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The B2B Publication For Preschool Products and Retailers

ISSUE 32 NOV/DEC 2017

And The Winner Is The PPS Awards 2017

The Big Interview Harrods’ heritage

Educating Preschoolers

Teaching through play

Milking It

Pre-weaning feeding

Trade Publication. Sign up to our newsletter at www.progressive-preschool.com and follow us on Twitter at @prog_preschool

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www.progressive-preschool.com MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES

March/April 2013

MARKET LEADING TRADE EXHIBITIONS

MARKET LEADING TRADE AWARDS

Max Publishing Ltd, United House, North Road, London N7 9DP T: 020 7700 6740 F: 020 7607 6411 www.max-publishing.co.uk

this month NOV/DEC 2017

It’s fair to say that the last twelve months have been an interesting time for anyone who works in retail, and the preschool sector is no different. With market performance remaining strong – despite an increasingly challenging economy – the success of this industry is testament to the power of quality product, clever marketing and Above: Some of the PPS Team: engaging retail. Rob Willis, Jacqui Parr and Jo Pilcher. The hard work, commitment and creative thinking seen right across the spectrum is the lifeblood of this industry, and that is what was celebrated when the fifth Progressive Preschool Awards took place earlier this month, on Thursday 9 November. Surrounded by over 400 of the brightest and best suppliers, retailers, distributors and licensors, we had the honour of presiding over what was the most successful awards ceremony yet. There was laughter, applause, tears – and that was just Eric White’s emotional acceptance speech for Outstanding Achievement! The awards themselves are covered in great detail in this issue, with everything from how the judging takes place to the winners’ first reactions, so if you couldn’t be there, this is the next best thing. And of course there’s a full lowdown of the celebrations as well, so if you were there, take a look and see if you appear in our party gallery. It’s no surprise that the Progressive Preschool Awards are the highlight of our year; a cumulation of the best the industry has to offer and a celebration of months of hard work. Whether the highlight of your year was taking a trip to Harrogate, making the most of the networking opportunities at the toy fairs or scrutinising the latest releases at Cologne, we are all extremely lucky to be part of such a vibrant and exciting industry. The rest of this issue – because it’s not just about the awards – covers a whole range of topics, from the educational toy market to the products used to support breastfeeding mothers. We have also spoken to some of the industry’s leading wholesalers and distributors to find out what the future holds for the traditional supply model in today’s A Great Big Thank You increasingly tech-driven world. It’s heartening We couldn’t have hosted such to see how adept companies are at continually a successful celebration of your adapting their business models to meet the achievements without some help, changing market needs – these guys are clearly so we have to say a few heartfelt thank yous. Of course, we couldn’t doing something right. have done it without all our fantastic This issue’s retail feature talks to the team sponsors, but we’d also like to thank at Harrods, and with the famous Toy Kingdom Bump PR for making sure everyone and the new Baby Layette department, there’s knew , Alpha Animations for the plenty going on in the luxury preschool world. invitations, eOne for letting Peppa We have resisted mentioning the C Word Pig be part of the day, Centum until now – but there’s no hiding from the fact Books for the menus and Skip Hop that once Christmas is out of the way, we will for the goody bags – which went start looking towards to the various Toy Fairs down a storm! and trade shows. We’ve spoken to a selection We would also like to say one of the brand new exhibitors from Toy Fair’s final thank you – to each and every Greenhouse sector to whet your appetite for one of you who spent the day with us, helping us raise a glass to our main previews in the next issue. Until then – have a wonderful Christmas, the people, the products and the passion that set this industry apart. and we’ll see you in 2018!

The Progressive Preschool Team Rob Willis, Jacqui Parr, Samantha Loveday, Jo Pilcher, Ian Hyder, Jakki Brown, Warren Lomax

Our editorial wordsmiths include: Michelle Board and Sarah Welsh. PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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contents 71

TOY FAIR 2018

75

SPEAKING VOLUME

93

EDUCATING PRESCHOOLERS

97

WOODEN TOYS

07 17 19 24 62 65 66 69 71 75 83 88 90 93 97 101

NEWS Reporting from the preschool sector INDUSTRY ANALYSIS The latest industry statistics from GfK JUDGEMENT DAY What happened on judging day AND THE WINNER IS All the lowdown on the PPS Awards 2017 FEEDBACK A natter with some of the PPS awards judges LEE LEE LOVES Looking ahead to Christmas MEDIA WATCH Brands making the headlines ASK ANNA How retailers can help promote educational toys THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT New exhibitors at Toy Fair 2018 SPEAKING VOLUME How distributors and wholesalers are fairing MILKING IT A focus on pre-weaning feeding HARRODS’ HERITAGE Behind the scenes at the luxury department store 15 MINUTES OF FAME TV coverage and celeb endorsements EDUCATING PRESCHOOLERS Products which teach through play WOODEN IT BE NICE How wooden toys are holding their own BEST SELLERS Retailers’ top sellers and biggest hits

24

PPS AWARDS

90

15 MINUTES OF FAME PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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Dive into the world’s largest toy store and discover new inspiration for your business. 10 reasons to be there: www.spielwarenmesse.de/en/2018 David Owen, Pattern Ltd +44 203 3758230 ¡ spielwarenmesse@pattern.co.uk

Win an MSC cruise Info and conditions of participation: www.spielwarenmesse.de/en/competition Entry deadline: 4.2.2018

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NEWS

PPS TAKES A LOOK AT THE RECENT HAPPENINGS IN THE PRESCHOOL WORLD

TOP STORY

Hasbro-Mattel Partnership Remains Possibility

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wo of the world’s biggest toy-makers may be coming together, following recent reports that Hasbro has approached Mattel about a potential takeover offer. Mattel has rebuffed the initial offer, saying it undervalued the company’s value and indicating that it intends to drive a hard bargain in negotiations. Global toy company Mattel, which owns brands including Fisher-Price and Hot Wheels, has grappled with falling sales over the last year. Hasbro – the home of brands such as Play Doh and My Little Pony – approached Mattel in early November, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal.

Toy Fair 2018 Sold Out

The UK’s largest toy, game and hobby trade show, Toy Fair 2018, has sold out of all floor space almost four months before the show opens for business. “It is an exciting time for toy innovation,” commented Majen Immink, director of fairs and special events at The British Toy and Hobby Association. “With Toy Fair selling out this early, it shows that there is huge demand in the toy industry at the moment. I am looking forward to seeing the products set to be launched in January.”

Sources have since said that Mattel told Hasbro that it believed the proposal undervalues the company and does not take the potential for regulators to reject the deal based on antitrust concerns sufficiently into account. Mattel’s shares jumped by 20% following reports that Hasbro was considering a takeover, while Hasbro shares rose by more

BTHA Introduces Toy Fair Heroes

The new Toy Fair showcase feature will highlight exceptional toys across all categories. This is a badge of honour that will be awarded to just 25 innovative and exciting toys, games and hobbies. The toys will be selected by toy experts and the BTHA. Taking place from 23 – 25 January, Toy Fair 2018 will be looking to emulate the success of last year’s event, which attracted more than 250 exhibiting companies. To register for a free pass to Toy Fair simply visit www.toyfair.co.uk.

From Babies With Love Teams With Street Child Organic babywear brand From Babies With Love, which donates 100% of profits from its ethically-sourced baby gifts to orphaned and abandoned children, has a new partnership with international charity, Street Child. The initial project will help support some of the 32,000 unaccompanied children impacted by the devastating conflict in north east Nigeria with Child Friendly Spaces; safe spaces set up in emergency settings to help support and protect children.

Sophie la girafe Comes To Life Popular baby brand Sophie la girafe has come to life for the first time on French online channel TFOU MAX. Consisting of 15 episodes, the first part of Season one offers ten learning episodes and five nursery rhyme episodes. Each lasts for three minutes, perfectly timed for a toddler’s short attention span. Currently only available in French, an English-language version will be made available in early 2018.

Above: The show is based on the Montessori educational approach with adapted rhythm and content.

Above: If a Hasbro-Mattel deal is secured, it will bring together two of the world’s largest toy companies.

than 2% in the same period. Mattel has a market value of $5b, while Hasbro is worth about $11b. It is not yet clear whether the latest round of talks will continue. Reports have said that Hasbro and Mattel have entered into negotiations a number of times, most notably in 1996, when Mattel made Hasbro a takeover offer, and again in late 2015.

Entertainer Boosts Profits

Continuing its successful year, toy retailer The Entertainer has reported a pre-tax profits increase to £8.7m, from £6.9m in 2016. In the year ending 28 January 2017 the retailer generated revenues of £152.6m, an increase from £139.5m on the previous year. During this period, the business opened 15 new stores, including its first in Northern Ireland. “It was a strong year, despite a turbulent political and economic backdrop,” stated the company in the official results. “Trading conditions were tough on the high street, with unprecedented competitor activity during peak trading. Despite this backdrop, profits continued to grow, with strong margin management and cost productivity underpinning the result.” The Entertainer has said it will open a further 15 branches in the UK during its 2017/18 financial year, while also continuing its overseas expansion.

Joie Makes Dreams Come True

Baby goods company Joie has helped created a fortnight of fun for young fan Sam Kilburn, as part of its partnership with Liverpool Football Club. Ten-year-old Sam, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, was treated to the surprise of a lifetime when the LFC worked with Joie to create two weeks of unforgettable memories, including meeting his favourite LFC players and a trip to Disneyland Paris.

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DING

DING

BEEP BEEP

Featuring: Epoch Making Toys, Hornby Hobbies, Papo Clementoni, Jazwares, Marbel, Gibsons, Kooshi & many more ...

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NEWS TOP STORY

Dennicci Joins CWI Group

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icensed babywear specialist Paul Dennicci has confirmed that it has become part of the CWI/Suntex & Mitsui & Co group of companies, parent company of a number of other apparel companies, including Blues Clothing. Andrew Farrow, md of Paul Dennicci, said that there was ‘perfect synergy’ with the group of companies. The licensee is now part of a global network, which will further bolster its plans to remain the number one

Christmas Wish Lists

Each year, a number of Top Toy lists are released to the press in the run-up to the Christmas period. Here are the preschool highlights from some of this year’s lists, including Dream Toys’ Dream Dozen, Hamleys, Toys R Us and Argos. ■ P aw Patrol Sea Patroller (Spin Master Toys) ■ P J Masks Headquarters Playset (Flair Leisure Products) ■ E nchantimals Playhouse Panda Set (Mattel) ■ L uvabella and Luvabeau (Spin Master) ■ P aw Patrol Sea Patroller (Spin Master) ■ T  ag n Teach Movi (Fisher-Price)

2017 Toy Retailer of the Year Awards Open

Organisers of the Toy Retailer of the Year Awards, The British Toy and Hobby Association, have announced that the 2017 retailer application process is now open, with a newly expanded category for independent retailers unveiled for this year. Retailers can compete nationally in like-for-like categories and can apply in more than one category, if applicable. Self-nominations are permitted, together with nominations coming from a panel of nationwide industry experts. Retailers should visit www. btha.co.uk/awards/toyindustry-awards for more information and to take part.

company in licensed babywear. “It is my pleasure to join this esteemed group,” said Andrew. “It is business as usual for Paul Dennicci – for myself and all our dedicated staff, distribution warehouse and office, nothing is changing. We will continue to work with all our clients factories and licensors to ensure that we deliver great product to all our customers.” A previous Progressive Preschool Award winner, (its Star Wars Baby Range for Mothercare was named the Best Preschool Apparel or Accessories Range

Fundamentally Children Launches Ad Campaign

The first ever Good Toy Guide advert will be appearing across a number of digital platforms this month, raising awareness to key consumers. The format of the new 30” advert, which is presented by Dr Amanda Gummer, allows up to five Good Toy Guide approved brands to be included, promoting individual products as well as the guide itself. The ad is set to reach more than 1.25 million targeted consumers and will run across a YouTube pre-roll campaign, through a promotion on the Fundamentally Children Facebook page and via a fully integrated package on the KidsCast platform. “Promoting the Good Toy Guide to consumers will help to support all of the clients in the guide in the key selling period,” said Dr Gummer, “and we can further promote a select few individual products at a very competitive rate within the creative.” Good Toy Guide clients who would like to get involved in the ad should contact theteam@fundamentallychildren.com

Above: Paul Dennicci is well-known for its work with Star Wars and Disney.

in 2015) Paul Dennicci has also been named Best Licensed Preschool Apparel Range (0-5 years) at The Licensing Awards for the last three years. The CWI/Suntex & Mitsui & Co group also owns apparel companies Cohen and Wilks and Brecrest, as well as Smithy Green and GWG Garments.

Harrogate Gathers Momentum

Nursery and preschool companies are looking ahead to next year and booking space at the UK’s only baby products trade show, Harrogate International Nursery Fair, taking place from 25 - 27 March 2018. Recent weeks have seen bookings from Venicci, RHSM Group, Obaby, ABC Design, Clippasafe, BeSafe, Shnuggle and K-play, all eager to join brands including BabyStyle, Hauck and Cheeky Rascals as they raise their brand profile to retailers and buyers across Great Britain and Europe. New for the 2018 show is the New Product Showcase, ideal for companies launching brand new products and ranges. Brands already signed up to the showcase include Kerikit, Belo&Me, Mummy Loves Organics and Snuggleup. “After Christmas we will be focusing our marketing for Harrogate towards buyers, promoting products they need to attend to see and show deals they shouldn’t miss out on,” says Adrian Sneyd, show organiser. “As well as encouraging buyers from the UK and Europe, we are working with the British Chamber of Commerce in various countries where there is high demand for British baby products, such as China, Turkey and India.” For more information visit www.nurseryfair.com.

HQ Roles At Risk As Mothercare Focuses On Core Business

The nursery and maternity retailer Mothercare has placed 200 roles into consultation in a bid to ‘simplify’ its business and prepare it for the ‘next phase of transformation’. The consultation period will begin with staff based in the Watford headquarters with plans to axe head office, sourcing and distribution centre roles as part of a drive to cut costs and focus more on core markets. The redundancies feed into the business transformation plan that was revealed in the company’s last full-year results, including focusing purely on maternity, newborns, babies

and toddlers and reducing its store estate to between 80 and 100 stores, which will see it focus on having a key regional presences. A statement confirming the move concluded: “The objective here is to make the Mothercare business more specialist, more simple, more robust, and more exportable to its international markets.” Above: Mothercare has confirmed it will no longer be selling school-age clothing or toys.

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NEWS TOP STORY

Right: Babymoov’s Cosydream was mentioned in consumer articles about the potential dangers of sleep positioners.

Baby Sleep Positioners Make Headlines

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ome UK retailers have stopped selling baby sleep positioners amid concerns over their safety following reports from a US health regulator said they ‘can cause suffocation that can lead to death’ and linking them to as many as 12 fatalities in the US. The positioners, primarily aimed at infants under six months, are intended to keep a baby in a specific position while sleeping. Mothercare, John Lewis, eBay, Boots and Tesco have stopped sales, but they are still available from other retailers.

Mattel Lets Kids be Kids The latest campaign from Fisher-Price has been created to celebrate children’s individuality. The Let Kids Be Kids initiative celebrates what makes every child unique, while reminding parents to cherish their individual personalities. Global research conducted by Fisher-Price recently found that 88% of mums agree that a baby’s development depends on what they’ve experienced and that encouraging a wide variety of play experiences will help children grow and develop.

Babymoov’s Cosydream was mentioned in consumer articles on the subject and the company issued an official statement, assuring customers that its ‘award-winning, paediatrician-approved products have never been involved in any incident connected with infant fatality.’ “Over a period of 10 years, more than 100,000 Cosydream units have been sold worldwide,” it said. “The design enables baby to sleep safely on their back in accordance with recommendations by the NHS.” The Lullaby Trust, a cot death charity which advises the NHS, said that there

are hundreds of baby sleep products on the market but that it does not recommend wedges or sleep positioners, regardless of other potential benefits. The BPA issued a statement highlighting the difference between sleep positioners and baby nests saying that; “The Baby Products Association has a neutral position to the use of sleep positioners and baby nests in the UK. It is our opinion that they can provide a limited protective function and are considered safe when used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.”

Right: Fisher-Price celebrates individuality.

The Let Kids Be Kids creative will be activated through a digital campaign that will reach over 1million parents with kids aged from newborn to four-years-old. “This really allows us communicate the importance of celebrating kids’ unique personalities and nurturing them through play,” said Wendy Hill, director of brand activation at Mattel. “We know that digital is the best way to reach busy parents, so our extensive digital presence is key to activating this campaign.”

Kind + Jugend Confirms Excellence

Baby products show Kind + Jugend has confirmed its outstanding international position, with around 22,500 top quality visitors attending from 113 countries. Exhibitor numbers were up 5% on 2016 and visitor numbers up by 2%, as buyers and decision-makers from all trade channels spent time at the international show, where more than 87% of the exhibitors and 75% of the visitors come from abroad. “Kind + Jugend once again confirmed its outstanding international position and is the central hub and trendsetter for the national and international business,” stated Katharina C. Hamma, coo of Koelnmesse. “We were able to further reinforce our position as the leading trading platform with a slight growth in the number of exhibitors and visitors,” This year, more than 70 companies participated in the UK Pavilion, which moved to a new location for this year. “It was noticeable that this [new] area was busier than other halls at the show – to the point that several companies in Halls 10 and 11 have enquired about relocating to the UK Pavilion next year,” said Robert Anslow, managing director of the BPA. Early feedback from our exhibitors indicate that 2017 was another very successful show.” Next year’s Kind + Jugend will be taking place from 20 - 23 September 2018.

BTHA Continues KidsOut Partnership

The British Toy and Hobby Association is proud to announce KidsOut will be the official charity for Toy Fair 2018 for the third year running. The Trolley Dash event, which takes place at the end of Toy Fair, will see volunteers from KidsOut traveling through the aisles with empty shopping trolleys, encouraging exhibitors to generously donate toys from their stands. KidsOut works with Women’s Aid Federation refuges across the UK and the toys gathered during the Trolley Dash are either sent to refuge homes or directly to children through the KidsOut Toy Box initiative. “We are very proud to welcome back KidsOut as our official charity partner for 2018,” said Majen Immink, head of toy fair operations and sales. “The Trolley Dash has become a real highlight of the show and we are extremely appreciative of the kindness shown by our exhibitors and hope that as many as possible are once again able to donate to this fantastic cause.”

LICENSING LOOKOUT ▶ Usborne Books has partnered with Dennicci to launch a range of That’s not my... baby clothes with Mothercare. ▶ Penguin Ventures, part of Penguin Random House, has been appointed lead global agent for Elmer by Andersen Press. ▶ Metrostar will be representing classic children’s picture book property, Hairy Maclary & Friends, for UK licensing. ▶ Entertainment One expands PJ Masks’ UK presence with new licensees and brand partnerships including HTI, Kinnerton, Greencore, VMC and Walltastic. ▶ Alpha Animation adds new free to air partner Tiny Pop for its fast-growing preschool animation Super Wings, represented by Rockpool Licensing. ▶ D  HX Brands has licensed Twirlywoos to MEI for the preschool series’ first-ever live theatrical tour. Premiering in 2018, the tour will perform in key markets including the UK and Eire, Spain, the Middle East and Australia. ▶ E  ntertainment One has entered into a global partnership with Merlin Entertainments to develop and operate location-based entertainment attractions based on Peppa Pig.

