The house that Jakks built Toy World caught up with Jakks managing director EMEA David Carscadden and UK senior marketing director Ken Goodison to see how the company has fared this year, and to get a sneak peek of the company’s 2019 range.
018 has proved to be a very good year for Jakks. A number of its new introductions have comfortably exceeded expectations, especially its Incredibles range, while the success of Morf Board and Master-aMillion has seen the company establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in the outdoor category. Catching up with David Carscadden, managing director EMEA, at the start of the 2019 preview season, it is clear he is very happy with this year’s performance. “We’ve come a long way in a short space of time,” he explains. “We’ve really extended our capabilities here in the UK; the office now serves as the company’s European HQ, supporting our sales teams across the continent, as well as the Middle East and Africa. My role now involves overseeing the whole of EMEA, which I believe has given us a new sense of clarity and focus in the region. Flexibility has always been the key to our success; we operate different business models in
different territories. We just needed someone to help bring it all together. It will be my 10th anniversary with the company in January and I feel it’s given me a new lease of life.” In a year when some of the larger toy companies have found trading conditions challenging, Jakks has enjoyed some notable wins. “We’re in a good place right now,” says David. “We have such a breadth of product that when one range begins to tail off, we have plenty more to take its place. Incredibles took a lot of people by surprise, not just in the UK, but right across Europe. A number of retailers came on board quite late in the day, so sales were still increasing well into August and September, long after the movie was released. Looking at the next few months, Home Entertainment releases are always strong for Pixar titles, so we are anticipating a good Christmas period and for that to continue into Q1. I genuinely believe Incredibles can go on to establish itself as an
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evergreen brand like Toy Story.” Looking ahead to 2019, David is equally optimistic about prospects for the coming year. “Things are looking good for 2019, and we are expecting strong growth across the whole European market. The release of the new live-action Aladdin movie will give us a great early-year opportunity, Harry Potter will continue to be a phenomenal performer and, of course, we have Frozen 2 coming towards the end of the year, which we’re hugely excited about.” However, Jakks’ success is no longer entirely reliant on character licensed merchandise. “Alongside our licensing ranges, we recognise the importance of developing our own IP, to ensure we have a balanced portfolio,” David points out. “Squish-Dee-Lish has been huge for us this year, and we’re continuing to expand the range next year. We’ll also be launching two new collectible ranges in 2019, which we’re all really excited about.”