Fiesta Crafts has become a name synonymous with the make and do industry, with a portfolio of arts and crafts lines spanning everything from 3D construction kits and masks to family games; it all took its turn in the spotlight this year.
ToyNews meets with the CEO of Fiesta Crafts, Andrew Bacon, to find out why its latest launches are just the tip of the iceberg for the arts and crafts specialist, and why demand from parents and families is only expected to continue this year and beyond.
Hi Andrew, thanks for chatting with us this month. To begin with, how has Fiesta Crafts been in business over the past year? How did you adapt and get through the pandemic?
At first, when the pandemic hit, sales immediately plummeted, but then online sales, garden center sales and our exports all helped the recovery. This only improved when stores were able to reopen after the first lockdown ended. We finally had a great Christmas season and first quarter 2021 sales continued to do well, despite store closings.
Our products have proven to be popular over the past year and we have seen particular growth in our educational products, which were invaluable to parents when home schooling. In addition to educating, parents have also looked for ways to keep children entertained away from screens, so our craft lines have increased at all levels and we have adapted and improved existing craft lines which have resulted in repeated purchases. We have also reduced costs, which has been essential in maintaining consistent sales.
Can you tell us about the product portfolio for 2021? What trends are you inspired by for the year and what inspired them this year?
Even as we come out of lockdown, arts and crafts products will remain popular as parents and children have discovered new ways to engage their children in creative pursuits. I think they have also seen how they support learning and development and understand the importance of crafts as an educational tool.
We are expanding our craft lines including the introduction of our 3D building craft kits because our 3D mask kits have been so popular since last year. There are many different sets including Build a Station, Build a Hospital, Build a Fire Station, and Build a Princess Castle, and each allows the child to follow a simple sequence of numbers to create their own 3D model. This is a high quality range that can also be used for imaginative play once built.
“I think consumers approach 2021 with maybe the idea that toys should be as educational as they are engaging and I mean toys that will encourage children to develop creative, motor and social skills.”
A major trend over the past 12 months has been the consumer’s relationship with traditional toys and games. What new mentalities do you think consumers will enter in 2021? How will you work to help maintain this renewed way of thinking, playing and shopping?
Consumers have been unable to spend a lot of time visiting places over the past year, which has increased their appreciation for children’s activities and toys to keep them busy at home. And let’s not forget that parents are grateful for toys that keep their children away from screens for periods of time.
I think consumers come into 2021 with maybe the idea that toys should be as educational as they are appealing and by that I’m not talking about traditional STEM toys but toys that enable children to develop crucial skills like creativity, engine and social abilities. It is therefore a really exciting working time in this industry which is renowned for its creativity and we are busy developing new product-based lines that have proven popular for us in 2020.
I think parents will also enter this year prepared for any eventuality and ready to become a teacher at any time, and therefore we will continue to add to our educational ranges such as phonics, fractions and spelling sets.
What are the latest developments for Fiesta Crafts, do you have any expansion plans in place or any new category launches or portfolio extensions on the horizon?
We launched our new line of 3D building kits with four initial SKUs, but this line can just work and work because the play possibilities are endless with it, really.
We have also increased our 3D Craft Make a Mask kits. After launching several lines, including a very popular Unicorn and T-Rex mask at the start of last year, we have now expanded to include more animals as well as the introduction of a 3D Color In Make a Mask kit. . It just launched with Color-In Unicorn Head and Color In T-Rex Head initially, but we plan to expand this line in 2021.
What have been some of the most popular lines over the past few months and what has driven this popularity?
Our 3D craft masks – they are fun to make and play with a great price. Kids love to dress up and use their imaginations and this year they have had more opportunities to use their creativity.
Our Discover the World game has also been popular because it is a great family board game and after exhausting the tried and true traditional games, families are looking for new board games to play and
we have benefited greatly from it.
The new 3D construction craft line looks brilliant, can you tell us about the development of this line – what inspired the line? Why was it important to cross categories with this line ie. construction, crafts, playsets, role play all in one?
Yes they should be coming soon and a lot of them are already pre-sold so I think they’re going to be pretty popular. We have been inspired by the popularity of our other handcrafted product lines and by creating products that are stimulating but not too difficult to put together and have good play value when completed.
The sets combine many different benefits of a toy with the feeling of satisfaction from building a puzzle, the ability to follow directions, and role-play using their imaginations with the finished item. These are all values we believe in when designing and producing toys.
What are the latest developments in the craft sector? How are you evolving with innovation in this space to maintain your position as a pioneer in the sector?
We only focus on what sells well for our customers and on innovating new businesses that fit well in this category. Fiesta Crafts is renowned for its traditional craft lines that come with a modern twist and all of our new launches have been well received in the market and have helped us open doors with new customers who recognize their value.
We have some exciting projects we’re working on for 2022, but you’ll have to wait and see.
Why should retailers be excited to work with you for 2021 and beyond?
We believe in producing toys that children have great play value with and learn from. Parents and kids love our products, often purchasing three to six variations of the crafts at the same time. By reducing costs and adding more SKUs to each line, we can provide retailers with great margins and great continuity.
What’s the next big step for Fiesta Crafts this year?
We’re introducing 14 new products throughout the summer months, including a new pop-up finger puppet theater, children’s pendulum clocks, new magnetic cards and more masks. We also have a Santa Claus mask to take out for the Christmas period, which is really getting us excited.
Thanks for your time this month, Andrew. Before you go, is there something you would like to shout at right now?
We wish all retailers good sales for the rest of 2021 once they can reopen. It’s been a tough time for many stores, but I’m very optimistic about toy sales for the rest of the year.