Please introduce yourself and your company:
Hello! I’m Aron Lazarus, Head of International Sales at The Happy Puzzle Company. We are a family run company specialising in thinking games for fun family play! We create original puzzles and games that give kids a break from screens and get adults and children playing and learning together.
What products are you launching at Toy Fair?
This year we are focussing on one new game in particular – The Genius Square. It’s a completely original puzzle that’s a cross between Tetris and Battleships. It can be played as a 1 player solitaire challenge or a 2 player battle and there are over 62,000 different puzzle challenges to crack!
How did you get into the toy industry?
The Happy Puzzle Company is the only company I’ve worked for in the toy industry. Originally I joined the company in 2003 as a presenter for our interactive Puzzle Challenge Day programmes that we run in schools all over the country throughout the year. After a few years away, I then re-joined the company in 2011 to help to launch the company’s new international sales department, which I now oversee.
What was your favourite toy growing up?
My favourite toy growing up was undoubtedly Subbuteo. I grew up in a football crazy home with my two brothers and one summer, we turned the spare bedroom into a fully decked out Subbuteo stadium, complete with stands, advertising hoardings and an electronic scoreboard. The attention to detail was incredible.
What is the one “special ingredient” that makes a great toy?
For me it’s all about the variety of playability. I want to see toys that never get boring because there is an element of variation or surprise every time they’re used. In fact that’s probably the one and only feature that links Subbuteo to The Genius Square, so it’s no wonder that I love both games so much!
Other than your own, what toy brand really stands out to you today?
Fat Brain Toys from the US is a big favourite of mine. Their toys are so bright, attractive and engaging and are particularly wonderful for sensory seekers like me!
What was your best memory of Toy Fair?
This will only be my second year at Toy Fair. My best memory from last year was getting to meet so many new people who care so passionately about the power and value of play, whether they be retailers, manufacturers or inventors.
What’s your top tip for surviving Toy Fair?
Well personally it’s my secret supply of fizzy drinks that helps me to tackle the physical exhaustion but, honestly, it’s a hard question to answer because I never think of it in terms of ‘surviving’. When the end of the fair arrives, instead of being glad to have survived, I’m usually that annoying guy who was having so much fun he didn’t want to leave!