Exclusive: Curious Universe’s phenomenal five-year growth

Published on: 30th November 2023

Toy World’s Marianna Casal sat down with Curious Universe’s John Styring and David Martin to hear about their vision for Crystalverse and Cutesville.

John, the company’s CEO, clearly isn’t a man to do anything by halves. Curious Universe emerged after his previous company, Igloo Books, was sold in 2014. Initially choosing to continue to utilise his expertise in the book market, John was very quickly approached by Hinkler, based in Australia, about joining forces on a wider offering. Within six months, they sealed the deal and Curious Universe was born. Now, with a wide offering of toys, craft, books and stationery, between 60-70% of products are designed and created in the UK and the rest in Australia.

Curious Universe has four divisions within the business which John refers to as ‘worlds’: Explore, for books; Play, for toys; Create, for arts & crafts and Imagine, for stationery. Although there is of course some overlap between worlds, arts & crafts is the sector which dominates – about 50% of products fall into this category.

The company is now putting more investment into its toy offering, which John predicts to be the fastest growing area of the business over the next few years. To date, Curious Universe has released about 620 new products each year across its different worlds and currently has about 2,000 products in its portfolio.

There is currently a heavy focus on two of the company’s own brands: Crystalverse and Cutesville, both toy lines which overlap into arts & crafts. Crystalverse is a collection of unicorns which users can bejewel however they like and Cutesville, which is yet to launch, is a collection of cute characters and play settings which kids can colour-in as they wish, then wash off to start again.

The company also has an upcoming project with US-based stationery brand Yoobi to donate stationery to children in need around the UK for each product sold. A video about Curious Universe’s partnership with Yoobi can be seen below.

To read more about expansion plans for Cutesville and Crystalverse which will be introducing a new character, as well as new licensed products and much more, click here for the full feature, which appeared in the December edition of Toy World.


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