Having joined IMC Toys in late 2019, UK country manager Sue Barratt is now overseeing an exciting period of change for the company.
IMC has witnessed a considerable amount of change in a short period of time. Going back just a few years, its toy portfolio comprised 60-70% licensed lines, with the bulk of the remainder made up of the interactive plush brand Club Petz. Nowadays, its line-up looks quite different. IMC’s standout doll brand Cry Babies launched in 2016, marking the company’s transition in product and brand direction, away from licences and into own-IP brands. Fast forward to 2020, and the IMC transformation is in full swing.
“Spain was keen to move the office from York to a more central location,” explains Sue. “Covid definitely made the move difficult. I spoke to the team in February about the move, and we had started discussing amicable redundancies with those that didn’t want to move with us, which was the majority of the team – and then lockdown happened. We couldn’t move the old office, we couldn’t open the new one, we couldn’t recruit new people, and the team members that had decided to leave us couldn’t go for interviews elsewhere either!”
When Sue joined IMC just over a year ago, turnover was down on where it had been in the past, and she was tasked with driving the company forward – no mean feat for anyone coming into any business at any time, pandemics notwithstanding. Nevertheless, Sue has done just that, despite the added disruption caused by the move. With the sales and marketing teams now up and running, attention can turn to the evolution of IMC’s product development.
“Our Girls portfolio is really strong. Cry Babies is in its fourth year, and if we track all the data from our customers, we’re up +60% YOY. NPD has us at +23% and puts Cry Babies as the No. 1 Special Feature Nurturing Doll brand, but if you add in the customers that aren’t tracked by NPD, the picture looks even better. Next year we have some significant new developments coming through on Cry Babies, not just new characters from the series but totally new play patterns and features that fans will be really excited about. VIP Pets launched this year and has been incredibly successful. Development for next year is ongoing, with plenty to look forward to. We’re also up +24% YOY with Magic Tears, the miniature versions of Cry Babies, and Bloopies, our bath line, is up +20% too.”
To find more about how IMC’s animation strategy is driving the company’s growth, the new lines in development for 2021, and the company’s approach to digital marketing and influencer campaigns, click here to read the full article, which was published in the December issue of Toy World.