Exclusive: Golden Bear – Play today, protect tomorrow

Published on: 5th August 2021

Rachael Simpson-Jones found out about the company’s upcoming product launches, and why sustainability is currently taking centre stage.

“I’ve never known a time filled with so many challenges outside our control,” says MD Barry Hughes at the start of our meeting, when asked how the company is faring. “We’ve seen Covid breaking out in Guangdong, shortages of computer chips and rocketing container prices, but we’re in a really good position from which to navigate those choppy waters. We have great brands that are performing very well, and our efforts in recent years stand us in good stead for what we believe will be a very strong year.”

Golden Bear’s portfolio of toys mainly comprises licensed brands, but the company is investing heavily in own-IP offerings too. Zipstas, a range of reversible animal-themed backpacks, and Windy Bums, cuddly plush characters that wiggle across the floor while giggling and making fun farting sounds, are both due to launch this year, joining existing brands such as Funlockets, Smart Ball and Trapped, the company’s at-home escape room games range.

New licensed launches for this year include the Hey Duggee Spin and Groove, Toothbrush & Handwashing Time with Duggee, the Dancing Bing feature plush, and Bing’s House Playset. This year also welcomes the Something Special Calming Companion, a charming, lightly weighted blanket/soft toy in the character of Mr Tumble that can help to relieve anxiety and stress. New launches will be supported by an always-on digital strategy across most Golden Bear’s brands, courtesy of the company’s in-house team. Its own photographic studio allows Golden Bear to create assets quickly in response to emerging trends, while Bing, Hey Duggee, In the Night Garden, Smart Ball and Funlockets will benefit from strong TV advertising support.

Away from product, Golden Bear is also focusing on sustainability. The company continues to invest heavily in reducing its environmental footprint and improving the sustainability of both its products and the business as a whole, operating under the ethos ‘Play today, protect tomorrow’. The approach has been split into four bitesize categories – Product, Packaging, Recycling and Carbon Footprint – to make it easier to see and understand how each step adds up to the bigger picture.

“We operate as a Zero to Landfill site, and we’re currently in discussions with a number of parties about the best routes for end-of-life products as part of our recycling focus,” explains commercial manager Gareth Lloyd. “We’re looking at whether we can reduce the mix of plastics in a product, even narrowing it down to just one, so when it’s sent for recycling the plant knows exactly what it’s made of and can deal with it in the best way by returning it to the circular economy.”

To find out more about how Golden Bear is looking after the planet, and how that attentiveness and consideration is being mirrored by the company’s approach to staff wellbeing, click here to read the full interview, which was published in the August issue of Toy World.


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