The handmade tale | Fiesta Crafts on why the demand for arts & crafts is here for the long run

Fiesta Crafts has become a name synonymous with the make and do sector, thanks to a portfolio of arts and crafts ranges spanning it all, from 3D construction craft kits and masks to family games; all of which took its turn in the spotlight this past year.

ToyNews catches up with Fiesta Crafts’ managing director, Andrew Bacon, to find out why its latest launches are just the tip of the iceberg for the arts and crafts specialist, and why demand from parents and families is only set to continue this year and beyond.

Hello Andrew, thanks for chatting with us this month. To kick off, how has business been for Fiesta Crafts over the past year? How have you guys adapted to and navigated through the pandemic? 

Initially when the pandemic hit, the sales dropped off immediately, but then online sales, sales to garden centres and our exports helped things recover. This only improved further when the shops were able to open again at the end of the first lockdown. We eventually had a great Christmas period and sales in the first  quarter of 2021 have continued to do well, despite the shops being closed.  

Our products have proved popular over the past year and we have seen particular growth across our educational products, which were invaluable to parents when home-schooling. As well as educating, parents have also been looking at ways to keep children entertained away from screens and so our crafts ranges have seen increases across the board and we have adapted and enhanced existing craft ranges which has driven repeat purchase. We have also kept costs down, which has been key to maintaining consistent sales.

Can you talk us through the product portfolio for 2021? What trends are you tapping into for the year and what has inspired these this year?

Even as we emerge from lockdown, arts and crafts products will remain popular as parents and children have discovered new ways to engage their children in creative activities. I think they have also seen how they support learning and development too and understand the importance of crafts as an educational aid.  

We are increasing our crafts ranges including the introduction of our 3D Construction Craft Kits as our 3D Mask Kits have been so popular since last year. There are lots of different sets including Build a Train Station, Build a Hospital, Build a Fire Station and Build a Princess Castle, and each allows the child to follow a simple number sequence to create their own 3D  Model. It’s a great quality range that also can  be used during imaginative play when built. 

“I think that consumers are coming into 2021 with perhaps the mindset that toys should be as educational as they are engaging and I mean toys that will encourage kids to develop creative, motor, and social skills.”

A major trend of the last 12 months has been in the consumer’s relationship with toys and traditional play. What new mind-sets do you think consumers are coming into 2021 with? How will you guys work to help maintain this renewed way of thinking, playing, and shopping?

Consumers have been unable to spend much time visiting places over the past year, which has increased their appreciation for activities and toys for children to keep them busy at home. And let’s not forget that parents are grateful for toys that take their children away from screens for periods of time.  

I think that consumers are coming into 2021 with perhaps the mindset that toys should be as educational as they are engaging and by that I don’t mean traditional STEM toys, but toys that allow children to develop crucial skills such as creativity, motor and social skills. It’s therefore a really exciting time to work in this industry which is renowned for its creativity and we are busy developing new lines based on products that have proved popular for us during 2020.  

I think parents will also come into this year prepared for every eventuality and poised to turn teacher at a moment’s notice, and so we will continue to add to our educational ranges such as the phonics, fractions and spelling sets.

What are the latest developments for Fiesta Crafts, have you got any expansion plans in place or new category launches, or portfolio expansions on the horizon?

We have launched our new 3D Construction Craft Kits range with an initial four SKUs but this range can just run and run as the play possibilities are endless with it, really.

We have also increased our 3D Craft Make a Mask Kits. Having launched several lines including a superbly popular Unicorn and T-Rex mask at the start of last year, we have now expanded to include more animals as well as introducing a 3D Colour In Make a Mask Kit. This has just launched with Colour-In Unicorn Head and Colour In T-Rex Head initially but we have plans to grow this line during 2021.

What have been some of the most popular lines over the last few months and what has driven this popularity?

Our 3D Craft Masks – they are fun to make and great to play with and a brilliant price point. Kids love dressing up and using their imaginations and this year they have had more opportunity to use their creativity.

Our Discover the World Game has also been popular as it’s a great family board game and having exhausted the tried and true traditional games, families have been on the lookout for new board games to play and
we have benefited greatly from that.

The new 3D construction craft range looks brilliant, can you talk us through the development of this line – what inspired the range? Why was it important to be crossing the categories with this line ie. construction, crafting, play-sets, role play all in one?

Yes, they are due to arrive soon and many of them are already pre-sold, so I do think they are going to be very popular. We were inspired by the popularity of our other craft ranges and creating products that are challenging but not too difficult to put together and have good play value when completed.

The sets combine many different benefits from a toy with the sense of satisfaction from constructing a puzzle, the ability to follow instructions, and the role play from using their imaginations with the finished article. These are all values that we believe in when creating and producing toys.

What are the latest developments in the craft sector? How are you guys evolving with the innovation in this space to maintain your position as frontrunners in the sector?

We are just focussing on what is selling well for our customers and innovating new crafts that fit well into that category. Fiesta Crafts is renowned for its traditional craft ranges that come with a modern twist and all of our new launches have been well received in the marketplace, and have helped us open doors with new customers who recognise the value of them.

We do have some exciting projects that we are working on for 2022, but you will have to wait and see.

Why should retailers be excited to work with you guys for 2021 and beyond?

We believe in producing toys that children get a lot of play value and learning from. Both parents and kids love our products, often buying three to six variations of the crafts at the same time. By keeping costs down and adding in more SKUs to each range we can offer retailers great margins and continuity.

What’s the next big step for Fiesta Crafts this year?

We are bringing in 14 new products throughout the summer months Including a new Pop-up finger puppet theatre, Children’s pendulum clocks, new magnetic charts, and more masks. We also have a Santa mask to be brought out for the Christmas period, which we are really excited about.

Thank you for your time this month, Andrew. Before you go, is there anything you’d like to shout about right now?

We wish all retailers great sales for the rest of 2021 once they are able to open again. It has been a tough time for many stores but I am very optimistic for toy sales for the rest of the year.

About Robert Hutchins

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

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