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TOP STORY

BookTrust Builds Brand With LEGO

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he UK’s largest children’s reading charity, BookTrust, has teamed up with LEGO to encourage children’s imagination, creativity and development. The partnership will see BookTrust handing out 50,000 packs of LEGO DUPLO as part of the already-successful BookStart Treasure programme, the book gifting programme aimed at families with children aged 3-4 years. Each year more than 680,000 packs filled with book and other resources are distributed to children

Toy Trust’s Big Challenge

Next year’s annual fundraising day has been confirmed as Saturday 9 June, 2018. Plans include a triathlon, which will feature an open water swim, a 50 and 80-mile circular bike ride, and 10km run/ walk, followed by a late afternoon BBQ. The Trust aims to raise £200,000 for its children’s charities and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. “Next year’s Big Challenge promises to be another exciting event for all of the industry to get involved in,” said Toy Trust chair Foye Pascoe. Places are available at £100 per person and teams or individuals who wish to register should email Matt Jones at the BTHA to Matt@btha.co.uk.

iCandy Partners With Land Rover

The two wheeled goods companies have come together to launch the very first iCandy Peach All-Terrain Special Edition pushchair, designed for adventurous parents. The first four-wheeled iCandy AllTerrain pushchair is a tribute to Land Rover, combining the design skills, technical innovations and build quality of the two successful British brands. “Working alongside Land Rover is a natural fit for us,” said Bradley Appel, iCandy’s joint ceo. “It has been a true labour of love between both iconic brands with 154 years combined manufacturing and design pedigree. We are sure parents will love the adventure potential of this exciting collaborative partnership.” The iCandy for Land Rover Peach All-Terrain Special Edition was the first pushchair to be launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

through local libraries, nurseries and children’s centres. The LEGO DUPLO product is aimed at children aged between two to four years old and will contain animal-themed building blocks. The dual packs are being distributed to a limited number of families as part of a pilot project. “There are many benefits of reading for pleasure including the development of children’s creativity and imagination, which is why we are delighted to help support this by offering families an additional

resource in their Treasure packs,” said Diana Gerald, BookTrust ceo. “LEGO is thrilled to be working with the BookTrust,” said Aliya Beissova, senior brand manager at Lego. “This trial activity is mutually beneficial for both organisations due to our common goals which include aiding early childhood development, inspiring creativity and stimulating little imaginations.” Above: BookStart Treasure is part of BookTrust’s flagship programme Bookstart, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Toy Trends At Spielwarenmesse

Key play themes have been identified for 2018’s Spielwarenmesse; Explore Nature, Team Spirit and Just for Fun. International toy markets will be coming together at next year’s Spielwarenmesse fair in Nuremberg, with over 2,850 renowned brands, top sellers, licensed products and innovative start-ups all heading to the show, which takes place from 31 January - 4 February 2018 Above: Explore Nature is one of this The three key trends have been carefully selected to year’s key themes and will embrace products which bring children closer to help buyers and retailers identify what consumers will be the world around them. looking for throughout 2018. Reconnecting with nature, working together and good old-fashioned play are all expected to be strong themes for the coming year and will be the focus of the ever-popular Trend Gallery, with presentations, live events and talks providing plenty of inspiration. For more information and to register, please visit www.spielwarenmesse.de

Baby To Toddler Launches December Event

The Baby To Toddler shopping event will be arriving at the Birmingham NEC this winter for the very first time, on the weekend of 2 – 3 December 2017. Organised by the team behind The Baby Shows, the show is designed for expectant and modern parents with children aged up to four-years-old. Baby Planet is the event’s principal retail partner, selling brands such as egg®, Cybex, Boori, Cosatto, Bugaboo and Maxi-Cosi and many more “After the success of the event at ExCel, the show in Birmingham is also set to be attract thousands of expectant parents and young families,” said Susanne Rauberger, Baby To Toddler show manager. “It’s a great day out where parents can stock up on those must-have early years products for their babies and children.” For more information please visit www.babytotoddlerevents.co.uk

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NEWS IN BRIEF ▶  Baby Brands Direct is delighted to welcome Sassy Baby and Bambino Mio to its wholesale portfolio, increasing the choice of brands available to its independent clientele to over 90. ▶  Babyprice UK has been appointed the exclusive UK and Ireland distributors for Kidzzfarm Jumping Animals. ▶  Bébélephant Distribution has taken on innovative new line Brizi Baby, a product which can reduce pollution in a baby’s breathing area by up to 80% and is designed to fit into any pram or pushchair. ▶  Little Saints will be acting as the UK agent for Ju-Ju-Be, the American changing bag brand which combines fashion with high quality materials and smart technology. ▶  Sustainable wooden toy manufacturer PlanToys has launched a new midyear collection featuring 20 new and redesigned products, all available from littleCONCEPTS.

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TOP STORY

Millennial Parents Will Be Tech Driven

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range of new apps, smart technologies and connected monitoring devices could become the norm for busy parents in the near future, according to product development specialist Sagentia. The company has applied its understanding of consumer and technology trends to predict how baby tech will evolve in 2018 and beyond. Millenial parents have grown up using digital devices and apps to make their lives easier and will expect to see similar technology in the baby care market. Traditionally, much of the baby care sector has been resistant to technology innovation says Sagentia’s vice president, Dr Neil Campbell – but this is likely to change soon. “The baby care sector has been relatively slow to join the digital revolution, but that’s down to consumer readiness rather than a lack of technical capability,” he explains. “There’s no point in brands investing in new products that

people aren’t ready for. But as more millennials enter parenthood, we will see an increased demand for baby tech. Brands are getting ready for this behind the scenes with exciting new devices and upgrades of existing products.” Products and applications that help to free up time and take some of the anxiety out of parenting are expected to lead the way. Sagentia predicts that smart baby monitoring will be one of the first areas to take off, with sensors being integrated into baby clothing to provide real-time monitoring of temperature, hydration and respiration. Sagentia’s paper on this topic: ‘Time to push for baby tech’ is free to download from www.sagentia.com Above: New technologies will make it easier to monitor and manage baby health and wellbeing.

A PLAYMOBIL Christmas

PLAYMOBIL has launched its second Christmas campaign with shopping centre intu to reach thousands of young families over the festive period. The campaign, which also follows the success of PLAYMOBIL ‘play zones’ at intu centres nationwide last summer, will see PLAYMOBIL gifts being given away at key intu Christmas grottos. Jamie Dickinson, PLAYMOBIL’s marketing manager, said: “We are really excited to be teaming up with intu centres again this year. We are looking forward to encouraging imaginative, creative play by children during the holiday season.” Right: The PLAYMOBIL grottos were a great success last year.

New BPA Benefit

Members of the Baby Products Association can now benefit from a new service thanks to a partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards. The Assured Advice Scheme means that companies can receive advice about their product’s safety requirements which will be upheld by Trading Standards departments nationally and in court. Julie Milne, membership and technical support manager for the Baby Products Association explains: “This will help to clarify situations for our members. For example, where a product has been passed by one testing house and failed by another, the Assured Service Scheme will advise which testing house is correct.” Contact Julie for more information at julie@b-p-a.org

Baby & Toddler Show Moves North Of The Border

A new edition of Mercury Events’ Baby & Toddler Show is coming to the SEC Glasgow the only baby show to serve the Scottish market. The first show will be taking place from Friday 27 – Sunday 29 April 2018. A new exclusive hardware retailer, Glasgow Pram Centre, will ensure the event will benefit from an immediate proven route to the market.

AIS Show Has Plush Push The Independent Toy and Gift Show returns to the impressive Cranmore Park exhibition centre on Tuesday 1 May and Wednesday 2 May 2018 with a plush theme. Confirmed toy exhibitors include Mattel, Lego, Flair, MGA, Peterkin and Character Options, with new exhibitors such as Alpha Animation & Toys and Inside Out Toys. Hosted by plaY-room, the toy division of buying group Associated Independent Stores, the show is renowned for its welcoming atmosphere and legendary lunches! Visitors will also receive complimentary refreshments from the TY Beanie Boo Café. Registration, admission, parking and lunch are all free. Register at www.independenttoyandgift.co.uk

Happy Birthday!

There have been a number of key anniversaries in the preschool market over the past few months, with both Angelcare and Bambino Mio celebrating an impressive 20 years in business. Marking their first decade of business in 2017 were bebelephant, Solution EU and Baby & More. Congratulations to all!

PEOPLE NEWS ▶ TOMY Europe has appointed Mary Wood as general manager across the UK business. Mary will be responsible for UK sales and marketing teams. ▶ GP Flair has appointed Emmanuelle Cadet as the new head of marketing, while Mandy Victory and Mark Ashurst will be taking on bigger roles as joint head of sales. ▶ Reflecting its expanding presence in the US, Fundamentally Children has welcomed Deb de Sherbinin to its Associate Network. ▶ Amy Walker has joined The Gro Company, the UK’s leading baby sleep brand, as design manager. ▶ HTI has bolstered its sales team with new members John Carlaw, Clare Finley and Andrea Lenehan, while the product team will benefit from new additions Danielle Gorner, Hannah Booth and Lily Chadwick. ▶ Paul Lamond Games welcomes David Meier on board to work with retailers in East Anglia, the South East and parts of the Midlands. ▶ Peg Perego has appointed Cally Wolf to the position of trainer and sales executive, responsible for accounts covering Southern England and Wales. ▶ Smart Toys and Games has bolstered its sales team with the appointment of Julia Cake as national accounts manager. ▶ Tidy Tot has appointed Victoria Coulthard as UK and international business manager.

PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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I N DU ST RY I N S I G H TS

Inset: Babies are always growing, offering the nursery industry an extra element of developmental retail.

A DEVELOPMENTAL MARKET

I

n these ‘interesting’ times it can feel like an appealing idea to switch channels when the news comes on or turn immediately to the sports or lifestyle sections of newspapers or websites. There seems to be an unhealthy pessimism spreading through reports on the economy right now but however grim it gets, there are always opportunities for brands. On the face of it, interest rate rises signal bad news for consumer spending but historically, for key lifestyle markets like nursery and home appliances, the impact is usually minimal and almost always temporary. For nursery particularly, the categories operate significantly within a dimension of retail shared by only a few other products: developmental retail. There are five Above: Cribs main types of – such as purchase: essential, this modern, hypoallergenic replacement, moses basket from seasonal, Shnuggle – have aspirational and been selling well. developmental. As a whole, baby and nursery categories operate broadly across all of these in one form or another but the fifth type adds a dynamic that not all other consumer goods can stake a claim to. For this reason, strollers, baby safety products, feeding, furniture and clothing all have the potential for greater resilience in

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. Anthony Williams, senior client insight director for UK and Ireland, considers why nursery will be resilient in tough times. the long term when spending dips. Right now, it’s fair to say from the range of markets we track at GfK, there are some short-term challenges. Likefor-like, value sales are down nearly 3% in value and more than 9% in volume in the 12 months to September, although there is a mixed bag of under-performers and out-performers. This is perhaps best characterised in the feeding sector, where bottles and breast pumps are down by nearly 8% in value on the year, while teats, bottle accessories and breast pump bottles and accessories are all showing increases. In furniture, cots and carrycots show declines while cribs and moses baskets both show growth of 9% and 12% respectively. Higher value items such as pushchairs and strollers are performing well in value, increasing by 8%, although volumes have fallen – indicating that those consumers who are spending are doing so at the higher end of the market. There is also evidence that rising prices may be pushing consumers to the secondhand market or delaying purchases when possible, at least for the moment. Across nursery, average prices

have risen by nearly 8% annually and close to 11% in the last nine months, putting a strain on spending. Higher prices are not of course unique to this sector and consumer electronics, appliances, food and clothing have all seen inflation following the Brexit referendum last summer. Mother and child specialists and the department stores have seen a slightly higher increase than mass merchandisers such as supermarkets, although this is influenced by the nature of product and premium-end brands stocked. Online retail has seen prices rise both at the lower and upper end of the spectrum, perhaps indicating that consumer perception continues to equate the internet with bargains on branded products over own-label. In fact, ownlabel brands have experienced some of the biggest struggles on keeping prices low in the last few months, showing that branding still counts in consumers’ eyes. Although most nursery buying habits may not be viewed as seasonal, the Christmas and New Year retail peak have often buoyed sales in some quarters of nursery such as safety and furniture. If consumers have held off on some of these major developmental purchases, the next few months might see a more positive upward trend, proving that nursery is indeed resilient in tough times.” PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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The Judging Process

SELECTING THE STARS

Inset: Top retail buyers gather for the pre-judging briefing. Below: Mothercare’s Devlin Lindeque and Lesley Whitehouse get to grips with the wide-ranging toy category.

A ringing endorsement of the wide-reaching preschool industry, The Progressive Preschool Awards 2017 are proud to celebrate the excellence found right across the sector. Recognising accomplishments and achievements from every corner of the market ensures an impressive list of finalists, focusing on the top-quality products, dedicated retailers and clever marketing campaigns which have driven the preschool sector forward over the last 12 months. Choosing the deserving champions from such a diverse selection requires a sophisticated system of hands-on judging, and in order to guarantee credibility, the Progressive Preschool Awards programme ensures that the judging process is transparent and open at every stage. Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes of the meticulous process that went into selecting the finalists and winners for the Progressive Preschool Awards 2017.

About The Awards The Progressive Preschool Awards are now firmly established as a key date in the industry calendar; true cross-category accolades which reflect the dynamism, dedication and passion found Inset: across the preschool sector. Launched in 2013 by Progressive Preschool magazine, the awards are now in their fifth successful year and mirror the publication's diverse reach, covering everything from newborn essentials right through to toddler toys. Both finalists and winners are recognised for their efforts Inset: Argos buyer Priya Shah checks out the wheels.

within the sector, with independent retailers highlighted alongside the majors and suppliers being rewarded for product excellence and innovation. The quality of entries this year was exceptional, making it imperative that the judging process was credible, thorough and fair. The selection criteria differs for each category (product, retail and marketing), ensuring that we recognise the most commendable finalists and the most deserving winners.

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The Judging Process

JUDGING THE

PRODUCT AWARDS

Below: The judges had their work cut out in the toy category, with product spanning the whole gamut of play patterns. Below centre: The apparel category was of particular interest to M&Co's Corinne Northover and Amy Walker.

It was all hands on deck this year, as buyers from some of the UK's most successful preschool retailers got to grips with the thousands of product award entries which had been submitted by hundreds of companies. Entries were sent in from right across the preschool sector for each of the nine product categories, which were then judged in person by a number of major and leading independent retail buyers.

The Product Judging Process No toy company was deemed too big nor babygro supplier too small for the Progressive Preschool year's impressive judging panel, which included buyers product awards, as suppliers from right across the from some of the nation's top retailers including spectrum were encouraged to send in their very best Mothercare, Tesco, Argos, Jo Jo Maman BĂŠbĂŠ and products or ranges (totally Kiddicare as well as specialist free of charge, of course). independent retailers. Each product or range was The judges considered each then judged independently category in turn, bearing in mind on its own individual merit, criteria such as design, cost, taking into account how it innovation and quality before sits in the current choosing their top five products preschool market. from that particular category, in Each product entered order of preference. was aimed at the Votes were then verified and preschool market (0-5) counted, revealing the six deserving and was launched at retail finalists in each category, along with in the UK between 8 July 2016 and 7 July the eventual winner. The finalists have been 2017. Entries could be for a announced, but the winners will remain a closely single product or a range of guarded secret until today's awards ceremony. up to five products, except for the innovation award which can only be for one specific item. The product judging itself took place on Tuesday 15 August 2017 in a central London location, with buggies, toys, clothes and nursery essentials making up some of the Above: Primark's Sally product which Podzemmy scrutinized her was carefully laid options carefully. Right: Tesco's Natalie out for the Ackerman and Jade Vincent made sure they got to grips judges' perusal. with product in the home decor category. The responsibility Left: Amanda Heppel from of judging A3 Baby Barn spent time choosing her favourites from the product the apparel category. categories then fell entirely to this PROGRESSIVE PRESCHOOL AWARDS

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The Judging Process

JUDGING THE

RETAIL AWARDS Created in order to truly reflect the ever-changing nature of the current retail market, the Progressive Preschool retail awards are carefully designed to reflect and recognise the professionalism and business acumen which has been seen throughout the last year. Initial contenders in the retailer award categories were the result of nominations put forward from suppliers, distributors, wholesalers and agents, who were keen to recognise retailers they believed had excelled within the preschool sector. These entries were then validated by a lively discussion panel of industry retail experts at The Grosvenor Hotel in London on the morning of Thursday 10 August 2017. The nominated retailers in each category were discussed and considered before the open voting process was held to decide the finalists and eventual winners. Detailed discussions – and different opinions – ensure that the overall process truly recognises each retailers' approach and achievements over the last year and maintains total integrity.

The Retail Validation Panel The Validation Panel for the 2017 retail award categories included a number of top level industry executives, with experience spanning the entire preschool retailing spectrum. The panel, chaired by PPS' Rob Willis and Jacqui Parr (neither of whom had a vote), were: Eric White (East Coast Nursery), Fred Wolff (IMC ES), Dave Tovey (DHX Brands), Severine Hemms (Tomy), Jane Johnstone (Cheeky Rascals), Nick Hampton (Ardega Nursery Distribution), Liz Mart (VMC Accessories), Emma Finch (SkipHop), Sarah Salmon (Cooneen by Design), Nicola Jenkins (Tomy Europe), Fiona McMillan (Centum Books), Anthony Williams Above: The Validation Panel for the 2017 retail awards encompassed key industry executives. (GfK Retail Technology), Katie Ball (BBC Worldwide) and Anne Top: The judging for the 2017 retail award categories took place at The Grosvenor Hotel, London. Bradford (Blues Clothing).

The Marketing Award Marketing, social media and consumer engagement is now an essential part of the preschool world, thanks in part to increasingly creative marketing initiatives and promotional partnerships targeting preschool children and their parents. The Marketing Award is carefully designed to recognise any kind of multi-platform marketing, communication or media programme for a preschool product or service. This includes (but is not limited to) TV advertising, PR campaigns, outdoor events, experiential activities, promotions, sponsorship, online campaigns and social media initiatives. The final shortlist was decided by a panel of independent industry and marketing experts who came together in central London to discuss and debate the merits of all nominated campaigns. The discussions, overseen by Richard Pink, md at Pink Key Consulting, took a number of factors into account, including clear measurable objectives such as effectiveness, commitment to preschool product and retail support. "With campaigns using a variety of communication methods the judges’ task this year was the hardest it’s ever been," said Richard. "There was no clear winner and any one of a number of campaigns could have won this award. However through long and occasionally heated discussion the final winner was agreed on because of its combination of creativity, commercial effectiveness and ambition." Right: The 2017 validation panel for the Progressive Preschool Marketing Award were (l-r): James Marsh (B3 Creative), Barbara Robinson (Hasbro), Kelly Jones (The Butterfly Consultancy), Richard Pink (chairman) (Pink Key Consulting), Paul Godwin (PCG Consultants), Lisa Bryant (Bump PR) and Lesley Singleton (Playtime PR) (not pictured). PROGRESSIVE PRESCHOOL AWARDS

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Inset: The winners of the Progressive Preschool Awards 2017 took to the the stage to show off their trophies with hilarious awards host Jo CaulďŹ eld. Luxury London hotel The Dorchester is the perfect location for awards created to shine a light on industry excellence.

