Exclusive – Wow! Stuff CEO Richard North on the importance of innovation

Published on: 8th January 2019

Toy World spoke to Richard about what innovation means to the Wow! Stuff team, and what the company is launching this year.

Having ended 2018 with an Award for Innovation from Warner Bros. for its Mystery Flying Snitch, Wow! Stuff is entering this year on a real high.

“The award was the icing on the cake at the end of a successful year in terms of sales growth; we are up 50% YOY,” enthuses Richard. “However, what’s even better for us is the recognition of the creation and innovation we pride ourselves on. Innovation excites everyone here at Wow! Stuff, and it’s truly fulfilling for Warner to have honoured us, out of all of its many superb licensees, with an award that says that we are the most innovative.”

Having only developed toys since 2010, Wow! Stuff has created a name for itself due to the innovation for which it received this latest award. Noting that the company isn’t big enough to land master toy deals, and doesn’t want to create play sets or action figures, Wow! Stuff instead is willing to take risks on new, never-seen-before ideas – which means there is no prior knowledge on which to base confidence that the resulting product will sell.

Richard explains: “We take a risk on the design and the commitments on MGs, and sometimes these risks won’t pay off and we’ll get hit. But crucially, the licensor will remain unaffected. What we’ve therefore done is carved a niche – quite a big one – for five or six key products featuring major innovation, plus a range of other, slightly less innovative products which are nonetheless still highly engaging.”

Alongside its new licensed brand K-bling, which allows kids to adorn cables and wires with cute and collectible characters, this year the company is looking forward to launching “the single biggest product Wow! Stuff has ever created”.

Richard’s excitement is palpable. “We’ve shown it under strict NDAs to approximately 100 companies, and we’ve never experienced a reaction like it,” he says. “And quite honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever see another reaction like it ever again in my lifetime. A lot of things have come together at the right time for launching this product – technology, a brand, a moment in time – and nothing has ever been created like it. I can’t say much more, it’s too sensitive. We have every major retailer in the world on the line, and people are already calling it the No. 1 toy worldwide for 2019. I have footage of buyer reactions when we’ve revealed the product, and, funnily enough, the one word we heard more than any other was ‘Wow!'”

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


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