Hamleys is set to launch the first range of toys designed inhouse in its 250-year history.
The range was created by Hamleys’ first in-house toy designer, Stacey Dix, whom the retailer appointed in July 2007 – a month after her work caught its attention at the D&AD Student Awards.
Since then, Dix has worked on up to 50 products, which will launch in two phases, at the end of August and in October, in time for Christmas.
The new toys are aimed exclusively at the under-ten age range, including pre-school-age children and babies.
‘Because Hamleys has not done in-house design before, we have tried to develop our own handwriting – and I hope I have developed a good point of difference compared with other Hamleys lines and other retailers’ offers,’ says Dix.
Dix is briefed by the retailer’s buyers and category managers before researching ideas through focus groups and drawing up plans. A University College Falmouth graduate in 3D design, she says, ‘I came from a very creative, conceptual background, so working with the own-brand design team and expert suppliers helps to make my work more commercial.’
The toys are intended to reflect Hamleys’ ‘entertainment and theatre’ brand values, while prioritising longevity and value for money.
‘I would prefer to stick with the younger market, since most of my design experience is in this segment and involves role-playing and dressing up,’ says Dix, who is interested in specialising in toys that improve motor skills, role-play and hand-eye coordination.
Dix claims to be ‘completely focused’ on producing sustainable toys, and reports that over the past 18 months Hamleys has managed to source ‘the majority of its pre-school wood products from Forest Stewardship Councilapproved forests’.
Hamleys’ first in-house range, created by Stacey Dix, includes the Sweet Pea dress, the Kitchen, a new soft toy concept for babies, including an elephant and a lion, a soft play book, a doll’s house and a postbox