The ďŹ fth Progressive Preschool Awards were a fabulous lunchtime ceremony which took place at The Dorchester Hotel on 9 November 2016. The afternoon event saw over 400 preschool buyers, suppliers, wholesalers and licensors all coming together to celebrate the very best of the preschool industry. Left: Stylish table settings set the scene for the event, with beautiful menus created by Centum Books. Below: Kerstie Mehmel (Fundamentally Children), Amanda Jenner (Fundamentally Children), Rachael Flowers (Tesco), Anita Serradimigni (Tesco), Nicola Jenkins (Tomy), Thomas Hampton (Harrods), Amy Sweetman (Tomy), Jay Norton (Tomy) and Severine Hemms (Tomy).

Right: A competitive game of BBC-themed 'higher or lower' got the room on their feet and their hands in the air!

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Inset: Progressive Preschool's Rob Willis and Jacqui Parr began proceedings with a speech thanking the industry for its support and dedication over the past year.

Inset: Peppa and George Pig took charge of the meeting and greeting as guests arrived for the champagne reception – Thamim Ahmed (Argos), Peppa Pig, Katie (eOne) and Anna Landi (Argos). Below: The now-famous Progressive Preschool goody bags were supplied by SkipHop and jam-packed with all manner of presents from some very generous suppliers.

Inset: Yogi Parmar (Toymaster), Richard White (Fords of Oakham), James Colclough (Newark Toymaster) and Liam Nash (Newark Toymaster), enjoying a glass at the champagne reception.

Below: Unpacking the toys, books and other surprises from inside the goody bags is like Christmas come early!

Above: The fabulous Light Fund raffle prizes were revealed by Max Publishing joint directors Jakki Brown and Ian Hyder. Right: The Entertainer's Phil Geary was delighted to be the 'last man standing', and was kindly presented with a bottle of champagne by the BBC's Henry Foulds.

Above: The room was upstanding to celebrate Eric White of East Coast Nursery being named as the worthy winner of the Progressive Preschool Outstanding Achievement Award. Right: Obaby's Darren Pumfrett and Grant Koston perusing the programme and predicting the afternoon's winners. Left: A hilarious preschool-themed set from Jo CaulďŹ eld set the tone for the afternoon's celebrations.

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Inset: JoJo Maman Bebe's Jade Crow made sure she got a photo with Peppa Pig after the awards.

Above: It was all eyes on the screen as the room enjoyed a recap of what's been happening over the last year in the preschool world. Right: The Toys R Us team – Will Fletcher and James Luff – enjoyed a glass of champagne before lunch. Below: Super style! Amy Walker and Corrine Northover from M&Co kept an eye on the afternoon's fashion.

Inset: Mothercare's Fiona Robinson, Motorola's Joel Lucy and Riseanne Winthrop, also from Mothercare, take time to talk before lunch gets underway.

Inset: Asda's Ruth Golightly, Hasbro's Holly Oldham and Mattel's Barbara Robinson are ladies who lunch!

Above: Joie's David Welsh gets into the spirit of the higher lower game.

Above: Tristan Brooks of Arena Azure and Richard Pink of Pink Consultancy embracing their bromance. Left: Time to celebrate for Hippychick's Alan Houghton, Kelly Linthorne and Jeremy Minchin. Below: No such thing as too many handbags! The SkipHop goody bags went down a storm.

Inset: Rob Willis and Jacqui Parr with Eric White, chairman of East Coast Nursery, shortly after he was named winner of the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award.

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Best Supermarket Retailer of Preschool Products Sponsored by Criteria: Nominees could be UK-based supermarket retailers selling preschool product including nursery, toy, apparel and gift. These awards are for retailers' approach and achievements in the preschool market over the last year.

WINNER

Initial reaction: “I am extremely pleased and excited that Tesco won the award for Best Supermarket Retailer of Preschool Products and it’s great to see all of our hard work pay off. We were up against lots of other fantastic retailers and I was delighted to hear my name being called to accept the trophy.” Natalie Ackerman, commercial general manager, Tesco

Tesco

Top right: The Tesco team, led by commercial general manager Natalie Ackerman (with trophy), accepted the award for Best Supermarket Retailer from Cooneen By Design's director, Mike Coles. Right: Cooneen By Design's director, Mike Coles, prepares to open the golden envelope and reveal the first winner of the day.

Other finalists were:

Aldi

28

Asda

PROGRESSIVE PRESCHOOL AWARDS

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Lidl

Morrisons

Sainsbury’s


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Best Multiple Retailer of Preschool Products Sponsored by

Misirli

creating essentials with flair

Criteria: Nominees could be UK-based retailers with five or more stores, selling preschool product including nursery, toy, apparel and gift. These awards are for retailers' approach and achievements in the preschool market over the last year.

WINNER JoJo Maman Bébé

Top right: Misirli's licensing and design executive, Faye Rashad took to the stage to present JoJo Maman Bébé's buying director, Harriet Blanchet with the trophy. Right: Harriet was pleased to be able to share the prestigious win with Jade Crow, JoJo Maman Bébé's assistant buyer, branded goods.

Initial reaction: "We were absolutely delighted to win the Progressive Preschool Award for Best Multiple Retailer of Preschool Products. The team work hard all year round to source the most innovative, highest quality products on the market and it’s great to see our hard work pay off." JoJo Maman Bébé’s buying director, Harriet Blanchet.

Other finalists were:

The Entertainer

Hamleys

Mothercare

Smyths

Toys R Us

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Best Mixed Retailer of Preschool Products Sponsored by Criteria: Nominees could be UK-based retailers specialising in other areas but also selling preschool product including nursery, toy, apparel and gift. These awards are for retailers' approach and achievements in the preschool market over the last year.

WINNER

Initial reaction: “The ‘Mixed Retailer’ category is a severely competitive award, so to have won was shocking but is also a great privilege. It’s an amazing feeling that all the hard work from the team over the last two years has been rewarded with back to back awards.” Thamim Ahmed, assistant buyer, Argos

Sainsbury’s Argos

Top right: Argos' assistant buyer Thamim Ahmed and buying administration assistant Anna Landi accept the award from Rainbow Design’s managing director, Anthony Temple. Right: Thamim and Anna were delighted to be taking the award back to Argos' headquarters.

Other finalists were:

B&M

30

Boots

PROGRESSIVE PRESCHOOL AWARDS

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M&S

Matalan

Primark


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Best Department Store Retailer of Preschool Products Sponsored by Criteria: Nominees could be UK-based department stores selling preschool product including nursery, toy, apparel and gift. These awards are for retailers' approach and achievements in the preschool market over the last year.

WINNER John Lewis

Initial reaction: “We have worked super hard this year to curate the assortment delivering a compelling offer to all our customers. I was delighted to accept the award on behalf of the all our nursery teams in head office, shops and distribution centres.” Michelle McGuire, nursery essentials buyer, John Lewis

Top right: Presenting the award to the John Lewis buying team was Blues Clothing’s licensing director, Patrick Bailey. Right: Taking the trophy back to John Lewis were nursery essentials buyer Michelle McGuire and assistant merchandiser Laura Tudor (right).

Other finalists were:

Bentalls of Kingston

Debenhams

Fords of Oakham

Harrods

JH Lorimer

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Best Online Retailer of Preschool Products Sponsored by Criteria: Nominees could be UK-based online retailers selling preschool product including nursery, toy, apparel and gift. These awards are for retailers' approach and achievements in the preschool market over the last year.

WINNER Amazon.co.uk

Top right: James French, head of vendor management – toys, UK, Amazon Right: Marianne James, Nickelodeon's vice president of commercial partnerships, consumer products and experiences, prepares to announce the winner.

Initial reaction: “When it was announced I felt very proud of the team and happy that they had something to show for all their hard work. The trophy will have pride of place among our toys and games and will serve as a reminder of all those happy customers. We were up against some strong nominees who know their industries well, which made me all the more grateful.” James French, head of vendor management – toys, UK, Amazon

Other finalists were:

Kiddicare.com

32

Pramworld.co.uk

PROGRESSIVE PRESCHOOL AWARDS

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Tesco.com

Uberkids.co.uk

Very.co.uk


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Best Preschool Retail Initiative Sponsored by Criteria: Nominees could be UK-based retailers selling preschool product that has undertaken an activity or series of activities to promote the preschool market. These awards are for a retailer's specific initiative or its overall approach over the last year.

WINNER JoJo Maman Bébé

Top right: Tomy's UK sales director, Kingsley Matthews presented the award to (l - r) JoJo Maman Bébé’s buying director, Harriet Blanchet and assistant buyer (branded goods) Jade Crow.

Right: Kingsley Matthews, UK sales director at Tomy, prepares to open the golden envelope and reveal the winner.

Initial reaction: "Winning a second award was just thrilling and we are especially pleased to be recognised for the One Mother to Another initiative, as we are very proud of all the work that went into it and what we have achieved. The Progressive Preschool Awards are always such an enjoyable afternoon catching up with everyone in the industry." JoJo Maman Bébé’s buying director, Harriet Blanchet

Other finalists were:

Barnardo’s for its merchandise and event partnership with Teletubbies

Hamleys for its Christmas toy parade

Mothercare for its social media campaigns with Amanda Jenner’s Potty Training Academy

Mums, Tums and Babies for its community-based pre-loved initiative

Tales On Moon Lane for its Jolly Phonics sessions

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Best Independent Nursery Retailer Sponsored by Criteria: Nominees could be UK-based retailers selling nursery product. These awards are for retailers' approach and achievements in the preschool market over the last year.

WINNER A3 Baby Barn, Chessington

Top right: Fittingly, East Coast Group’s chairman, Eric White, presented the award for Best Independent Nursery Retailer to the entire A3 Baby Barn team, led by owner Amanda Heppel. Right: A3 Baby Barn’s owner Amanda Heppel was delighted to be able to take the award back to her shop.

Initial reaction: “Initial reaction disbelief then just so pleased for my fantastic team who work so hard to give all our customers a personal five-star service every day. I am so happy I took the decision to shut the shop and have them with me at The Dorchester to share the moment.” Amanda Heppel, owner, A3 Baby Barn

Other finalists were:

BushBabes, Cheshunt

34

Great Expectations, Brighton

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Lesters Nursery World, Manchester

Natural Baby Shower, Bagshot

PreciousLittleOne, Grantham


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Best Independent Apparel Retailer Sponsored by Criteria: Nominees could be UK-based retailers selling preschool clothing and accessories. These awards are for retailers' approach and achievements in the preschool market over the last year.

WINNER The Pud Store, Newark

Top right: Frances Bishop, owner of The Pud Store accepted the award for Best Independent Apparel Retailer from Amscan International’s licensing director Mel Beer.

Right: Frances was very pleased to be able to accept the award on behalf of the whole The Pud Store team.

Initial reaction: “It's no secret that retail is competitive, so to be told by industry experts that you're going in the right direction means the absolute world. The PPS Awards are seriously valued by my suppliers, so it’s great to be endorsed in this way.” Frances Bishop, owner, The Pud Store

Other finalists were:

Chickadee, Cirencester

Our Kid, Manchester

Panache Kids, Hoddesdon

Popsy & Peanut, Towcester

Ragamuffin, New Alresford

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Best Independent Toy Retailer Sponsored by Criteria: Nominees could be UK-based retailers selling toys and other play product. These awards are for retailers' approach and achievements in the preschool market over the last year.

WINNER Eve’s Toy Shop, Llandeilo

Top right: Golden Bear's sales director Julie Taylor was delighted to present the award to Jayne Rees, the owner of Eve’s Toy Shop.

Right: Jayne Rees, owner, Eve’s Toy Shop takes the trophy back to her husband as they prepare to celebrate!

Other finalists were:

Cuthberts Toys, St. Albans

36

Hubbard’s Toy Cupboard, Hinckley

PROGRESSIVE PRESCHOOL AWARDS

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Initial reaction: “It was the most amazing moment, things like this just don't happen to me! As we heard our name it seemed the words were coming out in slow motion. I couldn't believe it! Absolute shock, disbelief, excitement and pure joy! I carried the award around with me for the next two days showing it to everyone! It's now sitting beautifully in our shop window. Still can't take it in. Can't believe we did it! It's amazing, Thank you.” Jayne Rees, owner, Eve’s Toy Shop

Moons Toymaster, Newmarket

My Small World Toy Store, Bath

Newark Toymaster, Newark


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Best Independent Giftware Retailer Sponsored by Criteria: Nominees could be UK-based retailers selling preschool gift product. These awards are for retailers' approach and achievements in the preschool market over the last year.

WINNER Kids Stuff Toys, Chichester

Initial reaction: “We’re so thrilled to have received this award. It was completely unexpected and we wish to thank everyone who made it possible. It shall stand pride of place in store.” Becky Douglas, marketing manager, Kids Stuff Toys

Top right: Presenting the award for Baby Brands Direct, Carly Willis was pleased to be able to present the award to Becky Douglas, marketing manager of Kids Stuff Toys.

Right: Becky Douglas, marketing manager of Kids Stuff Toys celebrates her win with the Toymaster team.

Other finalists were:

Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique, Worthing

Pickles & Poppets, Bristol

Poppets, Hove

Raspberry Rascals, Bury St. Edmunds

Semmalina Star Bags, Westminster

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Best Preschool Apparel and Accessories Range

Sponsored by

Criteria: Open to all apparel and accessories aimed at 0-5 year olds. This includes nightwear, daywear, outerwear, underwear, footwear, dress-up as well as accessories as bibs, changing bags, swimwear aids. To qualify all products entered must have launched at retail in the UK between 8 July 2016 and 7 July 2017.

WINNER Peppa Pig Baby Range from Blues Clothing/Brecrest for Tesco

Top right: The Blues Clothing team is presented with the trophy by DHX Brands' vp of global brand management, Tor Bushell (far right). Right: Blues Clothing’s licensing director, Patrick Bailey was delighted to be named the winner of the Best Preschool Apparel Range.

Initial reaction: "At Blues Clothing we were thrilled to be nominated and it was a fantastic surprise to win this hotly contented category! It was great to collaborate with the teams at eOne and Tesco to bring this range to retail and win this prestigious award." Patrick Bailey, licensing director, Blues Clothing

Other finalists were:

In the Night Garden Range for Boots from Aykroyd and Sons

Fox Collection from Blade & Rose

SS 17 Peter Rabbit Range from Paul Dennicci for TU

The Gruffalo Collection for Sainsbury’s from Magic Light Pictures

Ride On Flamingo from Travis Designs

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Sponsored by

Best Preschool Toy Range Criteria: Open to all toys and games aimed at 0 – 5 year olds. To qualify all products entered must have launched at retail in the UK between 8 July 2016 and 7 July 2017.

WINNER Sensory Range from Infantino

Top right: Andre was delighted to accept the award from BBC Worldwide's Jason Easy on behalf of the whole Infantino team.

Initial reaction: “We are so very proud that Infantino BKids has won this award. This gives us confidence in the future and will be and good support for our future development and introduction of new lines in UK and Europe.” Andre Delore, European general manger, Infantino

Right: Jason Easy, head of licensing at BBC Worldwide, was pleased to reveal the winner.

Other finalists were:

JCB Pop-Up Workbench from HTI

Playfoam Range from Learning Resources

Light ‘n Go Range from Little Tikes

The World of Eric Carle Craft Range from Rainbow Designs

Paw Patrol Range from Spin Master

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Best Preschool STEM Range

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Criteria: Open to all technology-based, developmental or STEM product aimed at 0-5 year olds. To qualify all products entered must have launched at retail in the UK between 8 July 2016 and 7 July 2017.

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WINNER Cook ‘n Learn Smart Kitchens from Little Tikes

Top right: Michelle Lilley took to the stage to receive the Litle Tikes award from Fundamentally Children's founder and managing director Amanda Gummer. Right: Michelle was delighted to be taking the award back to the Little Tikes team.

Other finalists were:

Magicube Range from Geomag

4M Thinking Kids from Great Gizmos

Initial reaction: “Roleplay is such a big category for us here at Little Tikes and this award win - for our Cook ‘n Learn Smart Kitchen - reinforces the success of our STEM toy range. Creating integrated play for preschoolers has never been so fun. Our Construct ‘n Learn Smart Work Bench has proved equally as popular and we have lots of exciting STEM launches to come in 2018.” Michelle Lilley, UK marketing manager, Little Tikes

'I Learn...' Educational Learning Range from Jumbo Games

Sweet Treats Learning Café from Leapfrog

Peppa Pig Laugh & Learn Alphaphonics Range from Trends UK

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Best Preschool Reading or Writing Range

Sponsored by

Criteria: Open to all books, comics and greeting cards aimed at 0-5 year olds. To qualify all products entered must have launched at retail in the UK between 8 July 2016 and 7 July 2017.

Initial reaction: “As a team, Centum Books were thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Best Preschool Reading or Writing Range Award, amongst some very stiff competition! When we were announced the winner, I was excited and so pleased to be able to accept this award on behalf of a wonderful team! Fiona Macmillan, managing director, Centum Books

WINNER Play-Doh Activity Books from Centum Books

Top right: Fiona Macmillan, managing director at Centum Books and Holly Oldham, licensing director at Hasbro, are presented with the award by Julie Jones, managing director at Redan Publishing. Right: Fiona and Holly prepare to celebrate the team win.

Other ďŹ nalists were: n Cas y Ru sell Julian

ove You IL ow and Foreve N

Hide and Spot: Zoo on the move from Egmont Publishing

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I Love You Now and Forever from Parragon Books

World of Eric Carle Activity Publishing Range from Parragon Books

Wipe Clean Dot-to-Dot Range from Top That Publishing

All You Need To Know Before You Start School from Usborne Publishing

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Elegance, Style & Quality

The timeless Obaby Stamford furniture offers families the perfect combination of style, quality and practicality. At the heart of the range is the beautiful Stamford sleigh cot bed, with its elegant scroll design offering traditional styling with a contemporary finish. For those looking for all of the great features of a full size cot bed but with limited space, the Stamford mini sleigh cot bed is the perfect option. Toy box

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Best Preschool Home or Furniture Range

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Criteria: Open to all bedding, furniture, lighting and home décor products aimed at 0-5 year olds. To qualify all products entered must have launched at retail in the UK between 8 July 2016 and 7 July 2017.

WINNER Stamford Furniture Range from Obaby Top right: Obaby's managing director Darren Pumfrett and operations manager Grant Koston accepted the award from Harrogate International Nursery Fair's event organiser, Adrian Sneyd. Right: Harrogate International Nursery Fair's event organiser, Adrian Sneyd, prepared to reveal the winner.

