kingdoms Following Zuru’s first brand acquisition within the toy industry on the 18th January 2019, Sparkle Girlz has gone from strength-to-strength thanks to the company’s brand development team and vision. Toy World spoke to Brittany Oliver, Sparkle Girlz brand manager, to find out more.
A key part of the brand’s DNA is the unique way in which the dolls are merchandised and sold in cardboard cones, removing single use plastic window box packaging. This innovative design is a great example of what it means to minimalise packaging without sacrificing merchandising effectiveness and quality in-store. Since then, the range has continued to remove unnecessary plastic from packaging. Asda, a longtime partner for the range, exhibits 12ft of product space without any window box packaging. As new lines enter the range for 2020, such as the Radio Control Car, our commitment to reducing our plastic footprint continues to be reflected in both packaging design and structure.
How did Sparkle Girlz perform for you in its acquisition year, and what has 2020 been like so far?
What can you tell us about the refreshed branding work that has gone into Sparkle Girlz and how has the range benefited? Given the range and breadth of the Sparkle Girlz line upon acquisition, at the forefront of 2019’s turnaround was elevating the brand’s story and creating a line with purpose, character and magic. Rationalisation of the range was key to driving greater efficiency and quality; the range was reduced from over 300 SKUs to 100 core items. Zuru’s creative team built a home and story for the beloved Sparkle Girlz dolls; Princesses, Fairies, Ballerinas and Mermaids were each given their own kingdom, while industry-leading artwork was created and rolled out across a fullrange packaging refresh. The vision was brought to life within six months, with the new packaging shipping from January this year.
Have other changes been made to the packaging, in line with other trends or consumer demand?
2019 proved highly competitive for the doll category; shelf space was decided by brand, collectability, innovation and value. Delivering value for consumers on both a product and price level is central to the line. Within the category, Sparkle Girlz offers exceptional doll design, the outfit and hair quality are unbeatable, and the £4.99 price point is very attractive. When choosing play sets and accessories, we have found that customers are becoming less brand sensitive and more value driven. Zuru’s manufacturing and automation capabilities add strength to the supply chain in a way that enables competitive pricing for retail partners and consumers alike. In 2020, global sales for Q1 increased 60% YoY. This growth was driven largely by an expanding distribution network, incremental brand building and a heavy focus on promotions and in-store execution, all of which remain at the forefront of Zuru’s rapid, yet long-term sustainable, growth mindset.
How did the coronavirus crisis affect the re-launch of Sparkle Girlz? Re-launching a brand in the midst of a global pandemic was never on the minds of anyone at the beginning of the takeover; for all of us, these are new waters to navigate. Whilst each market
Toy World 104
is uniquely different in terms of retail impact, it has been encouraging to see Sparkle Girlz sales continue to track upwards in both the UK and USA. The demand for impulse price points and value offerings makes the line an appealing consumer-facing solution at a time when disposable incomes are decreasing. Consumers will not stop buying; for now, it’s more a matter of what, how and where they decide to buy. As we move forward, the Sparkle Girlz range is set to be an affordable, quality and captivating line for children across the globe.