel restrictions being put in place. However, while many show and event organisers are making the difficult decision to cancel, others are taking the equally difficult decision to remain open for business, advising exhibitors, visitors and delegates to follow the most up-to-date guidelines for staying safe and ensuring the safety of those around them while at the event itself. That’s exactly what will be happening at Harrogate International Nursery Fair, which will be going ahead and taking place as planned from Sunday 29 – Tuesday 31 March. We’ll be there in force as usual and we hope to see many of you there as well. Of course, people are right to be concerned – even if we are not elderly and do not have underlying health issues ourselves, most of us do have family, friends and loved ones who will fall into one of those categories. But while it is sensible and prudent to take precautions, the country is not in lockdown and so – to a certain extent at least – the show must go on. Our businesses will (hopefully!) still be here this time next year and so it’s hugely encouraging to see so many of us willing to face the situation head on. It’s not going to be easy, with supply chains being affected and consumer purse strings being pulled ever-tighter as other industries also muddle their way through the current situation. On the bright side – and we must always find a bright side – a number of suppliers have reported that the indie trade is doing great business in the wake of Mothercare’s demise. Although of course we’d never celebrate such a loss, it is nice to see that out of bad has come some good. We are, after all, all in this together as we strive, quite simply, to bring great consumer products to market. So – be sensible of course – but if you can make it, please do come and say hello to us at Harrogate. We promise we will have plenty of handwash!

The Progressive Preschool Team ISSN 2515-8570

Rob Willis, Jacqui Parr, Samantha Loveday, Jo Pilcher Ian Hyder, Jakki Brown, Warren Lomax


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THE* r i a f y o t open at w o n e ar ir 2021 a F y o T r tions fo a c i l p p a

1 2 0 2 y r a u n a J 1 r o 2 9 1 Exhibit n o d on L a i p m Oly

A huge thank you to all our exhibitors and visitors for making Toy Fair 2020 a great success. We're looking forward to welcoming you back next year.

New Layout Next year Toy Fair will take place in the Grand, Grand Gallery, National and National Gallery at Olympia, London. @ToyFairUK For further information on exhibiting & sponsorship opportunities please contact +44 (0)20 7701 7127 or email * Unfortunately members of the public are unable to attend

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Boost for small businesses in budget


usiness rates are to be scrapped for thousands of small businesses over the next year, the Chancellor revealed in his first budget, held on Wednesday 11 March. Businesses – including retailers – with a rateable value under £51,000 will not have to pay the tax for the next financial year. The Conservative Government had previously confirmed that these businesses were due to get a 50% discount for the year, a rise from a previous discount of 33%. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the measures resulted in a tax cut worth

John Lewis enters partnership with NCT

Popular British department store John Lewis has partnered with the UK’s leading charity for parents, the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), in a two-year deal which gives prospective parents access to special offers and expert advice. The initiative will see parentsto-be who attend NCT antenatal courses receiving John Lewis offers along with their NCT gift pack. The deal includes free nursery advice from a specially trained staff member, along with offers worth up to £70 which can be redeemed when attending a nursery advice appointment at the store. “Both NCT and John Lewis & Partners have been helping new parents for many years, so this feels like the perfect partnership to help expectant parents across the country,” commented John Lewis fashion buying director Christine Kasoulis. NCT supports approximately two million parents each year and runs 6,300 antenatal courses attended by 95,500 parents. Below: In 2019 John Lewis gave advice to more than 12,500 expectant parents.

over £1 billion, saving each business up to £25,000. “Over the next 12 months, nearly half of all business properties in England will not pay a penny of business rates,” he said. £2.1 billion is also to be made available for grants of £3,000 for any business which qualifies for small business rates relief. A 'fundamental review' into the long-term future of business rates will be concluded at the autumn budget. Despite the boost for small businesses, figures from Altus Group show that there are 47,928 retail properties in England with a rateable

Madame Tussauds adds baby carrier to PM’s waxwork

value over £51,000, with a combined value of £11.32 billion, which won’t benefit from the cut. Above: Independent nursery retailers will be able to benefit from the scrapped business rates.

London landmark Madame Tussauds has added a baby carrier to its waxwork of the UK’s prime Above: Wax Boris sporting minister Boris his babycarrier. Johnson, following the news that his partner Carrie Symonds is expecting a child. Steve Davies, who runs the London tourist attraction, has said that its intention is to congratulate him on the news. “We are sure that, even though he holds the top job in the country, he’ll find time for fatherly duties,” he said. The temporary addition comes complete with a ‘baby’, which is strapped to his chest in the Madame Tussauds-branded carrier. The new arrival is due in early summer, according to a social media statement issued by Carrie Symonds in early March.

Success for Spin Master at UK Toy of the Year Awards

Spin Master picked up a brace of accolades at the UK Toy Industry Awards in January, when it was named Global Supplier of the Year, as well as collecting the Preschool Range of the Year for PAW Patrol (held jointly with Character Options for Peppa Pig). “We were delighted to be recognised at this prestigious industry event; it was an amazing start to another new year in this fantastic industry,” said Hedley Barnes, general manager Europe. “It is wonderful to be acknowledged for Spin Master’s part within the global toy industry, something we take pride in achieving.”

NPD Group reveals global toy sales stats for 2019 The NPD Group has reported on 2019 global toy industry sales, revealing that they dipped 3% across the 13 markets it tracks. Overall, the industry performed better outside the US, with Russia, Germany and Brazil up by 5%, 3% and 2% respectively. LATAM sales increased 1%, while Europe sales were down 2%. The first six months of 2019 declined by 6%, underperforming primarily due to comparisons with the Toys R Us liquidation sales in 2018 in large global markets. However, the second half of the year saw a marked improvement, declining by just 1%.

In terms of key sectors, action figures and accessories and games and puzzles were the two growth areas for the year, with growth of 14% and 3% respectively. Building sets and dolls also outperformed the market, according to NPD. “The closures of major specialist chains had the most adverse effect on global toy sales,” commented Frédérique Tutt, global toys industry analyst at The NPD Group. “In those countries where a major chain closed down (US, United Kingdom, Australia and Netherlands), sales were down 5% compared to 2018. Sales outside of those countries, however, were up 1% for the year.”

For the latest news visit PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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L A R G E S T U K K I D S W E A R S H OW Over 200 UK and International brands across 4 showrooms Register now: Cranmore Park Conference and Event Centre, Cranmore Avenue, Shirley, Solihull, B90 4LF

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Below: Harrogate Nursery Fair will be going ahead as planned.

Harrogate International Nursery Fair addresses coronavirus concerns


t’s business as usual for Harrogate International Nursery Fair, which will be going ahead as planned on Sunday 29 – Tuesday 31 March, 2020. Organisers have issued the following statement: “There is worldwide concern regarding the outbreak of coronavirus and how individuals and businesses should respond to the potential spread and threat of this. Harrogate International Nursery Fair takes this threat seriously and has referred to current government

guidelines on management of the virus. In response to this, it advises exhibitors and visitors of the 2020 show, which takes place at the Harrogate Convention Centre from 29 to 31 March, that it is currently business as usual and the show will take place as planned. We will be monitoring the government’s advice continually between now and the show and will keep participants informed should the situation change. While taking sensible precautions to protect and help ensure the health and

safety of everyone involved, we believe that it is important to keep business as normal as possible and looking beyond to the future. We will keep the industry updated on the show’s website,”

Harrogate industry BookTrust breaks fundraising records UK children’s literacy charity support from the public and thanks to party plans confirmed Leading BookTrust has broken its own fundraising so many generous donations, we have Plans have been confirmed for the evening celebrations at Harrogate International Nursery Fair, which will be taking place on the evening of Sunday 29 March, 2020, at The Carriage Suite in the Majestic Hotel. Thanks to sponsorship from some of the industry’s favourite brands (Artsana, BabyStyle, Bugaboo, Cybex, DCUK, Diono, Joie, Peg Perego and Silver Cross), all retailers and buyers at Harrogate will be able to attend the party for free, making the most of the opportunity to network and connect with the industry. Visit for more information and to reserve your ticket.

International visitor numbers increase for Spielwarenmesse 2020 International visitor numbers increased at this year’s Spielwarenmesse, although overall numbers did see a slight dip. Some 63,500 independent retailers and buyers headed to the Nuremberg exhibition centre from 29 January to 2 February, from 136 countries. The 2019 show saw 66,876 visitors from 132 countries, with the decline in visitor numbers linked to caution surrounding COVID-19. Meanwhile, 66% of visitors travelled to the fair from overseas (2019: 62%), with the UK and US posting the biggest increases. “The high proportion of international visitors and the positive mood among exhibitors corroborates our forwardlooking approach to the event,” said Ernst Kick, ceo of Spielwarenmesse. “Venturing down the right track early on, we set our sights on leading the industry into a new and successful business year.” Next year's Spielwarenmesse will be taking place from 27 – 31 January 2021.

record with its 2019 Christmas appeal, which raised a record £240,000 – an incredible £47,000 over the target amount. The festive appeal formed part of the Letterbox project, which sends book parcels out to children who are vulnerable or in care. For many of these children, it’s the first time they have owned a book. “We’re absolutely thrilled by the

been able to send a festive gift of a book to each of the 12,250 children in our 2019 Letterbox programme,” said Diana Gerald, BookTrust ceo. BookTrust will be using the additional £120,000 to reach more vulnerable children through programmes such as Bookstart Corner, a free programme aimed at families with very young children who need additional support and help to engage in reading.

Toymaster May Show 2020 is sold out Exhibitor space at the Toymaster May Show 2020 has sold out, the organisation has confirmed. The popular event will once again take place at The Majestic Hotel in Harrogate from 19-21 May Over 100 suppliers will be present, with the majority running special offers for the independent bricks and mortar toy retailers who attend.

As well as the exhibition, evening events will also take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Ian Edmunds, md of Toymaster, said in a statement: “All space has been filled and Toymaster would like to take this opportunity to thank those attending for their support. I look forward to seeing you at Toy Fair.”

Agenda revealed for Sustainability in Licensing Conference

The agenda for the inaugural Sustainability in Licensing Conference – which will be taking place on Thursday June 11 at the British Library – has been revealed, with speakers from companies and organisations including the Ellen McArthur Foundation, Teemill, Offset Earth, Breakdown Plastic, Wastebusters, Tesco, M&S and Asda among others set to share their views and insights. Talking about the line-up, Helena Mansell-Stopher, SILC conference director and founder of Products of Change, said that the aim is to “provide a broad baseline of information to impact your own sustainable journey”. For full details on the conference and to book your delegate place(s), visit the official SILC 2020 website,

For latest news visit PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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The UK’s only baby trade show Don’t miss the UK’s only baby TRADE show - see new product launches from favourite brands FREE party night (Sunday 29th) for all retailers and buyers - visit the website for more information)

29th - 31st March 2020

Harrogate Convention Centre

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Nimble cleans up on Dragons’ Den


lant-based family-friendly cleaning brand Nimble has cleaned up on BBC flagship show Dragons’ Den, securing a dignificant investment from three of the Dragons. Von Sy, founder of the brand, appeared on the show on Sunday 8 March, where he scored a hat trick, securing investment from three of the Dragons, to the value of £85,000. Having spent more than ten years working within one of the world’s largest consumer household cleaning product manufacturers, London-based scientist Von developed an effective plant-based cleaning range that

Mattel confirms key sustainability goal

was safer to use around babies and children, with no harsh chemicals. Von will now be working with Tej Lalvani, Sara Davies and Touker Suleyman, after giving 45% of his business to the Dragons, for their £85,000 investment. “Dragons’ Den is by far the toughest thing I have done for the brand, but also the most rewarding,” commented Von. “To have secured financial support from three truly brilliant business experts was just amazing and I am excited to see where the business will go with their guidance and knowledge.” Since the filming in April 2019,

Nimble has expanded its presence internationally and secured shelf space in leading high street retailers Boots and Sainsbury’s. Above: Von negotiated with the Dragons and is delighted to have secured investment from all three.

Growth continues for Schleich

Mattel has announced its goal to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastics materials in both its products and packaging by 2030. The first half of this year will see the company debut its first product aligned with this goal – the iconic Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack made from sugarcane-based plastics and packaged in 100% recycled or sustainably sourced material. “Innovation is part of our DNA, and it is central to our work in environmental sustainability,” said Richard Dickson, president and coo at Mattel. The new goal expands the company’s Environmental Sustainable Sourcing Principles that were first announced in 2011.

Toy company Schleich has increased its revenue in Germany by double digits for the sixth year in a row. In 2019, the Schleich Group achieved a gross revenue of over €200 million for the first time (compared to €183 million the previous year). At the same time, the company increased its share of the German toy market from 3.6% to 3.9%. The company also enjoyed double digit growth in core markets of the UK and France, further shoring up its international business. For 2020, Schleich will be marking its 85th anniversary while also looking to further develop its international audience, as well as investing in the development of online sales channels and further product innovations.

Above: The iconic nursery toy embraces eco principles.

Fundamentally Children rebrands as Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide

Following a successful 2019, which culminated in its fifth birthday celebration, Fundamentally Children is beginning 2020 with a simplified message, focusing on founder Amanda Gummer's mission to make the world a more playful place. The company now has its sights set firmly on the US and as such is rebranding as Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide to streamline and align the business to its core and long-term objectives. The independent, expert advice provided by the business will retain the same three pillars; child development expertise, quality assurance and brand support/experiential marketing. Dr Amanda Gummer has been working in the US for several years and her profile there continues to grow. “We wanted to make sure the brand fully embodies and clearly communicates our values and work,” commented Amanda, “so we’re delighted to announce the new name and branding as we move into our next exciting phase of growth.”

NEWS IN BRIEF ▶ The third branch of the independent nursery store Newbie & Me will be opening its doors in Shropshire this April, hoping to fill the gap left from recent Mothercare closures. ▶ Multi-award-winning weaning and feeding brand BÉABA has appointed leading dietitian and media spokesperson, Nichola Ludlam-Raine, as its nutrition and weaning expert. ▶ Award-winning nursery distributor Hippychick has been named as the exclusive UK partner of well-known buggy and car seat accessory brand Dooky. ▶ Car seat and stroller company RECARO has strengthend its online presence with the launch of a fresh new consumer website, ▶ Preschool product expert Kidcentral Supply UK has taken on the UK distribution for Canadian nursery and children’s brand, guzzie+Guss. ▶ Children's company Squelch Wellies took home three winners trophies at The Gift Of The Year Awards, which were held at Spring Fair in the NEC on Sunday 2 February, 2020.

