5 Minutes With...

Artiwood

 

Name: Andrew McGregor   

Years exhibiting with Reed Gift Fairs: We’re a brand new exhibitor at Reed Gift Fairs after exhibiting continually with othertrade fairs since 2001.

Your brand/business in one word: Eco-friendly heirloom quality (yes that’s three words)

Create

What inspires you to innovate? Where do you look for trends and inspiration?

Modern manufacturing has made sustainable, eco-friendly products increasingly difficult to find. In a world inundated by plastic we’re always searching for toys that reflect our philosophy, at an affordable price. While many toys never make the cut, those that do are always worth the effort.

 

How do you know you’re onto a winner when creating/sourcing a new product?

They’ve also got to stand out from the crowd. We’re always looking for toys with features that spark a childs passion for learning. This includes interactive elements, objects, shapes, and colours that children simply cannot resist. We’re also looking for design elements that create instant shelf appeal, improve a toy’s durability and extend its useful life with multi-functional features.

Work

Something we might not know, but will be glad found out about your business:

Our business began as the personal passion of our founder, John Daniels. For many years he helped small family-owned handicraft manufacturers in Sri Lanka bring their products to market. The same commitment to high-quality, ethically sourced, safe and creative products remains at the heart of our business two decades later.

 

Customers love your business because...

We’re still committed to sourcing products that are built to last, that minimize their environmental footprint and don’t exploit those involved in their creation. We’re also family owned. Therefore, our livelihood still depends on delivering exceptional customer service and support rather than enriching shareholders. We call all of this being people and planet friendly.

Wholesale

What’s changed post-pandemic for your business?

We’ve been incredibly fortunate that the toy industry fared remarkably well during the pandemic. Our business grew more than 74% last year. In response we’ve hired more staff, relocated our head office and opened a new Sydney showroom.

The pandemic has transformed our retail landscape. More than a million households have tried online shopping for the first time. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics online sales currently represent 7.1% of all retail sales locally. In the USA, online sales are 15.3% of the total, while in the UK this figure rises to 19.9%. In essence, if Australian online sales were to double during the pandemic, we’d simply be operating at a level similar to the USA.

Why is it important to return toface-to-face trade events like Reed Gift Fairs?

In this environment retailers must be visible online even if they’re focused on driving traffic in-store, however not every category translates into the virtual world with ease. Consumers still like to touch and feel plush toys and high-value and gifts which is the same motivation that’s seen us exhibiting continually at trade shows for more than two decades.

Reflection

What do the next 12 months look like for you?

We’re focused on consolidating gains we’ve made during the pandemic. I’ve successfully grown companies in Asia, Europe and here in Australia. I’ve learned many hard, and often expensive, lessons about never resting on your laurels. Complacency is always the first step towards the demise of a great enterprise.

Promotion

Share with us the bestselling products we need to know about.

Recessions often encourage a return to simpler, less material, priorities. In the past this shift has typically manifest itself as a backlash against deposable consumerism and a stronger focus on well-being, natural products and fewer gimmicks. We’re optimistic that our non-plastic, eco-friendly focus will continue resonating strongly in a recessionary market.

In particular, we’d encourage any retailer to take a look at our Kinderfeets wooden trikes and balance boards. They’ve been going from strength to strength since the pandemic began. The new pastel hued FSC range from Bigjigs is also looking like a winner in 2021 as is HEADU, our new Italian educational brand. Watch for more than a dozen new titles coming from HEADU in the months ahead. You can see more than one hundred new toys in our new Sydney showroom and on our stand at Reed Gift Fairs. Call us for an appointment.

 

Published June 2021.