Initial reaction: “We have worked hard this year to provide a top quality range of furniture that gives customers a stylish and luxury product at an affordable price. This award is a reward for everyone at Obaby that have all helped the Stamford range become as successful as it has this year. We look forward to expanding this award-winning range next year too.” Darren Pumfrett, managing director, Obaby

Other finalists were:

Breathable Bedside Crib and Mattress from Little Chick London

Little Star Dove Moses Basket from Moba

Folding Cot from Mothercare

Winnie The Pooh Little Adventures Range for Babies ‘r’ Us from Silvercloud

Cozee Bedside Crib from Tutti Bambini

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Best Preschool Gift Range

Sponsored by

Criteria: Open to all giftware products aimed at 0-5 year olds. To qualify all products entered must have launched at retail in the UK between 8 July 2016 and 7 July 2017.

WINNER Peter Rabbit Little Guides from Signature Gifts

Top right: Signature Gift's trade marketing manager Kat Whittingham and ceo Kevin Spindler, join Lisle Licensing’s Gayle Goldsmith on stage. Right: Lisle Licensing’s Gayle Goldsmith prepares to call the winner to the stage as she announces the winner of the Best Preschool Gift Range.

Initial reaction: “Winning this category was such a surprise as we were up against some stiff competition. We’re all about traditional gifts for little ones, and we’re so happy that Peter Rabbit is still so iconic today. Being recognised for the hard work that went into these books and the branding of them feels so rewarding.” Kat Whittingham, trade marketing manager, Signature Gifts

Other finalists were:

GOSH Peter Rabbit Range from Enesco

Ollie The Owl Sound and Light Sleep Aid from The Gro Company

The Baby Bundle Milestone Baby Gro from PHP Gift & Baby

LuluJo’s I Will Move Mountains Baby’s First Year Milestone Blanket from Potwells

My First Thomas & Friends Range from Rainbow Designs

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Best Preschool Mobility Range

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Criteria: Open to all prams, pushchairs, car seats and infant carriers aimed at 0-5 year olds. To qualify all products entered must have launched at retail in the UK between 8 July 2016 and 7 July 2017.

WINNER Spin 360 Car Seat from Joie

Top right: David Welsh, managing director of Joie UK, comes to the stage to accept the award from Baby and Toddler Show group show manager Clare Barker. Right: David and trade marketing manager Simon Hingley prepare to celebrate their win!

Initial reaction: “Our first time at the PPS awards and it was a really great event! We were thrilled to win top honours at the first attempt, with great recognition for the Spin 360 car seat, in what was clearly a wide ranging and hotly contested nursery category." David Welsh, managing director, Joie UK

Other finalists were:

Hybrid City Stroller from BabyStyle

Quantum multi-mode travel stroller from Diono

Guardianfix 3 Car Seat from Kiddy

Book S51 Pop-Up Modular Travel System from Peg Perego

Push Me Fusion Travel System from Red Kite

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Best Preschool Essentials Range

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Criteria: Open to all feeding, sleeping, travel and other essential products aimed at 0-5 year olds. To qualify all products entered must have launched at retail in the UK between 8 July 2016 and 7 July 2017.

WINNER My Carry Potty Range from Cheeky Rascals

Top right: Amanda Jenner, inventor of My Carry Potty was over the moon to collect the award from Ardega Nursery Distribution's company director, Nick Hampton. Right: Team hug! Amanda celebrates with husband Darren Jenner and colleague Fiona Mercer.

Initial reaction: “When I heard My Carry Potty being called out as the winner, I had the most overwhelming feeling of happiness. I felt honoured to collect my award in front of all the other amazing people in the room, after a year of hard work Progressive Preschool awards make it all worthwhile. Thank you so much for recognising us.” Amanda Jenner, inventor, My Carry Potty

Other finalists were:

Motorola Connect Monitors Range from Ardega Nursery Distribution

Dr Brown’s Anti-Colic Baby Bottles from Central Medical Supplies

Go GaGa Activity Range from Infantino

Onco Baby Bamboo Bowl & Spoon Set from Onco

Illumipad Changing Pad & Cover from Prince Lionheart

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45% OF BABY CARE SHOPPERS ARE UNDERTAKING MORE ONLINE RESEARCH THAN LAST YEAR* Retail is changing. Parents expect the same shopper experience when buying for their child.

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The Innovation Award

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Criteria: This special award is for one specific item of any discipline that show outstanding innovation in its design or technical function. To qualify all products entered must have launched at retail in the UK between 8 July 2016 and 7 July 2017.

WINNER Children’s Cutlery from Nana’s Manners

Top right:Cheeky Rascals’ director, Selena Russell presented the award to Kathryn Baldrey-Chourio and husband Chris. Right: Kathryn and Chris BaldreyChourio are delighted to be taking the winners' trophy home.

Initial reaction: “This was our first year at the PPS awards. We were delighted to be in the final for the Innovation Award, especially up against five other great products. When we were announced it was a surreal moment and it took a few seconds to sink in! To have our launch product recognised by the industry for innovation in the children’s market is phenomenal.” Kathryn Baldrey-Chourio, founder and director, Nana’s Manners

Other finalists were:

Tidy Tot Bib and Tray Kit from Be Baby

Angelcare AC517 Video, Wireless Movement & Sound Baby Monitor from Hardenberg&Co

Tron Disposable Potty from Hippychick

Kidsflush, Toilet Training Aid from KidsDo

Jacket Expander Panel from Zip Us In

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From outdoor rides to softer sides

www.hippychick.com 01278 434440

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Best Wholesaler or Distributor Award

Sponsored by

Criteria: Open to all distributors and wholesalers of infant and preschool product, operating in the UK. Companies must be successfully trading, and are entered based on excellence in product selection, marketing, retail support, distribution potential, customer care and online activity.

WINNER Hippychick

Top right: Presenting the award to Jeremy was We Made Me’s global head of babywearing, carriers and accessories, Daniel Lucas. Right: Over the moon with the award, Hippychick's sales director Jeremy Minchin is happy to show off the trophy.

Initial reaction: “My initial feeling was one of absolute elation and pride. To be told by your customers and all those that you are trying to give a great service to that you are the best at doing so is a very special feeling. It is a true testament to the entire team at Hippychick, and Julia and I are eternally grateful for their hard work and dedication in the last 12 months. The trophy has taken pride of place in the office, and we have given every member of staff a much deserved additional days holiday as our thanks to them. One of the best days in the 18 years we have been in this business!” Jeremy Minchin, sales director, Hippychick

Other finalists were:

Ardega Nursery Distribution

Baby Brands Direct

Cheeky Rascals

Kayes Wholesale

Little Concepts

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Sponsored by

Best Preschool Marketing and Communication Campaign Criteria: The campaign can cover any kind of marketing communication including TV advertising, PR campaign, promotion, sponsorship or other initiative for any preschool product or service. It must have appeared in the UK market during the period between July 8 2016 and July 7 2017.

WINNER

Initial reaction: "We are so delighted to receive this prestigious marketing award in recognition of the hard work and creativity from the DHX Brands team along with the RHS. In the Night Garden and RHS have proved to be a strong partnership and we look forward to working on further initiatives to engage more young fans." Tor Bushell, vp of brand management, DHX

In The Night Garden and RHS Anniversary Collaborations Top right: Tor Bushell, DHX’s vp of brand management, was called to the stage to be presented with the award by MiPR Global’s marketing director, Ruth Leonard. Right: DHX’s vp of brand management Tor Bushell and live events and attractions manager (global) Danielle Tanton (l-r) were delighted to be able to take the trophy back to the team.

Other finalists were: ook, Bed: Bathp,s B to a better night’s sleep Simple stte

p at night Getting young children to slee b at t le doesn’t have to be a bedtime

o kBed #BathBoo

Peppa Pig © ABD Ltd/Entt. One

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Gruffalo River Ride Adventure at Chessington World of Adventures

Medela's Big Breastfeeding Café

Teletubbies 20th anniversary celebrations

Twirlywoos and RSPB Wildlife Watch

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Liberty Cot Bed shown in Bed mode

nursery@east-coast.co.uk

eastcoastnursery.co.uk

01692 408802

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Outstanding Achievement Award Sponsored by Criteria: The outstanding achievement award is open to all individuals in the preschool sector, be they retail, supplier, licensing or otherwise. Nominations were sought by way of recommendation, based on individual achievement, knowledge and performance in the preschool aged industry.

WINNER Eric White, chairman, East Coast Nursery Right: Eric White, chairman of East Coast Nursery is overwhelmed to be able to accept the Outstanding Achievement Award from Toymaster's operations director, Yogi Parmar.

Initial reaction: "I don't really know where to start, but I'd like to thank everyone for the great surprise yesterday with the Outstanding Achievement Award. After spending so much of my life in the nursery industry this is a great honour for me. I really appreciated the wonderful introduction and the way that it led up to the winners announcement. I'm not sure I deserved it, but by the end, even I believed that I have contributed to our lovely nursery industry. It was a real honour to be given such an accolade while surrounded by so many key players in our fantastic industry and I'd like to thank everyone involved." Eric White, chairman, East Coast Nursery Left: In an emotional speech Eric spoke of the importance of forging partnerships with retailers based on trust and understanding and paid tribute to his wife Gloria.

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F EED B AC K

TALKING SHOP

Inset: A quiet moment before the PPSA judging began!

Back in August, a number of fabulous buyers and retailers from all walks of the preschool world came together to select the finalists and eventual winners for the product categories of the Progressive Preschool Awards 2017. Of course, PPS couldn’t pass up the chance for a good natter about how business has been – and here’s what we found out. Louise Pearson, head of retail, Drayton Manor

Corrine Northover and Amy Walker, apparel buyers, M&Co

We carry quite a few preschool lines – toys, clothing, “ homeware and gifts. Gifts are big business for us –

There’s a lot of variety here, the submissions are a good rage of different product – there’s been a lot of interaction on our part, it’s great to see what is out there! We don’t tend to carry a great deal of licensed product – our clothing lines focus more on classic baby and gift sets. A lot of it is bought as a present by family members, so we have a lot of traditional themes and colours – it’s a more mature handwriting, aimed at those who are willing to spend a little bit more. Having said that, we do carry a few classic licenses, such as Disney’s Mickey, Minnie and Winnie the Pooh – these always sell well for us. We also tried Guess How Much I Love You quite recently and that was very popular too..

grandparents are especially big gift buyers! They buy a lot of Thomas & Friends product, unsurprisingly. There are so many more electronic toy options these days – things which light up and get kids to interact with them. I think it’s a good thing, it keeps them in the physical world and away from their iPads. We also find that nursery ranges of popular brands are selling well. We have quite a few Thomas exclusives so we are able to range products quite well, with some impulse buys at about £5 right up to some much higher price points. I think what we’re seeing here today is really reflective of the preschool market; there’s a lot of different product to choose from so it’s not easy to choose the winners! But it is really helpful to see everything set out at one time, it’s a nice snapshot of the industry.

Left: Louise got hands-on with the buggies and travel systems in the mobility category.

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Above: The M&Co buying team turned out in force: (l-r) Phillipa Welch, Corinne Northover, Amy Walker and Laura Jolley.

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FEEDB ACK Amanda Heppell, owner, A3 Baby Barn

Natalie Ackerman and Jade Vincent, buyers, Tesco

Business for us “ in 2017 has definitely

We’ve seen lots of newness coming through in the last year, which is really promising and reflects very well on the industry. Suppliers have been expanding existing ranges and introducing new ranges, which is always a good sign. The toddler market does really well for us and we’re always looking for something new. PJ Masks is expected to do well for us in the future, so we’re looking forward to that. Our consumers are always looking for something fresh! Our Tesco baby events have given us plenty of opportunity to look at the nursery market and we’ve noticed that lots of licenses have started to target younger age groups; Paw Patrol and Thomas &

Friends are two that spring to mind as they move into the baby market. STEM is an interesting new category for the awards – there is so much of this type of product on the market now, and its good to see that recognised here. The apparel ranging was very good, it’s great to see how it all sits together when it’s all laid out in one place. It paints a very positive picture of the market.

Above: Natalie (left) and Jade making sure they are happy with their selections.

Sally Podzemny, buyer, Primark Performance has been really strong across our baby sector (up to 18-months) in the last year and so we’ve been really concentrating on growing that category. Childrenswear in general is phenomenal for us, especially across licensed lines. Disney licenses are key as well, with Winnie The Pooh, Dumbo and Mickey and Minnie Mouse all doing well for this age bracket. New licenses coming through include Tiny Tatty Teddy and some Peppa Pig nightwear – we are ramping up our licensed offering as they are so important to us. Today has been interesting, and it’s great to be able to see what’s going on in the market. There haven’t been any major surprises really, but it’s nice to see the classic licenses all doing well. It’s not been easy to choose my favourites, I’ve had to really think about it. You need to wear two different hats in order look at each product from both the commercial perspective and that of the consumer.

been up on last year, especially across wheeled goods and car seats. There is a real trend for pushchairs which can be used again or in a different way. People are looking for longevity and in doing so are buying a little bit smarter. We have seen lots of people coming in for advice rather than buying online, which is always promising. All our staff have regular training so they can be sure they are offering accurate advice. The iSize legislation has been great for us and we’ve been getting plenty of positive feedback for helping people feel confident that they are getting what they need. Social media is increasingly important to us as well. We have found that engaging online makes a big difference, especially if you make your content interactive and helpful. Being an independent retailer does mean you have a bit more freedom to be proactive! We are a little concerned about next year, primarily because of price changes down to the fluctuating exchange rate. We will be approaching it all very cautiously. The product on show here today is a good representation of the market – there is a lot of licensed product! I found some categories much easier to judge than others but it’s always nice to see such a broad cross-section of the industry and it’s nice to have things we can champion.

Above: Amanda gives a shout out to the imzi carrier, from Cheeky Rascals.

Left: Playing with toys is all part of the job, as Sally found out!

Lesley Whitehouse, Devlin Lindeque, Kirsti Lynch and Amy Whittard, buying team, Mothercare Clothing has been challenging generally over the “ past year. There has been more competition and

we are up against an increasing number of fashionforward retailers, although we’ve had a very successful rebrand of both the Little Bird and My K brands. The toy market has been challenging as well, with much of the new product coming to market being led by the popular licenses. That’s reflected quite clearly in the product on show here. Paw Patrol is a really strong, up-and-coming brand, but for us, Peppa Pig is still head and shoulders over everything else. Home and travel have been very strong categories for us over the past year. We’ve been really focusing

on the pushchair market and brands within that which are strong. Selling exclusive lines has been a very successful strategy for us. Co-sleeping products are popular at the moment and it’s great to see those represented here. In general, this is a fair representation of the marketplace as as a whole – it’s great to see what is and isn’t happening across the sector. The next year is going to be challenging from a pricing perspective. People are being more careful with their money and feel the need to justify their spending.

Above left: Devlin (left) and Lesley took their time looking through the apparel category. Above right: Amy (left) and Kirsti compared notes over the preschool essentials.

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COLU MN I ST

A PARENT PLASTIC FANTASTIC PERSPECTIVE In her latest column for Progressive Preschool, columnist Lisa – a blogger, graphic designer and parent to two-year-old Taylor – explains why she’ll be embracing the plastic onslaught that is a toddler’s present pile at Christmas.

Honest and upfront thoughts on parenting from columnist, blogger and parent-of-one Lisa Beever. www.leeleeloves.co.uk

T

he festive season is upon us and I cannot wait! I’ve always loved Christmas. It’s definitely something my mum drummed into me from a young age, she was a huge fan of Christmas time. I often thought she got more excited than us kids. She just loved the excitement and the build up to the big day and it certainly rubbed off on me. You can find me drinking gingerbread lattes next a to a festive scented candle in September. If people weren’t so judgmental I’d probably already have the tree up as well. There’s only one thing better than Christmas itself, and that’s Christmas with children! Everything changes when you have children, suddenly all the traditions and special little touches you love become all about making them happy and injecting a little bit of that seasonal magic into their lives. And I love it! We’ve had two Christmases as parents so far and it’s becoming

more exciting with each passing year, as Taylor grows older and begins to look forward to it and understand what all the fuss is about. In previous years I’ve been able to choose exactly what I want Taylor to be given – I wrote his lists, chose his presents, gave other people suggestions – he was too young to have any preference and so it was an opportunity to stock up on beautiful wooden toys and cute outfits. Charming gifts any toddler would appreciate. He wasn’t fussy. (And if we’re being truly honest, he was happy with a cardboard box and a piece of wrapping paper.) But this year is looking a little different. It’s looking plastic. Now, at the ripe old age of almostthree, Taylor knows exactly what Bottom: Cars-loving Taylor watches a movie with The Ultimate Lightning McQueen from Sphero. Below: The Thomas & Friends My First Railway Pals Destination Discovery playset by Mattel.

he wants. We have attention-grabbing television adverts and the YouTube kids channel to thank for that. Are the days of circling your favourite items in catalogues already behind us? It seems that today’s children are being told which are their mostwanted items by watching other kids opening toys on YouTube. And it works. If a 5ft long Cars 3 Florida Speedway isn’t under the tree this Christmas I imagine Taylor will be a disappointed boy. He’s watched the

videos of it and can already tell me how it works without ever having so much as touched one. I’ve tried convincing my partner that a beautiful wooden garage and road set would be nicer, but he had to remind me that Christmas is about what the children want. Not just what we want them to have. And he’s right. I can just imagine how excited Taylor will be on Christmas morning if Santa Claus brings Cars 3, PJ Masks, Dinotrux and Transformers. He’ll be overjoyed. Although Mummy would rather see a beautiful selection of colourful wooden toys like previous years, the thought of his happiness has swayed my decision. Bring on the plastic race tracks, superhero costumes and Cars pyjamas. Once your child starts talking about Santa Claus, elves, Jesus, good behaviour (and of course, the presents!), it’s fair to say they’ll also be working out what toys they want to ask him for! Whether they have been influenced by social media marketing or not. I’m taking it upon myself to embrace the plastic mountain that is likely to grace our Christmas tree this year. Taylor understands the concept of Christmas. He’s finally getting excited by the idea of it all and if that means a whopping great big plastic race track is a part of that – well, who am I to say no?”

TOP TOYS FOR CHRISTMAS 2017 ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

LOL surprise dolls Cars 3 Florida Speedway PJ Masks Deluxe Headquarters Luvabella Fur Real Roarin Tyler Smartmax Hatchimals Paw Patrol Sea Patroller Sylvanian Families

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MEDI A WATCH

IN THE

Public Eye

In Media Watch, Progressive Preschool takes a look at the preschool products featuring in the consumer press and social media to find out what will be in demand at retail over the coming months. Take Three

Boob Job

The November/December issue of Baby London put baby sleeping bags to the test in its popular The Review section. Brands highlighted for their topquality baby bedding were Cheeky Rascals (the SwaddleUp was deemed best for newborns), Little Green Sheep (with a 2.5 tog recommended for winter nights) and The Gro Company (ideal for travelling thanks to its clever harness flaps).