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The Baby Show celebrates its 18th year


he UK’s leading pregnancy and parenting event The Baby Show is marking its 18th year with multi-award-winning supermarket Lidl as headline partner and John Lewis as sleep clinic sponsor for the 2020 series of events. John Lewis will now be sponsoring all of the Baby Show Sleep Clinics throughout 2020, with a number of new features including one-to-one

expert advice. “Lidl’s Lupilu range has won a whole host of awards, accreditations and industry plaudits and has been an integral part of the show for a number of years,” said Zoë Bonser, show director. “We are delighted to be strengthening our partnership.” “The Baby Show is a rite of passage for new and expectant parents,” adds Zoe. “It is the only destination in the

Department store Beales enters administration One of Britain’s oldest department stores Beales has entered administration, putting 1,300 jobs at risk. KPMG has been named as administrator. There have been no closures yet, with all 23 stores across the UK expected to remain open during the administration process. The store’s website is currently offline, however. Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “For over a hundred years,

BBC One Show interviews JDMA Design

Beales has been a stalwart of the high street in market towns up and down the UK, but like countless similar retailers, has found trading in recent times to be incredibly tough.” In the financial year ending March 2019, Beales’ losses had almost doubled to £3.1m. The company’s slump into administration comes after it was revealed that 2019 was the worst on record for British retail. Left: High rents and rates were exacerbated by disappointing trading, which contributed to Beales' losses.

Bambino Mio listed in prestigious FT1000 list

Popular daily television programme the BBC One Show has been exploring car seat recycling, sending a film crew to visit JMDA Design’s head office in Pershore, Worcestershire. BBC presenter and record-breaking athlete Iwan Thomas took the time to interview JDMA’s Derrick Barker, who explained how staff at JMDA tried to dismantle the car seats themselves, which could take up to a day, mainly because of the rigid structure but also of the complex mixture of materials. “It’s not a question of whether or not car seats can be recycled,” said Derrick. “The biggest hurdle is moving used car seats from collection points across the country to processing plants for shredding.... who foots the cost of moving them? This is an issue for the whole industry including manufacturers, retailers, waste management and local authorities.”

Reusable nappy company Bambino Mio has been included in the prestigious FT1000 list, generated by the Financial Times and Statista. This positions it as one of Europe’s top 1,000 fastest growing companies and has been awarded as recognition of the brand’s positive performance and continued growth during the judging period (2015 - 2018). Impressively, Bambino Mio’s business has grown even faster since then, expanding by nearly 80% during 2019. The company is already seeing significant growth in 2020 and this momentum shows no signs of slowing down. “Our company's inclusion in the FT1000 list emphasises that there truly is a demand for more eco-friendly product solutions and reinforces our brand position as leaders in the reusable product industry,” commented founder Guy Schanschieff.

UK to find everything you need for you and your baby, from unrivalled shopping to free advice and essential information.” For more information about the upcoming shows in 20202, visit Above: Retailers Lidl and John Lewis are supporting the 2020 events.

Toynamics makes its UK debut

Following a company rebrand, Marbel is now known as Toynamics UK & Ireland. The rebrand follows the decision to relocate from Cornwall to Leicestershire, as well as bringing in a new team. Toynamics is a multi-brand distributor which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hape Holding. It becomes the distribution arm of the company. Toynamics UK & Ireland is the exclusive distributor of brands including Hape, which has a range of over 15 different lines of toys including railway, music and preschool toys.

LICENSING LOWDOWN ▶ BBC Studios has renewed its Mr Tumble Something Special partnership with Golden Bear. ▶ Coolabi Group has revealed a series of creative brand extensions, which will be aimed at families with preschool children, for its Clangers property. A deal has been secured with Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts, while new episodes are set for CBeebies and YouTube Kids. ▶ Sony Pictures is collaborating with Hunter Originals on a limited edition lifestyle collection of footwear and accessories inspired by Peter Rabbit. ▶ Nursery brand aden+ anais has secured a new partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products for a Harry Potter collection which will see themed imagery featuring on swaddles and baby sleeping bags. ▶ Andersen Press marks 40 years of Not Now Bernard, with Action For Children charity partnership leading the raft of anniversary plans.

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The Independent

The leading name in toys and children’s gifts

Tuesday 21st & Wednesday 22nd April 2020 Register: FREE REFRESHMENTS • FREE LUNCH • FREE ONSITE PARKING Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre, Solihull, West Midlands B90 4LF

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80% of parents will pay more for a product with longevity


ome 80% of parents will pay more for a product with longevity, according to the latest findings from award-winning family specialist PR and marketing agency Azaria’s Family Report, designed to give insight into the lifes and lifestyles of the average UK family in 2020. The survery – which spoke to over 2,000 parents – was conducted by market research company Mumsviews and has allowed Azaria to highlight everything from shopping habits to social media activity and eating patterns to holiday choices. The snapshot of modern family life has been designed to

Online store CMS Nursery rebrands as Baby-Central

help add value to Azaria’s work with parenting brands. Other key take-outs included the following: T 7 3% of parents follow social media influencers, T 4 8% value brands that are ethically and socially responsible, and T 5 8% are influenced by word of mouth from family and friends. “As a leading PR agency, it’s invaluable that we keep our finger on the pulse of UK family life,” said Amber Steventon, Azaria’s managing director. “Building on our previous Family Reports, we are delighted to share an overview of our insights with the industry.”

Retail expert and ‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas took to the stage at Spring Fair to talk about the ‘kindness economy’ and why sustainability is the way forward for retail. Talking to Ashley Armstrong, retail editor at The Times, Mary explained that retailers must adopt a kinder way of behaving. “Today, everything revolves around being kinder to the planet, being anti-plastic, being sustainable,” she said. “Consumers want to engage with the businesses that share their core values.” She continued: “We are all thinking seriously about how we live and what we buy which is good for the world as a whole. Therefore retailers have to look at what they are selling to make sure that they have that sensitivity around their products. I genuinely believe that a kinder of way of doing business – the anthesis of the ‘alpha’ culture – is the only way forward.” Left: The ‘Queen of Shops’ spoke at Spring Fair about why sustainability is crucial for retail.

Above: The research ensures Azaria can create campaigns that really deliver.

INDX Kids sets the date for July show

Central Medical Supplies has rebranded CMS Nursery, its consumer-facing website, as Baby-Central, reinforcing the company’s reputation as pregnancy and baby specialists. The new-look site – which can now be found at – will continue to feature all previous best-selling products such as Dr Brown’s, Dreamgenii, Cantaloop, Ameda and Steri Bottle. “At CMS we are experts in pregnancy and baby products,” stated Jasmine Clowes, digital marketer at Central Medical Supplies. “This fresh, modern new brand will enable mums to find a huge range of pregnancy and babycare essentials quickly and easily.”

Mary Portas says retailers must focus on the ‘kindness economy’

Children’s apparel and accessories show INDX Kidswear has announced the date for its SS21 edition, which will be taking place from 5 – 6 July 2020. The largest kidswear trade show in the UK is open to all independent retailers will be showcasing collections designed for spring/summer 2021 and will once again be playing host to over 200 brands across four showrooms. Specifically curated for the independent retail sector, INDX Kidswear is now in its 15th year and has seen an increase in both visitors and exhibitors each season, thanks to the show’s unrivalled facilities, extensive brand offering and central location. Register for free at

The Entertainer secures partnership with Reliance Brands in India

The Entertainer has secured a new partnership with Reliance Brands which will see the toy specialist enter the Indian market. The master franchise agreement foresees the opening of The Entertainer stores in Mumbai in the first half of 2020 followed up by an aggressive store roll-out plan as part of The Entertainer’s strategy to tap into the booming Indian market. “We’re delighted to announce our partnership with Reliance Brands Limited, bringing The Entertainer to India,” said Gary Grant, co-founder of The Entertainer. “We believe that our community-based stores, offering the very best brands and licences at fantastic value price points, are a great fit for the market.”

PEOPLE NEWS ▶ Chris Isitt, vp of UK, EMEA and Australia, has left global costume company Rubie’s Masquerade after 21 years with the dress-up powerhouse behind a number of preschool dress-up favourites including Disney and Warner Bros. ▶ Innovative nursery brand Cheeky Chompers has appointed Jamie Moore into the newlycreated role of global head of sales, starting immediately. ▶ Nursery stalwart Nicola Carrara will be joining the Kidcentral team as regional sales manager for the north, following a decade of experience in the industry. ▶ Acamar Films has welcomed new senior members to its product development and marketing teams. Paul Keech has joined as director of product development, Charlotte Hill takes on the newly-created role of marketing director and Ruedilyn Schwegler joins as head of marketing. ▶ Rainbow Designs has further strengthened its sales team, welcoming Nicola Dale as regional sales manager for the Midlands territory.

For the latest news visit PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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SILC 2020 Sustainability A5 advert.qxp_Layout 1 13/01/2020 12:46 Page 20

THE FIRST EVER CONFERENCE IN THE WORLD DEDICATED TO SUSTAINABILITY IN LICENSING Breaking new ground in the licensing industry, the Sustainability in Licensing Conference 2020, to be staged at The British Library (London) on Thursday 11 June 2020, is aimed at everyone in the licensing arena, from retailers to licensors, licensees to trade suppliers. Being launched by Max Publishing (publishers of Licensing Source Book, and organisers of The Licensing Awards and the B&LLAs) along with Helena Mansell-Stopher, experienced licensing executive and founder of the Products of Change group, the Sustainability in Licensing Conference (SILC 2020) will inspire and inform as to how our dynamic sector can continue to innovate and grow commercially while not costing the planet. The cost per delegate to attend including lunch is £245 + VAT To book your place you can either go online or contact Clare Hollick at Keystone Communications on  or calling +44(0)1733 294524

For sponsorship or other enquiries contact Ian Hyder or Rob Willis on +44 (0)207 700 6740 or by email

Join with SILC 2020 to help future-proof our industry and our world. 18_PPS_March April 2020.indd 1

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Car seat safety booklet launches After many months of preparation and significant input from leading car seat manufacturers and industry experts; the Baby Products Association is delighted to be launching its new Car Seat Safety Advice Booklet at Harrogate International Nursery Fair. The booklet, which will also be available to download from the BPA website, will provide suppliers, retailers parents and carers with the most up-to-date information regarding child car seat legislation, safety advice and information.

“After listening to our members and our members’ retail partners, we became aware that there is huge confusion and contradiction

Left: The car seat booklet will clear up confusion.

Good Play Guide addresses early years closures

Bookings for CBME Shanghai now open

Bookings for the UK Pavilion at CBME Shanghai are now open. The show, which takes place at the NECC (Shanghai) China from 15 to 17 July 2020 has proved extremely fruitful for British companies wishing to expand into the Chinese baby products market. Last year, the show boasted 3,600 exhibitors and over 110,000 visitors and in the words of Simon Anslow, UK Pavilion organiser, ‘is on a scale unrivalled by any other in the world’. China is recognised by the Department for International Trade (DIT) as one of the highest growth countries for British export opportunities and as such Trade Access Programme (TAP) grants are available. Full information and booking forms are available to download from the BPA website,

particularly in light of new legislation,” said Robert Anslow, managing director of the association. “We felt that it was our duty, as our member base represents the majority of car seat manufacturers, to produce a document that harmonises the UK car seat industry combining the fact-based views of most car seat brands into one document that everyone agrees to stand by as a position of truth.”

Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide has pledged its support for millions of students across the world as they remain either in lockdown or self-isolation. Nearly 300 million students are currently experiencing disrupted education due to the recent coronavirus outbreak. But learning doesn’t have to come to a grinding halt whilst the epidemic passes says the independent, expert organisation. Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide has created a comprehensive set of resources to support families with children who are out of school. The information packs include developmentally beneficial ideas for activities and games children can engage with, that support the learning and help children stay curious, creative and engaged during these uncertain times. The resources will be available for free download from and webinars streamed worldwide.

NCWA continues to lobby for industry standards

As the trade association for the childrenswear industry, the National Childrenswear Association of Great Britain and Ireland (NCWA) has successfully lobbied over many years for the zero-rating of children’s clothing and footwear for VAT purposes and has recently written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about this issue. NCWA also provides the Secretariat to the CEN (European Standards Organisation) Working Group on the Safety of Childrenswear, which is currently revising the Cords and Drawstrings Standard. It is also working on updating the Technical Report on Mechanical Safety and producing new guidance on Attachments, such as buttons and press fasteners. More information can be found on

Licensing International to conduct first global study of diversity and inclusion in the licensing industry Licensing International, the trade association for the brand licensing industry, is conducting the first global study of diversity in the licensing business – the first initiative in an ongoing diversity and inclusion effort spearheaded by the association's new Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility (IDEA) committee. The goal is to collect global data to understand the current level of diversity in the licensing community and establish a benchmark for accountability and growth. From the study, Licensing International plans to develop a best practise toolkit for its member companies to help them recruit, grow and retain staff with diverse experiences and attributes.

“Prioritising diversity and inclusion is instrumental to the current and future success of our industry, or any industry for that matter,” said Maura Regan, president of Licensing International. “We're proud to bring a focused effort to improving our talent mix, starting with this study to show where the licensing industry stands and where there are opportunities for growth.” The IDEA committee, chaired by Jamie Stevens, evp of consumer products and licensing at Sony Pictures Entertainment,

also plans to launch a recruitment programme that attracts and grows a diverse talent pool. Through partnerships with universities, the association aims to develop and implement a targeted internship programme, formalised mentorship opportunities and quarterly speaker series. “'More of the same' is what hinders businesses from evolving and reaching full potential; recruiting and fostering talented professionals of all backgrounds – race, gender, religion and orientation – brings multiple perspectives to the table and yields more creative and compelling ideas,” said Jamie.

For the latest news visit PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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UK: Freephone 0800 590 599 /

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ast year was a tough one for the UK babycare market, with sales falling by 8% and 5% in volume and value respectively. As we move into 2020 this downward trend has worsened, with the total market falling double digits in January across both metrics against the same month in 2019. Trying to narrow down these declines to any one factor clearly raises difficulties – economic uncertainty, ongoing negative consumer confidence and a shift to second-hand buying will all be having their effect. From a wider perspective, trends in birth rates and family size have further impacted the baby care market. The UK birth rate fell almost 10% from 2012 to 2018 with a far greater proportion of women now childless or with smaller families compared with previous generations. This then ties in with the widespread nature of market declines. Of the ten core babycare categories tracked by GfK, eight recorded year-on-year declines up to January 2020. At the same time, it’s worth highlighting certain areas of growth. Online sales, while still heavily weighted to the more premium categories such as strollers and car seats, rose by 2% overall in value. Within this, the bottle and teat, soothers, teethers, tableware, bottle warmer/steriliser and breast-feeding markets all saw double-digit increases with growth continuing into the new year. Three overarching themes we regularly see as important in terms of influencing consumer spend across tech and durable categories are performance, simplification and premiumisation. The latter is

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As one of the world’s largest market research companies, GfK offers retailers and suppliers valuable insight into the way people live, think and shop. Here, client insight manager Marco Salerno takes takes a look at what influences consumer spend.

something we are recording in the aforementioned categories where average selling price has risen between 4% and 10% year-on-year. At the same time the more premium categories – strollers, car seats, highchairs and baby monitors – have all seen average selling price falling back more recently. The key babycare category we would expect the performance and simplification themes to impact in a greater way would be baby monitors. Value has also fallen back here as market value contracted by 7%, with average selling price also down 2%. Retailers have seemingly been unable to attract consumers with the benefit of newer, relevant features in this regard. Again however, there are areas of growth within this – wireless monitors have seen a growth of 88% and now account for 17% of value sales, although this

Below: Market value continues to decline across the category, despite an 88% growth in wireless monitors.


