Please introduce yourself and your company:
My name is David Strang the Founder/CEO of Wicked. We’re a dynamic and vibrant toy company that exports products on a global scale. We also manufacture boomerangs right here in the UK which are distributed to over 45 countries – including Australia!
What products are you launching at Toy Fair?
There’s no rest for the Wicked and in anticipation for summer we’re launching a whole new range of interactive outdoor toys. You may remember the ‘Mega Jump’ from last year, with champion jump ropers showing us mind-blowing tricks? Well this year we’ve one-upped ourselves and will be releasing the world’s first whistling skipping rope, ‘Mega Jump Sonic’- the faster you skip the louder the whistle! We’re revolutionising the ‘Sky Rider’ range with our brand new ‘Air Square’ – that’s right, it’s a flying square going incredible distances. Another project currently in the works is the ‘Microjet’ – a ‘pocket money’ priced stunt plane. Keep an eye out for our unbelievable, larger than life ‘Mega Tube’ – it’s impossible to miss. Lastly, phase 2 of our unbreakable Suneez range comes out too! Our toys are created to motivate children to get active and emphasise the importance of outdoor play.
How did you get into the toy industry?
Scottish born, growing up in Australia and finally making my way back to the UK, I tried my hand with all sorts of businesses over the years. I always wanted to import quality Australian products to the UK market and one day the penny finally dropped, I realised there were no quality sports boomerangs available here. This led to the creation of Wicked and the rest is history.
What was your favourite toy growing up?
Outdoor play is heavily emphasised in schools all over Australia. Embracing the healthy lifestyle, I was always involved with sport and keeping myself active every day. My choice of toy was a tennis racquet, or a football and these memories are what inspires each carefully designed toy at Wicked.
What is the one “special ingredient” that makes a great toy?
We’re sick of seeing kids on their phones and tablets so the idea of a toy combining both movement and a skill make for a great product. Keeping the body active is good for kids’ physical health and improving on a skill assists with motor development. Mastering a skill gives a sense a sense of satisfaction, and the domino effect is a positive state of mind. For example, the main goals of the UKick (one of our popular products) is to keep it off the ground – simple right? However, with some practice your skill level can reach that of a freestyle footballer by substituting the ball for a UKick! The most important thing about a toy is that it provides hours of fun.
Other than your own, what toy brand really stands out to you today?
It’s great to see Lego constantly reinventing themselves. Not only is the brand recognisable around the world but they are affiliated with some of the top licenses as well.
What was your best memory of Toy Fair?
Last year we were able to work with the world’s best jump rope champions from Australia and the USA. It was a fantastic display of skills and a testament to what our product can really do.
What’s your top tip for surviving Toy Fair?
It’s important to keep energy levels high, even if it means stocking up on snacks throughout the day. Although commercially the Toy Fair is important for us to meet new customers and stay on top of the latest trends, we say don’t forget to enjoy all the demonstrations and immerse yourself in the whole experience. The team at Wicked test their own toys all day long! Time flies when you’re having fun.