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Bigjigs Toys shares its views on its sustainable pedigree

PreschoolNews.net talks to Liz Ireland, md of the Progressive Preschool Award winning company, about its popular sustainable collection.

Sustainability remains a key watchword for consumers when it comes to toy buying and it will only continue to grow in importance in the months and years to come.

Bigjigs Toys has impressive credentials when it comes to supplying eco-friendly products, and this year will see it build on this with the introduction of a sustainably sourced and ethically produced range of wooden products.

The initial collection will include 15 items for the nursery and preschool age groups and began shipping from the company’s warehouse in late September. Last week, the range was awarded Best Preschool Gift Range at the Progressive Preschool Awards 2020.

Liz Ireland, managing director at Bigjigs Toys, tells us: “Not only is the wood source completely traceable, but the packaging is also made from 90% recycled board. The internal packaging of all items is from recycled board; plastic has not been designed into the toy or the packaging for these products at all.”

The launch of the range holds great importance for Bigjigs, as Liz explains: “As well as designing and selling wooden toys, Bigjigs Toys acts as the sole distributor for major offshore brands needing a share of the UK market. Green Toys has a great recycled story to its range and we needed an ethically sourced and sustainable wooden range for those accounts.”

The new sustainable range initially includes 15 products aimed at the nursery and preschool age groups.
The new sustainable range initially includes 15 products aimed at the nursery and preschool age groups.

Attitudes towards sustainable products have certainly changed over the years, and this has also opened up new retail avenues for Bigjigs. A number of new accounts approached the company at the fairs earlier this year, as its ranges suited their customer demographic.

Liz continues: “We should all be spending wisely and buying to last from a source that can be trusted. We have a responsibility to play our part in reducing and recycling whatever we can and saving the resources for future generations. Retailers are actively looking for brands which uphold environmental standards that demonstrate the consideration to reduce our overall impact on the planet to protect the resources for the future.”

As we move towards the end of 2020, Liz says that Bigjigs will “continue to innovate” and looking ahead to 2021 there will be further additions to the company’s sustainable range.

“There is no doubt, no one in business will easily forget the sudden and dramatic impact COVID had on our businesses,” Liz says. “We’ve navigated COVID and kept all our staff working. That has demanded new ways of working to comply with government recommendations to keep our warehouses operational and our staff safe. COVID isn’t going to go away anytime soon and as retail opens up Bigjigs needs to continue to be the supportive, loyal and trusted supplier it has been to so many for so long.”

Liz concludes: “Now, while continuing to deal with the effects of COVID, we must attend to the more detailed planning for, and make the necessary adjustments to, our business model that will allow us to cope with Brexit and the vast changes that will bring to importing and exporting into and out of the UK.”

New role-play items were introduced by the company at the fairs earlier in 2020.
New role-play items were introduced by the company at the fairs earlier in 2020.

New additions

Bigjigs always offers a good selection of new product at Toy Fair, Spielwarenmesse and Spring Fair, and 2020 was no different.

Liz explains: “Bigjigs Rail always has additions by way of innovative accessories that add life to track; while a new plush range, tested from birth up sneaked in; additional eye catching sorters and stackers were added to the preschool category and, in role-play and looking at the long off weather report, we added all things ice cream – from simple iced lollies to the award winning Ice Cream Cart.

“Tidlo, a brand owned by Bigjigs, had additions in the nursery category by way of themed tables and chairs, money boxes, height charts and bookends.”

During the first lockdown, the company also saw sales of gardening and outdoor, puzzles, games and activity products “rocket”. Liz adds: “Pretty much anything that had an educational aspect to it and that occupied children, sold well.”

This feature originally appeared in Progressive Preschool September/October. To read the full issue, simply click on this link.

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