Above: Keeping an eye on what baby is getting up to has never been easier.

was not enough to offset the 16% decline for non-connected models. We can also perhaps look to another factor impacting category sales trends here; that of consumers increasingly utilising multifunctional devices. In this case the development of smart home technology creates competition for more traditional or specialised baby monitor manufacturers. Mobile apps such as Amazon’s Alexa offer a ‘dropin’ function, effectively enabling an intercom process with the capacity both for audio and camera feeds, depending on the linked device. As smart home technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, the impact of these multi-functional products in relation to baby care markets looks set to only increase.


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WHAT’S NEW SKIP HOP Brand new category added to the brand’s must-haves made better EASY FILL FOOD TRAYS This easy-fill system is designed to make storing pureed food simple. It is made in two parts so that parents only need to pour once for time-saving efficiency and a lot less waste. To fill, simply pour into the pot and then insert the divider to create six individual 2oz servings. It also includes a lid for storage and stacking.



EASY STORE SLIDING TRAY A simple space-saver shelf where parents can keep little one’s meals, the Easy-Store Sliding Tray clips easily to refrigerator or freezer shelves. Each 2oz container snaps into the tray and has its own lid which can be written on using the dry-erase marker. This means that parents can label the contents of each container and wipe it away to start again.

Designed for practicality, these feeding and storage solutions have a unique grip handle. This means that while feeding baby, parents can have the confidence that they are in control. Comfortable and simple to hold, each bowl comes with a transparent lid, meaning that they can see what’s inside. Measurements are also marked inside of each bowl too so that parents know exactly how much they are feeding their little one.

EASY PREP FOOD PRESS This food press allows parents to puree and store fresh food in a quick one-step system. Simply press soft or cooked food through the stainless steel plates to create a consistency suitable for baby. The Easy-Prep Food Press has its own storage containers to attach and two different sized plates for mashing depending on the stage of weaning. These are removable too, so it is easy to clean.

Making mealtime easy and efficient, these soft silicon spoons are made with slits around the edges, meaning they’re superflexible. The streamlined design flattens in baby’s mouth to make the most of every mouthful and is super-gentle on their gums. They even have a built-in spoon rest to keep the spoon away from the table, making it germ and mess-free.

EASY SERVE TRAVEL BOWL AND SPOON SET Created to make feeding baby easier on-the-go, this bowl and spoon set is long and narrow in shape to make it easy to hold. This also means that it allows for quick, one-motion scooping. Fitting perfectly into a cool bag, the spill-proof lid protects from any accidents in transit. As the spoon packs away into the lid, it keeps it clean for baby and creates less mess for parents

Tel: 01582 434 250 E: PROGRES SIV E P R E S C H O O L

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Parents Insights has issued its 2020 Future Forecast report, which predicts some of the key trends to watch out for this year and throughout the course of the new decade. The Future Forecast 2020 report explores how these significant transformations will impact advertising, content, licensing, marketing, product and retail strategies for brand owners.


ur Future Forecast makes six predictions for trends we believe could occur, based on our extensive experience of surveying more than 10,000 new and expecting parents each year in the UK - here is a sneak peek of what we found:

DIRECT TO CONSUMER The 2020 Future Forecast report leads with direct-to-consumer trends. The experience economy is currently booming, with parents placing more value on this than ever before. Our recent data shows that around half of parents want to instil the same value in their children. This is particularly true of parents over the age of 35 and households earning above £50,000, who are the most likely Below: 47% of parents want their child

to value experiences more than products.

to want to teach their children to value experience over products.

TRANSPARENCY IN THE PURCHASING OF PRODUCTS Increased awareness levels on the impact of climate change have seen environmental concerns become a top issue in the last decade and this shows no sign of slowing. A third of parents are actively encouraging and educating their children on sustainability and almost three-quarters are using eBay to buy and sell products, indicating a preference for this generation of parents to reuse items over unnecessary consumption. BEYOND GENERATION RENT There is growing demand and opportunities in the market for subscription services and these models could help amass a more loyal set of customers, however, there will likely be a tipping point


where too much choice exists. There is already talk of bundling services in TV, an area where subscriptions have boomed, with one price paid for access to Netflix, Amazon, Disney, etc to be included. Might it be we also see this in other product areas that appeal to time poor and money savvy modern parents? NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO ENGAGE DADS IN PARENTAL MARKETING Something we have seen a stark rise in over the last year is the use of blogs as a source of information for dads - driven in part by the emergence of more dad bloggers. Popular blogs for dads are DadBlogUK, Dadacool and The Oliver’s Madhouse.

KID-INFLUENCERS PLAY A LEADING ROLE IN THE HOUSEHOLD Children between two and four years old have the most influence over their parents. Over a quarter believe their kids have at least a little influence over every category from apps to takeaway food. Brands can utilise the alignment between parents and children by appealing to the family democracy that children clearly play a major part in, empowering kids to encourage parents spending could boost brand interaction and lay the foundations for lifetime customers. WHAT IS A HEALTHY AMOUNT OF SCREEN TIME? Our data shows that 67% of children aged from six months to two years and 77% of 2-4 year olds use a tablet. However, there is a growing debate around how much screen time is healthy for children. We have started to see that children are increasingly using their tablets for more educational purposes, including using learning apps.

This is a brief snapshot of Parents Insights’ capabilities, but it’s clear the attitudes, behaviours and consumption of young parents are changing significantly. We’re offering brands an immersive planning meeting to illustrate how data and insights into the world of parenting can help inform their business strategies for 2020 and beyond. To download a free full copy of 2020 Future Forecast report, visit progressivepreschool. PROGRES SIVE P R E S C H O O L

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Most young children only have short attention spans, so books with pictures, textures, sounds, tabs to pull and so on are key to holding their concentration. Extra props, like puppets, can also be used to bring the story alive and get children more involved in the experience, while reading together is a great time for parents to cuddle up with their little ones, helping develop a close relationship. Stories can also expose youngsters to lots of lovely language, supporting their lifelong speaking, listening and literacy skills. Here are a few examples, tested by the Good Play Guide, of books that add a little something extra to storytime.

Anna Taylor is a researcher at Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide, an organisation dedicated to helping children learn and develop through play.

Above: Interactive Lamaze books are popular.

and sound effects. The classic stories include Mr Men, the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Beatrix’s Potter’s the Tale of Peter Rabbit. SOUNDS OF THE FOREST (2 – 5 YRS)

LISTEN AND MATCH STORYTIME SOFT BOOK AND PLUSH TOY GIFT SET (0 – 18M) From the lovely Lamaze range, this set is the perfect introduction to books. The soft pages crinkle and squeak when squeezed, stimulating children’s senses and encouraging them to explore. Playing in this way gives babies and toddlers a chance to practise turning the pages of a book, while associating books with fun.

Featuring a storybook and an owl-themed instrument, this is a great interactive book that helps to bring storytime alive. Our testers loved the story and were excited by the addition of the whistle toy, which we found kept the children’s interest while they were listening. It’s a lovely one for older children too, as emergent readers can have a go at reading the book themselves. Below: Musical story time from Sounds of the Forest.

MOONLITE STARTER PACK (18M – 5YRS) Above: Funny Faces is ideal for very young children.

FIRST BABY DAYS BOOKS – FUNNY FACES (0 – 18M) Ideal for baby’s developing vision, the bright contrasting colours in this book encourage newborns to focus and distinguish patterns. The mirror also gets a lot of giggles, as babies recognise and reach for their reflection. As children get older, they will love the animals – our testers thoroughly enjoyed mimicking the cheeky monkey and cute little cat!

This storytime projector is a small device that clips onto a smartphone, using the torch to project vibrant storybook images onto any surface. We found this complemented storytime really well, creating a relaxed bedtime environment with calming music Below: Moonlite brings books to life.

BOOKISH BENEFITS Preschooler’s language skills have often been linked to later academic success. Reading together from a young age can help to develop these language skills, as well as encouraging a lifelong love of books through positive experiences. Using props such as puppets can keep children’s attention for longer, helping to develop concentration.


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NEW FOR 2020


In the modern retail trade, ‘brand new’ products from suppliers are launching all the time – but are they really as groundbreaking as they promise to be? After all, as Mark Twain famously said: ‘there’s no such thing as a new idea’. Or is there? PPS goes on the hunt for some truly innovative product which will be coming soon to a retail space near you...

That Lightbulb


espite what we were led to believe at school, it turns out that inventing something new requires a little more than wearing a white lab coat, having messy hair and shouting ‘Eureka’. Creating a truly innovative product is a timeconsuming and costly process; one that many would shy away from, despite the wonderful creations we come up with after a few drinks. In the nursery industry it’s fair to say that most new products come from evolution rather than innovation – an extra feature here or a luxury fabric option there, offering consumers choice and allowing retailers to keep their offering fresh. Every now and then though, something special comes along and creates a whole new market for itself. In 2017 that product was the Rockit – the clever pramrocking gadget that helps little ones nap. More than 14,000 babies have been lulled to sleep by the award-winning product, which is now available at retailers including Argos, Amazon and John Lewis. With this heritage behind them, it’s no real surprise that the team behind Rockit has already invented

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its next new product; the Zed. According to director Matt Dyson, Zed is a sleep soother that mimics the feeling of being in a car. “The clever technology recreates the soothing low frequency vibrations that famously sends babies to sleep,” he explains. “We are expecting it to be a hit with worn out parents desperate for a good night’s sleep as finely tuned vibrations ripple through the mattress, comforting little ones and encouraging a deep sleep.” The Rockit team has spent the last 18 months developing Zed, Below: The ClevaBath fully transforms the kitchen sink into a happy baby bath.


ensuring that the gentle vibrations work on all types of mattresses. “A total of six different vibration modes are available to simulate the low frequency rumbles of the car suspension and the gentle revving of the engine,” adds Matt. “And of course we all know how well babies and young children sleep in the car!” As well as the clever vibration modes, Zed also includes a soothing night light and is small enough to be travel-friendly. Due to launch at retail this June, it’s another giant sleep for babykind. While many of the best inventions solve annoying everyday problems, others find creative ways to revolutionise an everyday practise – such as fully transforming the kitchen sink into a safe and secure baby bath. The ClevaBath from ClevaMama has been created to give peace of mind to parents by making bathing very young children easier, comfier and safer. The collapsible design fits over any standard sink, meaning no heavy lifting or bending over a bathtub to clean a slippery, crying baby. “Not everyone has a bath in their home, but everyone has a sink,” points out Cristina Ceobanu, marketing manager for ClevaMama. “Our in-depth

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Kindi Kids PP Jan 2020.pdf 1 06/01/2020 10:23:46









Nominated for the Top Preschool brand by the American Toy Association

© 2020 Moose.

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NEW FOR 2020

Above: Zed’s spacethemed styling complements the Rockit brand and will help it stand out in-store. Right: The Maxi-Cosi Coral is the world’s first modular baby car seat.

 research identified

bathing as one of the most challenging activities for new parents, so we created the ClevaBath to give them peace of mind.” When using the ClevaBath, babies remain close to mum or dad so they feel relaxed and safe, while parents have to two hands to play with and wash their baby. The bath itself has a range of removable and adjustable supports so it cocoons the baby in a comfortable, upright position, while a flexible, perforated basin makes it easy to empty the water afterwards. “The biggest challenge was making sure it would work for all families, so we created a soft flexible base which could be easily adapted to any standard-sized sink, along with adjustable arms for support if needed,” explains Cristina. “It works everywhere and means parents do not need to have

a bath in their house, just a sink!” Some 18 months after the initial idea was conceived, the ClevaBath launched to market. Currently available at independent trade as well as in a number of majors, it is already getting great reviews and significant traction across social media (@clevamama). While we might imagine that all the cleverest inventions come from individuals thinking of ways to improve their own lives, sometimes the biggest new ideas come directly from the experts themselves. This is especially true of a complicated, heavily-regulated sector such as strollers or car seats, where the infrastructure of big companies

A French innovation, the Limo is the result of four years of research and development and is the only stroller in the world that can be transformed from single to double in one click, without having to add any accessories. “The Limo is ten strollers in one,” said Vidiamo’s Benedicte Perrot. “It can be a little bed, a changing table, a stroller storage, a double and so much more... It fits all the needs a parent will have, from the first child to the last.”

It’s not surprising that Benedicte faced a number of challenges along the way, making the stroller perfect and ensuring it could pass both the certification for a single and a double stroller. “The development of the Limo took a long time because of its unique and innovative features,” he continued. “Having a second seat hidden beneath the main seat and featuring a telescopic frame that can expand the stroller to from a single to a double is an absolute revolution!”



allows them the time, space and money to research new solutions. Leading the way in car seat innovation for 2020, is Dorel’s Maxi-Cosi Coral – the world’s first ever modular baby car seat. Winner of this year’s Kind & Jugend Innovation Award, the Coral consists of two parts; an ‘outer’ i-Size car seat shell and an ultralightweight detachable ‘inner’ soft carrier with retractable straps. “This will be a game-changer for parents,” says Debbie Wakefield, marketing manager of UK and Ireland for Dorel Juvenile. “It has been in the works for about three years now as we always strive for perfection and this isn’t accomplished quickly. Obviously when bringing such an innovative product to market there are a number of challenges to face, but we tackled them head on and are really happy with the results.” The Coral gives parents the option of lifting the whole seat or just the inner carrier, reducing the weight by up to 50%. Crucially, it is also iSizecompliant and is suitable for babies from birth to 12 months. “We all know infant carriers are heavy to carry and this just increases as baby grows, making it a real struggle for parents lifting them in and out of the car,” she continues. “This is an exciting launch as it is such a revolutionary product, but our favourite part has to be the removable carrier. It is such a clever and convenient concept and looks so comfortable!” The Maxi-Cosi Coral will be available in the UK from April 2020. Below: The Limo’s telescopic frame features a hidden foldaway seat which allows it to extend seamlessly.


