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Women in Toys UK Frances Cain, founder and CEO of Daughters of History, talks to Toy World’s Tom Roberts about how she became head of the UK chapter of Women in Toys and what the association hopes to achieve.


“It’s certainly a case of being in the right place at the right time,” said Frances. “When I first got into the toy industry two years ago I looked for a networking platform that would give an unknown, independent start-up brand like myself a chance to meet other industry professionals and hopefully learn from experts in the field. I found Women in Toys and met with Joan Luks of the Serenata Group, who is president of the association, and we really hit it off. This led to her asking if I wanted to be involved with the UK chapter, and, of course, I jumped at the opportunity.” The aim of the Women in Toys (WIT) association is to provide a collaborative professional environment and networking foundation for driven, passionate women within the toy, licensing and entertainment industries. The group acknowledges and promotes the achievements of outstanding female leaders at all levels and capacities within the industry, and provides resources and access to information and empowerment to both women and men in the aforementioned fields. Frances commented: “Our plans for the UK chapter are very much in line with the association’s goals of building a networking group within the toy, licensing and entertainment sectors that encourages and supports its members through shared knowledge, contacts or even just past experience. We really want to offer an opportunity for the UK members to come together and discuss and address issues that are important to them.” The first meeting of the UK chapter of WIT took place on the evening of the first day of this year’s Brand Licensing Europe show at London Olympia. Joan Luks even flew in especially from New York to help Frances host; a great example of how WIT supports it members. Frances said: “The event was quite the success. We had attendees from all walks of the toy and licensing sectors, from top international players to new indie start-ups. The conversations were a great example of how an event like this can really benefit its members; there were discussions about manufacturing, licensing, design, intellectual property, sales...you name it. For a first-time event the turnout was excellent, and I think people took some very positive feelings about WIT away with them at the end of the evening.” A high amount of interest has been heading Frances’ way since the


first event, so much so that the association is already planning a second networking event at 2014’s BTHA Toy Fair (date and time to be confirmed). For more information about Women in Toys, please contact Frances Cain by email: frances@daughtersofhistory.co.uk.


Simpsons Toy Shop to close this Christmas


The Stowmarket-based retailer will shut on Christmas Eve for the last time after more than a century of trading. Five staff will be made redundant as a result of the closure. Philip Baker, owner, said they


had received a stock offer but they wanted to sell it to local “people that have supported us”. Mr Baker said competition from large supermarkets and the growth in internet shopping had played a major role in the toy shop’s demise.


08 Toyworld


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Asobi has announced it has signed a deal with Red Toolbox for exclusive distribution rights for the tools and project kits across the UK and Ireland. Karen


@toyworldmag Asobi adds Red Toolbox to its offering


Sheffer from Red Toolbox said: “Asobi is 100% the right distributor for our brand. Red Toolbox was created to encourage children to use their own initiative to build a good quality toy that will last. Our tools make woodwork easier and our project kits promote communication, teamwork and also inspire confidence.” Thierry Bourret, managing director and founder of Asobi, added: “We are very


excited that Red Toolbox has come on board. The team and I are big fans of the brand and believe it complements the rest of our range perfectly. We look forward to showing off this fantastic brand to retailers.”


Tomy develops mobile app to make field sales easier


Recognising the need to get information from the customer services team into the hands of the


field sales agents when they were meeting with customers, Stuart Kahn, IT manager for Tomy, worked with intelligence to develop the mobile sales app which is compatible with iPad, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Android devices. Designed to enable the sales agent to effectively create a sales order, the app is simple to use, provides real-time information when connected to the internet, gives centralised customer information, and integrates with SAP. The app went live in September and has since been rolled out across the UK and Europe. Today, 80% of Tomy’s European sales force is using the app.


Mothercare records first half- year profit since 2010


Mothercare is back in the black for the first time since 2010; group underlying pre-tax profit rose to £2m in the first half, up from a £1.8m loss last year. The mother and baby retailer reported total global sales rose 4.4% to £637.7m in the


28 weeks to October 12. UK like-for-like sales fell 1.4% in the half while international like-for-likes rose 4.8%. Profits in Mothercare’s international division increased 13.5% to £25.2m. UK losses narrowed to £14.9m from £16.9m last year. Chief executive Simon Calver said the results show the retailer is making progress


in its Transformation and Growth turnaround plan but there remains further work to do. Mothercare closed 18 loss-making UK stores in the half and continued to refit key shops. International space increased 11.9% as the retailer opened new stores to notch up 1,156 shops in 59 countries across the globe. The retailer has now introduced click- and-collect to all its stores ahead of the key Christmas trading period.


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