The November issue of Gurgle magazine included a feature on fuss-free breastfeeding over the festive season. In among plenty of valuable advice and clever accessories to make the whole experience as smooth as possible, Medela’s hands-free Easy Expression bustier was chosen as the ideal pump for getting the job done as quickly and unobtrusively as possible.

Client: Source: Date: Page: Reach: Size: Value:

Stair Masters

Lumie Yellow News Reveal (Main) 21 October 2017 35 100685 584cm2 15546.08

NEWS

Safety is always a concern for parents, who are just trying their best to keep their little ones alive! This retractable stairgate from Dreambaby was deemed to be a piece of ‘Cool Kit’ by Gurgle, who featured it in the October 2017 issue. The gate was described as award-winning, with its clever mesh panelling recommended as an ideal solution for stopping active tots going too far.

HEALTH

news

IT’S A BUG’S LIGHT! that this

SUGAR, SUGAR …

If you’re worried about how much sugar your kids consume then this new recipe book by New York Times and Sunday Times author Sarah Wilson is for you. I Quit Sugar Kids’ Cookbook shows parents how to spot hidden sugars and has some fantastic fun sugar-free recipes. The book is split into helpful categories such as breakfast, lunchbox ideas, snacks and party fare. We tried out the fluffy raspberry muffins, which we all thought were totally delicious and contain rice malt syrup instead of sugar. Just perfect for an autumn snack. I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson £9.99

Manners Maketh… books

These ingenious little encourage children age 3–8 to learn good social and personal habits loo, such as washing hands after the and covering mouth when coughing throwing away tissues, not littering, being healthy etc. Set of 7 books £33.99 lifeslittlebugs.co.uk Individual books £5.99 from Waterstone’s

You’ll be relieved to hear crawly kind of bedbug isn’t the creepy from kind but a new children’s light had a light specialist Lumie. Having really Lumie myself for years, I find it and does help promote a calm bedtime gentle being a non-morning person the 15-minute sunrise works wonders! The Lumie Bedbug uses low blue-light don’t LEDs that are non-alerting and inhibit the sleep hormone, melatonin, so you can read to your child without The stimulating them before bedtime. to 15-minute sunset can either fade off or stay with a reassuring orange nightlight. Suitable from birth £59.95 johnlewis.com

GUT HEALTH

Scientists call the gut the ‘second brain’ because it is filled with neurotransmitters we usually associate with being in the brain, says London-based nutritionist Cassandra Barns. A healthy gut therefore equals a healthy brain. “Your gut is teeming with billions of bacteria, and under ideal circumstances they are kept in a healthy balance. In other words, the healthy in bacteria keep the unhealthy bacteria check,” says Cassandra. Yoghurt, such as full fat Greek yoghurt, is packed with good bacteria but if your kids, like mine, don’t like it, try a supplement instead. Kidzbiotix blackcurrant flavour chewable probiotics (each tablet containing 2 billion friendly organisms) are especially formulated for children and were taken without fuss by our little tester. £7.06 for 30 tablets superfooduk.com

TWEENS/TEENS SKINCARE

can it can be difficult to find a product you When the first spots start to appear, for organic, nurturing skincare products trust. Green People have been making Young or Oy! My two daughters, each 20 years and have just launched Organic which new range. The foaming face wash, with different skin types, tried out the their was perfect for both of them and left is applied to dry skin and rinsed off, leaving for a deeper clean. My eldest found skin feeling super clean. Use a flannel and spots. My 13-year-old has drier skin it on overnight was great for clearing the moisturiser kept her skin soft she found that using the serum underneath kind whilst covering up blemishes, is also and smooth. The tinted spot concealer, to skin. From £10



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NOV 2017

AUTISM – MUM MAKES A BREAKTHROUGH

a&u’s Suzie Skipper chats to Laura Kasbar, mum of seven, who has invented a groundbreaking new web-based programme that helps autistic children learn to speak. Laura says she didn’t realise her twins, were Max and Ana, were autistic until they was just over three years old when autism they not as widely recognised as it is now; are now 17 years old. The Gemiini System, as it has became known, is the learning out programme originally created by Laura of sheer necessity. “I thought to myself, if my children don’t look at me, how can they see my mouth? So, I had my husband video my mouth was while holding various objects and that for the magic formula to teach language her my twins,” reveals Laura. In two days 8 son was speaking select words and by with years old he had completely caught up college to accepted his peers and he was at 16. Laura began posting online that she could teach people to help their children to speak. “There are many reasons why Gemiini’s Discrete Video Modelling is so effective but I think one of the most fascinating is that it tricks the viewer’s brain into thinking that the viewer himself is doing the talking. So, it sort of works from the inside out. Once a person’s brain thinks that he is talking then the sound eventually starts to come out of his mouth.” Gemiini therapy can be started quite that literally the minute a parent suspects even their child has a speech delay. “We are than seeing some very young children, less 3 years old, go into kindergarten completely a-symptomatic after having used Gemiini for 2 years.” Laura says that while the programme can be used as a stand-alone therapy, if there is no access to live therapy, it is even more powerful when incorporated into an intensive therapy regime. Register at gemiini.org $98 (£85) per month (generous scholarships available). gemiini.org

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Client: Source: Date: Page: Reach: Size: Value:

Lumie Yellow News Closer (Main) 16 September 2017 66 223342 606cm2 8780.94

Client: Source: Date: Page: Reach: Size: Value:

Lumie Yellow News Gurgle (Main) 01 October 2017 21 17126 567cm2 6361.74

Light Up Making a name for itself all over the place this season is the Lumie Bedbug, the bedside lamp which is choc-full of features to help promote a good night’s sleep, such as low blue-light LEDs (so it’s less stimulating), a 15-minute sunset option and a nightlight function. Lumie was spotted in Closer, Reveal, Angels and Urchins and Gurgle, to name just a few!

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MEDI A WATCH

Play Time

Most Wanted

A two-page spread in October’s Cotswold Life magazine featured a fulllength interview with the directors of Orange Tree Toys. The sisters spoke about their most famous fan (Prince George) as well as the history of the business and why their carefully designed wooden toys are rapidly becoming modern classics.

The Expedition – the special edition of the Silver Cross Surf – was called a ‘class act’ in the October issue of Gurgle magazine. The versatile travel system comes with a shiny new chassis and plush new fabrics that are both ‘inspired by the golden age of travel’. The three-wheeler is recommmended as being ideal for both city life and for taking a ‘trek in the country’.

Super Sleep

Cool Clobber

The September issue of Gurgle magazine featured a whole host of Babycup coverage, with the dentist-approved cups highlighted as an ideal training cup in a feature dedicated to teething and teeth. An in-depth half page Q&A also saw midwife Sinead Tynan recommending Babycup as the best cup to use for weaning.

Good outdoor clothing is an essential piece of kit at this time of year, and Muddy Puddles is synonymous with quality weather-proofing for kids. An exciting collaboration with Tootsa McGinty to create a stylish, highperformance, unisex ski jacket was covered in both Childrenswear Buyer and in the November issue of Gurgle.

NOV 2017

Who’s Who?

The PR companies, distributors and suppliers featured in this issue of Media Watch are: Bump PR (Little Green Sheep, The Gro Company, Cheeky Rascals, Medela), TeeZed (Dreambaby), Lumie, Orange Tree Toys, Neat PR (Silver Cross and Muddy Puddles).

Baby Bird The November issue of Mother & Baby magazine featured a whole selection of bird-themed products as part of their fun fashion feature, Tweet Tweet. Leggings from Frugi featured owls, toucans and parrots, while an Orla Kiely sleeping bag from The Gro Company was given centre stage for its classic bird print motif.

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WHAT’S NEW THE GRO COMPANY The latest products from The Gro Company. HIP-HEALTHY GROSWADDLE Swaddling continues to be a growing trend for parents, who are becoming increasingly aware of infant’s hip development. Recognised as Hip-healthy by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute The Gro Company’s Hip-healthy Groswaddle is a shaped wrap designed to make swaddling simple, allowing parents to settle their newborns easily. For spring/ summer 2018 Gro has expanded its Hiphealthy Groswaddle range with two new unisex designs.

OLLIE THE OWL

GROEGG2

Ollie the Owl is the gold award winning, utterly adorable sleep aid from The Gro Company. Ollie’s sounds automatically activate when baby cries with his clever CrySensor technology, so he can soothe little ones back to sleep in an instant, without Mum or Dad having to get up. New for spring/summer 2018, Gro has given parents the opportunity to purchase other nursery essentials featuring the cute character by introducing the Ollie Family, which includes a Grobag and Grosnug.

The safe sleep experts The Gro Company has given its innovative nursery thermometer a stylish update. The Groegg2 has a sleek, soft touch silicone design and is bigger and brighter than the original. In addition to the innovative colour changing system and digital temperature display, the Groegg2 includes four adjustable brightness levels allowing parents to use it as a nightlight.

BREATHABLE TOYS The Gro Company’s Breathable Toys are made from highly permeable soft knitted mesh, with air-flow technology, which allows ventilation through the fabric. The perfect first companion for baby, Breathable Toys have been allergy tested and provide peace of mind for new parents.

SPRING/SUMMER 2018 In its latest range of award winning Grobags, The Gro Company has introduced some new fabrics such as quilted Jacquard, which is perfect for those parents looking to add a touch of luxury to their baby’s nursery. Gro has also increased its range of lightweave Grobags in gorgeous designs that have been inspired by the latest Scandi trends.

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Tel: 01392 347111 www.gro.co.uk

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COLU MN I ST

EDUCATION MATTERS ASK ANNA In her latest column for Progressive Preschool, Anna considers how toddlers benefit from educational toys and looks at how independent retailers can help educate consumers about these benefits.

Anna Taylor is a research assistant at Fundamentally Children, an organisation dedicated to helping children develop skills through play. www.fundamentallychildren.com

T

o support well-rounded development, children require a whole range of toys and activities. At Fundamentally Children we have created the concept of a ‘Play Diet’ [1] to help parents get this balance and you might be surprised to find that so-called educational toys (that is, those featuring colours, numbers, shapes or letters) are not at the top of the list. Other toys and activities, ranging from active play to arts and crafts, are excellent for giving children the skills they need to be ready learners. For example, make-believe play is great for improving social skills and language [2] which are key to school readiness [3]. However, more traditionally educational toys certainly have their place; familiarising children with letters and numbers early on boosts their confidence when they start school, so children are more likely to engage fully in class. This in turn improves a child’s confidence and the cycle continues. Educational toys have also been linked with better language comprehension [4].

The first job of an educational toy is to capture a child’s interest – it has to be something they want to play with again and again. Secondly, it needs to give parents the opportunity to reinforce learning; by offering a useful resource (such as shapes or letters that parents can name for their child) or with suggested activities that parents can use to support their child’s skills. Two to three year-olds really enjoy the fantasy of make-believe play, so educational toys with characters and props can really capture their imagination. For example, the Fiesta Crafts ABC Bus includes a collection of wooden figures, each with a diverse character on one side and a letter of the alphabet on the other. Children love making up stories about the characters, while parents can encourage their child to put the letters in alphabetical order or spell simple words. At this age children have a lot of curiosity too – this is the time of constant ‘why’ questions after all! Experimenting with cause and effect (such as pushing buttons to make a toy light up) is a popular activity and develops children’s logical thinking. The Tomy Toomies Sort & Pop Spinning UFO uses cause and effect to add an exciting twist to classic shape sorters – which encourage children to compare the features of shapes in order to match Top: The Tomy Toomies Sort & Pop Spinning UFO adds an exciting twist to classic shape sorters. Middle: The Fiesta Crafts ABC Bus includes a collection of wooden figures with letters on the side.

them – by popping the shapes out all over the room when the spaceship is pressed. This gets lots of giggles and motivates children to keep sorting the shapes over and over. Toddlers love the chance to get creative as well. Learning Resources have a wonderful Playfoam Shape & Learn Alphabet Set that adds educational value to colourful crafting foam; the set includes letter cards so children can mould the foam to match the letter shape shown. A construction set such as Magformers My First 30 (which contains simple and colourful geometric shapes) is not only great fun for toddlers to build with, but also gives parents the opportunity to teach their child about different colours and shapes (both 2D and 3D). Educational needn’t be synonymous with boring – the right toy that appeals to a toddler’s interests is a brilliant tool for a parent to have in their toolbox and will give their child a solid start in school. But introducing parents to the balanced ‘Play Diet’ approach will help them recognise the importance of having a variety of toys to encourage different types of play, all of which have something to contribute to their child’s development.” REFERENCES: [1] Gummer, A. Balancing The Play Diet. [2] White, R.E. (2012). The power of play: a research summary on play and learning. [3] Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (2012). What does “school ready” really mean? [4] Avants et al. (2012) in Sigman, A. (2015). Play - it’s in their DNA. British Toy and Hobby Association

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10-08-2017 3:49:21 PM 24/11/2017 17:00


TOY FA I R N EWCOMER S Inset: The 2017 Toy Fair was as popular as ever, featuring a who’s who from the UK toy industry.

Toy Fair Essentials WHEN: Tuesday 23 January to Thursday 25 January, 2018

All The Fun

OF THE FAIR

Toy Fair is fast approaching and UK companies are busy making their preparations for another three days of business, deal signing and networking. Among the exhibitors will be a healthy number of newcomers, too. Indeed, the Greenhouse Area has been expanded for 2018, such is the demand from upcoming talent. PPS chats to several first time exhibitors to find out what they’re looking forward to.

I

f early indications are anything to go by, Toy Fair 2018 is set to replicate – and maybe even surpass – the successful 2017 show. All floor space at London’s Olympia was sold out by October – four months ahead of the event opening its doors – and the BTHA has been busy teasing new features, such as the Toy Fair Heroes showcase. Taking their place on the show floor will be a plethora of newcomers. Notably, space in the Greenhouse Area – which is dedicated to helping small and start up companies break into the toy industry – was completely sold out by August. For 2018, the area has been extended by 80sqm (equating to 16 more stands) to accommodate the huge Right and Below: Bildy’s Jayne Bromfield is hoping to attract lots of interesting new buyers.

WHERE: Kensington Olympia, London WHO’S THERE? It’s a who’s who of the UK toy industry basically. All the major companies with preschool ranges will be in attendance including: Bigjigs Toys, Casdon, Character Options, Clementoni, Fiesta Crafts, Flair, Galt Toys, Golden Bear, Halilit, IMC Toys, Le Toy Van, Marbel, Melissa & Doug, Milly & Flynn, Playmobil, Posh Paws, Rainbow Designs, Sambro, Skiphop, Spin Master, TOMY, Vivid, VTech and WOW Toys to name a few. Check out the official website – www.toyfair.co.uk - for everything you need to know, including how to register and opening hours.

Right and below: Claudine Green is looking to raise brand awareness of Green Bean Collection.

demand and to support the ever growing talent in the industry. “It’s fantastic to have such a diverse line-up of new exhibitors at Toy Fair this year,” says Majen

Immink, director of fairs and special events at the BTHA. “Preschool toys especially have an essential part to play in entertaining and educating young children and we look forward to welcoming several companies exhibiting preschool toys and games at the show in January.” She continues: “Toy Fair is the ideal place for retailers to view the latest innovations first-hand, from some of the largest renowned toy brands through to the UK’s newest toy entrepreneurs.” For Nikki Collins, md of Max Mindpower, exhibiting at Toy Fair is the best way to get maximum exposure for the business and PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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TOY FA I R N EWCOMER S

its products. “The decision to exhibit was easy,” Nikki says. “Max Mindpower is a start-up which aims to make mindfulness accessible and easy to learn by every child in their own home – without the need for a parent to get involved. Max’s guided meditations are accessed by pressing his paws and as his exercises play, he breathes along too.” Max Mindpower Junior is also accompanied by a book series, with the titles written in rhyme. “We’re looking to attract retailers and distributors, while the type of media exposure at Toy Fair is what we’re looking forward to most,” Nikki continues. Laura Nicholson, director of Holibob Bear, is also looking to establish new relationships at the show. “We want to try and establish relationships with companies who can help market our product,” she explains. “We are exhibiting in the Greenhouse and hope we may develop some positive relationships from this.” Holibob Bear comes with a suitcase and a range of activity cards to help entertain children during holiday periods. These include the likes of stickers in a ‘pawsport’ and the chance to encourage writing skills and incentives for good behaviour. The bear comes in standard and deluxe versions with two colours to choose from (sandy and chocolate). “We want to meet others in the industry, expand our knowledge and gain further insight into other successful brands,” Laura adds. For Jeremy Bond, director of MURO, Toy Fair will act as a platform to launch the brand. He explains: “MURO believes play is a

Right and below: Laura Nicholson from Holibob Bear is looking to establish new relationships at the show.

powerful tool of learning and plans to use a modular activity wall to help parents tap into this. Toy Fair gives us the chance to be seen by the industry. It’s our launch so is a massive landmark for us. It’s going to be great to be able to talk freely with people from the industry.” Green Bean Collection, meanwhile, is a global online retailer, offering

which include paperbacks, board books and toys suitable for babies up to five-years-old.” Jayne Bromfield, founder and designer at Bildy, is looking forward to the opportunity to showcase how versatile and fun the company’s products are. Bildy designs and manufactures giant construction sets for children aged three and above. Its first product is the Bildy Megaboards, consisting Left and of a set of brightly Below: Max Mindpower’s coloured giant building Nikki Collins says the decision boards and connectors, enabling children to exhibit was easy. to build and play in structures such as a house, car, tunnel and fort. Other products in the range include a constructable dolls house and DIY connector sets. goods for babies, toddlers “Being the largest and preschool children. Founder toy fair in the UK, we’re Claudine Green says it is looking hoping to attract lots of interesting for company growth and to new buyers to come and see our raise brand awareness. She says: products,” comments Jayne. “We’re “We are excited to connect with looking to attract both independent other distributors and learn from and high street buyers who are experienced retailers. Green Bean looking for new innovative products Collection will be bringing individual that focus on open-ended play.” items and full 18-piece collections Jayne’s ultimate aim from the show is that all important retail listing: “We’d love to see Bildy stocked by both independent and high street retailers. We’d also like to partner up with key distributors with a view to getting Bildy stocked internationally.” For those looking to break into the UK toy business, Toy Fair is the perfect environment. It offers Left and above: MURO will be opportunities to showcase product using Toy Fair to key buyers, court the media as its launch and network with established platform, says director companies, picking up advice and Jeremy Bond. sharing stories. Roll on January. PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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Innovative baby tech designed to make life easier

01937 847 766 | hello@nimanshome.co.uk | www.nimanshome.co.uk

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WH OLES A LER S A N D DI STRI B U TOR S

Wholesale The

Solution

In this fast-paced world of AI technology and smart retail, wholesalers and distributors need to keep up with the rapidly changing market. PPS asked a number of key preschool wholesalers and distributors how the preschool sector has performed for them over the last 12 months and found out what they see for the future of their business.

