Please introduce yourself and your company:
Nick Saunders, Sales & Marketing Director for Brainstorm. We are a UK-based toy designer, manufacturer and distributor with our own brands Brainstorm Toys and The Original Glowstars Company which are sold globally. In addition we also have a license from The Natural History Museum.
We are also the exclusive distributor for the UK and ROI of brands including StikBot, Aqua Dragons, EUGY and Addict A Ball and manage all of our operations from our head office in North East Lancashire.
The company turns 25 years old at Toy Fair 2020 and we are looking forward to a successful anniversary year.
What products are you launching at Toy Fair?
Lots! We of course don’t want to give too much away but buyers can expect to see new lines across most of our key brands as well as some exciting in-house developments for our Brainstorm Toys range.
StikBot sees the launch of a new MEGABOT series in 2020 and each has its own exclusive multi-coloured StikBot which will be showcased at Olympia. We have also recently signed a license agreement with Aardman launching two new fantastic Projector Torches to complement this ever-expanding range.
At the 2019 Toy Fair we successfully launched EUGY, the eco-friendly craft-collectable and its completely out-performing our already ambitious objectives. At Toy Fair 2020, retailers will be able to preview and buy an extended range of EUGY, see our new POS and discuss plans for activations in-store with our self-managed package for EUGY model making days.
How did you get into the toy industry?
I was working for a packaging supply company and my good friend Rosanne Kenealy was looking to source some transit packaging for her growing toy company. Within a few months I had ditched the bubble wrap in favour of educational toys and never looked back! Brainstorm is now owned by three families and myself Rosanne and Julie Greenwood work as family representatives and full-time directors of the business.
In fact, Julie and Rosanne are sisters and we grew up together in the same street in the village of Higham in North East Lancashire. Rosanne always made the rules when we were playing as kids; she is still trying!
What was your favourite toy growing up?
Action man and little green toy soldiers.
What is the one “special ingredient” that makes a great toy?
If I knew that then I would be an ex-toy-salesman travelling around Europe in my luxury motorhome! But seriously you have to trust your judgement and if Brainstorm colleagues love a product idea then we hope kids and parents will too.
Other than your own, what toy brand really stands out to you today?
Simon Prest will have to owe me another pint…. I love Orchard Toys; specifically the games. They are the only games that I was able to play with my kids successfully when they were younger.
What was your best memory of Toy Fair?
I think the first year when the fair moved back to Olympia. The fair really found its mojo again and we enjoyed a very successful show. It was also the first time we moved to using a purpose-built booth using a proper contractor.
What’s your top tip for surviving Toy Fair?
Don’t get too drunk too soon; remember next week its Nuremberg!