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NEW FOR 2020

WHAT’S NEW NEW FOR 2020 PURFLO Purflo, the UK’s original baby safe sleep brand are launching the Sleep Tight Baby Bed - a brand new, revolutionary product that provides baby a safe space to rest and sleep, all day and night and is made with renewable materials. Tested to the most rigorous safety standards, the Sleep Tight Baby Bed is the first of its kind to be certified for unsupervised and overnight sleep from birth - eliminating concerns raised by traditional nests and sleep positioners. Tel: 01384 298531



Offering a twist on the traditional Nattou collections, these stylish silicone teethers with a wooden element are the perfect, easy to grab companion for babies.These colourful, sensory teethers are designed to develop baby’s senses whilst helping relieve the pain of those first teeth poking through. With lots of different textures, materials, colours and shapes, there’s lots to keep baby entertained whilst chomping. Tel: 01278 432873

Cheeky Chompers is introducing two new collections of teething toys with a twist to the nursery and gift market. Joining the brand’s beloved Chewy the Hippo, the new collections will feature Cheeky Chompers’ newest characters Bertie the Lion, Darcy the Elephant and Pippa the Panda. These new animal teethers are specifically designed for little hands and mouths and the fun characters are easy to hold and safely soothe baby’s teething gums. Tel: 0131 4408370

BEABA The much-loved Babycook Solo is now available in modern dark grey with a chrome affect button, which makes it super stylish in any kitchen. This revolutionary, easy to use, 4-in-1 food processor quickly steams food in just 15 minutes, whilst preserving those essential vitamins and minerals in its large 1,100ml capacity bowl. Great also for cooking, blending, defrosting and re-heating food for pureeing or food can simply be left in solid form for baby-led weaning. Tel: 07584 709186

MUSLINZ Baby accessories brand MuslinZ has launched a new range of its popular muslin squares made of 100% organic cotton. As with its other muslin squares this range has several different uses including as nappies, for swaddling, for burping, as a lightweight baby blanket, for shielding when breastfeeding, as a crib sheet, or even as a bath towel. The range is available in both 30cm and 70cm squared sizes and has been initially launched in three unisex colour choices: pure white, soft pale green and natural. Tel: 01295 810008


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Little Gardener’s World With 37 locations across the country, Blue Diamond Group is the third biggest garden centre in the UK. Offering a broad range of home, gift and lifestyle product, PPS spoke to children's toy and book buyer Carla Ringer to find out more about the unique shopping environment.


arden centres have long been a popular destination for families, with frazzled parents chasing delighted children down the begonia aisle since time immemorial. More recently, the garden centre industry has capitalised on this family-friendly experience, adding in seasonal events, soft play areas and – crucially – children’s products in the retail area. The Blue Diamond Group grew out of a Guernsey fruit export company which started in 1904 and has

been expanding steadily since then; Carla describes it as ‘a very exciting, growing business to be a part of’. “Working at Blue Diamond is about offering our customers a unique shopping experience within an aspirational environment,” she explains. “Our md, Alan Roper, is a very creative and visionary man and has a very clear picture of how he wants the garden centres to look.”

Below: Apples to Pear’s award winning gift in a tin fits the Blue Diamond offering.

Right: Children’s toy and book buyer Carla Ringer. Above: Each Blue Diamond garden centre has a unique offering.

“We try to offer our customers a day out for all the family,” Carla says, “with restaurants and play areas or dedicated children’s spaces in the cafes in some locations. You could easily get lost in one of our centres for a whole day!” Carla has been working as a retail buyer for many years, with a number of high-profile names on her CV, including Harrods, Laura Ashley and, most recently, Toys R Us. “At Toys R Us, my focus was on licences and keeping on top of current trends – at Blue Diamond we are all about offering something that is completely different to the high street. We are proud to


“We have a lot of wooden and craft-based toys, so by its very nature, the type of product we stock generally falls into this category already – but yes, it’s very important,” states Carla. “To a certain extent, we are governed by our suppliers, but they are all taking the issue on board and reacting positively and proactively – for example, Keycraft plush is moving to using eco-friendly materials for stuffing. We welcome this move as we aim to carry sustainble product as much as possible.” PROGRES SIV E P R E S C H O O L

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BLUE DIAMOND GROUP ‘TIS THE SEASON “Each centre has something slightly different as part of our overall seasonal offering,” explained Carla. “Christmas is huge for us of course, as we have a grotto in most centres and creating in-store theatre is absolutely key for that. We had the most wonderful lifesized train last year! We have a lot of additional Christmas toy and book product as well so there’s a degree of crossover between my role and that of the dedicated seasonal buyer.”

Above: Themed displays make the most of a cross-category offering. Left: Wooden product – such as this Bigjigs range – is a strong seller..

carry product that consumers won’t find anywhere else.” While all of the centres are welcoming for families and childen, each boasts a different, bespoke retail offering, tailored to the store itself. Carla buys across the whole group, allowing her to make the most of catering for this wide and varied customer profile. “The great part of working at Blue Diamond is that we don’t have to stick to a critical path and we are able to add in new ranges at any time, which keeps customers returning,” she adds. “We don’t want to offer products you can find everywhere and we are constantly looking for newness. We love to support smaller newer businesses as well and even develop some own label lines that are completely unique to us. That is what makes us different to other garden centres.” Aiming for more of a department store feel, Blue Diamond Group is particularly proud of the shoping experience it offers consumers. “Our visual merchandising in stores is exciting and we continually change things to keep the centres

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looking fresh. You won’t find boxes lined up on shelves in our centres, it’s all about theatre and visual impact,” explains Carla. “Alan is very innovative in how we use the space instore to create a strong customer journey – there’s plenty of room to move about, which creates a nice, open shopping experience so people enjoy being there.” Enjoying that traditional garden centre experience often includes buying a small gift or toy at the end of the trip, to reward (or bribe) a young child for not going feral during the outing. With that impulse purchase in mind, how broad is the range of children’s product on offer? “Every centre is different of course, but we ensure that there is a wide range of choice in each location, both in terms of product itself and in terms of price point,” she says. “We have some pocket money toys in the ‘under £5’ category, as well as larger items like dolls houses – we stock a lovely one from Bigjigs. It’s important to make sure that we cover all bases!” A range of best-selling own-brand


toys adds a competitive edge to the Blue Diamond children’s offering, particularly at Christmas when their £15 - £20 price point makes them especially attractive. A flying dinosaur and walking llama cover a lot of the bases, while a farm animal collection is also currently in development. Best-selling lines include these unique products as well as cheaper items such as magic bubbles and more unusual lines such as a bag of pebbles which come complete with the pens for decorating. In addition to the more traditional toys, books, puzzles and games; the children’s section also includes a range of outdoor product and games, with new lines coming this spring such as den building kits (Den Kit Company), insect houses (Apples to Pears) and bug viewers (Insect Lore) – all of which fit in nicely with the ‘back to nature’ aesthetic of a garden centre. “There is a definite move from parents wanting to get their children away from technology, and so our offering is not about tablets or mobile phones – it’s about parents and grandparents spending quality time with their children, reading, doing puzzles or craft kits and getting outside to search for bugs and wildlife.” So with spring just round the corner and a raft of exciting new children’s products soon to hit the shelves, what’s the plan for Blue Diamond going forward? “We know that 2020 is another exciting year for us,” Carla says. “We will be working quite hard on the offering within the seven centres we acquired at the end of last year in order to ensure they also reflect the look and feel of Blue Diamond Group. It’s a very exciting time!” Below: Classic Peter Rabbit product is popular.


“We try and steer away from following the movies and licenced product trends as these tend to be short-lived and don’t fit with our brand,” says Carla. “Having said that, we do support a number of classic licences, such as Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh.”


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Left: This year’s Independent Toy & Gift Show will welcome almost 80 exhibitors.

Independent voices

April will see the toy trade head to Solihull for this year’s Independent Toy & Gift Show – an event which has built up a must-attend reputation within the business. PPS catches up with the organiser, plaY-room, to find out what’s in store for visitors to Cranmore Park.


he Independent Toy & Gift Show has built itself up quite a reputation over the years. Each year, a wide range of independent retailers head to Cranmore Park to check out what is regarded by many as the most relaxed and friendly toy trade show in the calendar. There will be almost 80 exhibitors at the venue this year, with organiser plaY-room – the toy division of AIS – saying it is finding the top performing suppliers in the industry are now requesting larger stands, with some doubling their space. New exhibitors for 2020 include Jonathans Toys and Cozy Time, while returning to the show are Melissa & Doug, Best Years, Bladez and Golden Bear. Visitors will also find that the 3,000 sq ft of showroom space has undergone refurbishment, with new flooring added as well as replacement lighting in the Diamond Suite. The show theme, meanwhile, is Wood, which, as show marketing and assistant coordinator Aimee Hill explains, was a deliberate decision due to the shift in the tide of consumer awareness of sustainable products. As with previous themes, there will be

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Right: The show caters directly for the independent, recognising the challenges that they face says Aimee Hill. Below: The show has a reputation for being relaxed and friendly.

NEED TO KNOW When: Tuesday 21 April and Wednesday 22 April Where: Cranmore Park, Solihull, UK Who: A wide range of suppliers with new preschool product including Best Years, Bigjigs, Casdon, Character Options, Epoch, Flair, Galt, Gibsons Games, Golden Bear, Halilit, Hasbro, Juratoys, Le Toy Van, Leapfrog, Mattel, Melissa & Doug, Orchard Toys, Rainbow Designs, Ravensburger, Spin Master, TOMY, Toynamics and VTech to name just a few.

show displays around the material, with the main show sponsors Ravensburger, Brio and Juratoys Janod. The preschool category, Aimee continues, is diversely represented. She tells PPS: “Highlights include Golden Bear’s varied catalogue of key licences including our favourites Hey Duggee and In the Night Garden. Other key suppliers in this category include Character Options for Peppa Pig, Hasbro for Play-Doh and Marvel licences, Melissa & Doug’s role-play product and Rainbow Designs’ lovely plush.” Visitors should also look out for the new Stick-O range from Magformers, as well as the latest offerings from VTech/LeapFrog. So why has the show become a must-attend? Aimee explains: “The show offers a more intimate experience, with complementary food and refreshments. Suppliers exhibiting are looking forward to having conversations with independent retailers that can become the flagship stores for their products. Every visitor receives a ‘One Hit Wonder’ offer booklet at the show desk upon arrival which features around 35 ‘only at the show’ offers.” The visitor base is also more varied now than ever. “Surprisingly, the show now attracts a whole host of visitors,” Aimee continues. “In recent years we have witnessed an increase in leisure buyers. The primary visitors of the show include garden centres, department stores and toy shops based from Guernsey all the way to Belfast.” When it comes to trends to watch out for at the show, Aimee highlights sustainability but also states “the compound and food themes seem to be maintaining their space in pocket money and sub-£10 price points”. It sounds like visitors to this year’s show won’t be disappointed, and for Aimee and the team the aim is clear. “We always strive for an increase in offer opportunities for the independent retailer. However, our focus is to continue to retain our reputation for the most relaxed and friendly toy trade show in the calendar,” she concludes.


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WHAT’S NEW INDEPENDENT TOY AND GIFT SHOW TOYNAMICS Following the success of the Magic Touch Piano, Baby Einstein and Hape have released the Magic Touch Guitar. The stringless guitar comes with four different guitar sounds, whammy bar and button with pre-recorded tunes to follow along to. The guitar responds to the strumming patterns to encourage self-expression. Ideally it is for children 12 months and up, but adults will love this too! Tel: 0116 4785230



Rainbow Designs, The Home of Classic Characters will have many of its much-loved character ranges on display at the Independent Toy and Gift show, including all of its Peter Rabbit ranges. The ever-popular nursery Once Upon a Time and the beautiful new Signature Peter Rabbit nursery collections along with the playful Peter Rabbit TV and Peter Rabbit Movie ranges will be just some of the stars of the show. Tel: 01329 227300

Meet GUND’s Baby Toothpick collection of baby’s first friends, inspired by one of its most-loved personality bears, Toothpick! Its Baby Toothpick 12˝ Fox is made from premium soft baby plush in light orange and cream with embroidered accents. The super-soft design makes this funny fox irresistible to cuddles and the perfect addition to décor in a modern nursery. Also available in Llama, Koala, Alligator, Owl and Panda designs. Tel: 01628 535000

GALT TOYS Galt Toys is showcasing a fresh look in 2020 for its popular First Years range with new packaging and products. These include Soft Dominoes, See-Saw Counter and Magnetic Farm Puzzles. The Three Little Pigs Game and Antarctica Game also join the Play and Learn category, featuring chunky wooden pieces that are ideal first games for two-year olds. Tel: 0161 4289111

GIBSONS GAMES Gibsons’ Little Gibsons range of fun and quirky children’s puzzles and games includes two new preschool designs. Crunch Bunch and Woodland Friends are both sets of 8x2 piece jigsaws that little ones will love due to the bright colours and delightful illustrations. These puzzles are suitable for children 18 months and above. Tel: 020 86618866 


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WHAT’S NEW INDEPENDENT TOY AND GIFT SHOW JURATOYS Available from April, with its fun little face and dynamic colour, this hamster- shaped toy will become any child’s perfect riding companion. This ride-on toy will help children to maintain and find their balance while allowing them to explore the world all around them and the rear compartment enables them to take their toys and cuddly toys along with them. Tel: 0208 8782133



Brainstorm Toys introduce new products for 2020 including My Very Own Fairy Jar that allows children to create a Fairy World in a beautiful light and sound Fairy Jar. Also new is a Light Up & Glow Astronaut, a must-have for young space fans. It is a free standing Astronaut night light that gives off a comforting glow which when switched off continues to glow in the dark. Tel: 01200 445113

Sylvanian Families from Epoch has released the Family Adventure range, which encapsulates the brand’s core values of outdoor adventure, wholesome family fun and love of nature, whilst also providing hours of imaginative play. This new range has something for everyone and spanning ready-to-play sets with a baby figure, larger buildings and vehicles. Avid collectors will love the nostalgia of the new range, while those new to the brand will love the interactive features. Tel: 0843 5574062

KEEL TOYS Keeleco is the new 100% recycled range from Keel Toys. These ecofriendly toys are manufactured and stuffed with 100% recycled polyester from plastic waste. Weighted with recycled glass beads, these floppy toys have been perfectly designed for hugging by a loving new friend. Traditional glass eyes have been replaced with cotton embroidered eyes which give a unique, and playful character to these eco soft toys. The iconic Keel symbol and hang tag are now formed from FSC card and attached to the toy with cotton. Even the sew in label is recycled, and all are manufactured in an ICTI ethically audited factory. Tel: 01233 506363

SPIN MASTER Launching this month from Spin Master in parallel with new broadcast content for the Nick Jr hit preschool TV show is the brand new Charged Up range will bring yet more action and excitement to the ever-popular PAW Patrol range. Mighty Chase is on the case in his Charged Up Transforming Vehicle - this PAW Patrol deluxe vehicle is packed with features like translucent light up details, sound effects, a projectile launcher and rescue net, and it can even drive in vehicle or hover mode. Tel: 01628 535000


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Once upon a time...

32 High Park Road, Kew Gardens, Richmond TW9 4BH • United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)20 8878 2133 • • website Jura Toys.indd 1

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A twist on tradition Traditional toys are a staple on retail shelves, but as the digital world makes its presence felt in all areas of our lives, parents and gift givers are increasingly looking for items which offer innovation and new dimensions of play. PPS talks to three companies which have introduced new lines that follow a traditional play pattern, but combined with technology and modern thinking.

