Please introduce yourself and your company:
My name’s Jasmin and I handle the Marketing & PR at Bigjigs Toys, we’re really looking forward to this year’s Toy Fair.
Bigjigs Toys Ltd is a toy manufacturer, distributor and wholesaler based in Kent, South East England. The current range of toys extends to over 1500 high quality products, including the popular Bigjigs Rail collection, dolls, outdoor toys, role play items and of course wooden jigsaw puzzles!
We’re always working on something new and exciting across all of our brands, Tidlo, Didicar, ZooBooKoo and Bigjigs Rail. We also distribute, on an exclusive basis, for companies outside the UK who want representation within the UK market, these include some huge names like Green Toys, Lottie, Scrunch, Rubbabu and CollectA. We have so many great lines now that the hardest part of our Toy Fair preparations is choosing what to display.
What products are you launching at Toy Fair?
We’ve got loads of brand new product coming to Toy Fair with us. It’s all top secret at the moment but you can expect to see some big changes to our Baby range, some exciting additions to our plush dolls range and of course lots of brand new quality wooden toys. We can’t wait to share all the new product with everyone.
How did you get into the toy industry?
The business began in Peter Ireland’s garden shed in Kent, England in 1985. Peter hand crafted wooden jigsaws which he and wife Liz sold at craft fairs all over the UK. Liz and Peter were both teachers by profession and so have always had child development and education at the heart of what they do.
What was your favourite toy growing up?
As you can imagine this comes up in the office from time to time and it’s funny because our Directors Sam & Tom, Sons to our founders Liz and Peter, had Bigjigs toys for a lot of their childhood. They were the original Bigjigs toy testers and models, we’ve got some great photos of them both as toddlers.
What is the one “special ingredient” that makes a great toy?
For us, when we’re working on the initial product design for a new toy we step back and ask ourselves ‘What can little ones learn from this?’ That’s what really matters to us. We create beautiful, colourful toys that stand the test of time but they’re nothing if they don’t help little ones explore and learn through play.
Other than your own, what toy brand really stands out to you today?
We’re always excited to see what everyone’s been up to at Toy Fair and we make sure all our team have the opportunity to have a look around. However we’re really excited to see what our friends at Orchard Toys, Wow and The Puppet Company have been working on. They always bring some great products to Toy Fair and we love catching up with everyone.
What was your best memory of Toy Fair?
Our very first toy fair back in 1999 is something a lot of our team remember really well. We talk about it a lot when we’re getting ready for Toy Fair each year, it was a big moment for us. We had a 9sq mt shell stand in the Greenhouse section, we’ve exhibited every year since then and we’ve now got a 108 sq mt stand. There’s something great about being in a room full of people who work in the same industry, who understand the challenges and the highlights of what we do.
What’s your top tip for surviving Toy Fair?
You really have to dive straight in with Toy fair, if you’re visiting or exhibiting for the first time the best advice I can give you is to wear your comfiest shoes and book a hotel nearby. Your days at Toy Fair are going to be great but very busy so make sure you’ve got somewhere nice and within walking distance to go back to. There’s so many exciting things to see and people to talk to it’s almost impossible to do it all in one day! You’ll be running around trying to get everything in so definitely wear good shoes. If your feet get tired, visit our stand and give our original Didicar a test!