Toymaster: The Suppliers (Part One)

Toymaster’s 2019 May Show is all ready to kick off once again at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate this week, with hundreds of suppliers, members and retailers all champing at the bit to take and make orders, before donning their best dress-up and partying until the small hours… or at least the bacon sandwiches make their appearance.

In the latest issue of ToyNews, we round up the companies exhibiting at this year’s Toymaster show to find out just what each has to offer for the year ahead. So, as you make those final preparations for this week, why not whet your appetite with our Toymaster supplier spotlight, part one:


Danielle Lovegrove, field sales manager, Mattel

What can we expect from you guys at this year’s Toymaster show?
We’ve got a broad portfolio across our core IP brands – Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher Price and Thomas & Friends, along with new licensed toys from Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 4 range. You won’t want to miss out. Barbie’s sales (in her 60th year) are in double digit growth, and her Dreamplane is set to ‘fly’ off the shelves this Christmas. Hot Wheels is debuting a new Colossal Crash track set that is five feet wide, and Thomas has a new glow in the dark theme.

Why is Toymaster an important event for Mattel?
It’s at a perfect time for us. The members are able to see over 350 toys from our range and in many cases, they will be seeing our first production samples of our hot key toys.

How important are the indies to Mattel’s business?
Very. The core of our business is with toy specialists and our experienced sales team and agents cover the UK and Ireland Independent accounts.

What’s your best Toymaster memory?
This will be my first Toymaster show as field sales manager, so I am really looking forward to creating some new memories.

Orchard Toys

Simon Priest, sales director, Orchard Toys

What can we expect from you guys at this year’s Toymaster show?
We’ll be bringing six new colouring book titles, a first lotto game and a pre-school jigsaw. We’re also offering an attractive deal for retailers visiting our stand, so make sure you do.

What makes Toymaster an important date in the industry calendar for Orchard Toys?
The independent toy trade is a vital part of our business, so now that the show is open to all independents, as well as Toymaster members, we get to see them all at the same time.

How important are independents to your business today? Why should the independent scene be keen to work with you guys this year?
Independents are an important part of our retail mix, they offer great visibility and are often able to stock a larger range of lines. We really enjoy working with the independents and hope they enjoy the rewards of working with a bread and butter brand who consistently delivers good results all-year-round.

What’s your take on the health of the industry at the moment?
For us business is very buoyant, we are number one in preschool games and jigsaws which is a great position to be in. However, we know not everyone in the trade is seeing such good results, there has been a lot of change and there is still a lot of uncertainty ahead.

Any show deals Toymaster attendees can look forward to from you guys this year?
We will have a generous mix of offers, including free stock and special discounts.

Rainbow Designs

Mark Standen, sales manager, Rainbow Designs

What can we expect from you guys at this year’s Toymaster show?
Retailers will be spoilt for choice at the Toymaster Show, not only have we got some gorgeous new line extensions and fantastic POS kits for our evergreen collections, there are also some exciting new ranges joining the Rainbow family this year.

Launching this month is the exciting new That’s Not My… collection of nursery toys, based on Usborne’s best-selling series of touchy-feely board books. We also have the eagerly awaited official plush collection for DreamWorks’ autumn-premiering blockbuster, Abominable, starring the lovable yeti character, Everest, and his co-stars Yi and Peng.

What makes it an important date in the industry calendar for you? How important are indies to your business today?
Toymaster is a fantastic show that allows us to focus solely on these important customers. Our independent retailers are a vital part of our business and it is a sector we are continuously looking to work with, support and grow.

This year sees many of our much-loved characters celebrating milestone anniversaries with year-round brand momentum and awareness and this is something that independents can really embrace. Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is turning 50 years old, while David McKee’s Elmer commemorates 30 years and we will also be celebrating 15 years of muddy puddles with Peppa Pig.

We are currently running window competitions for both Elmer and The Very Hungry Caterpillar and these initiatives provide retailers with great opportunities to get involved and benefit from these events.

What’s your take on the health of the industry at the moment?
It is a tough marketplace at the moment but it has been for a few years now and this is certainly not helped by the on-going political uncertainty. That said, 2018 was our best year to date and the licensed plush sector is proving strong. In times of uncertainty, both retailers and consumers look towards the brands and characters that we know, love and have stood the test of time. Luckily, Rainbow has plenty of those within the portfolio, making us a good bet.

Have you guys got any show deals that Toymaster attendees can look forward to this year?
In addition to the fantastic new ranges, we will have a number of special show deals, offering up to 50 per cent off to allow retailers to off er something special to their valued customers.


Shahbaz Khan, country manager, UK and Ireland, Clementoni

What can we expect to see from Clementoni this Toymaster show?
We are bringing along launches from two key areas of the business, which is really exciting. These are our Mechanics Lab range with new kits for A/W, including Monster Trucks and Space Stations, as well as some great new puzzle ranges across some of this year’s hottest licenses.

What makes Toymaster an important date in the industry calendar for the Clementoni team? Toymaster is a great chance to meet with so many of our customers and to showcase the extent of our range in a focussed environment. Toymaster is also a great chance for toy shop owners to take advantage of our exclusive Toymaster show deals, and to find out all about how we at Clementoni can support them at retail.

How important are indies to your business today?
They are incredibly important. With the shocking landscape changes of 2018, it just reinforces just how valuable independent stores are to our business. Clementoni is dedicated to producing product that works on shelf, has a natural demand and is great value for money; therefore providing a great sales opportunity for each and every store.

What’s your take on the health of the industry at the moment?
It is certainly changing, and it’s not been without its challenges, but as a business, we have spotted the trends, analysed the market and recognised where the purchasing power is shifting to. In doing so, we have managed to strategically grow year on year, despite the great losses of 2018.

Have you got any show deals that Toymaster attendees can look forward to this year?
Of course. There is an extra five per cent off price list for all members during the show.


About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

Check Also

Moonbug appoints Just Play as global master toy licensee for Little Baby Bum and other hit properties

Moonbug Entertainment has named Just Play as its global master toy licensee for several of …