London Toy Fair 2022
After the cancellation of 2021’s show, we were super excited to be back at Toy Fair 2022. We headed to Olympia London for the UK’s biggest industry meet up for toys, games and hobbies.
From our humble Toy Fair beginnings with just Peter & Liz Ireland, a small stand, IKEA shelves and paper orders, to a giant stand the size of a shop, multiple Sales Agents and 16 incredible brand lines, Bigjigs Toys has been proudly attending London Toy Fair for over three decades.
Olympia London was packed with over 260 exciting brands, with everything from small independent start-ups to massive brands such as Funko, V-Tech and Bandai. Our talented Graphic Designers helped create our amazing stand (shout out to Shannon for making a part of it with Makedo tools and cardboard).
Mad About Toys
We chatted with some of our toy gurus to see how they got on…
Bigjigs are back in town
Paul Bulger is our UK & EIRE Sales Manager and has been on hand to help customers, “it’s fantastic to be back. It’s nice to see familiar faces, new faces, and it’s nice to see people’s reactions when you show them amazing products”, he said.
“Trade shows are important as you need to feel and see products; also, you need someone to sometimes explain how the product will work for their shopping or retail environment” he added.
Paul further commented, “what’s interesting is we haven’t attracted just new accounts today, but accounts that we deal with already that aren’t aware of the other brands we distribute, such as CollectA, Makedo and Tiger Tribe. We have had such a positive response to our new products and having Schylling and NeeDoh is a reason to come onto Bigjigs’ stand.”
Paul’s favourite brand? “I love Makedo! I love getting a bit of cardboard, sticking a hole in it, throwing it together and showing how it works. People’s faces when showing that is just priceless.”
From Down Under
Dean Whitelaw travelled all the way from Melbourne, Australia, to show UK customers our amazing Aussie distribution brand, Tiger Tribe.
“I’ve been coming to Toy Fair for a number of years and it’s amazing to be back. It’s actually really surprising to see the show the same size as it was and back to business as usual,” Dean says.
“If COVID has taught us anything, Zoom meetings are great but there’s nothing like being face to face and touching and feeling products. Tiger Tribe has been received well in the UK by Bigjigs - it’s a strong gifting product and customers love how it’s packaged,” he added.
“We’re conscious of portable play, we want kids to take them to friends’ houses and to make the products accessible and easy. Also, it’s just that alternative to screen time! I really love the new STEM products we’ve released such as the Light & Shine and Rainbow Lab as it really helps kids learn both life and educational skills.”
Our Favourite New Independent Brands
Whilst perusing the London Toy Fair stands, we stumbled across some brilliant new brands that caught our attention.
Invented in Latvia by product designer Rodion Zenevich, Knop Knop is a unique soft felt building kit. It’s Knop Knop’s mission to create a functional construction kit that has the softness of your little one’s favourite cuddly toy.
“Knop Knop gives children a new playing and learning experience because of the felt materials. In comparison with other building kits, which are usually hard, inflexible and unable to twist, we use a soft yet durable felt,” says Rodion.
“During the six years we were working on this product, every step was a challenge, starting from finding the right felt material as we needed the right amount of softness, to choosing the right colour palette and designing the models.”
Rodion added, “I think there is a problem with the overall product market, toys often only have short-term use. So Knop Knop is a long-lasting toy in the sense that if a child gets bored of the design, they can change it to another and continue playing with it.”
What are the future plans for Knop Knop? Rodion hopes to “increase the collection with more designs” and has “a passion to try new materials and different colour palettes so you can increase the possibilities with Knop Knop.”
The Den Kit Company
Founded by two ex-school teachers and Forest School Practitioners, Kay and Jo, The Den Kit Company designs den kits to encourage kids to play in the great outdoors. The den kits can be assembled anywhere and contain no single-use plastic, batteries or complex instructions.
We chatted with Hannah, the Den Kit Company’s Marketing Manager. “Our den kits are our heart and soul! It was an idea that was very simple: that children love to make dens. Our kits are a portable way of carrying everything you need to make a den outside - on a walk, on a holiday, the woods or the beach.”
“The pandemic has been both the best and worst thing to happen to a small business like ours. Before then, we were doing well with a steady growth trajectory but then the pandemic hit and we sold so many kits at once - we couldn’t make them fast enough which was difficult with restricted numbers in our workshop and having a fragile supply chain,” says Hannah.
Hannah adds, “I really believe in what we’re trying to do and it’s a pleasure to sell what you love. I have three children myself and it has helped me parent better - my children are happier because I work for this brand.”
“Just getting kids inspired enough to use their own imagination, their own skills, their own ingenuity is just the most thrilling thing ever. Love it! I feel that every child needs a den kit, there are a lot of kids out there who haven’t got one yet or haven’t heard of us yet. I’d like to see the kits in schools and I’d like to see them in children’s houses where they don’t have a garden - where going outside may not be something they do as a family.”
Honourary Mention: Paper Engine
We also have an honourary mention for Paper Engine who had a fantastic stand (and 3D cardboard gorilla called Gary) packed full of impressive cardboard animals, telescopes, buildings and much more. An eco-friendly yet fun introduction to the world of paper engineering for kids. Perfect for getting them away from screens and engaged with a hands-on creative project!
Find us at Toy Fair
Find us at Stand H39 - we're here until Thursday 27th January.
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