Our “Operation Reach” Program will expand our distribution to smaller towns: John Baby, CEO, Funskool
Funskool is India’s one of the leading toy manufacturing companies promoted by the MRF group. Being very upbeat about the future of the toys market in India, John Baby, CEO, Funskool (India) Ltd is all geared up for the good times ahead.
He says, “High mall rental is surely an impediment but we are always looking for opportunities.”
Here is what he has to say on the challenges for the industry and where is he taking Funskool now!
Evolving with Trends
With 16 warehouses across the country, 6 regional offices, a marketing and sales organization consisting of over 85 personnel and a network of over 5000 retail points the infrastructure gives Funskool, the vital edge in the market.
Baby says, “A dedicated team of Product development & Design professionals work relentlessly towards developing new toy concepts which in an industry driven by novelty is a critical advantage. We have several licensing tie-ups with organizations like Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon and many others and we also manufacture products for the Indian market under licensing arrangements with companies like Hasbro, Takara Tomy, Ravensburger, Jumbo, University Games and many others. We also distribute products under exclusive distribution arrangements with major international toy companies/ brands like Takara Tomy, Leapfrog, Crayola Siku, Ravensburger, Schleich, Rubik’s, Playmobil, K’NEX, Engino, Meccano etc. We also distribute Hasbro products for a good part of the Indian market.”
One Major Obstacle
Baby says, “Lack of shelf space for toys on account of very high rentals is a big challenge. Worldwide, the toy industry is very big but it is just evolving in India and large retailers sometimes find the returns from the space allotted to toys to be lower than some of the more evolved categories and tend to shrink the space allotted for toys.”
He further adds, “The fact that only a small percentage of young parents have been exposed to branded toys during their childhood has also not helped. However, things are changing pretty fast and we believe that the industry will register double-digit growth for several years into the future.”
Baby elaborates his growth plans as: We are about to complete our third manufacturing plant to cater to the rising export and domestic demand. We intend to build on the momentum gained over the last few years in building our own brands while at the same time focusing on the international brands that we distribute. Our foray into retail has also yielded good results and we are planning to expand the Funskool store network. We have also launched a major program which we call “Operation Reach” to expand distribution to smaller towns where most branded toy companies do not operate.
He adds, “As of now, the focus is to expand the Funskool store network in India. We can rule out expanding our network of stores to overseas markets sometime in the future.”
Toys market in India
Baby’s view on the toys market in India is: Currently, the market is a fraction of the world market but with all major players making a beeline for the Indian market and the domestic players also prepared to invest in marketing, we see the market growing steadily for several years to come.