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David Eyres

owner, D & J Toystop, Putney I was originally in book retail, and it was really through serendipity that we got into toys about 15/16 years ago; we had three toy shops and a book shop for a while, and we sold our last book shop about 10 years ago. Now we’re the one toy shop and I believe we are one of the largest Toymaster members in terms of single shop size, with 3,500 sq ft to look after. We’re based in Putney on the river, so it is a very nice location. Next year is going to be very interesting for us as we’ll be coming up to the end of our lease; we have a chap who’s been looking after the leases on our stores for the last 20 years, so we’ll be putting out the feelers early next year. Though come February/March you’re already writing up the numbers for next Christmas, so it all depends on the deal. We’re based in the shopping centre so I’m sure they’ll be keen to keep us. We stock most of the things you’d expect to find in a

toy shop, so I suppose we’re traditional in that sense: we stock Lego, Barbie, Flair, and a really rounded mix of games including chess and backgammon, that sort of thing. I’ll always walk into other toy shops over the holidays and see things I missed at the shows, sometimes I wonder how I could have missed it, but other times I’m glad I didn’t buy it! We have so-so success when we run the Toymaster promotions, like the two for £10 and two for £15 deals, but besides that we don’t advertise to the local area. I really do admire the Toy Barnhaus boys with all the things they do; not only are they on the shop floor but they give retail analysis in their column every month. Business is going okay right now; we’re a bit down on where we were this time last year, but then last year was a real bumper year for us. I would say that online is having the biggest impact on the business; you read the press and see the predicted numbers of people who will be shopping online for Christmas this year, but you never know and I think a lot of people connected with the indies still hold the sentiment that shopping in-store is a better experience. I would love to go to the Nuremberg toy fair, but it always clashes with when I go skiing – but I go to all the English ones: Toy Fair, Spring Fair, Top Drawer, and Toymaster of course - anything to get us out the shop really! I’m always really excited to see the Lego displays at the shows and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next, they’re fantastic, and Flair’s displays, too; I always liked their Sylvanian displays, if only I could do them in my shop.

The independent voice...

viewpoint Indie

Merry Christmas, one and all

will agree, it was nice to see him doing some real work for a change! Throughout the day, we put him through his paces, with 20 pallet deliveries, sweeping the stockroom, tea making, and buying our lunch – we do not think he will be back in a hurry. Seriously though, it was a pleasure to have him and hopefully he has written nice things about us in his article this month. We do always believe that the best way to fi nd out about anything is to experience it, so hats off to him for doing it. Looking forward into next year, the key thing for anyone in the toy trade is to get your


hotel rooms booked for Toy Fair and Nuremburg, as we have heard that Hyde Park is a bit chilly that time of year. But seriously, the most important thing to arrange for Olympia is which stand you visit over lunchtime. We have already started to make appointments, and any supplier that does lunch is guaranteed to get our avid attention. Speaking of lunch, having completed all our previews, the standard of food has been very high this year. There was a scare at Hasbro when only one plate of sandwiches came out for us all. Panic over though, as a second plate soon turned up and was eagerly consumed. However, the best one has to be the Toymaster FOB show, which provided a full roast dinner, with all the trimmings - wow, we were both so impressed, we stayed for the meeting afterwards. Well done guys, looking forward to the next one. With the Dream Toys list now out, it is good to see that at last we have some good sellers for this year, as the rest of the year there has been no toy that has set the world on fi re. Robofi sh continues to do really well, and we are selling more Chill Factors now when it is cold outside than we were during the heatwave over the Summer. Also, the blue Teksta has been very popular, unfortunately leaving the pink one on the shelves (the blue paint pot is now coming out). Also, Nerf Rebelle has been very popular, along with the My Little Pony Equestrian Dolls. As we write this, there are a few lines that have surprised us, as always. In the games

category, we could put down all versions of Operation, with the new Doc McStuffi ns version being a case where the licence really fi ts the product. Also, another reworked classic is Catchphrase from John Adams, where it is still a case of “say what you see!”. The Lite Bricks range from Character Options has also exceeded our expectations. We received displays for this, and they really help sell the range. A late arrival that has fl own, which is no surprise really, is the Minecraft range of products from Character Options. There is certainly demand for product out there from kids and adults. Here’s to a great Christmas for you all, and we are hoping that these stories of it being the coldest winter for a generation are not true, so everyone can come out and keep those tills ringing! Merry Christmas .

t last, our favourite time of year has arrived. Trade coming through October was generally good, but coming into November it is taking a little while to get going. I hate saying it, but Christmas comes later every year. Over the October half-term we had a toy fair in one of our malls, and we also had the pleasure of Toy World editor Tom coming to visit us for a day. As I am sure colleagues

If you would like to get involved

with next month’s Talking Shop, please get in touch with Kayleigh:

01442 840 306, @KayleighConners

Mark Buschhaus and Stephen Barnes, Toy Barnhaus Toyworld 23

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