This month Baby Brands Direct is delighted to present an interview with Barry Hughes, Managing Director of Golden Bear. After joining the toy firm in June 2011 Mr. Hughes held the position of commercial director and last summer was promoted to Managing Director in recognition of the hard work and commitment shown to the company. Through this interview he has provided a great insight into the Company, its working practises, success and future plans.
What was the initial prompt or sequence of events that lead to Golden Bear becoming a manufacturer of plush products?
Golden Bear started off by making own brand products for a certain large mass retailer. Own brand products are still a large part of our business but we have expanded into both licensed nursery and pre-school ranges and these are the most significant parts of the business now.
It was synonymous with soft toys and the first products made, but I am sure it’s also because the Chairman and co-founder John Hales is a keen golfer and Jack Nicklaus, The Golden Bear, was at his peak when the company was founded.
Quality or Price? What are the core values of the brand?
Golden Bear has always been known for the quality of its products but we like to think we provide value for money as well.
What do you think is the main factor that attracts consumers to your products?
Quality, reliability, safety and design.
Golden Bear spends millions on advertising. What forms of advertising does the firm engage in and which channels do the T.V. Adverts air on?
We concentrate our TV commercials on kids channels where we can get dual viewing between parents, child carers and the children themselves. Increasingly a growing percentage of our spend is going via digital on the likes of google, YouTube, Facebook and other social media.
From the licences wholesaled by Baby Brands Direct which one is your overall best seller and why do you think that is?
For us In the Night Garden is the largest. It is the only show that is on the number one kids TV channel, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year in pre-school prime time – the bedtime hour. The show has engagement with kids under 18 months like no other.
The Sleep Tight All Night is a NEW product launch for Golden Bear. What is the philosophy behind this product is there any research available to support assertions?
Sleep Tight All Night is a unique 4 in 1 product. It helps babies, toddlers and infants get to sleep, fall back to sleep if they wake up, lets them know when it is Ok to get up and can also be used as a daytime toy. It has been designed on the back of scientific research which shows that red lights are the least disruptive to sleep. So if a child wakes up they give a toy a hug and if it is still the middle of the night the belly will glow red and soothing sounds, (again scientifically proven to aid sleep), will help the child return to sleep. Reviews have been fantastic; it has won numerous awards and is proving to make a real difference to parents’ lives.
You can view the Sleep Tight All Night Review with Channel Mum below.
How many awards has the company won globally? A special award by Progressive PreSchool was issue in 2016 to one of the founders of the Company, what was this in honour of?
Far too many awards to count, often from consumers themselves which makes them extra special. Co-founder Christine Nicholls won a lifetime achievement award in 2016 and the whole company was very proud of her recognition.
What can you tell us about the Company size to help guide independent retailers why they should be allocating space and time to the brand?
We are the leading nursery and pre-school toy company in the UK. We have many of the top 10 pre-school licenses within our portfolio including the likes of In the Night Garden, Twirlywoos, Hey Duggee, Thomas the Tank Engine and Mr Tumble. I am sure that every parent of a pre- schooler has at least one of our products in their house.
What’s next for Golden Bear?
We are planning to develop more of our own intellectual property on the back of the response to Sleep Tight All Night. We have more licensed nursery ranges in development. We are also expanding into other categories with a unique non spill paint solution for pre-schoolers called Paint-Sation and fun soft headwear with lights called Headlites that allow kids to read in the dark or travel safely home from school in the winter.
Are there any special licence anniversaries this year?
In the Night Garden celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and there are many special event planned including the opening of an In the Night Garden guest bedroom at CBeebies Land in Alton Towers amongst many other things.
Cat or Dogs?
Dogs – loyal and like running and chasing balls – like me.
If you won a million pounds what would you do with it?
Spend it on ensuring World Peace or more honestly maybe buy lots of ice cream and chocolate.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Baby Brands Direct started wholesaling the products of Golden Bear Toys in 2016 and is delighted to have its quality plush on board. In particular the range offers its retailers access to some fantastic licences previously not available including In The Night Garden, Forever Friends and JCB.