Above and inset: Ravensburger’s Katy Fletcher believes that innovations which build on the foundations of traditional play ensure there is a new story to tell at retail.

Katy Fletcher, head of marketing and product development, Ravensburger UK

“We’re building on the Smart Tech concept this year with the introduction of Smart Tech Sound. Available from autumn, Smart Tech Sound will unlock a further dimension of play and interactivity to the BRIO World. This innovation continues to demonstrate a marriage of traditional play and technology in a way that truly enhances the experience for children. The Smart Tech concept creates an interactive environment within BRIO World that introduces added technology, as the Smart Tech engine ‘communicates’ with Action Tunnels and Destinations, causing exciting effects such as sounds, movement and lights. Children will be able to record sound directly

into the Smart Tech Sound Engine, so they can hear their own sounds play out when the train passes under the special Sound Tunnel. Or, by using the Smart Tech app, they can customise the play further, even being able to programme the location name for the Smart Tech Sound station, for example. Smart Tech is a perfect combination of traditional play meeting the future. BRIO’s product design team has transformed all of the brand’s core values of quality playtime into an even more rewarding play experience that is powered by kids’ imaginations. The new innovations enhance and build upon the many benefits of classic railway and small world play. Among the other new

additions to our BRIO offering, also demonstrating the idea of traditional with tech, is the Code & Go Bumblebee. It offers young children an early introduction into STEM learning and programming in a fun and playful way. Traditional play patterns endure and there will always be a place in the toy box for the classic railway sets that BRIO do so well. The world that children live in today is a very different one to the days when the first railway sets were created and it is important to recognise that, too. Innovations that build upon the foundations of traditional play ensure that there is a new story to tell at retail, reasons to keep the products top of mind and maintain their place in the toy box. BRIO’s design team keeps a firm eye on compatibility so all BRIO products made today are compatible with all past wooden railway products.”


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The award-winning children’s audio system Toniebox 3






Red Toniebox Starter Set RRP £69.95 includes Toniebox, Creative-Tonie and charging station


Creative-Tonie Conductor RRP £11.99


Hully Boo Spook’n Spell Treasure hunt in the Museum, The Magic Championships RRP £14.99


Princess Lillifee RRP £14.99


Favourite Classics – Robinson Crusoe RRP £14.99

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1. Set up the Wi-Fi just once …

3. Sit back and enjoy listening.

4. Heard enough? Just take your Tonie off.

2. Put the Tonie on top …

5. Ready for more? Simply put it back on.

15/03/2020 15:39


TRADITIONAL TOYS WITH ADDED TECH Matt Keudel, UK country manager, Tonies

Left: Tonies’ Matt Keudel says that the digital audio player is proving to be a popular alternative to devices with screens.

“The Toniebox was invented by Patric Faßbender and Marcus Stahl – two dads from Germany who wanted to create a device that changed the way children engaged with stories and music. It is the first digital audio player specifically designed for children, and is proving to be a popular alternative to devices with screens and complicated controls. It’s so intuitive and easy to use - you simply place a Tonie

Rebecca Lazarus, senior brand manager, VTech

“VTech are taking what we know works in the preschool space as a traditional toy – vehicles - and adding technology and modern thinking to this existing play pattern. In autumn/winter 2020, VTech will launch Toot-Toot Cory Carson, which is a range of products that will be based on a brand-new, animated preschool series that is streaming now on Netflix. The six main character vehicles will include the main character from the show, Cory Carson and five of his friends, which children will grow to love from watching their animated adventures. There will also be electronic play-sets, which are based on environments from Cory’s hometown of Bumperton Hills. The interactive, electronic vehicles will feature light-up character face buttons, motion sensors and action

character on top of the Toniebox, and the content that’s pre-downloaded onto that character will begin to play. We have now sold 1,000,000 Tonieboxes and over 10,000,000 Tonies across our markets; it’s brilliant to see the company go from strength to strength. We were proud to add Disney to our licensor portfolio last year - The Lion King, Jungle Book, Cars and Little

buttons that have different effects for each vehicle. These will trigger the voices and sound effects from the characters in the TV series, making them instantly identifiable for children. Little ones will role-play with these alongside the electronic play-sets, that will come with two mini vehicles of favourite characters, which when placed on the play-set’s PlayZone location will trigger phrases and sounds from the show. The clever Smart Point Technology and electronics within the items means there are

Mermaid Tonies have been extremely popular - and we have more Disney launches planned for 2020. The Julia Donaldson Tonies, such as The Gruffalo and Zog, are timeless classics that we anticipate will always be some of the most loved characters in the range. We also have Fireman Sam and Guess How Much I Love You launching in April. Combining a stylish audio player and collectable, hand painted audio characters, Tonies transforms traditional storytime and makes listening to stories and songs easy, interactive and fun - even the sound controls on the Toniebox take the form of little ears. Parents will love it as not only is it a great way to engage children with storytelling without screens, but it is great for aiding a bedtime routine. The Toniebox is still relatively new to the UK and Irish markets, so we are focusing on spreading awareness and educating everyone on the benefits of screenless storytime, as well as highlighting the extensive range of Tonies on offer. We are also adding new Tonies to the collection almost every month and have around 30 exciting launches planned for 2020.”

sing-along songs, sound effects, fun phrases and light up buttons to help hand-eye coordination and cognitive development within this traditional play pattern. Keeping toys innovative and relevant is about capturing a child’s imagination. Technology enables this by bringing a level of interactive play and learning that add to a child’s unique learning experiences, such as teaching cause and effect and improving motor skill development.”

Left: Toot-Toot Cory Carson launches in AW20 and adds technology and modern thinking to the existing vehicle play pattern, says VTech’s Rebecca Lazarus.


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+44 (0) 1268 567317


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WHAT’S NEW TRADITIONAL TOYS ORCHARD TOYS First Sounds Lotto and Sound Detectives from Orchard Toys are filled with all the fun to be expected from a traditional game, with the option to adapt gameplay to use the app for an enhanced experience. A key part of both games is the sound element, which is delivered in a fun way through the free downloadable app. Tel: 01953 859539



Hape has released a selection of new food and kitchen lines. One of these products has combined wood and technology creating the Fun Fan Fryer. This works with an inbuilt fan which makes the food turn in the pan like it’s bubbling, sizzling or frying with no heat! It includes six recipes on three felt discs, one metal spatula and a set of salt and pepper shakers which click when the tops are turned. Tel: 0116 4785235

The Stickle Bricks Little Builder set from Flair offers the perfect entry point into its range, as youngsters can jump right in and begin building with the assortment of brightly coloured bricks. Stickle Bricks is just one range of traditional toys from Flair which also includes Spirograph, Mr Frosty and Plasticine. Tel: 0208 6430320

LE TOY VAN Le Toy Van designs its toys to inspire and withstand long term play. This timeless toy wagon is a fun opportunity for children to collect, load and seamlessly transport treasures around the house. Made from sustainable wood and finished with flourishes of gold paint, the wagon has a charming vintage feel that will last for generations to come. Tel: 0208 9792036

POSH PAWS The British designed Ragtales collection from Posh Paws offers a unique and traditional gift for newborn babies and young children. Each character has been carefully created to accompany children on the journey through their early years. The Ragtales range is full of charm and draws inspiration from the heritage of English life and each product is made with gorgeous handpicked fabrics, the softest velour, hand knitted clothing and all presented in distinctive quality packaging. Tel: 01268 567317


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15/03/2020 14:55















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find your fit

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HARROGATES Leading Lights As the UK’s only nursery trade show, Harrogate offers an unrivalled opportunity for manufacturers and suppliers to meet with key industry buyers and distributors. Taking place from Saturday 29 – Monday 31 March, PPS gets the lowdown on the newest baby products which will be keeping visitors busy.

Matt Dyson ceo, Rockit

David Welsh managing director, Allison Baby UK

“ Joie is delighted to be exhibiting again

at this year’s Harrogate Nursery Fair. It’s always great to catch up with familiar faces as well as new ones and we are very much looking forward to sharing all our latest additions to the 2020 range. Visitors to the stand will get to see our new Roomie family, a collection of side-sleeping cribs, as well as the new i-Traver, our first i-Size booster seat. The latest innovative product ranges from our Nuna Above: Joie’s Roomie sideand Graco brands will also be sleeping crib will be on show at Harrogate. on display. ”

David Abbott global head of brand, Silver Cross

“ Our return to Harrogate last year was a big success. We’re excited to be back in 2020 with our biggest stand yet, showcasing all the latest developments from Silver Cross and our sister brand Micralite. There’s lots to come and see – as well as

“ We love attending Harrogate because it gives us an opportunity meet new retailers both large and small and catch up with our existing one. This year is particularly exciting, as we will be launching our muchanticipated new product, Zed – the next product in our mission to help soothe babies to sleep. A sleep aid and night light, Zed uses clever technology to recreate calming low frequency vibrations that are known to comfort and soothe babies to sleep – just like the car. ” Left: Zed is the latest clever addition to the Rockit portfolio. Right: The new Jet from Silver Cross will be on show in Harrogate.

showing new pram and car seat collections, it’s a great opportunity to debut our new brand identity. We look forward to seeing everyone there! ”


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You’d think something this simple had been done before...

...but it hasn’t!

Visit the DCUK Stand (Q29) for the UK launch of Tot2Walk, the gift every new family needs, at Harrogate Nursery Fair

The Toys Are Back In Town... Discover the range of soothing & calming, sound & light products from Cloud b at Harrogate Nursery Fair. For further details please visit or call us on 01422 383555 or email

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HARROGATE INTERNATIONAL NURSERY FAIR 2020 51 Katey Sawyer marketing manager, Skip Hop

“ Harrogate is a fantastic opportunity to meet with customers. We haven’t exhibited since 2017, so it’s a great chance to show how much our portfolio of products has grown. There have been exciting developments since our last visit. The award-winning Moby bathtime essentials range will be on show, along with changing bags, sleep time must-haves, nursery gear and fuss-free weaning solutions. We will also have the brand new and stylish Sit-To-Step highchair, which grows and develops with baby. Above: Harrogate is the first trade show outing We’re looking forward to seeing everyone for Skip-Hop’s Sit-Tothere. ” Step highchair. Suzanne Browne sales and marketing director and co-founder

“ This year we are really excited about connecting with and supporting our UK retailers and we believe Harrogate is key to this. We have recently launched the ClevaMama UK company and UK warehousing to ensure a seamless continuity of supply to the market, particularly in the wake of Brexit. We are also delighted to share our innovations in our bedtime and bathtime ranges – such as the ClevaBath. Buyers will get to see first Above: The ClevaBath offers hand just how different and delightful we a safe, secure, calm and really are. ” comfortable bathing experience. Julie Ebrey managing director, Angelcare UK Above: The Take to Play Gym is perfect for developmental stimulation on the go.

Judith Stark managing director, Halilit

“ While nursery products may be on display at other shows, Harrogate allows for a more focused offering where we can really focus on nursery product and showcase key innovations to our target audience of nursery retailers. This year we are showcasing the fantastic range of stylish developmental toys from Taf Toys, complete with innovative new offerings to both the award-winning Koala Daydream collection and the Mini Moon range. ”

“ There seems to be a buzz about Harrogate this year and myself and the team are really looking forward to attending. As part of an international brand, the focus for us has previously been on the international trade shows, leaving Harrogate for the local brands – however, we can see the value in being at this year’s show as it gives us a chance to showcase our products to the independents and the UK buyers in this revived trade show. I have a really good feeling about Harrogate this year. ” Right: Angelcare will be showcasing its range of monitors to the UK independent trade.

Rob Sykes territory marketing manager, Diono “Harrogate is the only UK nursery trade show that we will attend this year and we’ve increased the size of our stand to showcase a wider variety of our award-winning products. Diono will be showcasing the entire range of car seats and wheeled goods as well as our newly-extended range of travel accessories. From We Made Me there’ll be the full range of stylish, functional wraps, slings and carriers. We’re looking forward to meeting up with existing customers and introducing the brand to anyone looking for new and exciting products. ” Right: Diono’s travel accessories make every journey safe and stress-free.

Luke Burns general manager UK & Ireland, Cybex

“ It is an exciting time for Cybex and gb. Attending Harrogate shows our commitment to continue to invest in our retailers, while also providing a platform to showcase our brand new wheeled goods to independent retailers. We will be showcasing a range of brand Above: Revolutionary new and exciting pushchairs smart technology meets luxurious design and compact strollers for in Cybex’s ePriam. 2020, plus our latest colour collections. Our innovative ePriam technology and SensorSafe Smart chest clip will be at the stand. Attendees can also get a feel for what a Platinum Cybex shop-in-shop could look like in their very own store.” Andy Crane managing director, BabyStyle

“ At BabyStyle we are proud to continue our long and unbroken run of attendance at Harrogate Above: The iconic BabyStyle in 2020. It is a very important egg in blush. show for us, especially as it is the only trade event in the UK and it is one of the many important ways in which we support the independent retailers and the industry as a whole. We have lots of exciting developments and offers to introduce at Harrogate, including the updated design to our iconic egg stroller. We can’t wait to see everyone there again this month. ”


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WHAT’S NEW HAUCK What’s New from Hauck at the Harrogate International Nursery Fair 2020 SUNNY Sunny is a super light, compact stroller suitable from birth, weighing in at just 6.6 kg. It can be used on its own or combined with either Hauck’s iPro Baby (i-Size) or Comfort Fix car seats. It takes a maximum weight of 25 kg. When the release button is pressed, the Sunny folds away automatically, with no hands needed. It can be unlocked and erected with just one hand and the large canopy protects against all weathers


SATURN The Saturn is back in two new stylish designs; Wild Blooms and Caviar/ Stone. The softly padded reversible seat unit sits on a light aluminium frame, has a removable front bar and an extra large sun canopy. It lies completely flat and comes with a boot cover for cooler days and folds compactly for easy storage. Newborn options include a hard carry cot or a choice of two of Hauck’s ISOFIX car seats, plus their matching bases.

In Hauck’s licensed category there are two new classic Disney designs Minnie Sweetheart in subtle shades of pink and Mickey Stars in shades of black and grey. Both designs come in a small range of basic ‘must have’ items including a highchair and travel cot.


TRAVEL COTS Once again hauck has a new selection of colourways across its wide range of cribs and travel cots including Sweety in pink and Little Hero in grey in its Sleep’n Play range.

RAPID 4 TRIO The Rapid 4 Trio includes the matching Comfort Fix car seat and hard carrycot. This buggy sits on a stylish black or silver chassis and has a wide, quilted seat. A one hand easy fold, strap mechanism folds the buggy in half and also acts as the carry handle. The car seat is compatible with the Comfort Fix ISOFIX base available to buy separately.

