Industry experts under the wholesaler’s spotlight
This week, we’re taking a trip to the brand completely dedicated to the unparalleled development of a child’s senses, motor skills and cognitive development – Lamaze. Interviewing the National Account Manager, Rob Staff, he talks us through what Lamaze truly stands for, what makes them stand out against their competitors and why they have chosen Baby Brands Direct as a wholesaler.
With the festive season around the corner and the toy industry ready to boom, it is the perfect opportunity to recognise exactly why Lamaze are a valued toy retailer, why their products are an asset to your product range and the ethos behind it all.
The Brand: Lamaze
What makes Lamaze a valued supplier?
Lamaze stands for high quality, feature rich, thoughtfully designed and developmentally appropriate products. Lamaze is important to our business because it is a sought after brand popular with parents and gift givers alike. With a long heritage, Lamaze is trusted by consumers, but every season brings new must-have items full of hidden surprises and product innovation.
What is your favourite product from the Lamaze product range and why?
I’m torn between the Cuddle and Squeak Koala and the See Me, Hear Me Photo Album. The Cuddle and Squeak Koala is a classic example of a soft plush Lamaze character, and it really represents the special bonding between parents and babies that Lamaze stands for. The See Me, Hear Me Photo Album also incorporates a lovely Lamaze character, and also leaves room for personalisation with custom photo and voice messages for baby so loved ones are never far away.
What ‘special something’ does Lamaze have that sets it apart from its major industry competitors?
Lamaze offers a range of unique, highly engaging characters that are crafted from high quality fabrics. The characters are always original and very attractive with multiple textures, colours and exciting features that appeal to babies and toddlers as they experience the world around them.
Do you know how many awards the company and its products have won globally?
TOMY has won numerous awards around the globe for its range of toy and nursery products. In the UK this includes the highly prestigious Loved By Parents Gold Award for My First Doll Maisie from Lamaze in 2013.
TOMY is the 4th largest toy brand globally with a strong presence in the UK and across Europe.
How important are independent retailers to you?
The Lamaze business was built with the great support of the independent trade, and even as Lamaze grows nationally, independent retailers remain key partners to our business.
Why did you choose Baby Brands Direct as your wholesaler of Lamaze products?
As an industry leading wholesaler with an emphasis on customer service, Baby Brands Direct was a natural fit for Lamaze.
How many Facebook fans/Twitter followers do you have?
TOMY have nearly 15,000 fans across Facebook and Twitter in the UK. A significant part of that audience is an engaged Lamaze fan base – we get some really cute photos and stories of Lamaze’s special place in families’ homes and hearts.
Do your products have any medical authority endorsement or research behind them?
Child development experts are involved in research and the product development process to create age appropriate toys that will aid sensory development at all stages. Lamaze is always keen to keep abreast of market trends and consumer feedback.
Have any Lamaze products been spotted in use by celebs?
Lamaze has numerous celebrity fans, including Alesha Dixon, Chantelle Houghton, Frankie Sandford, Rochelle Humes, Petra Ecclestone, and Giovanna Fletcher.
What is exciting you the most about the industry right now in 2014?
I have just seen the range for Tomy in 2015 and it’s the most exciting development of new product that I have seen for many years.
How long have you been working in the industry and what attracted you to it initially?
24 years. I was initially drawn by the fact that there is always new and innovative products’ coming onto the market, which means for a sales person there is never a dull moment.
How have the developments in the ecommerce industry impacted the baby retail sector in your opinion?
The ecommerce industry has brought a wider range of product to the fore than is possible via normal retail channels, this means great choice and variety for the end user.
A bit about Rob
Coffee or Tea?
Cats or dogs?
Dogs, as I am currently being asked (pressurised) for one from Father Christmas by my twin boys.
What is your go-to karaoke song? (We’ve all got one – be honest and we won’t judge you!)
Return to Sender, Elvis Presley.
What is the strangest thing you believed in as a child?
The mighty Southampton Football club could win the league title.