Are you sure that character comes from a book… it’s the Friday Blog!

Published on: 4th March 2016

Last week’s Blog prompted numerous comments, especially my observations about the Wilko ‘meet the buyer’ day. One supplier – who should probably remain nameless – admitted he would gladly pay to get in front of a Wilko buyer, saying “I’m not sure you realise how difficult it is to get a meeting with Wilko’s toy buyer. Mind you, if you have been in the stores recently, it doesn’t look like many have.”

However, I do appreciate that there are two sides to every story: another person told me that he had been involved in several similar events in the gift industry with the likes of John Lewis and Boots, and that he finds them extremely useful. As he commented, “It is very difficult for a small company to get anywhere near a buyer even if you have a cracking product. At least during those days, you get immediate feedback rather than sending samples with the hope that perhaps, eventually, providing the wind is in your direction, you might possibly get a reply.”

I still struggle to understand why a third party needs to be involved in organising such an event, but I agree that anything which enables potential new suppliers to get in front of a buyer can’t be bad. On which note, our March issue arrived on desks this week – you can see the digital issue here – and I’m delighted that, as well as a host of well-established suppliers, it also features a number of companies which have never appeared in the UK trade press before. The Toy World team scoured the shows over Toy Fair season to find new companies and ranges to bring to your attention, so I hope you enjoy discovering what they have to offer. I’d love to see some of them go on to establish themselves within the UK toy market, new blood is always a good thing.

You may also have noticed that our daily newsflash features more job vacancies than it ever has at the moment: in fact, we’re in the process of updating the home page of our website to be able to accommodate all the new vacancies that we are currently carrying. I take this as a positive sign: toy companies tend not to take on new staff and create new roles if business isn’t looking good.

Finally, it may not have escaped your notice that it was World Book day yesterday – or judging by some of the pictures I saw on social media, ‘World losing arguments with your kids over what counts as a character in a book because you need to get to work Day’. I saw one child dressed as a Lego character, proudly clutching a sticker book with the title ‘The Lego Movie’, seemingly unaware of the irony (the clue is in the title…it’s a movie, not a book). But perhaps my favourite tweet was this one: “Forgot they had to be in costume, so they’re going to school as pages 89 & 165 of the Argos catalogue.”