Addo announces bright future for Early Learning Centre

 

As part of a group acquisition we are delighted to announce the Early Learning Centre (ELC) will be joining the Addo Play portfolio of brands.

Mary Price Co-founder & CEO of Addo Play said “We cannot wait to utilise our expertise and start working on product sourcing, development and wholesale to modernise this great British, heritage brand. With new investment, we aim to take this cherished brand forward into its next chapter putting it firmly back in the minds of todays and future consumers.”

“This is absolutely great news for us all at Addo Play. It fits perfectly within the group and is a truly transformative and wonderful opportunity. Addo’s mission is to inspire hundreds of ways to play, every day and will shape our approach to re-energising the ELC brand commented David Martin Co-founder & CEO.

Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer Group, also commented: “We are delighted to add ELC to The Entertainer family. It comes with a rich history as a much-loved British brand, supporting parents and grandparents with their children’s early years’ learning, development and play. We will look to bring new life to the product offering whilst maintaining the high level of quality ELC is renowned for. By combining our experience with that of ELC’s passionate and capable partners around the world, we look forward to re-invigorating the brand for generations to come.”

If you would like to know any more please email hello@addoplay.com

 

 

 

 

Addo Play and The Entertainer release Limited Edition toys designed by children!

What could be more exciting as a child than designing your own toy and seeing it being sold in the UK’s fastest growing toy retailer?

Well that is exactly what the team at Addo Play thought when they approached The Entertainer marketing team about a competition idea at the end of 2017.

A few weeks later Addo and The Entertainer launched their ‘Design your own Wiggle Jiggle Pet’ competition during February half-term 2018. During half term forms were available in store and to download online, with a basic shape for the children to use as a starting point. With over 200 entries in a week the Addo Marketing and Design team had a very hard time choosing the winners. Designs ranged from multi coloured unicorns, to fluffy fish, to farm yard favourites and popular pets.

Part of the process involved speaking to the product development and QA team about how different shapes/tails/weight of plush could affect the movement of the mechanical plush toy. Once a top 10 were chosen it then went to a very democratic vote in the Addo Play head office, and from that vote there were three clear winners- a hedgehog, a dragon and a bumble bee.

Once the decision was made about the winners the three toys went into product development and the Limited-Edition Wiggle Jiggle Pets landed in store just before Christmas 2018! The three winners were thrilled to hear they had won and even more excited to go to their local The Entertainer shop in January this year to receive their framed designs along with their own Wiggle Jiggle Pets.

Amelia Naylor, Product Development & Marketing Executive at Addo said “It really amazed everyone at Addo how creative and inventive the children’s entries into the Wiggle Jiggle Pets competition were. To narrow it down from several hundred to just three was incredibly hard but it was wonderful to see three children’s designs come to life throughout the development process.” www.addoplay.com

Addo Play Announces Exclusive Agreement with Toys”R”Us Canada

The retailer has announced a multi-year exclusive supply agreement with Addo Play Limited, a vertical division of The Entertainer UK Limited. 

The multi-year deal is expected to significantly step-up Addo Play’s global trading footprint, making Toys”R” Us Canada a pivotal part of the UK start-ups growth trajectory and plans. 

Melanie Teed-Murch, President of Toys“R”Us Canada, commented: “We’re truly excited to be partnering with Addo Play to enhance our exclusive selection of toys for our customers. The company’s toy range is impressive and customer focused, so being able to offer this exclusively in Canada is an achievement and partnership we are proud to reveal. Addo Play’s toys inspire fun, imagination and wonder, which truly reflects our ongoing mission to bring joy to children and their families here at Toys“R”Us Canada.”       

