The Giftware Association caught up with Business Account Manager Ian Daniels from K Play International, one of the countries leading toy manufacturers with 21 years’ experience to find out more about the company and their business experience.
What does your company make/sell?
We manufacture and distribute premium toys and gifts.
Who are K Play Internationals target audience?
We have toys for all age ranges from birth and have over 2500 products. Our ranges include beautiful wooden toys and puzzles, ride on vehicles and amazing soft play historical weapons that encourage role play and creative thinking. We are especially proud of our supply to the education industry as its so rewarding to play a part in children’s learning and development.
How long have you been trading and what is the history of the company?
We have been trading for over 21 years and are super proud of our history. The business is run by Managing Director Scott Kenworthy and originally began with a toy shop in Germany after Scott discovered the beauty and play value of wooden toys before exporting them for sale to the US and UK
Where are your products designed and produced?
UK, Germany, Romania and China.
What three words best describe your business and its products?
Quality, Service and Experience.
Which trade fairs do you exhibit at, and where can we see you on 2019?
So far in 2019 we have exhibited this year at the London Toy Fair, Birmingham Spring Fair, Harrogate Nursery Fair, and we attended the New York Toy Fair. We still have the Games Expo and Autumn Fair to look forward to as well as Kind & Jugend in Cologne in September and Family Attraction Expo at the NEC in November.
Do you have a website? If so, do you sell directly from it? If not, why not?
We do. www.k-play.uk. Our trade customers can purchase all our products online but K-Play does not sell directly to consumers.
Do you use social media to promote your business? How has this landscape changed over the years within the gift industry?
We mainly use Instagram but also have a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn. We used to be on Twitter but this has been discontinued in the last few months. We find Social Media useful for getting imagery and imagination out to the consumer and for promoting the brand names we own and represent.
Do you do any advertising/PR?
We advertise sporadically in trade magazines and are currently looking at using a consultancy PR firm
What do you wish you’d known at the very beginning of starting in the giftware industry that you know now?
Which avenues are most effective for finding new clients.
What top tip could you give to people thinking of starting out making/supplying gifts?
Study the market in terms of the product you want to introduce and its’ potential outlets and then approach retailers before investing in stock.
Do you feel the economic climate is improving or is it getting tougher to trade?
The climate is undoubtedly challenging but then this cycle has always been around. Trading is definitely changing and suppliers must be prepared to meet this change with flexibility and new ideas.
What do you see as being the biggest problem for gift producers?
Constantly coming up with new ideas and products. Most new product is undoubtedly re-inventing the wheel but occasionally something new and exciting comes along.
What is your major gripe with the retailers that buy your products?
We have no major gripes with any of our customers. Occasionally there are late payers or customers who unduly feel they are entitled to larger discounts than we are sometimes able to give but for the most part, all “issues” with customers can be solved by effective communication on a personal level by phone or in person rather than the never ending “email thread”.
If we could help you with one aspect of your business, what would that be?
Encourage larger Buyers to be brave and to experiment with different companies and thus allow the consumer a greater and more interesting choice of goods. One sees this in the way supermarkets are changing and offering local produce and trialling different sales techniques with fresh food, it would be refreshing to see larger chains doing the same in their giftware departments.
What news do you have to share with us so we can celebrate your achievements in 2019?
The new range of Pillowfight Warriors® Medieval Knight Range of Soft Play Shield and Weapons, guaranteed to be a hit after the introduction of our Viking Range last year.
What are you looking to achieve in 2019?
Continue to work and look after our existing clients, and add additional ones to our portfolio and grow the Pillowfight Warriors® brand. Most importantly put smiles on parents and children’s faces as we have for 20+ years.
To find out more about K Play and their amazing product , visit their website here.