With Easter out of the way, the summer season is getting started, and indie retailers have to balance this busy time with planning for the rest of the year ahead.
However, the next item on everyone’s agenda is the all-important Toymaster show later this month. Our retailers tell Sam Giltrow what they are looking forward to and hoping to get out of the show, along with how business is going so far this year.
Sam spoke to Wayne Kincaid of Plaza Toymaster in Llantwit Major, Paul Carpenter of Totally Toys in Bristol, Louise Anderson of John Anderson Toymaster in Whitby and John Testori of Bambola Toymaster in St Helier, Jersey.
Wayne Kincaid has been a Toymaster member for around 10 years and told us he enjoys being part of a toy buying community with all the benefits that brings with it. “If you are on your own, you can feel isolated – you don’t know if something is just affecting you or if it’s a wider problem,” Wayne explained.
Plaza Toymaster had a good Easter, with tourism in Wales showing signs of picking up. In Bristol, Totally Toys also saw encouraging footfall and Paul Carpenter was equally fulsome in his praise of Toymaster membership. “It’s a wonderful team,” he enthuses. “They should have an award for training because they are all so switched on.”
Both retailers detail what is selling well and Paul shares how customer input can play a vital role in selecting the right product, bringing in Brainstorm’s Eugy range at the request of a young customer – a move which has proved a huge success.
At John Anderson Toymaster, Louise Anderson agreed that exchanging information with other Toymaster members is of huge benefit and was looking forward to catching up with others at the show. Busy with renovations which will expand her shop floor footprint, she is also looking forward to providing more hands on activities for customers.
John Testori of Bambola Toymaster is keen on the product exclusives the buying group can offer, such as Lego sets. Of the May Show, he says: “For indies, it is the right show at the right time and provides a focused starting point for all the second half of the year ranges and catalogue orders.”
Meanwhile, regular columnists Mark Buschhaus and Stephen Barnes are just happy that Toy Barnhaus stores were trading for the first Easter in three years. Getting ready for the summer, they are fired up about new outdoor products being delivered, as well as upcoming launches for films such as Jurassic World Dominion that they hope will help drive sales over the next few months.
Of the Toymaster show, they say: “With all the keys suppliers offering great deals, we can confidently set up our buying for the rest of the year.” Important planning has already taken place. “Our evening meals were booked in first, and then we fit the business appointments around them. We’re also looking forward to the late evening bacon and egg rolls, athough we hope that they are not too late, as we are out of practice at being out for three nights on the trot!”
Read the full Talking Shop feature and Indie Viewpoint column in the May edition of Toy World, here.