O

ne company which certainly knows a great deal about the current state of the wholesale and distributor market in the preschool sector is Hippychick. The winner of this year’s Progressive Preschool Award for Best Wholesaler or Distributor, the company has seen a significant in demand for its ever-growing toy and nursery essential offering over the past year. “The preschool market has, as ever, continued to adapt and grow,” says marketing executive Kelly Linthorne. “We have also seen a strong growth in interest from the education and nursery sector, which proves that our products are trusted to stand up to the everyday wear and tear of those environments.” A close knit, friendly team, Hippychick has one key aim – to make

Right: Hippychick’s revolutionary SpaceCot has made a fantastic impact on the market since its arrival in February.

parents lives that little bit easier. “Product quality is of the utmost importance to us,” continues Kelly. “It is what we have been associated with for many years. We also aim for products that are practical, serve a purpose and look good.” As for the future of the wholesale/ distributor model, Kelly believes that; “there is no doubt that it is increasingly tough to remain commercially successful in a world where you are squeezed from all sides.” “As a both a distributor and importer, the last two years have been very tough in terms of currency fluctuations making goods more expensive,” she continues. “This is not helped by difficult UK market conditions with many retailers forcing even stiffer terms on their suppliers. However, good products will always shine through and it is crucial that we focus on selecting the right products with the right pricing, supporting retailers with workable margins.” Also doing well is Baby Brands Direct, which has seen further growth over the last 12

Inset: Several years of hard work by Cheeky Rascals and My Carry Potty has really started to pay off with strong multichannel sales growth and the launch of the Potty Training Academy to the Preschool education sector.

Making A Difference “Sales have grown over the last 12 months but Brexit currency chaos has badly knocked margin. We have seen strong performances from nimble and creative independent retailers who have reacted well to the year’s events. We try to offer what retailers need – ranging from good stock levels and drop shipping facilities to social media friendly marketing support – and will adapt to whatever they need in the future. We select product by looking for a good story and a strong team behind the product. The product has to be good enough to ‘make a difference’ but it takes more than just a good product to be successful. Globalisation is blurring the lines between retailer, wholesaler and distributor but we see a good future for a marketing-led and locallyfocused distribution company. I guess the biggest threat is from global players who appear to pay extremely low levels of UK tax!” Selina Russell, founder, Cheeky Rascals

months, following on from last year’s Progressive Preschool Awards win for Best Wholesaler or Distributor. Jyoti Bhatia, operations manager, believes this growth is down to stocking more ageappropriate toy ranges, name-checking Blaze and the Monster Machines, ELC’s Happy Land and Fisher-Price. “We try our best to offer a balanced portfolio of goods from reputable, well established brands,” she explained,  PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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27/11/2017 11:37


WH OLES A LER S A N D DI STRI B U TOR S

Direct To Source “We have seen an increase in direct sourcing by major retailers, so we have had to focus on supplying more of our own-brand products and supporting independent retailers with initiatives such as exclusive furniture collections. Our sales team work closely with the retailers in their areas, providing everything from in-store POS to website content and social media collaborations. We also have a dedicated after-sales team who look after requests for spare parts, etc. It’s one thing to create or supply great products, but it’s also vital to be there to back up the retailer. This can be forgotten in the excitement of direct sourcing.” Victoria Taylor, brand manager, East Coast Nursery

 “while providing relevant information

to retailers so that they are able to understand product features and select the right products for their store.” Baby Brands Direct also runs its own loyalty credit scheme alongside a myriad of other benefits (volume discounts, no minimum order value and free delivery on orders above £200). Pricing is an important part of Jyoti’s strategy. “We look at the suggested retail price as well the amount the product is actually commanding in retail stores, comparable product prices and what realistic margin is available to our retailers,” she explains. “We also ensure we can distribute it at the same trade price as retailers buying it directly from the manufacturer.” Jyoti is also realistic about the changing retail model and what that will mean for Baby Brands Direct. “The rate at which technology is changing it could soon mean same day delivery by drone,” she continues. “I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point we have retina match log-in, voice-activated ordering and fingerprint payments!” Celebrating its tenth aniversary this year is dedicated nursery distributor bébélephant, with ceo Elliot Bishop continuing to lead from the front. “Over the last ten years we have witnessed significant change in the nursery sector, which has reflected retail trends as consumers move online, away from traditional modes of shopping,” he says. “We foresaw these changes and adapted our business model accordingly, resulting

Above: East Coast’s brand new Coast range gives classic white nursery furniture an update. Right: In terms of strongest selling lines, the Lulla Doll remains a global phenomenon for bébélephant.

in our highest ever turnover and pretax profit in our last financial year.” Offering a family-based, 24/7, nononsense approach, it is testament to bébélephant’s values that retailers look to the company to act as distributor for brands they want to trial. With efficient IT systems, three courier collections each day and a smooth ordering process, no purchase order is too small (or too large!). “We are available to visit and discuss smaller bespoke orders with our cherished independent sector at any time of the day or night,” adds Elliot. “When we started trading,” he continues, “we set out to bring innovative products to the UK. Innovation has always been our guiding light, but now it’s more a case of inventors finding us!”

Predicting the future is never easy, but Elliot points out that the ongoing demise of the high street will see bebelephant constantly adapting its strategy to meet market demands. “Leaving the European Union presents immense opportunities for the British manufacturers,” he believes, “with new markets opening up.” Similarly optimistic, although for a different reason, is DCUK’s director of sales Richard Bamforth. “The fall in the value of sterling, post Brexit, really shook things up,” he says. “Thankfully we are through that and the nursery business has returned to some sort of normality.” DCUK operates primarily at the premium end of the market and although the company has seen some fall off in volume, the higher selling prices have maintained cash sales. “It’s interesting that where we offer products with a cross-section of prices, it’s the premium specification that’s selling,” reveals Richard. “We plan to move more products into that price bracket with enhanced specifications.” A range of strong brands and realistic minimum order values is the secret to DCUK’s success,  Inset: The 2017 Vista stroller from DCUK took a winning formula and made it better, addressing real parents’ concerns.

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WHAT’S NEW POTWELLS The latest products available from LuLujo Baby and 3 Sprouts - two of the brands available from Potwells Trading. LULUJO BAMBOO  SWADDLE BLANKETS These Lulujo extra large all-in-one bamboo muslin swaddling blankets are a delicate, silky soft natural alternative to its original muslin cotton swaddling blankets. Made with bamboo sourced rayon, they are generous in size, versatile and durable yet lightweight. Babies will love the silky soft texture and parents will love the versatility and range of uses. Not only used for swaddling, these wraps can also be used as a blanket, a nursing cover, a portable crib sheet, a change mat, a stroller cover, and more.

3 SPROUTS PENGUIN BATH STORAGE

LULUJO MILESTONE SETS – NEW DESIGNS

3 Sprouts penguin bath storage is the perfect spot for children’s bath stuff. Made of the same mildew resistant material used for wetsuits, this bath storage keeps toys dry and parents’ baths organised. The stretchy wide mouth makes grabbing those ‘gotta find it now’ toys a snap! Best of all, it has an easy to adhere, slip-proof suction cup which holds on tight to any tile, or glass surface.

These new sets are perfect for the modern day social parent as the muslin blanket and card combination makes the perfect prop for baby photos. Parents can snap a picture to create beautiful keepsake photos, or share with friends on social media. It allows parents to track baby’s growth during the first year. Other props and toys can be added for a personal touch.

3 SPROUTS HOODED BABY TOWELS – NEW DESIGNS Ideal for baths, or dips in the pool, these hooded towels are perfect for newborns, up to 18 months. Made of a spa grade natural terry towelling on the inside and cotton knit on the outside, both parents and babies will go wild for the animal hooded towels.

3 SPROUTS PLAY MAT BAG A great toy storage bag which doubles as a play mat, making this an easy way to keep toys in one place. The sturdy cotton material and handles make it easy to carry from room to room, and its portable, hard wearing design also means its the perfect storage bag for all those small toys. Parents can just place the full bag on the floor and open it out into a playing space, once the children are finished playing, parents can then just fold the bag and put it away.

Tel: 01530 569470 www.potwellstrading.co.uk 78

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WH OLES A LER S A N D DI STRI B U TOR S Right: The new Enchantimals range from Mattel has sold very well for Baby Brands Direct, capturing the hearts of both retailers and consumers. Below middle: The 3 Sprouts Elephant toy chest from Potwells is a popular choice throughout the preschool market.

 allowing retailers to

combine orders and top up low value items without committing to huge amounts of stock. “We always look for exclusivity in our brands and avoid products that need endless promotion where nobody understands the real price,” Richard continues. “We love innovation and products that address real parenting problems.” Richard believes that distributors bring real innovation to the UK market by searching out new products while offering flexibility with quick delivery and low minimum orders, pointing out that; “A good distributor can be a one-stop-shop for global brands for the independent retailer.” Also happy with the results of the last year is Rebecca Fuchs, head of retail sales at Nimans Home. “The preschool sector has been great for us in 2017 and has enabled us to pinpoint the products that we wish to champion,” she says, highlighting that there has been a ‘significant increase of tech products into the market’. As a company, Nimans has been around for over 30 years and has carved out an excellent reputation for supporting retail customers with expert advice

A Booming Market “All in all, 2017 has been an excellent year for Ardega. We have signed many new customers, some large, some small, but all equally important to us. We have been offered the opportunity to represent many new brands, with ideas ranging from the amazing to the insane, but on the way we have met some fantastic people. From our point of view, the nursery and preschool market is booming, with the emergence of new technologies and many new lifesaving products which can only indicate a bright and positive future.” Nick Hampton, managing director, Ardega

Above: The Snuza Hero MD from Nimans is the world’s first medically certified baby breathing monitor, offering parents the ultimate reassurance. Below: The BoJungle Digital HumiPurifier is a new line for Ardega and is expected to sell extremely well.

and service while also bringing exciting and relevant products to market. “There are several important factors we consider when selecting new products,” said Rebecca. “Does it make consumer’s lives easier? Is it unique? Does it offer value for money? But ultimately the products need to work for the retailers as well, so it is critical the products we bring to market are commercially viable for all.” Rebecca is positive about the future of the distribution and wholesale model, stating that; “It can only grow in my opinion. In an industry that sees a considerable amount of startups, mumpreneurs and international influence, companies have a serious need for a distributor or wholesaler to help them break the retail market. Working through a distributor gives these companies a great launch platform that would take significant time, effort and investment to conquer otherwise!” A distribution company with markedly less heritage is Potwells – the self-described ‘new kid on the block’. Despite being relatively new to the business, Potwells is going from strength to strength and has seen 200% growth since July 2017. “We spend a lot of time visiting our customers and profiling them so we understand exactly what we think will work for them,” explains Nicola Barnett, Potwells’ co-founder. “We also have a dedicated team who offer great support... it’s no longer a numbers game for us, it’s all about offering a personal, friendly service.” Potwells is continually introducing new products and brands to its portfolio, adding interest to its offering. “We always look for premium quality products and brands that are uber cool, funky and affordable,” says Nicola. “We usually look for unique brands from across the globe and are the first to bring them to the UK market.” Potwells also makes it impressively easy for the retailers to buy, offering sale or return. “We understand that our customers want flexibility,” explains Nicola. “If a product doesn’t work then we are more than happy to replace it with something that does.” And as for the future of the wholesale/ distributor model? “Cash is key, especially with the exchange rate and Brexit,” says Nicola. “When you are growing at such a strong rate it’s sometime hard to fund the growth and keep stock in!” PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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Ardega Advert 17-11_Layout 1 24/11/2017 11:58 Page 1

The amazing Digital Humipurifier from Bo Jungle features the following: • Digital humidifier that also purifies the air and diffuses essential oils • Humidification through ionization • HEPA filer to filter the air from pollutants such as dust, chemicals, allergens, nicotine • 6l Water tank • Capacity: 350ml/h • Aroma pad tray for aromatherapy • Automatic humidstat • Nightlight with changing colours • Programmable timer • Indication of temperature, time and humidity level

Also distributors of the following brands

Tel: 01473 228862 080_PPS_Nov Dec 2017.indd 1

Email: sales@ardega.co.uk

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WHAT’S NEW ARDEGA The latest products from Ardega Nursery Distribution BO JUNGLE RANGE OF PLUSH TOYS, BLANKET, BATHCAPE, WRIST RATTLE, COMFORTER AND SOCKS This beautiful range of plush gifts is perfect for any newborn or toddler. These products are all in a neutral taupe colour, and made from super soft terry fabric which babies will love. The range includes Tambo the Monkey, Senna the Giraffe, Kenzi the Lion and Zimbe the Elephant. This range is perfect for any retailer as can be bundled together as a gift set, or sold separately, and low minimum order quantities ensure retailers can have a wide choice of products. This is just a small selection of the huge range available from Bo Jungle.

RYCO MESSENGER CHANGING BAG – BLACK

RYCO VOGUE MESSENGER CHANGING BAG – GREY This fashionable Vogue grey messenger changing bag features include an easy access large main compartment, an internal insulated bottle holder and an hygienic polyethylenelined dummy pocket. This bag has a multitude of storage options, including two internal pockets with zips, two convenient side pockets with closing flaps, a large document pocket in the back and a clear vinyl pouch for dirty nappies and wipes. The polyethylene lined base allows for easy cleaning and it comes with a removable changing mat.

This stylish deluxe messenger changing bag has great features including an insulated top entry cooler pocket, an external mobile phone pocket, a PVC pouch for dirty nappies and wipes and a removable external dummy holder. The internal PVC mesh pocket gives parents storage for smaller items and it comes with a change mat with closed cell foam for extra comfort. The bag is of durable lightweight construction with magnetic closures.

JL CHILDRESS ULTIMATE CAR SEAT TRAVEL BAG The JL Childress Ultimate Car Seat Travel Bag is perfect for any family travelling and wanting to take their car seat with them. The Ultimate Bag features padding and protection for the car seat. It has interior wings to help protect the car seat features, padded shoulder straps for comfort and a slot for ID information.

Ardega Limited www.ardega.co.uk sales@ardega.co.uk 01473 228862 PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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Pop N Jump

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Are you stocking our latest award-winning products?

Babble Band

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FEEDI N G TI ME

The first six months of a baby’s life are fuelled by one simple thing – milk. Whether it’s breast, formula or a mixture of the two, that milk will provide all the nutrients, calories and nutrition that a baby needs to grow and develop. PPS takes a look at the latest bottles, teats, pumps and other essentials available to help parents and babies ensure fuss-free-feeding.

Milk Matters E

arly feeding can be an extremely emotive issue for parents, especially in the first months of caring for a newborn. Breastfeeding isn’t always the idyllic bonding experience many expect it to be, with many mothers turning to expressing, combi-feeding or formula to ensure their babies are getting enough nutrition. The oft-repeated advice from the World Health Organization, Unicef and countless other respected health bodies is that ‘Breast is Best’. They agree that – where possible – babies should be fed exclusively with breastmilk for the first six months of their life. In fact, it’s thought to be so beneficial that women are now encouraged to keep nursing into well toddlerhood, which growing numbers are more than happy to do. However, retailers offering such advice to new mums should tread carefully, as campaigners are increasingly pointing out that if a new mum struggles to breastfeed, pressure to persevere can lead to considerable amounts of strain, stress

Below: Dr Brown’s Options system allows parents to remove the anti-colic vent system when it is no longer needed.

Above: The early days of caring for a newborn revolve around feeding patterns – or lack thereof.

and anxiety for both parent and child. The campaigners believe that the biggest concern should not be whether the baby is given breastmilk or formula, but simply whether they are getting enough nutrition. In other words, ‘fed is best’. In the meantime though, the nursery trade is specialising in what it does best; namely provide solutions to a whole host of parenting problems. Historically, the Dr Brown’s bottle brand was perceived purely as a solution for babies who suffered with colic, a condition which sees babies become increasingly distressed due to gastrointestinal pain. “Dr Brown’s is still the number one choice of healthcare professionals in the relief of colicky symptoms,” says Fiona Kenworthy, marketing manager at Central Medical Supplies, who distribute Dr Brown’s bottles, “and is celebrating over 20 years’ experience in helping mums combat windy colic.” “Parents continue to seek advice from healthcare professionals alongside personal recommendations,” she continues, “with many of them looking for a bottle design that can help reduce feeding problems and is engineered to provide a consistent milk flow to make complementary feeding easier.” According to Fiona, the research-based bottle sector (which offers relief from a number of common feeding issues) has continued to perform very well over the last

One Bottle To Feed Them All Pura offers a unique feeding concept, which allows parents to use a single bottle from infant to adult, simply by changing the teat/top. Once the initial purchase has been made for infants, it can then can easily be turned into a toddler sippy, kid’s straw bottle or even adult’s sports top bottle. “Parents are looking for value for money, innovation and quality,” says Lia Murrain of 2012 Ltd, who distribute the bottle in the UK. “Parents want to be able to provide the safest product for their child with ease and comfort so innovation is important. Pura strives to provide a unique concept, which is incredibly safe.” Below: A bottle for all ages from Pura.

12 months. “It is very apparent that in the modern age parents are researching brands with clinical reassurances and are more aware of clinical reasoning and benefits than ever before,” she says. “Unique, proven innovation is extremely important within this sector.”  PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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FEEDI N G TI ME Cleverly, the new Dr Brown’s Options range means that parents are able to remove the patented green anti-colic vent system when it is no longer needed. “Our bottles now offer parents a complete new feeding system that grows with baby,” explained Fiona. “It gives parents the power of choice as they can continue using it even when feeding has become more established.” As well as the Options invention, Dr Brown’s has also launched the Specialty Feeding System, a unique bottle/teat/valve system designed specifically to assist in the management and treatment of complicated oral feeding issues, such as cleft lip/palate, congenital heart disease or craniofacial anomalies. Medela is also making great waves in the clinical feeding market, as thanks to the brand’s researchbased development it has developed unrivalled technology to support breastfeeding families. A key part of Medela’s success lies in the iconic 2-phase expression technology, which simulates the baby’s natural sucking behaviour at the breast, is comfortable to use and highly efficient. Commonly heralded as ‘the number one choice for midwives around the world’, Medela’s breastpumps are used in over 90% of UK hospitals, making trust a core element of this much-loved brand. “Like with most things these days, time saving is always a top priority and we have seen this reflected in the rise of double electric breast pumps,” says Charlotte Price, marketing manager of Medela UK. “Following extensive research Medela found that compared to single pumping, double pumping can cut expression time in half and remove 18% more milk!”

Left: The Medela Freestyle features the iconic 2-phase expression technology, which simulates the baby’s natural sucking behaviour. Below middle: MAM’s East Start Anti Colic bottle can be sterilised in the microwave without the need of a separate sterilising unit.

The company has created two leading breast pumps to meet this need, the Freestyle and Swing-Maxi. “The Swing is still our flagship product,” continues Charlotte. “It provides mum with efficient support to prolong her breastfeeding journey, remains a Which Best Buy and has also won the Mother and Baby Gold Award for the last two years.” Breast pumps can be useful for a number of reasons, including the introduction of combi-feeding – where the baby takes both formula and breast milk, sometimes feeding from both bottle and breast.

