Exclusive: Talking Shop – Fair play

Published on: 3rd March 2022

This month, our indies reflect on the return to Toy Fair and tell us how the year has started off and what products they are excited about for 2022.

Everyone was unanimous that it was great to be back at Olympia for Toy Fair in January. As Emma Dadswell of Toys N Tuck, Southend put it, “It was surreal but lovely to be back. Toy Fair was very well organised and I felt safe being there.”

Emma added that the absence of some of the bigger names from the show floor gave her more time to spend with smaller suppliers. “This meant I saw things I may have otherwise missed,” she explained.

With a busy start to the year, and January takings up, Emma named Spin Master’s Tech Decks and Squishmallows from Jazwares as strong performers, along with a demand for educational toys, where she highlights the Great Gizmos and Brainstorm ranges.

Tim Evans of Toys & Games of Worcester also enjoyed a productive Toy Fair. As a board games specialist, he was particularly impressed with the University Games, Ravensburger and Asmodee stands and ordered his first Bicycle Cards from Cartamundi.

Tim’s store was awarded the BTHA’s Independent Toy Retailer of the Year (Single Store) Award, which has been a real boost to the team and a reward for its extensive community involvement that began during the pandemic. “Because of Covid, and the activities we got involved in, so many people found us that didn’t know of us before,” Tim told us. “We were just doing everything we needed to survive, but we made so many new friends and customers in the process.”

At Kerrison Toys in Norwich, Steve Kerrison is pleased with the performance of his Q1 lines, although he says Pokémon is once again the stand out, followed by the new releases from Lego, Playmobil and Sylvanian Families. Looking ahead, the store will be switching the focus onto outdoor toys. “I just hope that the price increases that have come in don’t kill someof these lines off,” he added.

Dave Middleton of Midco Toys, Burton-Upon-Trent was also very happy with trade at the start of the year. “We’re seeing huge demand for Pokémon, Squishmallows and anything Anime related, plus our Lego and Funko ranges have got off to a great start.”

Dave received the BTHA Toy Retailer of the Year Award for Specialist Multiple Toy Retailer of the Year (Multi Store). “As someone who lives and breathes toys and the toy industry, it means the world to me,” he said.

Katharine Spence of Wigwam Toy Shop, London found some new, smaller suppliers at this year’s Toy Fair. “It was great to see so many eco-friendly ranges such as Paper Engine with its Build Your Own range; we have just placed an order,”  she said, welcoming the return to face to face buying. “I found that I was going onto stands and realising that I had missed things in the brochures. There were several lines that I wish I’d ordered in sooner,” she added.

To read the full Talking Shop feature, which appeared in our March edition, as well as the Indie Viewpoint column from regular contributors Mark Buschhaus and Stephen Barnes of Toy Barnhaus, click here.


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