INTERVIEW: Wooky's Mignon Klerk

Wooky Europe's marketing director speaks to ToyNews about its arts and crafts products...
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How has Wooky performed over the past 12 months?

Over the last 12 months Wooky has increased sales revenue dramatically. We’re lucky to have an established and strong team in the UK based in our Liverpool offices who have experience working with all the relevant retailers and etailers to promote our range of brands effectively. Our design team have been working hard using their research data to develop ranges for children who love to be creative and use their imaginations, and most importantly, have fun.

Are there any trends, difficulties or opportunities you've noticed in particular within the toy trade over the past 12 months?

Most retail and etail partners have been cautious about committing to large stock until they’ve seen the final product. We’ve also worked closely with partners to ensure our packaging has instant appeal to the children we are targeting. Fortunately we’ve had really positive feedback about the fact we offer a non-electronic range and that all our kits are packed with things – so they offer genuine value for money for the consumer.

Tell us about the Style Me Up range – what kind of demand have you seen for girls aged 8-14 for makeup and design?

Style Me Up has really been generating a lot of buzz among trade partners and consumer media. There’s definitely been a gap in the market for products for the eight plus age group. Everything about the brand is geared towards helping girls build their self-esteem, develop their own sense of style and feel a sense of achievement when they complete one of the kits. 

Our makeup range is low key, it’s not about turning girls into mini adults, it’s about recognising they will want to experiment and doing it in an age appropriate way. 

Our Creative Cosmetics range has lip balm, lip gloss and perfume so it’s the perfect entry level brand for younger girls. Retailers love the packaging and the fact that each kit has a lot for children to do – they make a perfect activity for a sleepover party which is popular among this age group.

What kind of reaction have you had to the Block Crayon range? What's next for that brand?

Block Crayon has been really doing well, it won the Right Start Award the other month which was fantastic. We felt the range was strong combining colours, building and numbers in a fun way for pre-school children. Next year we expect the brand to really take off and watch this space for further developments.

How much of a demand is there for non-electronic toys?

We’ve noticed a huge demand for non-electronic toys. Many of our ranges remind parents of the kind of activities they did as children and it brings back lots of happy memories of Sunday afternoons spent sticking, making and generally getting in a mess! Most parents want to help their children develop their co-ordination skills, improve concentration and express their creative side – our kits make that possible. 

The beauty of Wooky products is that everything you need is in the box – this is a popular with parents and grandparents who don’t have time to buy all the individual items. These are also great for parents looking for indoor activities they can do together with their children.

When will Carol Vorderman's Mathable go on sale?

Since September and we’re delighted that she agreed to join us in our quest to make Maths fun.

Do you have specific marketing details for Mathable or any other Wooky campaigns?

We will be focusing on independent reviews and some print based advertising initially so we can build a base of fans. It’s a built like launching Scrabble from scratch. It’s the kind of game that once you start playing you’re hooked and our Junior Mathable is ideal for children. And the latest addition to the Mathable family is the Ipad App, so we think this will help the game grow. It’s excellent value for just £1.49 you can play the game on your Ipad – great for secret practice sessions.

Could other celebrity endorsements be on the cards?

We are not proactively looking for other celebrities at the moment but never say never. Mathable is a very different brand to the others we sell and it made complete sense to get a respected figure like Carol Vorderman on board.

What are your aims for the Christmas period and heading into 2013? What's next for Wooky?

Our number one priority for Christmas is to ensure we deliver all the stock we can to our retail partners. We’ve been getting some positive reviews in the consumer press and so we’re expecting an increase in demand as mums and children find out about the new products. 

2013 is all about developing and consolidating the new brands we’ve built this year. Our design team are deep in product design mode and we’ve got some very exciting products to look forward to next year.

Anything else you'd like to add?

We’ve been thrilled with the reaction we’ve had to all the brands for 2012 and it’s great to see love for craft and arty toys is alive and kicking.

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