Toys“R”Us Canada, now proudly 100% Canadian-owned and operated, acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, has been looking for new innovative routes of supply to augment its differentiated and exclusive offerings in toys. Nick Jr Ready Steady Dough, Pitter Patter Pets, B Friends and Nickelodeon Liquid Lava Putty among many others; Addo Play’s ranges offers outstanding value for money and are designed with intelligence and care, presenting a meaningful, differentiated solution for the Canadian toy authority.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to share this news and cannot wait to help Toys“R”Us Canada to build upon its complementary range of exclusive toys,” commented Mary Price and Dave Martin, Co-Founders of Addo Play. “Addo Play’s uniquely curated range of toys offers consumers a high-quality choice of products through our design led categories which include compounds, craft, mechanical plush, science and dolls to name a few. We’re in the midst of planning the creation of many new lines that will be developed exclusively for Toys“R”Us Canada. We look forward to building a strong, long-term, mutually beneficial partnership.”

Gary Grant, Founder and Chairman of The Entertainer, added:“Our customers simply love the Addo Play toy range, which has been established as one of our leading brands in a very short space of time. Securing a strategic partnership with Toys“R”Us Canada is a true recognition of this success,” says Gary Grant, Founder and Chairman of The Entertainer.

The Addo Play range will be exclusively available in Toys“R”Us Canada stores across the country, as well as online, from January 2019. For further information on Toys“R”Us Canada visit, toysrus.ca and on Addo Play, visit addoplay.com.

Addo Play Win Six Loved By Parents Awards

Addo Play are thrilled to announce winning several Platinum Loved By Parents Awards for the Busy Me Electronic Cash Register and the Out To Impress Make Your Own Cat Cushion.

BEST INTERACTIVE TOY 1-3 YRS
Addo Play Busy Me Electronic Cash Register – Platinum
BEST INTERACTIVE TOY 3-6 YRS
Addo Play Busy Me Electronic Cash Register – Platinum
BEST TOY DESIGN
Addo Play Make Your Own Cat Cushion – Silver
BEST ROLE PLAY TOY 1-3YRS
Addo Play Busy Me Electronic Cash Register – Gold
BEST ROLE PLAY TOY 3-6 YRS
Addo Play Busy Me Electronic Cash Register – Platinum
BEST ART OR CREATIVE ACTIVITY
Addo Play Make Your Own Cat Cushion – Platinum

Amelia Naylor, Product Development and Marketing Executive at Addo Play said “We are thrilled to know that the Loved By Parents Awards panel love our ‘Make Your Own Cat Cushion’ and ‘Electronic Cash Register’ so much. To receive one award would have been lovely but to know we won Platinum is 4 categories was such a wonderful surprise. To be included alongside so many well-established brands in such prestigious awards means a great deal to the team here at Addo Play. 2018 has been a truly incredible year for Addo and the Loved By Parents Awards is a real accolade and acknowledgement of all of the hard work done this year.”

These 6 Awards are added to the growing collection of Awards Addo have received during 2018 including the ‘Outstanding Partner Initiative’ alongside The Entertainer at the Nickelodeon UK Achievement Awards, a Highly Commended Right Start Award for the Out To Impress Make Your Own Owl Cushion, a Platinum Loved By Children’s Award for the Nick Jr. Ready Steady Dough Supreme Ice Cream Set and Silver for the Busy Me Electronic Cash Register in the Best Toy for Pretend Play in the Made For Mums Awards.

Addo Play Company Profile in Toy World Magazine

Resonating globally

Founded in April 2015 by Mary Price, a self-confessed ‘retailer at heart’ with a background in toy buying for the likes of Woolworths, and David Martin, who spent 13 years in sales and marketing at Mattel before moving to Mega Brands, Addo Play has grown into an internationally recognised and respected name in the toy market. Rachael Simpson spoke with Mary and Dave to find out the factors behind the company’s success, and what the toy community can look forward to seeing from Addo over the coming months.