Eagle is a light, compact stroller which takes a weight of up to 25 kg. The softly padded seat is reversible, and both the footrest and the backrest can be adjusted into a lie flat position. It can be used from birth when combined with the matching carrycot or the iPro Baby (iSize) or Comfort Fix ISOFIX car seats and their matching bases. It folds away small and can be carried over the shoulder.

Tel: 01978 664362 Stand: G5 PROGRES SIV E P R E S C H O O L

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HARROGATE INTERNATIONAL NURSERY FAIR 2020 53 Amanda Loveday marketing manager, Ergobaby

“ Harrogate is the first stop for retailers and buyers looking for truly innovative baby products, so it provides us with an exceptional opportunity to showcase what’s new and exciting from both Ergobaby and Baby Tula. Our products do particularly well in environments where retailers and buyers can experience the quality and ease-of-use for themselves so we’re excited at the prospect of being able to work together with Harrogate visitors to explore how we can make 2020 an even more profitable year for them. And don’t forget to ask about our exclusive show offers! ” Right: The Tula Explore is the first ever Tula carrier to offer outwardfacing front carry.

Lisa Joyce head of npd and marketing, Purflo

“ The Harrogate International Nursery Fair is always an important date in the Purflo calendar and this year we are excited to reveal our brand new, revolutionary safe sleep products. We have had a brand refresh with a keen focus on product innovation and marketing, after spending the past 12 months researching, developing and testing two ground-breaking new products. Showcasing them at Harrogate will be a great opportunity to connect with current customers and reach out to new ones. ” Right: Two brand new sleeptime Purflo products will be launching at Harrogate.

Martyn Still founder, MS Premium Nursery Agency

Laura Crawford and Jennie Potts Mama Bamboo

“ Harrogate is simply the best place to showcase new products because you know you are getting them in front of the right people. Harrogate is a friendly, social event and that is very important for building relationships. Brands need to offer something that is truly innovative, so I am excited to be promoting JANE’s brand new Groowy car seat, the world’s first ever iSize seat suitable for newborns right up to the age of 12. We will also be introducing retailers to the super-chic, quality Scandi brand Noordi, which offers well-engineered prams that are highly functional and simply beautiful. ”

“ The Harrogate Nursery Fair is an ideal opportunity to see the new and exciting ranges of more sustainable baby products coming onto the market to meet the growing consumer demands for more ethical products. It really helps small business meet their customer’s expectations. We are focusing on our three key product ranges this year – our sustainable organic bamboo nappies, our award-winning biodegradable bamboo wet wipes and our bamboo fibre tableware for toddlers, ideal as a beautiful gift for a new baby or birthday present. ” Left: Mama Bamboo offers sustainable, high quality, practical, products for parents and children.

Right: The Noordi range is built around the comfort and wellbeing of children.

Stephanos Habeshis head of marketing, didofy

“ As a young brand in the UK market, attending Harrogate is a great opportunity for us. Not only do we get to showcase didofy and our unique easy-folding pushchairs to retailers, we also get to catch up with existing retail partners and give them a sneak preview of what is coming up over the coming year. 2020 is an exciting year for us with new products, fabrics and innovation. Pop by our stand and be wowed by our innovative autofolding travel system, which we are delighted to introduce to UK retailers at the fair as they become part of the didofy journey! ”

Right: The stylish and innovative autofolding travel system from didofy.

Holly John UK and Ireland head of marketing, Artsana (Chicco, RECARO, Boppy)

“ This year we are thrilled to be returning to Harrogate International Nursery Fair, which will provide us with a host of new opportunities to showcase our exciting new product developments launching in 2020, such as our new Air range. We will be further reinforcing our position within the car seat market with exciting new launches such as the Chicco Seat 4 Fix. RECARO’s new innovations for 2020 will also be on show, including the new Salia and Avan car seats as well as the Sadena and Celona travel system. ” Right: The Baby Hug 4-in-1 Air features new mesh panelling on all sides.


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Harrogate Nursery Fair Exhibitor List 2020 STAND NO.





ABC Design


Hardenberg & Co /Angelcare UK


Allison Baby:Nuna,Joie,Graco


Hauck UK


Angel BabyBox


Ickle Bubba

Q9 Ark


Q65 B.O.Z.Z


JANÉ - Johnston Prams & Buggies


Baby Jogger


K-Play International


Baby Oliver

Q84 KneeGuardKids

Q135 BabyLux


Little Chick London



Little Poppets

BabyStyle UK


Q45 Mee-go


Bamaboo by Mama Bamboo


Melissa & Doug


Bebe Brands




Bebecar UK


My Carry Potty


Blues Babywear



BreathableBaby UK



Bugaboo UK

G1 Obaby


Cheeky Rascals




Chicco & Recaro


Progressive Preschool Magazine

G23 Clevamama


Purflo & Pink Lining


Cloud and Cuckoo


Roma Prams


Colourful Dreams / Baby Parker


Sheldon International


Combi Hong Kong


Shnuggle- Clever Baby Products


Cotton Boulevard

Nursery Today


Silver Cross (UK)

KS9 CuddleCo


Skip Hop UK

Q41 Cybex

Q31 Slumberland



Sweet Dreamers Ltd

KS11 Didofy


The Red Kite Baby Co.


Q70 Thule

Diono and We Made Me

Q5 Dreambaby


Tutti Bambini

Q127 Dumforter


Ubere Mama

Q48 Emmaljunga

Q28 UPPAbaby


Ergobaby and Tula Baby

G11 Venicci


Fur coat no nappies


We Made Me- Diono


Wombat & Co. London

Q61 Halilit

Correct at time of going to press PROGRES SIVE P R E S C H O O L

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01454 326 555


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WHAT’S NEW HARROGATE 2020 THULE Designed for urban terrain, the Spring from Thule allows parents to get around with ease. It has large wheels, a compact design, and smooth handling, allowing parents to have more leisurely days with their child. Comfortable and lightweight, Thule Spring has a one hand compact fold and self-standing capability, so it takes up limited space and makes for simple storage.  Tel: 07850507393 Stand Q70



Introducing i-Spin Safe, Joie’s safest ever spinning seat - twice tested and proven with both i-Size and Swedish Plus Test certification. The Plus Test is the toughest crash test in the world combining high travel speeds with rapid deceleration, to create the greatest g-forces of any car seat test. With two prestigious safety certifications, plus all the safety technology from Joie’s award winning i-Spin 360, i-Spin Safe has been designed for optimal security. Tel: 01889 808900 Stand KS1

During Harrogate International Nursery Fair, Venicci will announce its new, lightest and most compact pram to date. With a completely different design and look, yet classy and stylish as always, the new pram will be available in four colours. In addition, it will introduce changes and new colours made to existing models, therefore there will be plenty to see and discuss at the show! Tel: 01302 953872 Stand G11

BABYSTYLE BabyStyle is proud to continue its long and unbroken run of attendance at the Harrogate Nursery Fair. The show is one of the many important ways in which it supports independent retailers and the industry as a whole. It will be showcasing exciting new colourways, as well as the updated design to its iconic egg stroller on its stand this year. Tel 01509 816444 Stand G7

CLEVAMAMA Clevamama is excited to be connecting with its UK retailers at this year’s show. It will be sharing its innovations in bath time and bed time, including its new ClevaBath, the baby sink bath, for safe, secure, calm and comfortable bathing, and its new range of baby and toddler mattresses, founded on safe secure sleep for baby. Tel: 00 353 18779724 Stand G23


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CuddleCo_Progressive Preschool(O).pdf












Soothes babies to sleep....... just like the car Does your baby sleep better in the car than their cot? Zed is here to help! He’ll bring the feeling of your car to their crib with calming vibrations. Zed will take them to the land of nod in no time.

£29.99 The Rockit Science:

Zed mimics the feeling of being in a car. His clever technology recreates soothing low frequency vibrations that are known to send babies to sleep. Simply place Zed on the mattress by your baby’s feet and press the snooze button. The finely tuned vibrations and sounds ripple through the mattress, comforting your baby and encouraging a deep sleep.

Works on any type of mattress

6 calming vibration modes with 1-hour auto shutdown

Portable night light. 3 light levels plus an all-night mode

Suitable from birth

Visit us on stand G7 at Harrogate or email

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WHAT’S NEW HARROGATE 2020 ABC DESIGN ABC Design has recently relaunched in the UK and retailers can now deal direct, rather than through a distributor. ABC Design will be showcasing a new brand and product at the show, plus it will be inviting visitors to take a look at its new dolls prams. As well as this, the final version of Limbo, its compact buggy with added features, will also be on show. Tel: 07809 476763 Stand Q30



UPPAbaby will launch its 2020 collection at Harrogate Nursery Fair, featuring new fashions as well as some design updates to the VISTA. The big news this year though is the redesign of the CRUZ which sees this multi award-winning, Which? top score achieving, stroller stride confidently into the new decade in style. It’s had quite an overhaul and is one not to miss. Tel: 01422 383555 Stand Q28.

With a fresh start at the beginning of 2020 for Obaby, the brand will be back at the Harrogate Nursery Fair to showcase its range of affordable nursery items. It’s launching a number of new ranges this year including rocking chairs which are designed for style and comfort. On show will also be its Disney range of nursery items. Tel: 0845 0260970 Stand G1

CHICCO Visitors to Chicco’s stand will have the opportunity to find out about its new Air range, which is a fresh new design for its Chicco Next2Me Original crib and Baby Hug 4-in-1. The Chicco Next2Me Air and Baby Hug 4-in-1 Air both feature new mesh panelling on all sides to support both breathability to keep baby cool and provides parents with improved visibility of their little one during the night. Also on its stand will be its best-selling Chicco Next2Me Magic, which has just received its 27th industry award, making it the most awarded sidesleeping crib on the market. Tel: 0208 9536627 Stand Q96

ROMA PRAMS Roma return to Harrogate Nursery Fair for the preview of its 2020 range and with stunning new fabrics, Roma is bolder than ever before. On display will be its award-winning travel systems, strollers, dolls prams and all new ride on boards. The team invite visitors to book an appointment to talk through the range. Tel: 01305 853080 Stand Q15


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WHAT’S NEW HARROGATE 2020 BABY JOGGER The all new design of the City Elite 2 stays true to the Baby Jogger signature style for parents who want to live life uncompromised. With large all-terrain wheels, 3-wheel design with all-wheel suspension, adjustable handlebar and calf support, it folds simply with the signature one-hand fold with auto-lock. Tel: 0203 2490835 Stand KS12



The UK launch of Tot2Walk will take place at Harrogate Nursery Fair on the DCUK stand, and it is one of those products that makes you wonder why nobody has done it before! Tot2Walk is an innovative baby-walking aid with a natural ergonomic grip that supports a child’s development without straining adult backs and is destined to be the perfect baby shower gift. Tel: 01422 383555 Stand Q29

Angelcare UK is excited to showcase the Pabobo night light range. The Pabobo brand has been revolutionising the childhood night light market, with cutting edge technology and an innovative range which is designed to help children have a regular and happy night-time routine. New to the range are Shakies, the mini night lights which are perfect for collecting. Children shake the cute fluffy animal characters and it turns into a night light that can help soothe a little one back to sleep. Tel: 01785 503305 Stand Q2

NOORDI Noordi’s philosophy is to “put children first” with the focus on baby’s comfort and safety. Noordi’s design team is passionate about creating incredibly wellengineered prams that are light, functional, stand the test of time and look fabulous. The prams have beautifully tailored carrycot fabrics, including eco leather, making Noordi extra special. Tel: 02890 849045 Stand Q132

CLOUD B DCUK is relishing the opportunity to reunite previous UK Cloud b retailers with the brand as well as introducing its stunning range to new stores. Soothing the senses is key, so Cloud b have focused on creating tranquil sights and sounds, relaxing scents, and a cosy softness that little fingers will reach for. Tel: 01422 383555 Stand Q29


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WHAT’S NEW HARROGATE 2020 TUTTI BAMBINI Tutti Bambini is delighted to announce the launch of Nova at this year’s Harrogate Nursery Fair. The revolutionary Nova highchair can be used from birth to 12 years with eleven different modes for full flexibility, however parents wish to use it. Tel: 0208 3685800 Stand G34



With a reversible seat unit and compact fold, Era from Bumbleride is built for terrain, but designed for the city. In keeping with Bumbleride’s ecofocused manufacturing, Era is made with 100% recycled PET and features an adjustable handlebar made of all-natural cork. Cork is durable, ergonomic, anti-microbial, non-toxic and 100% sustainable. Tel: 0208 1276715 Stand Q86

Cloud and Cuckoo is excited to attend Harrogate Nursery Fair this year to showcase its natural teething products. Due to the success of My Friend Goo it will be launching My Friend Hoot, its second natural rubber teether. Natural rubber not only provides the most ideal surface for babies to chew, but it is also biodegradable providing a sustainable solution to help reduce plastic. Tel: 07894 916102 Stand Q82

LITTLE CHICK LONDON Little Chick London is delighted to announce the launch of its fabulous, top quality, affordable, Comfort Range for 2020 – designed to make life just that little bit more comfortable for parents, babies and toddlers alike. Part of the range are toddler Comfort Pillows which include a pretty star shaped pillow and a regular rectangular pillow with a little printed pillowcase – both designed to be at the correct level of firmness to support a baby’s head. Tel: 07976 773486 Stand Q72b

BALOU Balou Kids was founded by British born designer Banayioda Theodorou with her vision of creating affordable luxury fashion for young ones. Balou style encompasses sophisticated prepster meets urban edge, country club meets city vibe. It offers stylish, edgy, high quality fashion with products including clothing for baby up to 12 years, accessories, gifting, baby shower gifts and beautiful travel cases. Tel: 07532 033253 Stand Q101


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Easy strolling, easy living

Thule Spring Things to see, things to do – and so much to experience! Enjoy it with Thule Spring, the flexible, fun and functional pushchair that makes your daily life easier.

