Wholesale knitted and crochet toys for the year ahead
As a toy wholesaler our year can roughly be split in to 3 parts
Jan - April we attend a lot of trade shows in UK and Europe. Here we get feedback on what is selling in the Independent retailers, hopefully meet new customers and get reaction to samples of potential new products we have to show. Unlike in retail this is one of the very busiest times of the year for us.
May - August. This is crunch time for wholesalers. We now have to make a decision on which new products to bring in and which products should be discontinued. We also have to put down orders for Xmas stock which have to be accompanied by a substantial deposit so it is also the leanest time of year for us.
Sept - Dec. Obviously this is Xmas so its a busy time for orders but it is also the time of the year when we visit factories/workers co-operatives in Bangladesh, and China. We are looking for new sources and new products and designs in new fabrics. It is samples from these visits which we show at the spring trade fairs.
The Pebble new toys and hats have now been decided, and we also have a fantastic range of Pebble Xmas rattles and decorations and a gorgeous range of Pebble knitted transport toys. Now its the time for the Best Years range.
Our Best Years range has been very stable over the last 2 years as we brought in dozens of new Pebble toys and then Pebble hats.
Before stable becomes stale we are now going to instigate some radical changes in to our fabulous knitted toys.
We are going to continue with the T Rex (we said radical change not stupid!) and the elephant and monkey, although we are updating the colour of the knitted monkey to this as it has not changed in over 5 years.
All products which we need to re-order for Xmas will instead be discontinued. This includes the following
We have already sold out of the knitted mice and monster and we will not replace them. The organic cotton T Rex is now out of stock, and we have limited stock of the monkey and bunny which are unfortunately discontiued as the factory cannot re-make them. If you stock any of these products please re-order them asap as we anticipate running out of stock in the summer.
So what new products have we got coming in to replace them?
You have seen the knitted Stegasaurus and Triceratops (rough images here, but colours will change). The Stegasaurus has been ordered and will be in for September. the Triceratops will follow as soon as we have sorted the colour out!
We also have crochet bunnies arriving in June (apologies for the cardboard box in the picture!).
We are working hard on a range of knitted toys code named Ickle Pickle but they are still top secret at the moment so we can't show images.
Finally we are going to introduce a range called Best Years Independents. These are toys which we will initially only sell in to the Independent sector. We only deal with "nice" multiples such as John Lewis and Cath Kidston in order that there is no ridiculous under cutting of prices, but this range will not be available to even them.
As part of our strategy of trying to source from workers co-operatives we will self-certify for EN71 and CE for the first deliveries until we know whether the ranges are commercially viable. Self certification involves us checking the procedures and materials of the toys we buy rather than sending them off to testing houses after the toys have been produced. Testing costs are approx £1000 for a range of toys which has made sourcing from smaller producers very difficult as it meant we had to buy 1000s of toys just to cover the testing fees. The new toy safety legislation introduced last year makes self certification posible in exactly this sort of scenario which is great as it makes it easier to source from small independent producers rather than large Chinese factories.
The Independents range will be quirky and a bit different. Some ranges may only be in for a season and others may continue for a while but the key rationale behind the ranges is to provide independent retailers with well designed, affordable and fair trade ranges that make them stand out from the crowd. Here are a few development images but we will have all the samples on our stand at Pulse, Bubble and AIS
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