Behind the Scenes: Meet Toni Giles, GLTC's toy buyer
Have you ever wondered what goes behind the scenes of GLTC's award-winning toy range? Well, let us introduce you to Toni Giles, GLTC's toy buyer. We recently took the opportunity to ask Toni all about her role at GLTC and which toys she thinks are going to fly off the shelves this summer.
Hi Toni, can you tell us a little bit about your role at GLTC?
I am the toy buyer here at GLTC. It’s my job to ensure that the range is fresh and exciting and relevant to our customers. I keep abreast of what the competition is doing, paying attention to trends and try to always keep one step ahead. I will identify gaps in our range, ensure that lines are constantly updated and that lots of new lines are introduced.
I brief into our designer and work closely with him along the design stage. I then brief that agreed design to our suppliers and monitor the product development process making tweaks along the way. We have to maximise the play value and appeal of the toy while ensuring that target price is met. It’s very much a balancing act.
What does an average day look like for you?
On an average day there will be some mundane tasks such as checking catalogue copy and analysing returns data. I am in constant contact with our Chinese agent who liaises between me and the factory. She will let me know of any problems they have come up against and I will try to find a solution. Or I will receive an initial or final sample from the factory for checking. This will have to be built and checked very carefully and all issues fed back to the factory for resolution. I always try to fit in a quick look at the competition too so that I know when new lines come on the market.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Product development at the design stage from concept to briefing to the supplier. This is the most creative part and I find it very exciting. Then of course final sample approval is always very exciting. This is when the fruits of all our efforts come together and we see the product fully finished for the first time.
GLTC firmly believes in toys powered by imagination rather than by batteries. Can you explain why that's so important?
I think that children need to be able to create their own stories and foster their imagination. Without the distraction of bells and buzzers, they tend to fill in the gaps with their own ideas; it makes them think more and become more involved. Play is more open ended and can lead anywhere.
I think toys also encourage children to solve problems themselves and this gives them a sense of satisfaction and confidence. Using their imagination more helps with creativity and dealing with challenges on their own.
Can you tell us about the testing process that toys have to go through to ensure that they're safe for young children.
All toys have to pass EN71 parts 1,2 & 3 – this covers physical and mechanical things such as tipping and entrapment, flammability and chemical testing. We have a GLTC technologist who we liaise with constantly during the design and development process and all toys are then tested by an external lab to EN71 parts 1,2 &3.
Which toys do you think are going to be the most popular this summer?
Our Lolly & Scoop Ice Cream Shop is always our bestselling toy in the summer. This year we have introduced the Seaside Fish & Chips Shop which has started really well and we expect great things from it.
Our teepees are also incredibly popular, we have several designs to choose from. Kitchens are well-liked all year round for us - the St Ives Kitchen is a favourite at the moment.
You find yourself alone in the GLTC office, which toy would you play with while there's no one there to see?
I guess it would be the Coffee Shop - I assume it would be early in the morning and I’d make myself a guilt free full fat latte and croissant breakfast!
Finally, what makes a happy home for you?
A clutter free home is a happy home.
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