“Breastfeeding is still really important but so is combination feeding,” explains Natalie Harrison, product manager at MAM, curently the fastest growing bottle brand on the market (Nielson Data, June 2017). “It allows partners to bond with the baby and share the feeding experience.” Combi-feeding can also be invaluable for mothers returning to work, those in need of a full night’s sleep or a whole host of other reasons. “This is where the MAM East Start Anti Colic bottles comes in,” says Natalie, “with a teat that feels just like mum and boasts a very high 94% acceptance rate among babies.” The bottle has a clever vented base which reduces colic and also offers a completely unique feature; it can be selfsterilised in the microwave without the need of a separate sterilising unit, making it perfect for busy parents on the move. These innovations go some way towards explaining why MAM UK has now taken the number three position in what is essentially a static market. “In fact,” continues Natalie, “we grew by 66% in value and 45% in volume last year, in a market that declined by 4.6% overall.” Embracing market changes and the demands of modern parenting is vital across much of the nursery industry, and the feeding sector is no different. These companies strive to ensure their product offers the best support to mums and babies, whatever their feeding plans might be; after all, ‘fed is best’. Below: PHP Gift and Baby sells tens of thousands of Widgey Classic feeding pillows every year and sees continued growth annually

Comfort Feeding “Widgey, our classic feeding pillow, has been offering families support for more than 25 years and this is a category we’ve always performed well in. We’ve seen double-digit growth in the last 12 months and are currently exploring a number of initiatives with other brands where we can collectively provide comprehensive resources to mums, whether bottle or breastfeeding. We’ve also been working with a small chain of feeding cafés this year to keep on top of consumer insight and to help us develop our understanding of today’s modern mums and what they want.” Claire Green, national account and marketing director, PHP Gift and Baby

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WHAT’S NEW

BOTTLE AND BREAST FEEDING

New offerings for pre-weaning feeding. PURA

JU-JU

Kiki bottles from Pura come preassembled with new silicone sleeves. Available in 5oz/150ml and 11oz/325ml sizes, these infant bottles have a natural vent nipple. Its the only bottle in the world that has 0% plastic content, meaning its 100% BPA-free, EA-free, phthalate-free, petroleum-free and PVC-free. The single wall design allows bottles to be easily warmed. Available from 2012 Ltd. Tel: 01202 303777 www.2012ltd.co.uk

Ju-Ju-Be has launched a range of breast pump bags, perfect for busy mums on the go. Whether on the way to work, going on holiday, or visiting friends, mums can look stylish while discreetly carrying all they need to keep up with their breast pumping regime. The collection features a choice of three bags to suit every need: Be Pumped, Be Supplied and Be Equipped. Each piece is made from Ju-Ju-Be’s signature Agion and Teflon treated fabrics, which repel stains and inhibit the growth of bacteria, mould and mildew. All bags in the range are machine washable. www.ju-ju-be.com

VITAL BABY Vital Baby has designed a range of silicone bottles and teats that help to reduce the strain on baby’s lips and mouth. The brand’s silicone range of bottles can be squeezed lightly to help the milk, or formula flow through the teat more freely, reducing the pressure required as baby feeds. Working with many hospitals around the UK, Vital Baby silicone bottles has received amazing feedback from Cleft Lip and Palate nurses and parents of babies born with cleft lip or palates, due to their ease of use for both parent and baby. Tel: 01707 262 200 www.vitalbaby.com

MEDELA The award-winning Freestyle Double Electric breast pump features Medela’s 2-Phase Expression technology, enabling mums to express in the same way that baby feeds at the breast, making pumping not only comfortable, but highly efficient too. Small enough to fit in the palm of mum’s hand, pumping with the Medela Freestyle makes it easier to express breastmilk on the go. With double pumping rather than single pumping producing an average of 18% more breast milk, it helps to save mums of multiple babies some precious free time. Tel: 0161 776 0400 www.medela.com

CHICCO Chicco’s NaturalFeeling range has a unique, truly angled teat, developed with the help of Chicco’s research centre, Osservatorio. The teat has been designed to replicate a natural feeding experience from the mother’s breast. The truly angled teat enables baby to find their natural feeding position, ensuring their neck is comfortable and the soft and wide base has flexors to simulate the elasticity found in their mother’s breast, thus allowing easy transition between breast and bottle. In addition, the wide belly of the teat stays full of milk and the dual anti-colic valve also reduces the risk of swallowing air, both of which work together to help prevent colic and keep baby calm during feeds. The range includes 150ml and 250ml bottles and is available as single packs or packs of three. In addition to the bottles there are also five age specific variable teats available to buy separately. Tel: 0208 9536627 www.chicco.co.uk

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TAL K I N G TO : H A R RODS

HARRODS VERY MODERN HERITAGE Inset: Luxury department store Harrods is a landmark in the upmarket Knightsbridge area of London. Below: Stewart Mancey, general merchandise manager for toys

A

s a department store, Harrods has been selling toys and games since the 1880s. Rocking horses can be found in its carefully archived catalogues from as early as 1895, while pictures from 1904 show a dedicated Toys and Games Room which sold doll and pram sets, mini cooking stoves, bicycles and cricket bats. In 2017, the store now offers a whole host of exquisite merchandise aimed at little ones, with childrenswear and the new Baby Layette department on the fourth floor and the the famous Toy Kingdom, which underwent a total redesign in 2012, taking up an entire side of floor three. In a move which now feels like common sense but which attracted a great deal of press attention at the time, Harrods made the Toy Kingdom gender-neutral, splitting the 26,000 sq ft Toy Kingdom up into zones, including an enchanted forest, a miniature toy world, circus big top and a sweet shop. “We felt it was a bit of a risk,” said David Miller, who was director of Harrods Home at the time. “But this overhaul was primarily about changing how toys are bought and sold.” That was five years ago and the Toy Kingdom has seen plenty of activity since then, such as 2014’s Cinderella-inspired Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – the

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ultimate immersive storytelling experience for children aged from three upwards. More recently, in 2016, the store launched a bespoke Toy Concierge Service, with a dedicated team providing customers with expert product knowledge and recommendations on the latest toy trends. The Toy Concierge team – which is still running today – works with parents to help them identify key product and pull together a list of potential items to view in store. “We believe it is the

The iconic department store attracts customers from all over the world, and is one of the most distinguished names in the luxury industry. Progressive Preschool spoke with Stewart Mancey, general merchandise manager for toys to find out more about the modern store with the enviable heritage. perfect solution for busy shoppers looking to wrap up children’s gifting dilemmas,” says Stewart. “Whether looking to secure the hottest ‘must-have’ toys or sought after exclusive gifts, the team is expertly trained to deliver product knowledge and recommendations mapped against ‘age and stage’ development for children.

Right: The Top 10 Toys for the 2017 festive season were carefully selected by Stewart.

Harrods’ History The first incarnation of the retailer was opened by Charles Henry Harrod in 1934. The East End grocery and tea store moved to Knightsbridge in 1949 and has grown steadily over the years as it continues to develop its offering and change with the times. In 1861, Charles sold his shop to his son, who expanded the store to attract the new wealthier clientele – by 1883, the store had grown to six

departments across five floors, with over 200 assistants selling everything from perfumes to clothing. The Harrods’ legend was born and has since remained one of the most distinguished names in the luxury industry. The store recently recorded its eighth year in a row of soaring profits, which included breaking the £2 billion sales mark for the first time with a sales increase of 23% year-on-year.

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TA LKI N G TO : H A RRODS Left and below: Rocking horses from a Harrods catalogue in 1895 and the Toys and Games Room from 1904.

It’s a world-class complementary service which we offer to all Harrods customers looking for that special gift.” With all that in mind, we ask Stewart what does 2017 and beyond hold for Harrods’ preschool toy business? “2017 has been a successful year for preschool Toys at Harrods,” he says. “This category has seen significant growth within the Toy Kingdom and we expect this to continue as we head towards the festive season.” The preschool toy market is an extremely broad one - have there been any stand-out trends over the past 12 months? “We’ve seen great growth from the likes of Vtech and Playmobil,” Stewart enthuses. “They have done an outstanding job expanding and adding innovation to their core ranges as well as offering exciting licensed partnerships.” The Toy Kingdom has also introduced a portfolio of new brands to its shelves including preschool favourite PJ Masks. “They’re new for this

sophisticated,” believes Stewart. “One of the most fascinating products to emerge in the development of toys are those that encourage basic coding skills such as Primo Cubetto which teaches children the basics of computer programing using colourful blocks. Many of these can been seen in our Top 10 Toys for the festive season.” It’s refreshing to see that the Harrods’ Top 10 Toys list isn’t so vastly different from the lists issued by high street stores – a cuddly toy, something to make, a tech toy – even if they do come with a higher price tag. With that in mind, what sort of toys come under the luxury bracket? Are they vastly different from the less exclusive lines? “Our customers expect the highest quality products with outstanding craftsmanship and heritage and our toy department is no exception,” asserts Stewart, who also puts a great deal of emphasis on the service and experience of shopping with Harrods. “The Toy Stylists are a team specially trained to give advice and knowledge on all the latest toy trends and must-haves. From exclusive teddy bears by Steiff to the latest gadgets and mini tech, we believe Harrods Toy Kingdom is the last word in luxury when it comes to toys.” And we’d expect nothing less. Above and left: The new Baby Layette department sets the scene for luxury with brass fixtures, white marble flooring and plush grey carpets. Below: The Toy Kingdom; where the magic happens.

Harrods’ Baby Layette The new Baby Layette (which means, essentially ‘first wardrobe’) department at Harrods opened this autumn, generating a great deal of excitement across the luxury nursery retail market. The luxurious new shopping space offers a stylish and chic setting which includes nursery furniture, prams and baby clothing and is billed as the ultimate destination for baby gifts and accessories. New parents can also take advantage of four individual and spacious feeding and changing rooms and children’s illustrator Katy Frost has added paintings of woodland animals across the walls. “We have created a larger, more spacious Baby Layette department which is warm and relaxing,” says Elizabeth Cliff, Harrods’ general merchandise manager for childrenswear. “We want it to feel like somewhere you could sit and unwind and really contemplate what you are going to buy.” The brands available within the department have been carefully selected to offer consumers the very best the market has to offer. “The department houses an unparalleled variety of labels – from newborn classics like Kissy Kissy and Aden + Anais, to luxury contemporary pieces from Belle Enfant and Soft Gallery, with occasionwear from Tartine et Chocolat and La Perla,” she continues. “And when it comes to the nursery furniture department, we have brands such as Savio Firmino and Théophile et Patachou, as well as prams and car seats from the likes of Bugaboo, Stokke, Cybex, Mima and Silver Cross.”

year, but PJ Masks have already joined the likes of Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol in our top performing brands,” says Stewart. Of course, educational and social development is important to parents and gift givers when buying across preschool toys, books and gifts – how key is that to Harrods’ product selection? “Keeping a child entertained is the sole important function of a toy, but added factors such as developing cognitive abilities and motor neurone skills are becoming more significant as toys become more innovative and PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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T HE FAME G A M E

With product appearing on television, being splashed across social media sites and papped in the park as the lastest celebrity parent takes a morning constitutional, there’s no shortage of ways to get nursery brands in front of prospective customers. PPS finds out more about the benefits of creating the right story.

THE POWER Of Publicity

F

rom product placement on social media to prime time television appearances, there can be few things which make as much of a difference to a brand’s exposure than getting some serious publicity. Where that once meant simply appearing on television, it now also encompasses Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – not to mention the so-called ‘gossip pages’ – and engaging with bloggers, vloggers and celebrity parents in this way has engendered a new type of publicity, carefully curated to give exactly the right impression.

The Gift That Keeps Giving Preschool distributor Cheeky Rascals teamed with TV reality star, Danielle Lloyd when she announced she was expecting her fourth baby, gifting her the modern and stylish Mima Xari pushchair. This has resulted in: ■ An abundance of press coverage, including six Instagram posts published by Danielle to her 450,000 followers. ■ An increase in Cheeky Rascals’ own social media following came as a direct result of Danielle’s posts and tags linking to the brand.

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Above: Rob Law, founder of Trunki, first appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2006.

Julie Wilson a few months down the line. “It was a great endorsement for us.” More recently, children’s cutlery brand Nana’s Manners featured on the show, with Kathryn and Chris Baldrey-Chourio pitching for a £50,000 investment in return for 20% of their business. “We featured on Dragon’s Den in October this year,” says Kathryn. “Chris and I pitched Nana’s Manners very soon after launch and were unsure of the response we would get at such an early stage. Luckily for us, we had a great reception from a tough bunch!”

Appearing on television to secure publicity is by no means a new tactic, and some of preschool’s biggest names have done exactly that in the past. The name that springs most immediately to mind is Trunki, otherwise known as ‘Dragons’ Den’s most successful reject’. Trunki’s founder, Rob Law, appeared on the show in 2006 and failed to secure the £100,000 investment he was looking for. It didn’t hold him back though – the publicity helped him secure an interview with John Lewis and he’s never looked back. As a company, Trunki has Inset: Kathryn and Chris now sold 3.5 million units Baldrey-Chourio in the and notched up sales middle of their Dragons’ Den pitch earlier this year. of over £150million. There are similar Dragons’ Den success stories right across the preschool sector, which is well-known for its innovative products and entrepreneurial spirit. Cheeky Chompers were refused investment in 2014 but have since done well and credit the show with giving them a sales boost. “When the show aired everyone saw the Dragon’s saying how much they loved our product,” said co-founder Right: An Instagram post from Danielle Lloyd featuring the Mima Xari pram garnered over 6,000 likes.

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TH E FA ME G A ME The decision to apply to Dragon’s Den was a spur of the moment one for the pair, who happened to look up the application process one evening and decided to give it a go. Despite the obvious financial benefit (Dragon Touker Suleyman invested in the business), what other perks does Kathryn believe there were in appearing on primetime television? “As much as we believe in Nana’s Manners, having the validation of those five extremely successful individuals was something else. We have also been contacted by retailers and distributors that we are now looking forward to working with.” “Our website went crazy on the night the programme aired,” she continues. “We had been warned of this but nothing quite prepares you for the volume of traffic! As well as sales, we had a huge number of emails of support, many of which were truly touching.” The pair now have big plans in place for Nana’s Manners, are currently designing the next products in their portfolio and have since won The Innovation Award at the Progressive Preschool Awards 2017. “I always truly believed in our launch product but it has been great to have the business side and bigger picture of our brand beliefs validated,” Kathryn says. “Touker’s investment has reinforced our belief in what we are striving to achieve, while the brand awareness has been great and increased engagement with our customers.” Another increasingly popular way for brands to secure publicity is by collaborating with a celebrity, either as an endorsement of the product or by working together to create an exclusive line. Retailer and supplier Roma Prams has collaborated with Amy Childs, TV star and fashion designer, to create her own range of strollers, travel systems and nursery interiors as part of their Amy Childs Collection. “We approached Amy to create her own range after she contacted our sister company Baby Birds to purchase items for her baby during her pregnancy,” explains managing director Molly Charlesworth. “We didn’t set out to collaborate with a celebrity, but she has really added value to our team.” What benefits has the collaboration offered the business so far? “Amy has raised the profile of Roma Prams and helped us reach our target audience due to her large social media following,”

Above: The Amy Childs Collection from Roma Prams sees Amy promote her new designs on social media and with personal appearances. Right: An official Christmas 2014 picture of Pringe George in Start-Rite shoes saw sales spike for the brand as the shoes sold out. Below: Nicky Clarke and Kelly Simpkin showing off their Bébécar pushchair.

explains Molly. Amy – whose range with Roma Prams is continually expanding and will be moving into interiors – has recently been shortlisted for Celebrity Mum of the Year, making the partnership particularly valuable at the moment.

“We attend the Baby Shows alongside Amy and recently her daughter Polly too,” says Molly. “This creates a real buzz among her fans and our stand has been very popular because of this!” Also reaping the rewards of a celebrity connection is Bébécar, who provided a set of Imperio bedroom furniture when celebrity hairstylist Nicky Clarke and fashion designer Kelly Simpkin had their baby this summer. Kelly first approached Bébécar at the Baby Show and the nursery furniture was later included in the Hello magazine article when they introduced their son. “We also worked with Kelly to create a bespoke pushchair in her choice of fabrics,” said commercial director Kevin Golding. “It felt like a good fit, because we pride ourselves on our fabrics, many of which include hand-finished ‘haute couture’ details.” While it’s too early to have seen any results yet, Kevin is certain that the activity; “improves brand awareness, which is naturally quite hard to quantify.” At the same time, two other celebrities (a Love Island star and a well-known YouTuber) have also shown off their Bébécar pushchairs online. “The audience that these people reach is huge and quite varied,” says Kevin, “so we are confident that this will help to make our brand more recognisable.” For companies not afraid of putting themselves on the line, there is no more effective way of getting your name out there than embracing the fame game. After all, who doesn’t want to see their name in lights?

Endorsement Matters “There are a great many ways we have connected brands with celebrities, from paid endorsement to gifting, where the celebrity thanks the brand by posting on social media. Over the years we have researched the value of celebrity engagement. In one Mumsnet survey, a resounding majority claimed that celebrity endorsement had no effect on their propensity to purchase. However, sales figures show quite the opposite. When Prince George wears Start-rite shoes, there is a notable peak in sales for that shoe. It’s important to think strategically, and align to celebrities with shared values to your brand.” Jane Pavia-Davis, md, Vista PR

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EDU CATI ON A L TOYS

Making Learning The wide range of educational toys on the market – covering everything from the basics of letters, colours and numbers, through to second language skills, STEM, creativity and role-play – means significant business for suppliers and retailers alike. PPS chats to some of the companies currently earning through learning.

D

evelopmental toys and lines with an educational element have really started to come to the fore over recent years. While the need has always been there from parents, there is now a much greater choice from suppliers – with products not only covering the basics of letters, numbers and shapes, but increasingly looking to develop bilingual skills and making the most of those early years with sensory play. “Over the last 12 months in particular we have wholeheartedly embraced developmental and educational toys across our collections,” explains Suzie Howes, head of licensing and marketing at Rainbow Designs. “We have adopted key developmental components such as visual and sensory stimulation elements and have an amazing range of educational plush toys in place for next year across multiple brands.”

What Makes A Good Educational Toy? “Products that feature letters and numbers are important and we have several product lines across our brands – such as stacking blocks and wooden peg puzzles – that feature these aspects. However, other developmental elements that provide visual and sensory stimulation are vitally important in educational toys, especially in the early preschool years.” Suzie Howes, Rainbow Designs

“While the basics are still very important, other factors such as second languages are seeing a huge rise in popularity. Toys that can cover the basics – including letters, numbers, shapes, colours, animals and foods – in both English and a second language are becoming markedly more appealing, thanks to globalisation and the rising interest in travel.” Danielle West, Chicco

Right: Chicco’s Danielle West says that active play is vital for developing social skills and aiding cognitive and physical function.

Popular lines have included Paddington for Baby Stacking Rings and My First Thomas Activity Toy, says Suzie. Meanwhile, hopes are high for the company’s new Disney Baby collection which is a new soft toy developmental range launching in 2018. “When it comes to educational soft toys for the early years it is all about sensory,” says Suzie. “The feel and touch of a product is very important.” For Carddies, the popularity of the products lies in children being able to personalise them according to their imagination. The colouring-in play-sets have a variety of different themes, including Family, Fairies, Knights, Ballet, Football and Farm, with the appeal of the sets driven by a child’s age and tastes.

