My Toy Fair Blog – Eduk8 Worldwide Ltd
Please introduce yourself and your company:
Hello, I’m Christine Lawson, Managing Director of Eduk8 Worldwide Ltd®, a UK-based global designer and distributor of educational toys. Eduk8 operates in 4 continents with a range of over 300 individual products and our company aim is to create fun and enjoyable learning experiences for everyone through play. This fair is particularly poignant for us as we are commemorating 20 years of success in the industry and are excited to be able to celebrate with both existing and new customers at this long-awaited return to the London Toy Fair. The fair provides great exposure for our products and brands, and it is truly a thrilling time for educational toy enthusiasts.
Which products are you launching at Toy Fair?
We are so excited to be able to show such a wealth of innovation and quality in our educational toy range this year at Toy fair.
As exclusive UK distributor for The Mark MakersTM range, we will be showcasing the activity and story books on our stand, which are an introduction to a fun pre-writing programme featuring characters Lionel, Archie, Ziggy and Swirlo, who help children develop writing skills through making basic marks.
Educationalist Rachel Fay created this award-winning programme, where children aged 5 months to 5 years are encouraged to make their mark through play, and she will be popping onto the Eduk8 stand throughout the fair to answer queries and for media opportunities.
The well-known Tangles collection will also be on display, including the new Tangle Palm and a new version of the Original Tangle Texture. Used to improve fine motor skills and to relax those with sensory issues, the range is exclusively distributed by the team here at Eduk8 within the UK educational toys sector.
Threading Shapes and Fitness Dice with new four colour packaging will also be available to view throughout the exhibition. Threading Shapes aids colour and shape recognition and is available in a range of new colours and packaging. Fitness Dice is a great new family game from our Eduk8 designers, where parents and children can enjoy a fast and furious session of fun and physical activity together.
Visitors to our stand can also see first-hand the world’s first fibre-based, negative carbon alternative to plastics and bioplastics. Incredible Husk, a World Green Apple Environment Award-winning material, will be on show across a selection of products on the stand. We are the UK distributor for educational toys made using the naturally biodegradable and chemical-free rice husk material.
Incredible Husk CEO Keith Ridgeway will be on hand to answer any technical queries with example product ranges such as children’s cutlery sets. The biodegradable rice husk toy material marks a significant step in delivering sustainability within the educational toy sector and we welcome any visits from toy distributors and retailers to talk about the exciting possibilities Incredible Husk could bring to their green manufacturing process.
How did you get into the toy industry?
We recognised 20 years ago the need for parents and children to have home access to the same high quality educational toys and play-learning resources already available within school settings. Learning through play starts from an early age and enabling opportunities for this throughout a child’s life is a key aim here at Eduk8. We started in the UK with the popular Number Flip Book Range and quickly built our brands and product ranges into an internationally-distributed network. We have been delighted with the response to our educational toy range ever since.
What was your favourite toy growing up?
Without doubt it has to be Lego. I remember wiling away hours as a child bringing worlds to life with my little coloured blocks. At that age it was simply a great way to exercise my creativity and imagination. Now I also understand the other qualities that continue to ensure the brand’s longevity and ongoing success; the durability, innovation and brand alignment of the Lego products are second-to-none.
What is the one “special ingredient” that makes a great toy?
I don’t believe the “special ingredient” of a toy is a tangible product feature – rather it is the psychological impact that happens to the child once they have played with it. Whether that be the feeling of emotional connection that comes with cuddling a soft toy or the exhilaration when brandishing a sword in a playfight, all the great toys have the same thing in common; they make the child experience something that changes how they interpret themselves or the world around them.
It is possible to learn something from all toys – the hidden ingredient is the increase in knowledge or skills that takes place simply by a child having fun playing with it. At Eduk8 we value the positive impact our toys have on the learning process. Throughout product design we evaluate every component to ensure playing and learning is at the forefront of our toy range.
Other than your own, what toy brand really stands out to you today?
Exploring the toy fair and finding out what other companies have been up to is always something we really look forward to. There is a vast amount of knowledge and experience floating about at the fair and it’s a great opportunity to develop in this ever-changing sector. Casdon, with their timeless brand, always showcase a superb presence at the fair and, for a smaller brand like us, we take great inspiration from them.
What was your best memory of Toy Fair?
There are so many as we have been travelling to the fair for so many years now, both as exhibitors and visitors. It is lovely to have a buzz on your stand and we really enjoyed having author Rachel Fay in 2020 to help promote the Mark MakersTM range. The 2014 moment when the BBC Breakfast show demonstrated our big Belly Bump Balls after the Toy Fair was phenomenal exposure for us. This continues to be our claim to fame!
What’s your top tip for surviving Toy Fair?
The first one is to wear flat, comfortable shoes – and I am speaking as someone who hasn’t always followed their own advice! Apart from this, my top tip would be to ensure you plan your time well. This is key to making the most of your trip to the fair. Allowing time simply to explore is just as key as meeting customers and focusing on your own stand activity. It is amazing how much inspiration and knowledge you can glean from just walking around and absorbing the atmosphere. Try to schedule set times for customer appointments so that you can allow yourself this dedicated time to visit other stands.