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Founded in 1945, in a garage workshop, by Harold Matson and Ruth and Elliot Handler, Mattel (a combination of the letters of their last and first names,) is now a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and games. It was listed on the New York Exchange in 1963 as a public company and now has 4 subsidiaries: Fisher-Price, Mega Brands (Mega Bloks), HIT Entertainment and Mattel Playground Productions.
The 1950s significantly saw its initial collaboration with Disney, uniquely product placing its toys on the Mickey Mouse Club TV show and Ruth’s creation of Barbie. The late 70s saw the launch of their brand Hot Wheels with the 80s and 90s bringing strategic acquisitions including Corolle S.A., Corgi Toys, International Games Inc., Fisher-Price and Tyco Toys. The Company also renewed strong relations with the Walt Disney Company as well as acquiring the Nickelodeon Licensing Agreement. Brands available from Mattel’s nominated UK nursery wholesaler, Baby Brands Direct include: Fisher-Price, Mega Bloks, Barbie, Thomas and Friends, and toys in Disney licences including Frozen and Cinderella.
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Baby Brands Direct became an appointed wholesaler of Mattel brands in 2009 and has been distributing its baby and nursery products to the independent retail sector since. It is a valued supplier for the wide spectrum and variety of high quality branded and licenced toys and nursery goods it provides. The Company is appreciably the Number 1 Toy Company in the UK holding 10.8% market share (source NPD YTD Nov 2014). Retailers can have confidence in the industry giant’s position, particularly with its statement, “At Mattel, we are Creating the Future of Play.”
Why activity toys sell so well
Activity toys is Baby Brands Direct’s largest toy category – we literally have something for everyone! From activity tables, pull-along toys, building blocks, and stacking toys to toy cars and trains, learning tablets, and musical instruments. The big activity toys are higher-ticket items that grandparents will love to buy as gifts. A baby activity table or chair can encourage the development of motor skills, critical thinking, communication and more. Most have lots of lights and sounds that encourage babies to interact. They can also keep them busy while adults are close by making dinner or checking emails so are ideal for busy parents. There are so many activity toys that keep babies and younger children enthralled. Everything from toys that encourage crawling, to highchair toys that keep little hands and eyes busy until lunch is ready.
Parents are looking to develop their children’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths skills) abilities from an early age. And with schools and nurseries closed during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, there has been a greater focus on educational toys that can be accessed at home. Our activity toys all have some educational benefits. Technology is a part of life, and toys do reflect that, bringing sensory satisfaction and stimulation. Look to VTech and Leapfrog for little laptops that offer age-appropriate tech time. Toy phones, cameras and remote controls that look just like mummy’s or daddy’s are another attractive toy for children. We even have the Fisher Price Laugh n Learn Controller, so little ones can pretend to be just like an older sibling who likes to play on a games console. While the toys reflect the technology around us, they still help to teach little ones important skills, such as number, letter and colour recognition, cause and effect and fine motor skills. For slightly older children, we have working versions of the technology favoured by parents and older siblings. VTech’s Kidizoom cameras and Smart Watches will make younger kids feel they are just like the older ones, while parents will be happy that the gadgets are storyland the technology is safe and child friendly.
Role-play toys are enormously important in child development. They encourage creativity and imagination, help them to understand emotional and social situations, improve communication and language, and promote problem-solving skills and critical thinking. We have a choice of some wonderful role-play sets, such as Janod’s Little Miss Vanity case and Shaving Set to Leap Frog's Ice Cream Cart and Smart Sizzling BBQ grill. Sounds tasty!
Our activity toys make great gifts for birthdays, Christmas – and just because. Gift buyers will be looking for quality, so it’s important that retailers stock a good range of the quality brands that Baby Brands Direct prides itself on supplying – leading brands such as Fisher-price, Janod, Vtech, Infantino, Leap Frog, Taf Toys, Tiny Love, Tomy and more.