Toy World spoke to David Middleton of Midco Toys about his latest venture into the world of Sooty.
So, how did your latest venture with Sooty come about?
Alan [Caswell, of The Arcade Toyshop, Dudley] has been talking about Sooty for years. At first I just thought that 40 years in the toy industry had done something to his brain. Everywhere we went I kept hearing Sooty, Sweep and Soo. I was on the verge of calling the men in white coats when he told me he had a meeting lined up for us with Richard Cadell, the guy on TV with Sooty. So we packed our bags for Brae Sands, explained to Richard our passion for toys and our passion for Sooty, and the rest is history.
Which Sooty products are you stocking?
We’ve formed a brand new company, DNA toys, which will act as the official supplier of Sooty merchandise. We will be stocking the core bread and butter glove puppets of Sooty, Sweep and Soo to start off with. In our eyes, these are a real toy shop must-have product. Our aim is to launch the products at the Toymaster regional meetings and FOB shows in October. We are both extremely excited. We have had a small quantity to sell in our retail stores, and the response has been awesome.
What made you decide to stock the Sooty products?
Sooty is an evergreen product; it’s the longest-running kids TV show of all time. It’s currently on CITV with a new look, but is still very similar to the Sooty I remember as a kid. The TV viewing figures are awesome, and it’s one of the most-watched shows on CITV. It’s got double appeal, both retro and current. Kids know Sooty, parents know sooty, grandparents know sooty, great-grandparents know sooty… everyone knows Sooty. It’s good quality family entertainment. I’ve been watching the new shows and really enjoying them; that might be because I’m a big kid, but Sooty is back and could well be better than ever.
Why have you decided to move into distribution?
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do; I have just been waiting for an opportunity to arise. Hopefully this is a step in that direction. Distribution has always fascinated me. Obviously, as a retailer, you learn more and more about how things happen and why they work in the ways that they do. It’s just awesome that now I get to have a go at both. Alan has taught me a great deal, he is the Master Yoda of the toy industry. I’m hoping with his Jedi powers, my willingness to learn, and our passion for the industry, we can kick some serious ass both at retail and distribution.
I love everything thing about the toy industry, and if I could I’d like to be a part of every channel within the industry. I’ve loved toys from the moment I was born, and I’ve loved toy retail from the age of four. I was happier in a toy shop buying a toy than playing with it when I got home.