The Desi Doll Company’s Farzana Rahman spoke exclusively to Toy World about the effects of the pandemic.
While many toy companies will be suffering the effects of global lockdowns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, for The Desi Doll Company – a supplier of Muslim toys, games and educational resources for Islamic kids – the timing of the viral outbreak couldn’t be worse.
Ramadan, the company’s biggest selling season, begins on the 23rd April and ends on 23rd May, and the company’s toys find their way onto the Eid wish lists of many children. Having ramped up its presence at the Nuremberg Toy Fair and landed a number of new customers, 2020 looked set to be another record sales year – and then China went into lockdown.
“All our production lines ground to a halt,” explained Farzana, founder of the Desi Doll company. “As we all know, it’s pretty slow after Chinese New Year anyway, but with Covid-19, factories had to shut to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Our toys should have been on boats by mid-February, and in stores by mid-March, but by the 1st of March our factories still hadn’t opened, and when they did it was with very few workers.”
Having worked closely with the factories, which are situated across China, this week the company will see Desi Doll toys being loaded onto containers ready to go to destinations across the globe including South Africa, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, the USA and UK. However, whilst the situation has improved in China, lockdowns are now taking place in other parts of the world and many of the company’s physical stockists have had to close their stores. On top of this, global currencies have weakened.
“Amidst the uncertainty, a couple of our large customers cancelled their orders,” says Farzana. “But, thankfully, most of our distributors have stayed strong and are hopeful of better times in the not too distant future. We are in constant communications with our 3PL providers in the UK who not only warehouse our goods, but also pick, pack and deliver. They have been amazingly supportive and understanding.”
2020 marks Desi Doll’s 12th anniversary, and Farzana is determined not to let the current situation bring her down. The UK based company, which has been growing on average 35-40% year on year, with over 50% growth in export trade, is currently offering all NHS staff 30% off on its online store from 15th April to 15th May, and is committed to making sure its Ramadan countdown calendars, talking plush dolls and light-up bed time pillows are ready in time for the important religious holiday.
“It can be all doom and gloom, with one obstacle after another, and we can put our hands in the air and our heads in the sand,” Farzana adds. “On the other hand, we can focus our energies on being positive, not accepting no for an answer and seeking solutions. We believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, it’s going to be a tough few months – but together we can get through this, and we will.”
Readers who would like to know more, or are interested in stocking the Desi Dolls range of Islamic toys and games, are invited to email Farzana – email@example.com.