Exclusive: Looking ahead with Simba Smoby Toys UK

Published on: 4th August 2020

MD Martin Whittaker details the company’s brand and marketing plans for the remainder of the year, and what the recent merger means for the business.

Martin Whittaker told Toy World that the Simba outdoor toys range had seen a huge surge in sales during lockdown.

Despite the merger between Simba Smoby and Siso Toys falling mid-pandemic, everything appears to have gone smoothly, thanks to the advance planning and preparation that took place before the UK lockdown came into effect.

Now known as Simba Smoby Toys UK, the company says the only other thing it wants to change is the visibility of the group’s brands in the marketplace. “Our sales and marketing function will continue to be based out of our Marlow office, whilst our logistics and warehousing will remain in Bradford,” Martin told Toy World. “Mandy, our general sales manager, and Sabine, our new senior national account manager, will now be responsible for sales across all our combined brands including Smoby, Steffi, Disney Plush, Ryan’s World, Masha, 44 Cats and more. Mayur, our UK marketing manager, will oversee all our trade and consumer marketing.”

Smoby saw a massive uplift during lockdown, with great weather and the need to keep kids entertained combining to cause a sales surge for our Smoby outdoor ranges. But between now and Christmas, the company’s Disney plush range will be a major focus. Retail support will be enhanced with strong marketing activity, incorporating social media, macro bloggers, parenting sites and Disney fan boxes, as the company prepares to launch its Baby Yoda alongside a special edition Mickey. The Jada die cast range is expanding, and Smoby is also a ‘massive priority’ for the company, according to Martin: “This year will see us invest in a substantial marketing drive to build the brand, with social activity including celebrity ambassadors, macro bloggers and mum/parenting sites now underway. This will be built upon as we approach Christmas.”

He adds: “Our aim is to grow Smoby’s presence in the market and establish the brand as a one of top three in the infant, pre-school and outdoor categories. The marketing investment and sales push we’ve committed to for 2020 will enable us to create and deliver an even larger plan for 2021. In addition to Smoby, we want to focus on building Steffi and deliver key growth into this own-IP. We’re also looking to expand our Disney plush retail partnerships this year, setting us up for an even more successful 2021.”

To read the full interview, which was published in the August issue of Toy World, click here.


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