Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.
DEBORAH STALLINGS STUMM, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Bonkers Toys
Some of the hottest toys this year were based on multiplatform games and YouTube content. Do you expect this trend to continue in 2019?
Influencers, social media, and gaming apps are at the core of how kids and teens now consume entertainment. YouTube stars and social media influencers are the new celebrities and role models that drive sales and demand for merchandise. Finding ways to integrate these new channels with popular and innovative play patterns will be hugely important for successful toy lines going forward. That said, not all influencers and gaming apps, regardless of their subscribers, downloads, and views, will work well for toy lines. Bonkers Toys will be very selective about the brands and channels with which we partner.
What does it take to deliver products quickly without losing the quality?
In this digital age, it is critical to be nimble and have an incredibly fast time to market. Trends come and go very quickly, and kids expect to see products from their favorite digital stars while they are still popular. Bonkers Toys is extremely entrepreneurial and nimble, so we can identify trends, develop ideas, and manufacture meaningful products with our experienced product and quality teams, and ship to meet retailers’ timelines for key selling seasons. Having the right team in place to ensure quality while expediting time to market is essential.
Ryan’s World was one of the hottest toy lines of the year. How did Bonkers Toys keep up with demand and manage retailer inventory?
The Ryan’s World brand has most definitely become a phenomenal success story! Bonkers Toys was the first toy company to recognize the massive potential of Ryan in the toy space, and we signed as the very first licensee. It was no easy feat to sign the deal, design an entire product line, and ship product on time to meet retailer set dates in less than six months. We expected the consumer demand to be strong, but I think everyone was beyond amazed at the loyalty of Ryan’s fans and the incredible demand for the product. We worked very closely with all of our retail partners to ship as much product as possible to the right stores at the right times. Even with our best efforts, the flagship toy in the Ryan’s World line, the Giant Mystery Egg, was one of the hottest items of the holiday season and created a frenzy at retail, making it very hard to find.