Please introduce yourself and your company:
My name is Julia Minchin and I am the founder and co Director of Hippychick, suppliers of innovative toys and nursery products for the 0-4 age group predominantly.
What products are you launching at Toy Fair?
New collections of the following ranges – Trybike (vintage trikes that turn into bikes), Nattou plush toys, Dena, Classic World (a beautiful wooden toy range who have employed a French designer), HappyHopperz animal inflatable bouncers,
How did you get into the toy industry?
By default really – we were originally a nursery accessories distributor selling our own branded Hippychick hipseats and waterproof cotton bed protectors when we were asked to take on the UK distribution for Wheelybug – ride on toys developed in Australia in really sweet bug/animal designs such as bees and ladybirds. The collection’s been a runaway success since the outset and remains one of our best-selling lines in the portfolio.
What was your favourite toy growing up?
Despite the fact that I was one of four girls (as well as one boy!) we never had dolls. We had a bit of a Swallows & Amazons style childhood, always outside even in the rain making dens in the garden, digging for worms and tearing around on our bikes. What I do remember vividly was a slightly rickety blue and red ride-on train that my father made. We all loved it and used to fight over it, as more than two aboard at the same time pushed it to its limits. It had a secret storage area under the seat which when you’re a child is for some reason such a magical thing. We used to hide things in there. It was passed down to the grandchildren and cousins so not sure where it is now but probably still somewhere in the family – at least I very much hope so.
What is the one “special ingredient” that makes a great toy?
Other than your own, what toy brand really stands out to you today?
I think brands like Tender Leaf toys really stand out today, and you can’t help but love the longevity of LEGO.
What was your best memory of Toy Fair?
My father always coming back with a large cuddly toy for each of us when we were little. Of course we all wanted to go with him to such an event and even though he always did his utmost to explain why it wasn’t appropriate being a trade show, we were always disappointed year after year. My father ran a wooden toy business called Tiger Toys and he exhibited at Toy Fair for years. So my love for wooden toys is in my blood!
What’s your top tip for surviving Toy Fair?
Drink lots of water, make lots of appointments beforehand, and never leave your stand. It’s a bit like an Amazon delivery you’ve been waiting in for all day. Leave, for even a mere couple of minutes and the most important visitors are bound to turn up while you’re gone. Typical!