Toy maker’s sales boost thanks to kids wanting to play ‘good old-fashioned board games’
A Norfolk toy firm which supplies more than 3m products world-wide reckons its success is down to the appeal of traditional games that entice children away from gadgets.
Orchard Toys, based in Wymondham, saw a staggering 14-16% growth last year and now supplies 800-1,000 customers across the globe including major retailers like London's Hamleys as well as locally, Langleys, Kerrison Toys and Jarrold. Orchard makes toys too, specialising in board games using recycled materials created in Wymondham and across the UK but with all design, packing and despatch of products done locally.
Orchard Toys, which celebrates its 50th birthday next year, focuses on making games for youngsters which aid learning while being fun too. And it's such games, which keep children off their gadgets, which are apparently making a come-back.
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Simon Prest, sales director, said: "Parents are realising that when a child has been on a gadget, when they've finished, they can be quite low, they are drained from playing but with a board game, it invigorates them, and they are less aggressive. It also brings families together to play a game. However, we do try and embrace technology as well by linking some of our games to apps."
He said Orchard had made changes in recent years, avoiding making products anymore using plastic - such as dice shakers and small toy spiders.
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The firm was founded in Nottingham but relocated to Norfolk 14 years ago when the business was taken over by the founder's son-in-law, who came from the county.
Mr Prest was speaking to this newspaper from London after Orchard won the UK Supplier of the Year award at the Toy Industry Awards. The firm was nominated by retailers and then judged by a panel on criteria such as supplying goods on time, packed well and which then sold well too.
Mr Prest predicted generally, there would be a resurgence in popularity of superhero action figures such as Batman and even Barbie becoming more popular again. However, he said their best-seller remained a simple but much-loved Shopping List game whereby players pick a trolley or basket they must fill with cardboard supermarket items, aiding memory and literacy skills.