Le Toy Van sales and marketing executive Stephen Le Van, pictured with his father and company founder Georges Le Van, tells ToyNews what 2015 has in store as the firm celebrates 20 years.
What was last year like for Le Toy Van?
2014 was a bumper year for awards across all categories and price points.
We had seven award- winning toys in 2014 including Best Toy Under £10 for the Budkins, a Progressive Preschool Award for the Honeybake Range with the winning toy Café Machine, as well as the Slow Toy Award for both Fire Engine and Doctor’s Bag.
Le Toy Van was delighted to be recognised and validated by the toy trade and childcare experts.
How do you view the current state of the wooden toy sector?
Wooden toys offer a wonderful counterbalance to plastic toys and electronic toys. Wooden toys have enduring natural appeal and encourage social and imaginative play.
With parents wanting the best for their children, they will select across a broad spectrum of materials and play activities.
The wooden toy sector is both appealing and competitive. For us, we shall continue to innovate and sustain our historic best sellers.
What does 2015 have in store for Le Toy Van?
We are delighted to launch new lines at Toy Fair 2015 and celebrate our 20th anniversary year.
We have new arrivals in classic collections and a new dolls house family, plus a new range especially for 12 months plus, together with an expansion of the PelMels pocket money fun toys.
With the rise of tech toys and children using tablets, why are wooden toys?still so popular with both children and parents?
Wooden toys invite social play both between children themselves, as well as adults and children.
When given a tea-set, what child can resist saying ‘Would you like milk in your tea?’
Give a child a wooden doll’s house, fire engine, doctor’s bag or garage and you put them in charge of the action. A mini-world in the big wide world helps a child feel confident and in control.
These are enduring toys and themes, which pass from generation to generation and are inherently special.
You’ll be celebrating 20 years in 2015. How has the industry changed since Le Toy Van was first set up?
I used to play with them and now I’m selling them. Actually, we still play with them.
It is faster moving with a greater choice for both retailers and consumers. But it’s still about great toys and real people young and old.
Where do you see Le Toy Van in 2025??
Well, Le Toy Van is always expanding, as seen with the launch of a whole new collection in 2015.