SUPPLIER FOCUS: Scholastic

You may know it as a publishing company, but Scholastic also has a 120-strong library of arts and crafts kits which is helping it make a name for itself in the toy business, too. Samantha Loveday finds out more about the Klutz brand and what?s coming up next.
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If you think of Scholastic, book publishing is probably the first thing that springs to mind. However, the firm also has a top selling arts and crafts brand – Klutz – which it is looking to further expand in the toy space this year.

The Klutz label boasts 120 product lines, with more planned to launch in 2013, it is part of Scholastic Children’s Books, which is in turn part of Scholastic Inc.

Founded over 90 years ago, it is the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books in the world, and, in the UK, is home to the likes of The Hunger Games trilogy, Horrible Histories and the Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson.

Klutz kits retail from £7.99 up to £14.99, and are already sold by a wide variety of retailers, including independent toy shops and High Street book shops, craft outlets, educational toy retailers and online.

Top sellers in 2012 included LEGO Contraptions, Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered, Paper Fashions, Star Wars Folded Flyers, Nail Art, Cat’s Cradle, Paper Airplanes, Friend Bracelet NE, How to Draw Star Wars and Stencil Art.

“Klutz is an established brand, with strong brand loyalty. It is very important in the arts and crafts sector to make sure that customers are getting value for money,” explains Sarah Burgess, key account manager at Scholastic Children’s Books. 

“Klutz kits always provide this as they are packed with brilliant ideas and everything that you need to make them. The Klutz products are very colourful and eye-catching, so stand out well on the shelf.”

New products to look out for this year, says Burgess, include Clay Charms (charm chain adornments), Dot Jewellery (for children to create their own custom jewellery), Scoubidou (to make bracelets, key rings and ponytail holders), and Impossible Objects (which includes 25 science-based projects). There’s also Pom Pom Puppies (knitted pups) and Toolbox Jewellery (which lets children turn hardware into metal jewellery). Although Klutz already has healthy distribution, further expansion into the toy sector has been earmarked for 2013.

Burgess comments: “We would consider offering extra discount to new independent toy retailers who come on board, and we can also look at supplying spinners for display purposes and Klutz event kits for use in-store to familiarise customers with the brand.

“We would potentially consider becoming a member of Toymaster to help build business with the indie sector.”

As well as various sizes of spinners, Scholastic also has six-copy display packs for some of the Klutz lines to help them stand out on shelf, while it is also currently considering the idea of a Klutz loyalty card to encourage repeat purchase. It’s certainly shaping up to be a busy year for the brand and Burgess has high hopes for its performance. 

“By the end of 2013 we would like to have increased our distribution of Klutz with both High Street and independent toy retailers,” she says. “Also, to have raised awareness of the brand with consumers, which we are looking to achieve with some targeted consumer advertising.”

And longer term aims? Simple, says Burgess: “We would like Klutz to be the absolute go-to brand for all things arts, craft, activity and creative learning.”

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