Inset: Paddington for Baby Stacking Rings have been a strong seller for Rainbow Designs this year.

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What Makes A Good Educational Toy?

Co-founder Raquel Bello explains: “The whole range is educational because it involves the use and development of creativity, fine motor skills and concentration; imagination, role-play and conversation; independent play and/or sharing depending on the situation. This is all achieved in a very fun way and with as 

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WHAT’S NEW EDUCATIONAL TOYS New offerings from the educational toy sector. HALILIT Halilit has launched storybook giftsets complete with unique musical instruments, encouraging interaction between parents and children during story time. As the stories unfold children can join in with the musical elements, creating their own sounds with the specially designed animal instruments, introducing children to fundamental skills of making music through rhythm. Tel: 01254 872454 www.halilit.co.uk

CLEMENTONI

JUMBO GAMES

Clememtoni is bringing robotics to the educational preschool category for the first time with the brilliant DOC. DOC is the first ever game that brings children closer to educational robotics in a fun and creative way and will accompany the child as they learn logical reasoning and problem solving skills, letters, numbers, colours and the names of animals. Children learn through play by programming commands from game cards and watching DOC go – a great way of also enhancing eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills. Tel: 0208 7821134 www.clementoni.com

Jumbo’s new Dessineo Learn to Draw educational learning toy has seen huge success, since its launch in July. The Dessineo Learn to Draw educational learning toy is perfect for stimulating the creativity and imaginations of young children by teaching them how to draw various shapes, pictures and objects, rather than just tracing an already completed image. There are thirty different drawing stencil templates that each have four progressive outlines of the drawings that children will learn to create. What makes the Dessineo even more useful and suited for young children, is that everything can be stored inside the product, so that children can take it with them wherever they go. Tel: 01707 289289 www.jumbo.eu

RAINBOW DESIGNS Rainbow Designs, The Home of Classic Characters, has a portfolio steeped with educational soft toys for the preschool sector. The adorable Paddington for baby stacking rings toy is tactile, colourful and fun and the perfect way for little ones to learn through play. Featuring multiple textures and sounds, this colourful soft toy aids little ones with colour and size recognition. Tel: 01329 227300 www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk

TRENDS UK Designed to help preschoolers develop early learning skills whilst having lots of fun, Trends UK ELAs feature top preschool licences, Peppa Pig, Thomas and Mr Tumble. The ELAs include activities for understanding colours, communication, phonetics and numeracy through interactive play features. Supported with PR and marketing activity online, in social media and lifestyle press. Tel: 01295 768078 www.trendsuk.com

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EDU CATI ON A L TOYS

 much adult involvement as the child

wishes or needs.” The company is currently launching Carddies My Family, which is an extension of its more traditional existing Family sets, and is designed to cater for the many family permutations of today (including foster/adoptive parents, same sex, straight couples, single parents, etc). “Children can recreate their family and friends with the Carddies and use the characters to explain how special their family is,” says Raquel. “There is plenty of flexibility as Carddies are driven very much by the child’s imagination.” Chicco is another company seeing its preschool educational toy offering performing successfully year-on-year. It offers introductory learning development for children in both English and French, with its classic toys having a modern twist. Top sellers include the Fit ‘N’ Fun range – which aims to encourage learning through sport and is based on the likes of football, rugby, hopscotch Below: Smart Toys and Games’ Karen Clarke says 2018 will see expansion for all of its three brands.

What Makes A Good Educational Toy? “Our award-winning SmartGames contain multi-level challenges from the very easy to the very challenging, to help develop a variety of cognitive skills. Our games have unique and fun innovative game mechanics with themes that appeal to everyone.” Karen Clarke, Smart Toys and Games

What Makes A Good Educational Toy? “A good educational toy has to reflect what a child enjoys playing with, so they are learning and applying skills without even being aware of it. Simplicity often wins out.” Raquel Bello, Carddies Above: Carddies My Family is an extension of its existing traditional Family sets. Below: Peppa Pig is one of the characters helping children learn for Trends UK.

and hoopla to encourage active play. In addition, bilingual educational activity centre, Sam the Mole, is designed to encourage children to learn how to say shapes, colours and animals in both English and French, while the Food Truck is a 2-in-1 activity centre packed with games and bilingual educational features. Danielle West, product manager for toys at Chicco, says: “The current trend in aiding bilingual skills is set to continue, with parents becoming increasingly interested in setting their children up with more than one language right from when they’re learning to speak.” “Research has shown that the best time to learn a second language is at a very young age,” she continues, “while children are still learning their mother tongue. Creating toys that teach young children basic understanding of letters, numbers, shapes and colours in two languages sets them up for mastering both languages in later life.” Technology has

also become a key area, with many educational toys now including interactive elements. Trends UK has been enjoying success with its electronic learning toys featuring preschool licences such as Peppa Pig, Thomas & Friends and Mr Tumble, with sales surpassing expectations. “Children are expected to learn so many skills before they start school and introducing learning through toys and play is a great help,” says the company’s marketing director, Lindsay Hardy. “Having ELAs based on the child’s favourite characters can be motivating. Our Peppa Pig, Thomas and Mr Tumble items include activities for understanding colours, communication, phonetics and numeracy through interactive play features.” For Smart Toys and Games’ brand director, Karen Clarke, 2018 will see a number of introductions across its three brands: Smart Games, SmartMax and GeoSmart. “Smart Games will continue to grow with new compact games, IQ games and the new addition to the popular fairytale range, Sleeping Beauty,” she says. “For SmartMax, we will be introducing a range of LED light sets, as well as the My First Farm set. GeoSmart continues to grow with a new range including ball runs, sound effects and playability.” Karen continues: “Traditional play patterns have seen a huge resurgence away from the internet-based games, letting children be children. Our products help stimulate creativity, imaginative play and encourage communication and playing together.” The wealth of educational toys now available means there is something to suit every size of retailer, with many also lending themselves well to innovative and engaging in-store displays and demo areas. Learning has never been so much fun! PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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WOODEN TOYS

With their elements of nostalgia, durability, endless range of play possibilities and good environmental connections, wooden toys are having something of a moment at retail. PPS chats to some companies enjoying healthy success in the sector.

FOUNDATIONS

W

ith a large proportion of toys now including at least one interactive element, it could perhaps come as a surprise that the traditional wooden toy sector is booming. Or perhaps not – their evocative nature often sparks memories of parents’ own childhoods and in such an environmentally conscious time, wooden toys often feel like the better product choice for gift givers and parents alike. As Jeremy Minchin, md of Hippychick, points out: “Wooden toys look better, feel better and are better at weathering destruction from little fingers. Wooden toys offer an endless range of possibilities, whether that be construction, balance, shape sorting – all and any variation can be and is catered for by wooden toys.”

While I think traditional toys featuring an education or development element to them have been and are still core in this category, we have noticed that licensing has perhaps emerged more so this year than we would normally see. Mike Hartshorn, Orange Tree Toys

Hippychick has introduced a new toy range in time for the key Christmas period, called Classic World. Jeremy continues: “The Crocodile Balancing Game, Magic Ball and Walker Rider have immediately exceeded forecast and we have had to place an emergency follow on order to ensure stock is available.”

Above: Hippychick is continuing to expand its wooden toy offering after a strong 2017.

Orange Tree Toys is another company celebrating a strong 2017. “In a difficult and very competitive market, we have been delighted with how our range has performed and grown this year,” says sales manager, Mike Hartshorn. “The Orange Tree brand of traditional wooden toys is a blend of bright vibrant design that combines a mixture of educational and fun play, and so it tends to tick all of the boxes.” “Added to this some strong, classic evergreen licences such as Peter Rabbit, Paddington Bear and Winnie the Pooh, means we have a lot to offer both retailers and consumers and that has been our strength.” November sees the launch of a new Winnie the Pooh range and Orange Tree will be adding further lines to the launch plan as it moves through 2018. It is also looking to add new products to its Peter Rabbit and core Orange Tree branded ranges, including a number of developmentalbased toys.  Left: The Doron Layeled wooden peg puzzles from Halilit are a popular choice with gift givers. PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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Celebrating over 75 years of producing high quality traditional toys, to help young children learn and have fun as they grow.

CONTACT YOUR JUMBO SALES REP FOR MORE INFORMATION Jumbo Games, 2 Carters Row, Hatfield Park, Hatfield, UK, AL9 5NB Telephone: 01707-289289 Email: uk.saleshotline@jumbo.eu www.jumbo.eu

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WOODEN TOYS

Mike adds: “There will also be some new designs for our Push Along collection and I am really excited about a brand new concept featuring our Crocodile character.” For wooden toy and gift specialist Lanka Kade, interest from retail has increased as customers look for more variety in wooden toys. Millie Sibley, marketing and sales for the company, comments: “Wooden toys is a growing sector, with more innovative products coming out each year as suppliers begin to push boundaries with traditional designs.” The company’s top sellers include its range of wooden animals, which are at a pocket money price point with further additions due in 2018. Lanka Kade is also planning a big relaunch of some of its core product ranges in spring 2018 – these have been completely redesigned, with new toys also being introduced. “Nostalgia plays a big part when parents and grandparents choose to buy toys,” Millie continues. “Wooden toys such as building blocks, puzzles and train tracks have been around for decades and many parents buying toys look from their experiences and buy these as staple toys for their children.” Below: Hape’s railway range has extended over the course of 2017.

Far left: Lanka Kade’s wooden animals have been among its top sellers. Left: Orange Tree Toys has enjoyed success with licensed lines.

Joe Rushworth, sales manager for Marbel at Hape, concurs that wooden toys tend to be something that parents have cherished from their own childhood. “They are so long lasting and never go out of fashion,” he explains, “they are well made quality toys that can be passed through generations.”

As we move into 2018 we can see a clear demand for wooden toys that feature real life photography, a true complement to their natural design. Cultivating this sense of appreciation towards nature and the craftsmanship that goes into creating these toys has been a trend longawaiting to emerge. Jonathan Harper, Halilit

Top sellers for Hape in 2017 have included its latest railway range, which has been extended over the year, alongside the Little Splashers bath toys as they ‘create that special bond between parent and child’. “The educational benefits for children is one key aspect to focus on, as well as the ability for a toy for

children of all ages to get involved with, from toddlers to older children,” Joe adds. It’s not just wooden toys which are proving popular either. Halilit has been enjoying strong sales with its Doron Layeled wooden peg puzzles as they stimulate development in motor skills and in handto-eye coordination. Jonathan Harper, Halilit’s marketing executive, says: “There are many reasons that we believe wooden toys continue to remain a popular choice, be it for the aesthetic appeal they provide or their durable and tactile design.” “Where there are continued developments in toys that feature the latest in electronic technologies and materials, wooden toys provide a value that has lasted generations. We recognise that over time wooden toys have been reimagined to adjust to new audiences and trends, however the same educational benefits and classic feel remain.” Jonathan continues: “In terms of play value wooden toys have proven their worth in the toy industry; promoting imagination, inspiring creativity and providing an educational aspect that is a value in its own right.” With such success still being reported at retail, there should certainly be space in the toy box for wooden toys for many years to come.

In-store Wins

Selection and merchandising is key for retailers when it comes to engaging with parents and buyers in-store and helping to grow their sales of wooden preschool products, says Orange Tree Toys’ Mike Hartshorn. “Having the right products for their particular store and having them merchandised in a strong visual concept really helps pull parents to the product,” he says. “Making demonstration product available is also a great way to achieve this.” Millie Sibley from Lanka Kade agrees, adding that retailers should also discuss the multi-functionality of the products. “Parents want to know how the product will help their child develop and you can find most of this information on the packaging – anything unique to the brand, too. For example, the Lanka Kade range is fair trade and handcrafted in Sri Lanka.” Millie continues: “We include artisan stories on our packaging and sales help support our educational foundation which provides books and daily milk drinks to several rural schools in Sri Lanka.”

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WHAT’S NEW WOODEN TOYS New to market in the wooden toys sector. HIPPYCHICK

BRIO

New to Hippychick, Classic World is a range of bright, vibrant and educational wooden toys that encourage imaginative play. From pull along dogs to tool benches, Classic World has a toy for every toddler. Tel: 01278 434440 www.hippychick.com

The BRIO My First Take Along Set is ideal for young children aged 18 months plus. Developed as part of My First Range, this set allows the child to take all its favourite BRIO trains and track along anywhere as the case folds out and becomes part of the track. The set comes complete with train engine, wagon, two ascending tracks,two guiding tracks and is fully compatible with the rest of BRIO World. Tel: 01869 363800 www.ravensburger.com

ORANGE TREE TOYS

APPLES TO PEARS This gift in a tin from Apples to Pears offers the perfect gift to mark Baby’s first Christmas. Whether looking good on a display shelf, or stored in the tin until they are older, these toys will bring smiles for years to come. A favourite theme in many nurseries, it features colourful wooden pieces to build the story of Noah and the Ark. It contains fourteen pairs of animals from elephants and giraffes to piglets and ducklings. Parents can help their child build the wooden ark and encourage role play with this hugely versatile set. As children get older they can learn about the different animals, learn their noises and count them in and out of the ark to start early number and object recognition. Tel: 01453 826759 www.applestopears.com

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In perfect timing for Christmas, Orange Tree Toys has launched its much anticipated Winnie the Pooh collection. The collection is available now, and has all the favourite wooden toys, including a beautiful set of skittles, push alongs and pull alongs, a lovely puzzle train, pocket money toys and much more. Tel: 01242 244500 www.orangetreetoys.com

JUMBO GAMES

HAPE Hape injects a pop of bright colours with added fun and entertainment transforming traditional train sets into something like never before with the Rainbow Route Railway and Station Set. It has everything they could ever need in a train set and is perfect for all those budding railway enthusiasts. Creating music to parents’ ears, this set also includes a number of musically interactive elements. Preschoolers can find their way through the bead maze then journey onwards taking the bumpy road across the tambourine track, but it isn’t just all fun and games as problem solving puzzles await. Tel: +49 (0) 64009587 www.hape.com

Jumbo is introducing twenty new toys in its high quality range of wooden GOULA products. The new wooden toys will focus on various play categories for toddlers and preschool children, including puzzles, ability and balancing toys, sensory and educational games and more. New highlights include the Puzzle Bear Family House, Pull-Along Bunny’s Train and Pull A-Long Dog, and Wooden Construction Pack that features forty chuncky and child-friendly pieces. Jumbo is also releasing nine new GOULA First Games, that provide children with fun and educational learning play patterns. Tel: 01707 289289 www.jumbo.eu

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WHAT’S

HOT?

Progressive Preschool spoke to a number of independent retailers, to find out what’s been selling well across the preschool market.

Graham and Julia Bird, owners, Birdkids, Cornwall

An independent clothing and gift retailer which stock products inspired by nature. CATEGORY

SUPPLIERS/RANGES

COMMENT

Clothing

Tootsa MacGinty

We like to stock smaller lesser known brands which our customers really like. Tootsa MacGinty has a great range of kids clothing with fabulous designs.

Toys

Djeco

We actually stock the UK’s largest selection of Djeco products. This includes puzzles, playsets and pull-alongs.

Partywear

Meri Meri

We sell a lot of the party range from Meri Meri, with the glittery products being particularly popular!

Feeding

Petit Jour Paris

This is another lesser known brand we stock, but which is very well received. They have a wide variety of tableware products, including licensed ranges from Peter Rabbit and the Moomins.

Djeco

Meri Meri

Sian Ridge, manager, Just Williams Toys, London A family-run toy business with shops in East Dulwich and Beckenham CATEGORY

SUPPLIERS/RANGES

COMMENT

Soft Toys

Ty

The Beanie Boos range is really popular with our customers. There are lots of different characters to choose from at different price points.

ELCs

Leapfrog

All the Leapfrog products we sell do well, however at the moment the Sing & Snuggle Scout is particularly popular.

Dolls

Lottie Doll

These are great for younger children who aren’t quite ready for Barbie. Customers really like the Lottie dolls and they always do well in our stores.

Interactive Toys

Flair

Ty

Flair

The Peppy Pups from Flair are great and preschool age children love them! They walk and jump like a real puppy and can be cuddled as well so children get very attached to them. PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL

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Whitby Cot Bed White with Taupe Grey

The Whitby cot bed takes its design from traditional cot bed styling but offers something different, thanks to its grooved end panels with subtly curved tops. For those looking for a more modern twist, stylish coloured end accents and sides allow parents to add a splash of colour to their nursery furniture. White with Eton Mess

White with Bonbon Blue

Converts easily Junior Bed. Stylish coloured accents Add a splash of colour to your nursery furniture.

Multi-stage height 3 stage base adjustment.

Optional matching Cot-Top Changer Add the convenience of a changer, in a fraction of the space.

ÂŽ

www.obabytrade.co.uk 01652 641491

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WH AT’S H OT

Tracy Williams, owner, BABI Pram Shop, Cwmbran, Wales A family-run independent nursery retailer in South Wales CATEGORY

SUPPLIERS/RANGES

COMMENT

Pushchairs

iCandy

The Peach 3 pushchair and carrycot in Royal tends to be the choice for parents who want the cutting edge of design pram with quality build and design. Customers like the practicalities of a one handed fold and the option to turn into a double pram in the future.

Group 0 car seats

BeSafe

The Besafe Izi Go X1 with isofix in black cab is easily our best selling group O car seat. Parents like the fact it goes from newborn -13kg, with easy multiple height adjustment as the baby grows and clever magnets to hold open the 5-point harness for easy access.

Furniture

East Coast Nursery

The cotbed in white converts from cot to bed and has three base heights offering customer great value and great design for their nursery.

Feeding

MyBabiie

Its premium highchair in butterfly, or elephant design is very popular. Customers like the fact it has a three position recline and six position seat height, with a removable tray. It’s an excellent choice for quality, style and value.

iCandy

BeSafe

East Coast Nursery

Rob Rich, store assistant, Nursery Goods Direct, Oldham An independent nursery retailer with a showroom in Greater Manchester. CATEGORY

SUPPLIERS/RANGES

COMMENT

Pushchairs

Red Kite

The whole Red Kite range does well for us and they have a great variety of pushchairs for our customers to choose from.

Car seats

Maxi-Cosi

We only tend to sell car seats for younger babies, with Maxi-Cosi being the most popular; especially as they fit onto most pushchairs we stock.

Moses baskets

Own brand

We buy direct from the manufacturer which means we can keep our margins high. We found we couldn’t compete with online sales by stocking other brands.

Accessories

Emmaljunga

We sell lots of add-ons to customers, such as the accessories from Emmaljunga. We sell lots of their changing bags, footmuffs and other travel accessories.

Red Kite

Maxi-Cosi

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The Right Toy at the Right Time™

NEW

NEW

NEW

Lamaze brings moments of joy to babies and parents by encouraging together time and independent daily discoveries

Contact us today to find out more Call 01392 281928 or email UKcustomerservices@tomy.com

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LamazeUK

30/08/2017 17:29 24/11/2017 16:47

Profile for Max Media Group

Progressive Preschool - November/December 2017  

Progressive Preschool - November/December 2017