Exclusive: Home is where the art is

Published on: 11th June 2020

With retailers reporting soaring sales of kids’ arts & crafts products, Toy World spoke to category leaders to find out how lockdown has affected the sector.

Many suppliers reported that demand for arts & crafts products has increased to levels not usually experienced outside Q4, as families look for more creative ways to spend time indoors and stay connected. More than merely entertainment, or an activity to while away a rainy afternoon, creativity is also helping kids maintain bonds with loved ones while in-person visits are out of the equation.

With the sector booming, consumers have more choice than ever before, with traditional products such as crayons and paint sets vying for shelf space (or webpage space) alongside modern, often craze-driven activities like slime making. Toy World spoke to Make It Real, Flair, Galt, Epoch and Vivid (Crayola) to hear more.

“Balancing innovation with tradition in the craft category is one of the existential challenges facing every manufacturer,” noted Isaac Wolman at Make It Real, who believes that companies that innovate in this category can see exponential success.

Crayola is also actively working to strike a balance between tradition and innovation, as Leon Jarmolowicz explained. “Tradition can often be a huge barrier to progress but, to us, it’s our foundation,” he told Toy World. “We must continue to innovate, even in our core product line. Outside of stationery, we’re always looking to fulfil the need for classic creative play patterns with a modern and relevant twist. Strong licences also help parts of our line to stay relevant.”

Flair’s portfolio boasts retro best-sellers such as Plasticine, Spirograph & Mr Frosty, which Nicola Bergot says remain relevant and appealing, especially while families are at home. The company also offers on-trend items that tap into what children are exposed to via TV programmes and social media.

At Bandai, preparations are underway for a major relaunch of updated Harumika kits. Magali Clouzet told Toy World: “Harumika is a proven concept that did incredibly well when it first launched back in 2010.  The notion of playing fashion designer is a popular one and even more relevant today with the growth in celebrity culture and the role that fashion plays across social media.”

The suppliers we spoke to have all been working hard to maintain lines of communication with customers and end-users, despite the disruption caused by Covid-19. John McDonnell of James Galt explained: “Those retailers with online businesses have benefitted from frequent contact with us and have kept our operations team extremely busy. In times like these it helps to have your own sales force, with established relationships with the retailers.”

For more detailed comment and product information, and to read the full article, which appeared in the June issue of Toy World, click here.


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