Rachael Simpson-Jones caught up with Zuru general manager UK & Ireland, Will Collinson, about the company’s growth plans and why it continues to win over consumers.
Zuru, one of the fastest growing toy companies in the world, entered 2023 as the UK’s No.7 supplier and is enjoying continued stellar performances from brands including X-Shot, Rainbocorns, Smashers, 5 Surprise and Sparkle Girlz.
Founded in New Zealand in 2003 and now headquartered in Hong Kong, Zuru comprises three distinct businesses: Edge, Tech and Toys – and Toys currently remains the largest and most established business.
Will has been with Zuru for eight of the company’s 20 years in the toy industry, during which time he’s seen it go from strength to strength. “Nothing fazes the owners of the business, who believe in working at blistering pace and that you never fail, you only learn; this mindset is one of the reasons Zuru has powered its way onto the toy scene over the last decade,” Will explains. Zuru is family owned and operated, with Nick Mowbray (Zuru’s co-founder) very much the face of the business. Nick works closely with his older brother Mat and sister Anna. From humble beginnings growing up on a dairy farm in Hamilton, New Zealand, the Mowbray siblings have created a toy empire worth billions.
Like many toy companies, Zuru has benefited in recent years from shifting consumer habits; shoppers are spending less on experiences such as days out, and more on at-home entertainment such as toys and games.
Will explains: “We’ve got the ‘sexy’ stuff like Mini Brands, which has been a huge success story over the past couple of years, as well as dominant core brand such as Rainbocorns, Smashers and X-Shot, all of which contribute to the sustainability and futureproofing of our business. We’ve expanded our distribution yet again, so our share of shelf is bigger than it has ever been, and while there are some other big players out there who are absolutely smashing it, we’re relentlessly focused on doing the things we do best.”
The company is already well into its spring/summer product development for 2024 and expects to realise significant growth. “Despite the economic uncertainty, we expect to strengthen our position even further in the coming years,” Will says. “Long-term, our ambition is to break into the Top 5 suppliers. We’ve assembled a world-class team which has a real passion for what we do, as well as our long-term vision, so we’re excited for what’s to come.”
To read the full interview, which appeared in the May edition of Toy World, click here.