With Brainstorm celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Toy World spoke to Nick Saunders, sales director, about the company’s early years and future plans.
“Despite a challenging year for the general toy market, 2019 was not so bad for Brainstorm; in fact, we’re pretty happy given the market uncertainty. Ever since we assembled the current board of directors, we’ve had an ambition to achieve certain annual sales volumes. We managed this in 2015, and we’ve stayed ahead of it ever since.
I often describe our company as a two-part proposition, but joined in the middle. We have our own brands and products which are sold globally – Brainstorm Toys and The Original Glowstars Company. Equally important are the brands that we distribute for other manufacturers for the UK and Irish markets; Aqua Dragons, StikBot, Addict A Ball and, more recently, Eugy. The distribution lines complement our domestic operations and have become an important element of our business in the UK and ROI. We love our distribution ranges; it’s whether or not the ‘love factor’ is present that’s the first and most important consideration when we select outside of our home-brands.
The move from bricks & mortar to online, was certainly a major change I experienced first hand in the toy industry; it almost goes without saying. However, like other SMEs in our industry, online has helped us to grow and to be able to offer a better proposition for the larger traditional retailers that we didn’t deal with when I first got involved in the business. Going forward, I very much hope that there will remain a place for independent toy shops and department stores. There are some fantastic examples out there and we love to deal with buyers who own the business they are buying for.
For 2020 we have an exciting range extensions for just about all the brands that we handle. Eugy was a real success story for 2019, so we plan to ramp up the SKU count and invest more in POS. StikBot has some exciting news for autumn/winter 2020; all will be revealed at Toy Fair. There are great new lines from Brainstorm Toys including a Light Up & Glow Space Man, and The Original Glowstars Company welcomes Glowstars & Mermaids, plus build-your-own glow-in-the-dark Dinosaur Skeletons.”
Read the full interview with Nick in our bumper January issue here.