Phil Cassidy, md at Casdon, talks growing the business during a pandemic, the need for traditional role-play toys and having toy making in his DNA.
How long have you been at Casdon?
I joined the business in 2005 (16 years ago), however I’m third generation Cassidy brother. Casdon Toys was set up by my grandfather back in 1946 – we’ve been a family of toymakers ever since so I guess you could say it’s in my DNA.
What is your greatest achievement at the company?
I’d have to say, growing the team from 18 to 38 during the pandemic. When most people were trimming down, we managed to grow which is something I’m exceptionally proud of – both on a personal and professional level.
Favourite part of your job?
Without sounding completely cliché, it’s the people. Hiring and building an incredible team and then watching all the amazing ideas they bring to life is so rewarding.
Who is the unsung hero in your company?
It’s a real team effort here at Casdon. Although we might be small, we are mighty and as a company we recognise all the great work which is achieved across every individual, team and department. Everyone has a really important part to play in the success of our business.
What is the biggest change within the preschool industry that you have seen since you have worked in it?
Despite the growth in children’s preschool licensing dominating the toy space, there is still an upwards trend for traditional role-play toys (especially those that encourage imaginative play). Casdon was built on my grandfather’s belief that toys should not only be fun, but that they should play a part in a child’s learning and development, too. This belief is still very much at the heart of everything we do at Casdon today and for the future.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
This is a simple one and advice I have used a lot this past year: take a deep breath, stop and think more before doing.
Biggest lesson you’ve taken away from the past year?
Same as above, to slow down, take a breath and think more before actioning anything.
If you could change one thing about the preschool business, what would it be and why?
This is a tough one – as the market is ever changing and expanding it’s hard to pinpoint what could change as it’s such a moving target. I can tell you that I’m most encouraged that with all the growth within the preschool space there is still a need for the more traditional role-play toys.