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Games specialist Coiledspring is adding to its already novel range with Worry Eater Dolls and Hello Sunshine toys this year, marking an ambitious move into the plush market. Dominic Sacco asks MD Roger Martin about the firm’s swift growth and exciting new products

SUPPLIER PROFILE: Coiledspring

IT’S clear that Coiledspring is not your typical games supplier.

The distributor puts every product through a ‘fun test’ before taking it on, making its range packed full of charming games, puzzles and, more recently, plush that you won’t likely find elsewhere.

Products include Schmidt Jigsaws Plus – puzzles that come with a toy, lively card game Ligretto, Rory’s Story Cubes Mix – dice-like cubes that tell a story, word- based card game WordARound, as well as the first game designed for toddlers: Roll & Play.

“If we don’t like a game we don’t stock it – it’s that simple,” MD Roger Martin tells ToyNews.

“Once something has passed the ‘fun test’ we look at the margins available to our retailers – without them there is no Coiledspring and we want to supply them with quality innovative products. No one benefits from us taking average games – retailers don’t want dull stock cluttering up their shelves and consumers want something they can play over and over again. We probably only accept around ten per cent of the games we are offered.”

Most of the firm’s games have an educational slant, but its eye for the unusual and extraordinary has also seen Coiledspring supply more strategy games and even plush toys of late, including the Hello Sunshine hide and seek learning game and Sorgenfresser Worry Eater Dolls. The latter allow children to write down their worries and zip them up in their plush monsters’ mouths. Parents can then remove the ‘worries’ overnight, encouraging open communication with their child.

Coiledspring recently worked with BumpPR on a children’s worry survey, a press and social media campaign, as well as a life- size walking Sorgenfresser which took to the streets of London. What was supposed to be an hour taking photos actually turned into three hours of the monster being mobbed by anyone who saw it.

“Clearly there’s a need for Worry Eaters in London!” exclaims Martin. “The move into plush is a really exciting one for us. Sorgenfresser went through the same ‘do we love this?’ test and got a resounding ‘yes’ from the whole team.”

Coiledspring’s turnover has grown by 50 per cent YOY for the past two years.

In 2011 Stephen Woodman joined as head of sales, before the firm outgrew its warehousing space and moved into its own shared 3,000 sq ft premises in June 2012. The firm also hired admin and warehouse staff, and Rachael Wyatt joined as marketing manager towards the end of 2012. Last year, Coiledspring took on Thinkfun products, and sales of its Schmidt puzzle range doubled.

“Growing so quickly has meant that the team had to gel very quickly,” explains Martin.

“We’re really excited about our growth plans and helping our retailers sell more of our products – we’re looking to take on more ranges if they fit our criteria, and if that means we have to grow our team again then that’s exactly what we’ll do.”

Coiledspring comes across as a very transparent and honest supplier, making it easy for retailers to communicate with the firm.

“Like many distributors we occasionally suffer delays getting product from manufacturers,” says Martin. “The only way to manage it is to be honest with our retailers, most of who completely understand that we can’t send out product if it’s still in a shipping container.

“I know saying ‘we’re passionate’ is a cliche? but one of the visitors to our stand at Toy Fair said it was really nice to speak to people who were passionate about their range and their brand – and you simply can’t fake that.”

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