We Speak to Josh Bonello
Josh, last time we spoke to you there was a lot of positivity around your craft ranges including Play-Doh Air Clay and your wooden jigsaw puzzles. How are things progressing with these ranges?
Play Doh Air Clay has experienced remarkable success in the market. We were pleasantly surprised by the outstanding performance of Play Doh Air Clay Bonanza, despite its higher price point. It continues to rank among the top-selling items in our range. We are incredibly grateful to all our retail partners for their unwavering support of the brand. Looking ahead, we are excited about the next twelve months of growth as we introduce several new product lines within the range.
Our Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles have been a delightful success, maintaining a dominant position in the market. Despite the challenging retail conditions, their sales have continued to rise steadily. Following the release of Series 2, we are now planning to expand the range further by introducing a variety of new designs for Series 3. The Wooden Puzzles have played a significant role in boosting sales within the puzzle category, and we are committed to refining our offerings to keep driving their success.Josh Bonello
We also spoke about your expansion into the United Kingdom and New Zealand. What has been happening in these territories?
While we have faced certain challenges along the way, we have also experienced some fortunate moments in the UK with our Construct IT range gaining visibility on the shelves of a few retailers. The journey ahead remains lengthy, but we are actively collaborating with our UK counterpart to ensure we have the right assortment of products and the necessary resources in terms of electronic data interchange (EDI) and web integration. These efforts aim to deliver improved results in the second half of this year.
In New Zealand, we are beginning to see new opportunities emerging in the trade sector. However, it is important to consider that the economic conditions in our neighbouring country have slowed down the process of establishing new vendor agreements. Nevertheless, we have achieved great success with our current ranges and customers who we have onboarded since our launch.
BMS Brands are a relationship-driven business which caters to both the majors and independent retailers. What were the highlights from late 2022 and into the first half of 2023 across the majors and independent retailers?
Late 2022 brought forth numerous significant milestones for us. Our brands, including Air Clay, Construct IT, and Puzzle Master, successfully made their way onto the shelves of major retailers just in time for the Christmas season. We were thrilled to witness exceptional sell-through rates, surpassing our targets and generating a strong lead-up to Christmas.
However, the first half of 2023 presented some uncertainties, primarily due to challenging economic conditions and rising interest rates. Despite the sluggish market conditions, we have remained agile and have focused on developing new ranges to meet the demands of our partners.Josh Bonello
We are thrilled to share the exciting news that we have several new craft ranges currently in production. Among them is the highly anticipated Nano Craft range, which has garnered immense popularity on TikTok and social media platforms. Additionally, we are introducing a new line of Plasticine products that will perfectly complement our existing Air Clay range. We have high expectations for these new additions, as they are poised to significantly boost our sales in the latter half of the year.
Construct IT is a feature product range in your portfolio, how are things progressing with these products?
We are incredibly excited about the direction our brand is taking. Not only are we making great strides with our new kits currently in development, but we are also experiencing significant breakthroughs in the mass market. We have secured a major retailer who will be launching Construct IT in September, and we will provide further details upon the official launch. This marks a significant milestone as it is the first time we are witnessing such widespread acceptance and availability of a variety of kits in the domestic market.
Our development progress has played a crucial role in our achievements thus far. We take pride in having expanded our Construct IT umbrella to include six distinct brands, and this has strongly resonated with the retail market. Among these, the Build-ables series has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response, driving us to release Series 2 and embark on the development of Series 3. We are fully dedicated to building upon this success and delivering innovative and captivating kits to our valued customers.Josh Bonello
In our previous conversation, you mentioned that BMS Brands has been commissioned by a government body to create a kit exclusively for them. Additionally, you indicated that you collaborated with the Imperial War Museum in the UK to develop a Spitfire model. Could you provide more details about these exciting ventures?
We are extremely proud to have been granted the opportunity by Transport Heritage NSW to develop the 3801 Steam Engine. This remarkable creation has garnered immense popularity among train enthusiasts, and we have had the pleasure of working alongside THNSW, who have been exceptional partners throughout the process. We have now made the engine available to the general trade, and the initial results have been quite promising. With its seamless integration into our Mega Set Construct It range, it serves as an excellent choice for a Christmas gift.
Similarly, we recently launched the Spitfire model here in Australia, and the response has been incredibly satisfying. Given the Spitfire’s historical significance and large following, we anticipate favourable outcomes in all markets, particularly in the UK, which is the aircraft’s birthplace. We are excited about the prospects and confident in the positive results that lie ahead.
How has the reaction been towards your ABC “The Deep” lenticular puzzles?
We have been diligently working to gain traction for our license in Australia, particularly considering the slower uptake of jigsaw puzzles this year. It has required additional effort to secure shelf space, but we have successfully obtained commitments from several retailers for the second half of the year. Moreover, we have finalized agreements with two key retailers to promote our products online, supported by marketing initiatives backed by ABC.
Finally, what is on the horizon for the second half of 2023 for BMS Brands?
The second half of 2023 holds another remarkable milestone for us as we prepare to exhibit at the prestigious NY Toy Fair in late September. After careful deliberation and strategic planning, we have decided to focus on expanding our business and introducing our brands to the US market. Although we initially considered this as a long-term plan, we recognize the immense value and opportunities that the US market presents. In alignment with this endeavour, we are excited to announce that we will be establishing a showroom in LA and warehouse later this year.
On the domestic front we are delighted to share the exciting news of the upcoming launch of our brand new BMS Brands website. This revamped website will serve as a comprehensive platform to showcase our wide range of products and seamlessly integrate with our back end systems. Recognizing that our previous website fell short of expectations, we have dedicated efforts to ensure that the new website offers improved accessibility and provides our customers with greater details and information.Josh Bonello
Additionally, we are thrilled to announce that a number of new ranges will start hitting the shelves from this August onwards. To stay updated and informed about these exciting developments, we encourage you to sign up on our new website. By doing so, you will receive timely updates and be among the first to explore our latest offerings. We are eagerly looking forward to enhancing your experience through our new website and the introduction of our new product ranges.
For further information please contact us and we will be happy to send a catalogue for review.
Email: sales [@] bmsbrands.com.au
Phone: (02) 9634 7224
This article originally appeared in Edition 5 of The Toy Universe Magazine