Orchard Toys have been exhibiting at Toy Fair for over 25 years, so we have more than a few memories to share! After the few years away at the Excel Centre, where the halls were cold, lifeless and lacked atmosphere, it felt special when we returned to Olympia and it’s been good to see the show thrive there again.
I love the buzz of the build-up days, although we often have to wear our thermals for them! It’s great to see piles of wood, boxes and graphics slowly becoming impressive showcases for every brand’s new releases. Then there’s the moment we all hold our breath to see which horrendous colour they’ve chosen for the aisle carpet and whether or not it clashes with the colours on our stand!
I think one of the best things about the show is our stand location. The first time we used the under floor display to showcase our Giant Road Jigsaw System it really made an impact, and we’ve seen other stands take up the idea since. In the following years, other suppliers and customers have been excited to see what we’ve put in the display on the first day of the show.
All the suppliers enter the show first thing every morning via the entrance where our stand is based and it’s great to be the first to greet our friends in the trade every year. This was especially effective the year we decided to wear dinner suits and evening dresses to celebrate the launch of our new packaging in 2016.
Another of our great achievements was winning a ‘Best New Toy’ award two years in a row, for our Where Do I Live and Cheeky Monkeys games respectively. We enjoyed the more glitzy Toy awards evenings of the past, where suppliers and retailers dressed up and there would often be a celebrity handing out the awards.
In terms of trends, evergreen topics such as dinosaurs, unicorns and fairies will always be popular in the children’s toy market. Despite only being launched in January of this year, our Dinosaur Lotto has already leapt into our top 30 bestsellers list!
However, our product focus always comes back to learning. This is demonstrated in the fact that our overtly educational games such as Match and Spell and Tell the Time are some of our most successful. Trends will come and go but we are the bread and butter that sell all year round as parents like generic toys that will be enjoyed for longer.
We love exhibiting at Toy Fair and will continue to do so for years to come. It’s one of the first dates we write in our calendar and we wouldn’t miss it for the world!