How has 2018 been for Addo Play?
Mary: We’ve doubled last year’s turnover, making it our best year to date – but we would expect that in a business three and a half years old. Things are happening so quickly, in terms of the expansion of our range, of our licensor partnerships and of our team. We’re hugely ambitious, with a real start-up mentality. While we are bucking the trend, we’re very aware we couldn’t do it without our brilliant team supporting us.
David: Timing has been incredibly fortuitous in terms of our business model. The Entertainer is doing really well, and Gary Grant stated recently that the exclusive Addo programme is a certainly part of this. We feel very fortunate, and very positive about the road ahead.
Do you feel that the business model – which has worked so well here in the UK – translates across the globe?
David: Addo started with just Mary and myself and now we have 30 Addo employees across the UK, Hong Kong and Europe. The Entertainer team backed Addo Play right from the start, as we began to create it an exclusive programme of toys across multiple categories. We then make these ranges available to likeminded retailers in locations where The Entertainer doesn’t have a footprint.
The Entertainer has very strong criteria for listing products, and if it works for that particular retailer, there is every chance it will be an attractive proposition for others.
Because of our partnership, everything is designed with the retailer in mind. Our range is modular and fits on retail shelves efficiently, with well designed, contemporary packaging which features very clear consumer information. All the design is done here in the UK, and it’s certainly resonating with others in the global market. Our products also offer great retail margins; when you combine our carefully curated ranges, great packaging and strong British design, Addo Play really strikes a chord with international retailers.
Mary: Every single box we make is designed in-house by our small but very talented design team. Our product, merchandising and QA teams do a fantastic job sourcing each item so the blend of great product in well-designed packaging is really working. We genuinely care about what goes in each box, and we want the customer experience to be an enjoyable one.  Of course we are obsessed by the growth of the company, but we are equally obsessed about the sell-through of the product and keeping those customers coming back time and time again. Spend time in any department of Addo and you’ll see this passion and enthusiasm first hand.
How many countries do you now have a presence in?
David: At the moment 20, in a variety of markets all around the world. We gained good traction early on in English speaking markets – Australia, New Zealand, South Africa – but we are also selling in Asia, with Toys R Us Asia being a good supporter of our line. We have good business in northern- and eastern-European territories too.
And have you added any notable new territories recently?
This year we’ve added the US. It’s a very big focus for us going forward because of its scale. A few weeks ago we launched one of our ranges in Walmart across America in the run up to Christmas – the Liquid Lava Nickelodeon Putty line is now in 2000 stores. To be supplying the world’s largest retailer in only our third year of shipping is not what we were expecting, but we’re delighted. We are hoping to announce  announce another big long-term North American direct retail partnership across multiple Addo ranges, and we’re shipping outdoor/summer to Argentina for Spring too.
Mary: We started in The Entertainer with English- and Arabic-only packaging, but because of our global success we are launching international packaging for autumn/winter 2019. This will be a complete multi-lingual suite comprising 16 languages. This approach makes it much easier for the markets we are looking at to access our products.
How many ranges and products are you currently offering retail partners?
Mary: We have over 300 products and over 18 sub-brands, mostly in-house brands such as our mechanical plush range Pitter Patter Pets, our 18” doll range B Friends, and our Snuggle Buddies soft toy range. We also have strong licensor partnerships. Our portfolio with Nickelodeon won the Outstanding Partner Initiative award. It includes the Liquid Lava Putty which, as Dave mentioned earlier, is now in Walmart; it’s been simply phenomenal since launching 12 months ago. Our dough brand Ready Steady Dough, under Nick Jr., has performed incredibly well so far, as has our science range Experimake.
What has been the biggest success story this year?
Mary: We’re a top three supplier to The Entertainer, and we have serious ambitions to build on this next year. Everything we’ve launched has exceeded our expectations, but if I had to highlight one range in particular it would have to be B Friends. The dolls launched in early November with incredibly strong support from The Entertainer in the form of fantastic retail execution, along with a strong marketing campaign. We can’t take all the credit for its success; it’s been a combination of great product, launched in the right way.
What new lines can we look forward to in 2019?
Mary: We have five new ranges which we will be launching over the next few months, and we can announce that we will be launching a Pink Fong arts & crafts line aimed at pre-schoolers. Pink Fong is the company behind the viral hit Baby Shark.
David: WowWee, as the master toy partner, will be taking our product to the North American market, while we will be overseeing European territories. Pink Fong will be running the Asian business along with its partners, giving us multiple supply routes. Whilst core everyday toy categories are our bread and butter, these licences are the icing on the cake. Our partnership with The Entertainer allows us to access these licensed brands early in their lifecycle, and gives us the opportunity to open up the international platform too. The Pink Fong product line will be our most accelerated piece of development yet, with product available very early next year – while we are launching a lot of other product in January, Pink Fong is hot right now.
Where can international retailers see your 2019 ranges over the coming months?
David: Our Hong Kong showroom will be open from the 4th January, and we will be there for the full two week period, when all the international trade is there. We’re not showing in Nuremberg but we will be attending and meeting our partners. Our international customer base comprises distributors and direct to retail partnerships, so we’ll also be going on the road to ensure that everyone can see the whole range.