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WHAT’S NEW HARROGATE 2020 ANGEL BABYBOX Angel Babybox is the first-in-the-world, safe and luxurious multifunctional baby sleep-pod. It functions as a cot, playpen, changing-mat and travel cot addressing all a new born baby’s needs with soft, luxurious and ecological materials. It is a simple box with a tight-fitting crib sheet for the baby to sleep, providing a super snuggly safe and comfortable cosy place for them. Tel: 07875 377839 Stand Q56



JANE will launch Groowy, the world’s first ever iSize car seat/ detachable nest for new-born babies up to the age of twelve at the Harrogate Nursery Fair. What makes Groowy special is the innovative near lie flat new-born Nest carrier, (an integral part of the car seat) which can be clicked in and out of the main seat onto any JANE chassis, or other brands chassis, with adapters. Tel: 028 90849045 Stand Q130

Launched only in December 2019, Dumforter is the all-round comfort for babies and toddlers. It helps them to self-sooth, it eases the pain of teething, and is done all in a fun and creative way. Meet its characters, Zsa Zsa, Ellie, Gerry, Pepper and Terry at this year’s Harrogate Nursery Fair. Tel: 07855 778191 Stand Q127

BUGABOO The Bugaboo Fox2, is its most advanced comfort pushchair and the Bugaboo Donkey3, is the ultimate flexible solution for growing families, both of which are available from April. The new editions are improved evolutions of the existing, much-loved products from Bugaboo, as it maintains its long held position as industry leader when it comes to the design, engineering and innovation of its pushchairs. Tel: 07951 561142 Stand Q118

SHNUGGLE Shnuggle has announced exciting developments for bathtime in 2020, including extending the fun and fuss free aspects of newborn bathing into toddlerhood. The Shnuggle Toddler Bath is the perfect follow-on bath for when baby out grows their baby bath. Designed for comfort, by offering a padded backrest, grippy inside surface and natural sitting position, there is plenty of space to play and grow. Tel: 0289 1815169 Stand Q38


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Heather Grey

Oxford Blue

Pure Black


Contact your account manager to arrange a demonstration of the product, staff training and help with your order : North - Ali Bentley 07852 154 342

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South - Niki Lawrence 07494 812 887

15/03/2020 15:19


Slings and things


n among all the changes and disruption that new parents have to face, there’s something very satisfying about being able to strap a baby or toddler to your body and just get on with your day. A movement that is thousands of years old, babywearing also offers untold benefits to both carer and child, with a fussy baby often soothed by the movement, closeness and heartbeat of another person. As popularity and demand grows, so too does the amount of choice

Below: The Love Radius HoodieCarrier allows parents and carers to carry young children from birth up to 20kg, in front, on the hip and the back.


From loose slings to structured carriers, babywearing has become an everyday sight on Britain’s streets. Ideal for the school run and perfect for walking the dog, increasing numbers of parents are seeing the benefits of keeping their baby close as they carry on with their daily lives. PPS takes a look at the newest products on the market. on the market, with hundreds of different options to choose from. It can be overwhelming for parents, so retailers need to know the pros and cons of each type they offer. Well-known for its range of carriers, Close Parent provides retailers with a wealth of information to help them advise customers, with everything from training manuals and videos to in-store one-to-one training. “Getting up close to a carrier and trying it out before making a purchase is still incredibly valuable for a consumer,” says marketing manager Michelle Smith. “So having a knowledgeable staff member to

Above: Leading the way in sustainable materials, the Caboo Fly from Close is made from RPET (recycled plastic bottles), and is suitable for newborns to toddlers.

assist can be vital in helping them to purchase the carrier that is right for them. We want everyone who purchases a Caboo to have the best experience possible so we do everything we can to support retailers with helping them make an informed purchase.” Michelle is also keenly aware of the coverage given to carriers in the press, with celebrity parents often being applauded for choosing a carrier before being shamed for not using it correctly.

THE INFLUENCER INFLUENCE One expert noting a big influencer focus on the carrier market is Sophie Huard, sales and marketing director at French company Love Radius. “The way parents use media is changing,” she says. “Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are the dominant media tools nowadays and as a brand we need to adapt to these new ways of communication.” Sophie believes that the recent influencer focus on baby-wearing has had a positive effect on the market, with people becoming more

interested to learn about the practise and exchange information. “Social media is unregulated, so it can be used to share information about carriers which do not offer the correct physiological positioning for the baby,” she points out. “This means it is even more important that retailers can offer the correct advice. We visit our retailers as often as we can and are always here to answer their questions so they can be confident passing that information to customers instore.”


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and trusted ed


rents ever


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Far left: The Ergobaby Embrace baby carrier combines the softness of a baby wrap with the ergonomic comfort of a soft structured carrier and is specially designed for newborns. Left: Suitable from 3.5kg to 15kg and approved by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, Beaba’s Najell Carrier Original offers front, forward and back carrying positions.

“Seeing a celebrity or influencer using a carrier on Instagram or in the papers can be all it takes to encourage someone to give one a go,” she says. “However, recent press coverage has been quick to call out those carrying their babies in ways that are deemed incorrect or unsafe for the baby and this has led to a greater awareness of safe babywearing and the correct way to carry a baby. We are seeing more supportive comments for these parents too which can only be a good thing, hopefully leading to less ‘Mumshaming’ and to more advice and information to support new parents.” A brand which is often seen being used by celebrity parents (Orlando Bloom, anyone?), Ergobaby is an increasingly popular choice of carrier. “As babywearing becomes more common it should be the priority of brands and retailers alike to ensure customers know how to use their chosen carrier correctly and why this is so important,” explains marketing manager Amanda Loveday. “High-profile celebrities being photographed with a baby carrier certainly increases awareness of babywearing and can absolutely help drive new customers into the category,” she continued. “Recent criticism of Daniel Craig’s choice to babywear prompted a


“We are seeing more babywearing in the media, from TV series to talk shows. In general, the media portrays the significance of babywearing in a positive light and increases awareness; as a result more parents want babywearing to be a part of their day-to-day lives. In addition to the training we provide

public display of unity from dads across the UK, which helped to prove that perception of male babywearing is also shifting. This is an exciting time for the category!” Ergobaby also has an ongoing global campaign which helps educate consumers on the benefits of babywearing as well as how to do it safely and comfortably. The mission is to enable parents to take on any adventure, with the tagline ‘I can do anything #InMyErgo’. “Being well-versed in how different types of carriers meet different needs is a vital part of any retailer’s offering,” states Amanda. “Even the most confident parent can become unsure in the face of multiple, similar options. And in a category that is constantly evolving, it can be a timeconsuming process to stay up-to-date on all product launches and features. To make life as easy as possible for retailers and customers alike, Ergobaby’s packaging provides easy-to-use diagrams and indicators to show key features, available carry positions and prints/colours.

Trained babywearing consultants are also available for staff training sessions, making sure that retailers are as well-prepared as possible. As the vp of sales and marketing for Beaba UK, Natalie Jackson is well-versed in what both consumers and retailers are looking for from a carrier brand. “Parents are looking for products that last longer in general, with a recent survey showing that eight out of ten parents would pay more for a product with longevity,” she says. “Of course, there is also an increased awareness in the importance of carrier safety, T.I.C.K.S advice and the risks of hip dysplasia – so we need to ensure maximum safety and comfort for both baby and parent.” Natalie believes that it is important for Beaba to emphasis product features and benefits in order to help retailers meet individual consumer needs. A detailed presentation for the Najell carrier highlights these features and benefits and is available as a demonstration video, giving parents peace of mind both during and after the purchase. “We understand that babywearing items can seem complicated to consumers at first and even with the best demonstrations in store, consumers can forget, especially when it comes to the latter stages of use! Our videos are available to all retailers and are also available on our Beaba website and Youtube channel for consumers to refer back to when necessary.”

Below: Baby K’Tan offers a wide range of carrier styles and prints.

to Baby K’tan retailers, we also have video training tutorials for both consumers and retailers. In addition, Baby K’tan offers a one-on-one fit check where parents can chat live (FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp) with a K’tan Care Specialist.” Lia Murrain, sales director, 2012 Ltd PROGRES SIVE P R E S C H O O L

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Babyhoot is the new nursery brand selling the very latest nursery furniture and childrens products to specialist and major retailers. Supplying ranges via major and specialist retailers. Whether you’re looking to source your own retail range or looking for product selection, Babyhoot is the first and only call you will need to make. 01522-427041 Babyhoot.indd 1

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WHAT’S NEW SLINGS AND CARRIERS DREAMGENII The Dreamgenii SnuggleRoo baby carrier is a soft comfortable baby carrier that has been designed to recreate the movement and tight hug of the womb that is suitable from birth right through to twelve months, helping to keep baby close and snug as well as keeping parents hands-free. It is easy to adjust for the perfect fit every time, for both parent and child with sturdy adjustable straps and a comfortable support band. It also offers four different positions, so it grows with baby. Available from CMS. Tel: 01538 399541

CHICCO The Boppy ComfyFit carrier from Chicco encourages parent and baby bonding through a safe and secure, ready to use baby carrier that offers both parent-facing and outward facing positions. The unique design provides an easy way for parents to keep their little one close by, providing a bridge between a wrap and semirigid carrier. The Boppy ComfyFit can be adjusted to suit baby and parent, and is approved by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as a “hip healthy” product for further peace of mind. Tel: 020 89536627

BABYBJORN The Baby Carrier Mini from Babybjorn is a small baby carrier that’s easy to use for frequent short babywearing sessions. It’s perfect for the first months when, like all newborns, babies need lots of closeness around the clock. Parents can easily unfasten the entire front section of the baby carrier to lift out the sleeping baby. The soft fabrics gently hug baby’s back, legs and hips, and provide good support.

ERGOBABY The Embrace is the latest addition to Ergobaby’s best-selling carrier range. Parents will want to feel the softness of this unique carrier for themselves. It’s specially designed to keep newborns close and it combines the softness of a baby wrap with the ergonomic comfort of Ergobaby’s award-winning carriers to make the transition from pregnancy to family life feel as gentle and safe as a tender embrace. Tel: 0203 3186204


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It was one of the fastest growing toy and games companies in 2019, and TOMY is confident of continuing this momentum throughout 2020, too. Coming out of a strong trade fair season, and with a raft of new launches planned across its Lamaze and Toomies brands, plus the introduction of new licensed IP Ricky Zoom, PPS chats to general manager for the UK and Ireland, Mary Wood, to find out more.

2020 vision


OMY is on something of a growth curve within the nursery and preschool space at the moment. Despite 2019 being a tough year for the market, TOMY achieved growth on its core brands, specifically the preschool brand Toomies, as well as games, nursery brands Lamaze and Boon, plus licensed farming toy brand, Johnny Tractor. Some of the company’s biggest successes have come from Drumond Park, which grew 6.7% in a market of just 1% growth, achieving number one in the adult category and securing five out of the top ten games. In the kids’ games category specifically, the market was down 16.4% but TOMY and Drumond Park combined were up 19%, becoming the number two manufacturer. Mary Wood, general manager for the UK and Ireland at TOMY, tells PPS that the popular Toomies brand saw 16% growth at retail in 2019 considering the difficult market. “This is due to new product development within the range, focusing on the Toomies Hide & Squeak Eggs range, its bestselling line for 25 years and the number one

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selling toy in its category in the UK in 2018, alongside heavyweight marketing and media plans to drive sell-through in-store,” says Mary. This forward momentum is set to continue in 2020, too, with a host of new launches waiting in the wings. Mary continues: “We have some brilliant new launches in

Above right: Mary Wood, general manager UK and Ireland, TOMY. Below: The Lamaze 3 in 1 Airtivity Center will launch in July.


Left : The Toomies brand is going from strength to strength with new launches in 2020 including the Eggventures range.

2020 from our core brands such as Lamaze and Toomies, as well as Britains, with unique play patterns and innovations which have gone down well with our trade partners. Lamaze will be launching the Lamaze 3-in-1 Airtivity Center in July, supported with heavyweight digital media, which has patented technology allowing babies to experience moving air to stimulate their curiosity and awareness of the world around them. “In autumn/winter, Toomies will be launching the ‘Eggventures’ range, supported by a TV campaign, with the hero of the range being the 2-in-1 Eggventure Train that encourages a variety of play patterns. We’re also looking forward to our new launches from Ricky Zoom, the new licence roaring onto UK TV screens in 2020 where our master toy line hits the shelves in autumn/ winter. We are excited about the year ahead and looking forward to translating these efforts at toy fairs into sales for our customers.”

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IN CONVERSATION WITH… TOMY Left: TOMY will be refreshing the Peppa Pig Aquadoodle range.

preschool sector through integrated heavyweight marketing campaigns to drive consumers to our customers, and with a considered product slate within our core brands,” she explains. “TOMY is planning to deliver over 2,000 combined TVRs this year, in partnership with our agency Generation Media, but also supporting digital media

All eyes are on Ricky Zoom as a potential key new brand within the preschool space. As master toy, TOMY is creating a product portfolio which is designed to bring the bike show to life. In addition, and remaining with licensing, Peppa Pig continues to be strong for the company and TOMY will be expanding its product line within Toomies with a bath range, as well as refreshing Peppa Pig Aquadoodle. In such a crowded sector as preschool, Mary believes that innovation remains critical, while TOMY also works hard to ensure that it remains front of mind with consumers. “TOMY continues to stay ahead of its competitors in the


and influencers to reach those all-important parents and decision makers. “Innovation remains critical to an ongoing healthy product portfolio, utilising consumer insights and market information to deliver great products, with relevant play patterns for the right price. Sustainability and packaging waste continue to trend highly as a priority for these new parents, so TOMY is focused on this at a corporate level and these efforts are starting to materialise within our products on shelf but this is only the start of the process.” Mary admits that all businesses are facing considerable challenges from a myriad of directions (see below), but for TOMY there are two clear priorities coming into 2020. “One is to successfully launch Ricky Zoom and, secondly, we want to strengthen and grow our core brands of Toomies, Lamaze and Aquadoodle,” she concludes.

Right: TOMY is master toy for eOne’s new preschool IP, Ricky Zoom.

GROWTH GAINS AND CHALLENGES “As we look ahead into 2021 and beyond, we are continuing to reach for new global master toy licences, as well as expanding licences within Toomies, Lamaze and Aquadoodle,” explains Mary. “In addition, we are researching the use of more sustainable materials for products themselves, as well as working hard to minimise unnecessary packaging.” Mary believes that, as consumers ourselves, we’re becoming more conscious of environmental issues and, as an industry, we have to respond proactively.

She continues: “Finding new materials that are safe and appealing are not necessarily as cost effective as existing ones; price value was always important but is becoming even more so as consumers expect to buy more and more on promotion, so margins are squeezed – are consumers at the tipping point to pay more for sustainable products?” Mary also highlighted the proliferation of new channels and platforms, meaning that making marketing campaigns effective in reaching the right audience every

time continues to be a focus. “One of the biggest challenges is the shrinking retail base and consumers moving to buy more and more online,” she continues. “To have a healthy business and a healthy toy industry, we need a broad base of both retailers and suppliers and at TOMY, we have worked hard to support all sectors particularly toy specialists and independents. If we look to the US, the top three retailers are said to have around 70% market share and hold a huge amount of power. Is that our European future?”


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New Range fo r

1.8m Books Sold


Since Launch in Spring 2018


Disney Enterprises, Enterprises, Inc. Inc. All All rights rights reserved. © 2019 Disney Disney/Pixar. All © 2019 Disney/Pixar. All rights rights reserved. reserved. MARVEL. All © 2019 MARVEL. All rights rights reserved. reserved. Animation LLC. LLC. All All Rights Rights Reserved. Reserved. © 2019 DreamWorks Animation International Inc. Inc. All All Rights Rights Reserved. Reserved. © 2019 Viacom International Nickelodeon, and all related titles, logos and characters are International Inc. Inc. trademarks of Viacom International

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20 Devon Square, Newton Abbot, Abbot, Devon, TQ12 2HR, UK. Office: +44 +44 (0)1626 337736 Offi (0)1626 337736 (0)1626 334580 Fax: +44 +44 (0)1626 334580

16/03/2020 13:27



Preschool publishing is enjoying something of a moment, buoyed by the continued growth of World Book Day, a resurgence in classic literary characters and an increase in retailers cross merchandising books with other products for a 360-degree in-store offer. PPS chats to several key publishers to find out more.

