Paperchase customer wins National Stationery Day prize draw

Clare Finney, a 26 year old teacher in Newcastle, won a £250 stationery hamper in a prize draw on Twitter and Facebook on National Stationery Day in April.Clare is a great letter writer and a real stationery devotee who has recently started her own online stationery business, Pink Box Crafts that supplies handmade envelopes.

Clare was presented with her hamper which included products from Paperchase as well as many exhibitors at the Stationery Show, by Chris Leonard-Morgan, organiser of National Stationery Day and the London Stationery Show and Emma Tilley, assistant manager of Paperchase’s Newcastle upon Tyne store where Clare buys her stationery.
“It’s hard to choose my favourite piece of stationery. I don’t know what I would do without my Stabilo highlighter and Post-it notes,” says Clare. “The best place to buy is Paperchase – I don’t think I ever leave without buying something, especially paper to make envelopes for Pink Box Crafts.”
National Stationery Day is to become National Stationery Week in 2013, following this year’s runaway success that resulted in massive exposure in national, consumer and trade press and on radio, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and websites worldwide.

Source: Gifts Today Magazine


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Outdoor Play – New Research

A research survey has suggested that outdoor play is making a comeback due to cash strapped parents choosing free days out in the park.

The poll, which includes 1,250 UK parents of school-age children, suggests 44% of youngsters are now spending more time playing outside than they did two years ago.

Parents are discovering that days out to local parks can be more cost effective over other trips like the cinema. England’s weather, however, is the greatest obstacle for outdoor play.

Three-quarters of the parents surveyed said they were aware that they could have a cheap day out visiting parks and green spaces which would also be fun and educational for the family.

The research was taken for food manufacturer Arla’s Kids Closer to Nature campaign. Launched in January 2011, the campaign is encouraging children to embrace more outdoor play.

Kids Closer to Nature is a programme that will see Arla develop a range of activities throughout 2011 and is designed to encourage children of all backgrounds and locations to experience the outdoors and take them ‘closer to nature’ on a daily basis.

As part of the campaign, a grant scheme for members of the public to create natural spaces is also being launched.

Tim Gill, Author and play campaigner, said: “Times are hard, so parents have to make savings. But the good news is that families are realising that fresh air costs nothing. Getting under the open sky – whether in a local park or the great British countryside – is the perfect way for kids to explore, have adventures and feed their curiosity and imagination.”

Source: Toyworld 2012

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Who will be 2012 overall Champion?

2011 saw stiff competition, and eventually Leapfrog scooped the Overall Champion Award:

Rainbow Toy Award Winners 2011

The overall “Champion” of the show was
Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket by LeapFrog

The entry period is now open for 2012.  See the Rainbow Awards Entry Form for more details!
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ToyWorld announces Equitoy Seminar

Equitoy’s one day seminar for the toy industry will take place at the Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Picadilly, London on 29 March 2012.

The seminar offers the toy industry presentations from safety and legal experts examining the law, safety standards, social auditing and practical ways to comply. Practical advice on how to comply with The Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC, newly amended EN71 standards and quality/CSR requirements in foreign factories will be given as well as discussion on future safety requirements.

Equitoy says anyone involved with the UK toy industry as a manufacturer, importer, retailer, trading standards and professionals in the safety, compliance and legal aspects of the toy industry should attend.

The cost of the day for single delegates is £295 + vat with a discount for members of Equitoy, BTHA and TRA bringing additional delegates of £150 + vat.

For further information and registration contact:

Alan Milne 01580 240819 or Clive Shelton 07885 762805

Story courtesy of

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Toy Fair Report 2012 – A guest post from Marisworld

Intrepid reporter and toy tester, Mari from Marisworld headed off, on a cold January morning to Toy Fair 2012.

Here’s a snippet of what she saw, the full report can be seen on her Marisworld blog.

“I had my first Press Pass hanging around my neck as I visited some of the hundreds of stands representing toy brands from near and far. A true paradise for any serious toy lover like moi! The stands were displaying their very best and if it had been a market I could have spent thousands of pounds…

I also got to see and try out the prototypes from big names, toys you will see appearing on the shelves come the summer or autumn but definitely in time for Christmas 2012! Here’s a selection below;

john crane ltd

The Leapfrog stand was incredibly interesting as I was shown prototypes for learning toys being put together for this summer/autumn, it’s interesting to see the amount of work and thought that goes into each product, the girls on the stand explained to me that nobody dreamt the Leapfrog Explorer would have been the phenomenon it became and that was why they got caught out and the product sold out so quickly. However, I am assured that for those of us that had to go without there are container loads on the way to the UK so do watch this space, I’ve been told I will get the nod as they hit the stores.