Addo Play win big at Nickelodeon UK Achievement Awards

Addo Play along with The Entertainer have won big at the Nickelodeon UK Achievement Awards. The awards celebrate both Nickelodeon UKs retail and licensing partners and eight awards were presented at the ceremony on the 8th of June 2018 in London.

Addo Play and The Entertainer were awarded ‘Outstanding Partner Initiative’ by Marianne James, VP Commercial Partnerships, Consumer Products and Experiences for Nickelodeon UK along with Mark Kingston, SVP consumer products Nickelodeon Viacom International Media Networks.

The award celebrates innovation within both the Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon branded consumer product range, along with work with licensees, direct to retail activity and support as a media partner.

David Martin and Mary Price, Joint Managing Directors at Addo Play said, “Being recognised by such an influential company as Nickelodeon for our work with their licenses is a huge honour. We were thrilled to accept the award on behalf of The Entertainer and Addo and we look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with Nickelodeon in the future.”

Our Tiny Adventure

A little inspiration can go a long way and after Addo’s Head of Creative, Teresa Hookins, visited Bekonscot model village on a family weekend, inspiration came when she caught site of the smallest The Entertainer toy shop. The original The Entertainer store has been on Beaconsfield high street for 37 years and the miniature store has been at Bekonscot model village since 2000.

Over the past 18 years, The Entertainer stores have grown and been upgraded, but the smallest Entertainer toy shop has stood the test of time and touched the hearts of so many little visitors. This April will be the tiny toy shop’s 18th birthday so, to celebrate, the creative team at Addo decided to upgrade and refresh the entire fixture.  

With agreement from Bekonscot model village, the Addo creative team set to work on bringing their inspirational toys from life-size to Lilliputian. The toys had to be reduced in size by 80%, which proved an exciting challenge for the creative team. 

Sarah Cook, Designer, said “I thoroughly enjoyed making all the tiny toys by hand. It allowed us, as a team, to experience creating toys on a very small scale. My favourite toy I handmade was the mini buckets of slime. Every detail is on there, including the tiny handle”. 

Andy Tarrant, Senior Designer said “We lovingly spent hours making each toy, painting, crafting and redecorating the toy shop”.

We hope that the work we have done will be an inspiration and bring joy to the many little visitors looking through the toy shop windows.

Addo Showroom has a Makeover!

This year both our UK and HK showrooms had a makeover. Addo’s creative team put their heads together and orchestrated a stunning redesign. The showroom has been customized into recognisable categories, using striking upto date colours, sympathetic to the product and packaging design. The entire Addo team worked effortlessly to effectively merchandise the showrooms in keeping with the new Addo style and ensuring they look consistent, even across the miles. Teresa Hookins, Head of Creative at Addo Play said “We are proud of what simple planning and correct colour emphasis can bring to life. As the creative team, we wanted to live our values through the experience you get when walking into our showroom, that of Joy of the Toy”.

Addo Play Win Platinum in the Loved by Children Awards

Addo Play are pleased to announce winning Platinum in the Loved by Children Awards 2018. The winning item was the Nick Jr. Ready Steady Dough Supreme Ice Cream set in the Best Art or Creative Activity category.

Amelia Naylor, Product Development and Marketing Executive at Addo Play said of the win “We are thrilled to have won Platinum at such prestigious awards for our Ready Steady Dough Supreme Ice Cream set. What better judges than children themselves to judge the toys! Addo are a relatively new company so seeing our toys win awards like the Loved by Children Award is a huge accolade and a great way to build brand recognition amongst our customers.”