Page turners


he continued growth of World Book Day as a major event in the UK, has given children’s publishing a far greater platform than ever before. And with preschool publishing in general showing year on year growth, adding a book offer as a complementary line to their main business is certainly worth considering for retailers. “Retailers already have the market for preschool publishing,” Christian Herisson, UK commercial and sales director at Usborne, explains to PPS. “Anyone going into a shop to buy nappies, toys, baby clothing, are already primed to buy baby books.” Last year saw Usborne celebrate the 20th anniversary of its flagship preschool brand That’s not my… which included partnerships with The National Literacy Trust, Creation Station and Rhythm Time, plus That’s not my… events up and down the country. The company also launched new preschool series Don’t Tickle – a board book series combining touchy-feely and sound books, with the first called Don’t Tickle the Hippo. Christian continues: “The preschool market is in very good health, showing year on year growth. Our main challenge is maintaining cost prices without losing the integrity of the production value,

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which is what Usborne is known for. There’s also strong competition across the market, so we are always challenging ourselves to think of new, exciting ideas and be innovative in all our publishing.” Ladybird also enjoyed a strong year in 2019, with its new list showing 39% growth, driven by series like Baby Touch which has been refreshed with new

Right: Andersen Press is launching a licensing programme for Not Now, Bernard as it celebrates 40 years in the summer. Below: Winnie the Pooh and Thomas & Friends have been key for Egmont Publishing.


Above: The preschool publishing sector is on the rise, enjoying year on year growth.

artwork and touch-and-feel features. Shannon Cullen, Ladybird publishing director, comments: “Our Ten Minutes to Bed series has continued to be popular with families all over the world, selling over 200,000 copies now. Baby Touch proved popular with its new contemporary design, as was Little World, our debut nonfiction board books on topics like the Moon, which have fun sliders to make the scenes come to life. Of course Peppa Pig – Peppa the Mermaid and Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day (in conjunction with Save the Children) were a couple of our most popular titles, and we were also happy to see a significant increase in sales of Hey Duggee, which is really taking off.” New launches for 2020 include 

15/03/2020 14:32

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FOCUS ON: PRESCHOOL PUBLISHING the Bees, Trees and Seas trilogy

of lift-the-flap books which uses 100% recycled board, plant-based inks and low-plastic glues, plus the Ladybird Little Pop-Ups fairytales which introduce characters such as Cinderella alongside first concepts like colours and numbers. Shannon continues: “No one really experiences or consumes things in a linear way anymore – and especially not children. They have no idea what category something fits into. If you can merchandise all the products in one brand together then that makes for a better consumer experience. It also makes sense if you have a promotion or a theme to consider what books complement that – like with bedtime, to put pyjamas, soft toys and books next to each other.” Paul Black, PR and brand director at Andersen Press – which marked 30 years of Elmer in 2019 and is launching a licensing programme for another of David McKee’s titles, Not Now, Bernard, in time for its 40th anniversary in 2020 – believes that by offering books with other product, the retailer would be telling a 360-degree story. “People know where a product has come from and can better understand a property when they’ve got the original source there,” Paul says. “We’d like

Right: Peppa the Mermaid was a popular title for Ladybird in 2019. Far right: Busy Day by Dan Green covers a range of jobs which children are fascinated by such as astronaut and vet. Below: Little Brother Books has published the official CBeebies annual for a number of years.

to grow our existing properties, launch our new programme on Not Now, Bernard but also look to the future with our publishing and find some bright new things to publish.” Licensing can prove to be a critical factor in the preschool book sector. Emily Campan, publisher at Egmont, believes it is well placed to reap the rewards of a shift towards classic properties in the character publishing market, following success with Winnie the Pooh and Thomas & Friends among others.

Right: Usborne’s That’s not my… brand marked 20 years in 2019, while Don’t Tickle is a new series for preschoolers.

INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESS When it comes to the ingredients needed for a successful preschool book, Usborne’s Christian Herisson says that the company is always asking what a child will want to see, touch and hear. “We think carefully about texture, colour, flaps and other interactive aspects that will make the book an all-round, engaging and sensory experience,” he says. “All of our preschool books consider the sensory adventure they can provide at this pre-reading age, finessing motor skills and introducing children to the many sounds and textures in the world around them.” Ladybird’s Shannon Cullen, meanwhile, believes that a book that a child wants to come back to has the best ingredients. “It needs to be

engaging – whether that’s a particular art style or character, or a clever story,” she says. “But some books are great because you don’t know what you’ll learn on the next page – often the way with non-fiction – and others work well because of their comforting repetition.” Andersen Press’ Paul Black says that it all comes back to the story: “If that’s not right nothing else will slot into place,” he says. Egmont’s Emily Campan concludes: “At the heart of all of our preschool publishing is relatability and age-appropriateness. Books for preschoolers need to reflect the world they live in and be engaging and interesting for both children and their parents.” PROGRES SIVE P R E S C H O O L

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“Literary properties with nostalgic appeal are having a moment, and in 2019 we saw three of our brands retain their positions in the top ten preschool brands through Nielsen Bookscan as a result,” says Emily. “Altogether, Mr Men and Little Miss, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas and Friends netted £2.9m in TCM revenue in 2019, resulting in a 23% market share for Egmont.” New launches coming up from Egmont this year include Becca’s Bunch – which is performing well on Milkshake – as well as a relaunch for Something Special. Emily adds: “We saw an increase of 86% across our back list last year, so we’re satisfying retailer demand for new content with a sticker book and a board book this year.” Licensing is also key for Little Brother Books – the company has published the official CBeebies annual for a number of years, while it will also be launching Kindi Kids in 2020. Matthew Reynolds, md, explains: “Licensing is absolutely critical in our sector of publishing as annuals are bought on impulse as gifts/stocking fillers so the brand they represent is crucial to engaging customers to purchase. “Pricing is the main challenge that we face in publishing. Retailers are after better and better prices for their customers in this challenging retail environment and they demand keener and keener prices from publishers, even though costs of goods and other costs are going up each year for publishers. A successful preschool book needs a great brand, great characters that engage kid’s imaginations and an eye-catching cover to get standout in stores.”

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12/03/2020 15:44



You wear it well

The licensed apparel and accessories category is undoubtedly a healthy one, but it’s not without its challenges – some category-specific and others which are also affecting the wider market. PPS chats to some of the key licensees in the space and finds out, despite the much-publicised issues of Brexit, supply chains and retail confidence, there is much to look forward to in 2020.


t is one of the most vibrant, fast moving and innovative spaces in the preschool market. However, the licensed apparel and accessories space is also undoubtedly one of the most crowded and competitive, with its own particular set of challenges. Despite this, there is a plethora of properties – both old and new – which are causing excitement and the appetite from consumers for product remains healthy. “Preschool was still a strong category for VMC in 2019 with our Hey Duggee and Peppa Pig licences performing particularly well, with the strong style guides showing freshness and creativity,” Emily Harrison, commercial manager at VMC Accessories, tells PPS. “2020 has brought challenges which we are all aware of; some old, some new. Brexit, coronavirus and the extended Chinese shutdown could all lead us to feel negative about how 2020

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may roll out, but there are still good points to focus on. Spring 2020 stock is being called into retailers early in some cases and we are seeing growth on licensed products into AW20.” Emily says that VMC is continuing to expand and strengthen its licensed portfolio and that preschool will always be one of the strongest apparel sectors. However, retailers also need to see the value of trying something new to ensure freshness into AW20.

Above: Aykroyd & Sons says 2019 was another strong year for it on preschool brands including the likes of PAW Patrol.

“We would like to see retailers being brave enough to go wider and deeper on preschool licences as we feel there is still growth to be had, pushing all retail avenues. We will be continuing to grow our commitment to sustainability and have ‘ready to go’ solutions for customers.” Last year saw the two major names of Blues Clothing and Dennicci brought together, with group licensing manager, Tom Crompton, stating that the benefits are being seen in additional investment in new and current brands across both businesses planned for 2020. “Classic licences continue to perform strongly for us with the likes of Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, Peter Rabbit and Paddington doing particularly well,”

Right: Peter Rabbit has been one of the licences performing well for Dennicci. Far right: Peppa Pig is strong across nightwear and underwear for Misirli. PROGRES SIVE P R E S C H O O L

15/03/2020 14:35

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FOCUS ON: LICENSED APPAREL & ACCESSORIES says Tom. “On the toddler side, Hey

Duggee has been a real success story for the past 18 months.” “Blues is excited for Thomas and Friends’ 75th anniversary this year, so expect to see an increased level of product in the market,” he adds. “We also have new ranges launching for Ryan’s World which ended 2019 strongly. Moon and Me is also one to watch – the licence launched towards the back end of 2019 and we’re looking forward to growth throughout the year as the TV continues to perform above all expectations.” Dennicci also has major launches on Paddington and Spot, which turns 40 this year, in the coming months and is excited to see both brands develop throughout the year. Poetic Brands made the move into the baby and children’s retail space last year and has already signed a number of brands including Gigantosaurus, The Baby Club, Mr Men Little Miss, Humphrey’s Corner, My Unusual Friends and Sunny Side Up. “From experience, we know that in the baby and preschool sector we need to offer so much more than basic jersey product,” says director Anne Bradford. “We are busy developing everything from jersey tees, sweats, woven bottoms, occasion dresses, true knitwear, swimwear and outerwear. For babies, it’s a full Right: Hey Duggee’s strong style guide showed freshness and creativity, says VMC.

article listing from layette through to comforter toys and baby changing bags in order to make truly cohesive collections.” For Misirli, 2020 has started well, with design and licensing manager, Faye Rashad, saying: “Having worked really hard through 2019, the opportunities have continued and the first half of 2020 is better year-on-year, which is very encouraging for our main season of autumn/winter.” Peppa Pig is taking a big share across nightwear and underwear for the company, while Disney classics such as Minnie, Mickey, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, Bambi and Toy Story are key drivers on socks. Misirli has a healthy portfolio of new offerings for this year – including big name brands such as Team GB, Care Bears, Trolls, Minions and LINE Friends, while it will also be launching Ricky Zoom across nightwear, underwear and socks, aiming to hit retail at the end of 2020. Faye continues: “There is a willingness [from retail] to trial new brands but this is dependent on a number of options/ space on shelf. It is a crowded marketplace so buyers are spoilt for choice. New brands need to have strong style guides and full range

THE SUSTAINABILITY QUESTION It’s a major trend running through all aspects of the preschool industry right now, so how is the licensed apparel and accessories category approaching the sustainability issue? “Sustainability is a very important issue for our group,” admits Tom Crompton from Blues Clothing. “We’re actively working with our factory base to develop improved manufacturing techniques, as well as looking at internal practices here in the UK to reduce the overall carbon footprint of all our ranges.” Aykroyd & Sons’ Rob Broadhurst agrees that sustainability has been a big focus for the licensee for a while. He says: “We are already supplying many ranges using the likes of BCI

cotton and recycled polyester, but this is only the start. We have a department dedicated to this area and are liaising heavily with our supply chain and our retail partners to future proof our programmes.” For TDP’s Dean Greasley, meanwhile, improved sustainability is: “critical across each and every area and we need to make every small change possible, not just look for the headlines.” He continues: “Our own journey involves looking at reducing or changing packaging solutions, waste management and introducing electric vehicles. In our factory in India we have water treatment plants and will have installed solar power before the end of March.” PROGRES SIVE P R E S C H O O L

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Above: TDP says that it is working hard across all of its preschool portfolio this year.

of products launching at the right time once the TV/content has had enough time to seed.” TDP’s head of licensing, Dean Greasley, agrees that the sector is congested but that there are still some ‘very strong brands’ out there. PAW Patrol, Hey Duggee, Bing and Disney classic characters remain key for the company, although Dean believes that the best new properties will always stand a chance, saying: “we just need to be quick of the mark and of course online retailers will often be the fastest route to satisfy early demand”. He adds: “Lack of confidence and indecision are our enemies. Parents will always need new clothes for their babies and toddlers, so we all need to work hard to give the best offering possible.” Rob Broadhurst, sales and licensing for Aykroyd & Sons, points out that economic uncertainty as a factor of consumer purchasing decisions is undoubtedly going to be a big challenge. “However,” he says, “there are plenty of retailers who are proving that with a genuine commitment and backing of licensed product, this can be an area that drives real growth amidst falling sales of non-licensed.” The company is seeing a continuation in popularity for Hey Duggee, PAW Patrol, Peter Rabbit, Bing and the Disney classics, while Rob is excited for the launches of Gigantosaurus, Love Monster and Blippi. “It would be great if we could get a higher proportion of new licences into the retail mix as I think it’s very important to keep ranges interesting,” he concludes. “But online channels also make it easier for brands to find ‘their’ customer, proving that there really is a market out there for a much broader range of licences.”

15/03/2020 14:35

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15/03/2020 16:10



“Best selling items by quantity are: filling a 12” helium balloon, 3m rolls of wrapping paper, LEGO DC Minifigures, bubble weights for helium balloons and 70ml tubs of bubbles.”

MY HERO! “Definitely Squishmallows.”


IN NUMBERS Just Williams is a family run toy shop with stores in East Dulwich and Beckenham. It first opened its doors back in 2006 and prides itself on its dedicated, customer-focused teams and unique range of products. PPS spoke to owner Vicky Brown to find out the figures behind the independent retailer’s success.

Left: Rubik’s Cube sales have increased, thanks in part to the 40th anniversary. Below: Owner Vicky Brown. Bottom: Just Williams has two stores, East Dulwich and Beckenham.


“We have noticed a huge increase in sales on Rubik’s Cube, most probably due to its 40th birthday this year. We have also seen an increase in environmentally friendly products.” “Definitely slime and putty.”



“We have been working with Ravensburger and Great Gizmos since the store opened. This is not only due to the products, but is also down to the great sales reps. Selfie Clothing Co is our favourite new supplier – I love the new products and how they are working with us to support sales and merchandising in-store.”

Just Williams



Above: Squishmallows are something of a hero product.


• There are seven people in the Just Williams team – as well as owner Vicky, Barbara manages the East Dulwich shop and Sian manages the Beckenham outlet. • The East Dulwich store is roughly the same size as a netball court… 234 transactions took place last Saturday (a quiet day, says Vicky) with average spend per transaction being £16.86. The last delivery saw 20 boxes arrive in the store. PROGRES SIVE P R E S C H O O L

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16/03/2020 10:32

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Progressive Preschool March/April 2020  

Progressive Preschool March/April 2020