My next stop was the Lego stand, we’ve had Lego in our family since we could toddle and my brother was a huge fan of their Star Wars range which can be found now looking even better than in his day. I saw lots of fabulous products coming out in the autumn but I wasn’t allowed to take photos of them, all very Top Secret.

At another stand there were Bananas in Pyjamas. We adore them in this house and manage to catch most of the show before we head out the door to preschool in the morning.

Playmobil have the perfect alternative to the chocolate egg coming out for Easter, a Playmobil egg with toys inside, perfect for the families who want to reduce their chocolate intake this year. I saw the popular Advent Calendars ready for this Christmas again for those who want to reduce sugar intake over the festive season these are perfect plus they can be used as countdowns to exciting dates such as birthdays, holidays, end of school and so on.

Hornby have some fabulous collectors pieces out this year for the Queens Jubilee for the Olymipcs.

I finished off at the John Crane stand, I spoke doll’s houses for quite some time with Stewart who creates them giving feedback on what works for us and what doesn’t, watch this space for a fabulous new one coming out at the end of the year.

They have added a few new brands to their range the Italians Sevi (utterly gorgeous) and Trudi, I couldn’t refuse a photo with that huggable bear, an American Company B, the musical keyboard and the caught my eye but there are Spinaroos and toddlers keys and phones too.”

We can see Mari had a fabulous time at Toy Fair!  Check out her post to see Mari with a life-size teddy bear!

There were also plenty of information flyers for the Rainbow Awards being dropped off at stands, and we’re looking forward to seeing our first entry, as Mari saw, there is certainly a lot to choose from this year!

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Toy Industry grows 3% in 2011 – courtesy of NPD and ToyNews

Business shows resilience as construction toys, outdoor toys and dolls drive the market

Market statistics released this morning at Toy Fair highlight the UK toy industry’s resilience throughout 2011, with NPD reporting that sales increased by three per cent in value to achieve sales of £2.96 billion.

Figures from the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor show that, while total UK retail sales grew by two per cent in 2011, non-food sales rose by a mere 0.2 per cent, which points to a relatively positive performance by the toy market.

A total of more than 384 million toys were sold during 2011. Of the ten super categories tracked by NPD, the three fastest growing in 2011 were Building Sets (+20 per cent), Outdoor (+12 per cent) and Dolls (+8 per cent).

Building sets have been a strong category over the last few years and saw the largest growth during 2011. Outdoor toys enjoyed success largely due to sales of sports equipment, ride-ons and summer seasonal toys. The strength of the category is indicative not only of the impact of sporting events and licenses, but of the value parents attach to active play. The rise in dolls sales is just one chapter in the success story of the girls’ category in recent years.

In the year to September 2011, sales of girls’ toys (which includes arts and crafts, dolls and plush) increased in value by four per cent* whilst boys’ toys increased by three per cent over the same period. They now account for 45 per cent of all toy sales (YTD September 2011) compared to 55 per cent for boys’ toys.

NPD track sales covering the ten super categories. Individual category breakdowns are as follows:

  • Building sets                            +20%
  • Outdoor and sports toys     +12%
  • Dolls                                             +8%
  • Vehicles                                      +7%
  • Infant and pre-school           +2%
  • Games and puzzles                 +1%
  • Arts and crafts                         flat
  • All other toys                           -6%
  • Plush                                           -10%
  • Action figures, accessories, active role play          -12%

Jez Fraser-Hook of the NPD Group has predicted: “2012 will continue to prove challenging for toy retailers with continued Government cuts, further drops in disposable income and the ongoing threat of job losses.”

However, statistics – supported by the 2011 figures announced today – illustrate how, even when facing difficult times, parents and grandparents will go without in order to ensure children don’t have to.

A spokesperson from the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) said: “2011 was an incredibly tough trading period for all areas of retail in the UK. By managing to grow in such difficult times, the UK toy industry has proved its resilience yet again. We are made of strong stuff. Strong stuff, plus creativity, innovation, imagination and the foresight to embrace opportunity; whether that opportunity lies in technology, licenses or real world events such as the Olympics, Euro 2012 or forthcoming family blockbusters such as Ted, The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black III and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, which will all help to keep children’s interest in toys alive over the summer.”

The figures were unveiled at Toy Fair this week by show organisers the British Toy & Hobby Association. Toy Fair is the industry’s annual trade event currently taking place at Olympia in London and is open to the trade until Thursday.


Article courtesy of  ToyNews

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