Going it alone: Why toy designers should head out on their own - ToyNews

Going it alone: Why toy designers should head out on their own

Three years ago, Sarah Greenswell took the gamble on breaking the toy industry with her Elf for Christmas concept, which went on to scoop multiple awards.
Author:
Publish date:
Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 11.51.29.png

Going it alone always seems like a daunting prospect, particularly when you’re trying to break the toy industry.

In fact, as a mother to a newborn child, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the whole idea is a little crazy. But it was something I was determined to do.

I put pen to paper with the idea of Elf for Christmas in 2014. I was on maternity leave, it was approaching December and I was thinking about the Christmas traditions our little family could start and I did some research online.

I was looking for something endearing, with style and that would help me instil some good old- fashioned values. Despite having no experience in product design or in the toy industry, I decided, in my ‘new baby-haze’ it was a good idea to invest our life savings, and create something myself.

I spent about six months designing Elf, writing the magical rewards kits, coming up with my concept and figuring out the story around the brand. I had spent ten years running a branding agency so I knew the importance of getting the brand story and the product perfectly aligned.

I was on the arc of every steep learning curve, and about to embark on a very exciting journey.

I had spent a lot of time getting product made up and shipped over and by autumn 2016 I launched our website. When the orders started coming in from retailers, I slowly began to realise the potential.

But the big breakthrough moment came when we visited London Toy Fair with the idea of researching distributors that would be able to help us navigate the move into retail.

Appointing Asobi as our UK distributor was a great breakthrough moment for us, they have really got behind the brand and have taken us into some leading retailers. We are now increasing our range and expanding into exciting new territories.

The whole experience of going it alone has been challenging, exciting and thoroughly enjoyable. When I look back from where we are now, I am glad I took that chance on an idea, despite the challenges.

If you’re reading this and you have a strong idea, I’d say go for it. The hardest part is just getting started. 

Related

0 gibsons game.jpg

Head in the game

The board game market is booming, with more choice for consumers to enjoy than ever before. Nick Wright, joint MD at Gibsons takes a look at technology, innovation and the market to find out why these items are back on the radar.

5_StephenGreen.jpg

Galleon - Going it alone

Galleon has chosen not to go down the master toy licensee route with its latest property, Skunk Fu. Here, CEO Stephen Green explains why he made that choice and what benefits the firm is now reaping...

0 apprenticeships.jpg

You're hired: Why should toy firms offer apprenticeship schemes?

With the government’s plans to reach three million apprenticeships by the year 2020, more toy firms across the nation are starting to offer their own schemes. Here, Jade Burke speaks to key toy execs and retailers to find out how beneficial they are and how youngsters can get their foot on the ladder in the toy industry.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 11.47.34.png

Young Innovators

Sarah Reast, director and designer for Timberkits Ltd. takes a look at today’s smallest role models and how toy designers can take inspiration from play.

Featured Jobs

Copyrights Group

Marketing Manager

The Copyrights Group is one of the licensing arms within The Vivendi Group. Acquired by Vivendi in 2016 Copyrights manages the licensing for a portfolio of properties to include Paddington Bear. Some of the other companies within the Vivendi Group include Universal Music Group, and their licensing arm Bravado, Gameloft and Studiocanal to name a few.