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A new craze is looming L


ast month H. Grossman was announced as the sole distributor


for the Rainbow Loom in the UK and Ireland, while Character Options will be offering the Cra-z-loom Bracelet Maker. Each of the loom kits retail for £14.99 and contains 600 rubber bands in a variety of colours and fi nishes that can be woven into bracelets, rings and necklaces in endless combinations of colours and lengths, with refi ll packs starting at £3.99. At the time of going to print, both the Rainbow Loom and Cra-z-loom are hitting the tops of the Amazon charts, with refi lls selling strongly. Consumer


reaction has been highly positive, with how-to videos and design ideas sweeping social media. Refi ll packs present the perfect opportunity for additional sales. Midco toys’


Dave Middleton said: “The bands themselves that come in a variety of colours are hot property in the States. Everywhere has sold out - they literally cannot keep these on the pegs. The kids only buy one loom kit, but retailers need to remember they will keep coming back for these bands over and over.” With refi ll packs being a major part of the loom’s appeal, Character Options carries the Neon Brite Refi ll Pack with 900 bands and the Ultimate Refi ll Pack with over 2,000 pieces, with more to be introduced. Jerry Healy, Character Options, added: “In the US, tens of thousands of Cra-z-looms are being sold each week, with refi ll sales reported at 3-4/1 of the original purchase. With so many opportunities for additional sales, the margins for retailers will prove more than rewarding.”


With sales in the US booming for both products, Martin Grossman believes the loom will translate to the UK: “The US and the UK are different in many ways, but we believe that this is going to be one of items that can cross the channel without any problems. Our fi rst shipment landed in October and had already been sold before it arrived.”


Jerry further explained: “The market is ripe for a new craze in the creative play arena. The concept is perfect for today’s tween and teen. Friendship groups are also vital at this age, which is why friendship bracelets have remained popular. Cra-z-loom offers a modern twist on that theme.”


Early Learning Centre to offer click and collect service


Mothercare has been running a click and collect service for almost two years now, and the company has confi rmed that ELC will now benefi t from this service too. ELC’s click and collect service was scheduled to come online at the end of October, with Simon Calver, Mothercare’s chief executive confi rming the service would “be extended to all UK Early Learning Centre stores in time for Christmas trading”. Ryan Murray, the Early Learning Centre’s trading director, said: “Competition for the customer’s money remains as intense as ever, and we have focused on developing great products at fantastic value but this is only one part of what the modern customer wants. They also demand quality, service and convenience, which is where the incredible knowledge of our store staff, our multi-channel approach, and offering services such as click and collect come into their own.” Simon Calver also confi rmed that the company is continuing to make fundamental improvements to its business in the UK, which will allow Mothercare and the Early Learning Centre to compete effectively in a changing marketplace.


@toyworldmag


The rubber band jewellery craze is set to hit the UK just in time for Christmas. Kayleigh Conway reports. Cra-z-loom


Midco Toys’ Dave Middleton, who fi rst spotted the potential of the line at the


New York Toy Fair, gave us a little background on the original loom: “Rainbow Loom for the USA was all about the independent toy stores, which I am of course a massive supporter of. The designer of Rainbow Loom, Choon Ng, was just a regular guy who saw his kids playing and wanted them to have the experience of designing things with rubber bands. He took the Justin Bieber route and placed videos on YouTube showing what the loom kit could do. The idea was to sell the experience of the product, showing customers what the kit could do with in-store demos.” I asked Dave why he decided to contact Martin Grossman about distributing


the Rainbow Loom: “I spotted the product at the New York Toy Fair in February but the craze hadn’t majorly kicked off by then. Eventually we placed a large order for a business of my size, struggling with shipping and other things. Meanwhile in the States this really started to go big time. Time was running out, I needed my stock and the UK needed to get onto the loom craze. I spoke to Martin Grossman. Like an independent, he has the fl exibility to make things happen at a drop of a hat and that’s pretty much what he did. About six weeks after fi rst contact, stock is due in days and fi ngers crossed the independents have a craze here that they can maximise on the run-up to Christmas.” I asked Jerry how Character Options plans to drive the Cra-z-loom as the UK’s next big craze: “Our marketing campaign for this brand is huge, which is only to be expected as we have support from all the major retailers from the very outset. Our TV commercial is ready and has proved highly successful in the US where the brand is already at cult status. We have shipped Cra-z-loom in early to ensure we can meet at some of the Christmas spend and to start the craze this side of the New Year.” Character will launch its heavyweight TV campaign in December, set to increase in the New Year. Character will also run tween press and online campaigns and hold live demonstrations at the Ideal Home Exhibition in the Toy Area. Dave believes that the loom is a natural craze, while Martin revealed that H. Grossman is going to develop Rainbow Loom as a long-standing product. He added: “We’ve got new products launching at Toy Fair to keep the longevity going. It’s such a great product for kids’ creativity and co-ordination, and most of all it keeps their attention.”


08 Toyworld


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