CEO André Eichinger on successes, trends, and environmental sustainability
1. Mr. Eichinger, how would you describe your start to 2021? Last year was surely demanding for your company as well, wouldn’t you say?
We’re starting this new business year with a great feeling and lots of motivation. When the coronavirus crisis began, the demand for toys increased enormously in such an unplanned way that many more orders were placed than under normal circumstances. Today, we’re in the lucky position to be able to put away the year 2020 in the books as an exceptionally successful year – and my thanks goes out to our entire team that made this success possible.
2. Let’s focus our view on 2021. How are you adjusting for the cancellation of the Spielwarenmesse toy trade fair in Nuremberg, the world’s largest leading trade fair for the industry?
We already started early with the process of figuring out how to deal with a possible cancellation of the Spielwarenmesse in January. For us, it was very clear that we needed a coronavirus-friendly substitute so that our customers and the numerous trade fair visitors could still get a good impression of our new small foot products or contact us for an annual consultation. And we achieved just that: just in time for the originally planned start of the Spielwarenmesse, our Legler Online Showroom went live. We’re looking forward to presenting our new product innovations, trends, and highlights of 2021 to you digitally.
3. The small foot brand was able to increase its name recognition significantly in 2020. Will you be continuing this success in this new year as well?
The growth of our small foot brand is very much still an important part of our strategy. The goal to increase our brand awareness among end customers can be seen in the small milestones in our company history and was an important step towards the future. This success will require us to continue to expand. We want to continue to reach many end customers and light up children’s eyes with the wooden toys of the small foot brand in 2021.
4. In your view, which trends and themes will play an important role in the toy industry in 2021?
Even though it’s been a cross-industry theme for a considerable time now, one theme that will continue to be of great importance to us is environmental sustainability and environmental awareness. From the acquisition of raw materials to packaging and shipping, we want to make sure that we’re using resources and energy responsibly. We’re continuously and consistently producing products from various toy categories from FSC©-certified wood. And since climate protection is becoming an increasingly important topic, we’ve been supporting the well-known charitable climate protection organisation, atmosfair gGmbH, with a donation since December 2020.
The Legler environmental task force continues to develop and expand our strategy in this field. While this happens, we always keep the optimisation of the smaller business processes in mind. This affects the areas of production, the head office, packaging, shipping, and returns – but also every individual employee. In 2021, numerous small measures will ensure that Legler conducts business in an increasingly environmentally sustainable way. For example, it’s our goal to use even more environmentally friendly types of wood for our toy production in order to better protect the environment.
In addition, we’re convinced that the trend of wooden toys will continue, with one reason being the strong environmental consciousness of many families. The natural material from which the majority of our small foot toys are made is safe, robust, and long-lasting.
Combined with the circumstance of the coronavirus pandemic not going anywhere anytime soon, we’re keeping a lot of our attention on keeping kids busy at home in a sensible way with well-thought-out learning toys that will support (pre-)school-aged children in school and at home in an age-appropriate way. For the exercise-rich trade-off in the afternoons, we’ve got the new outdoor highlights from our popular product group ACTIVE that bring playtime fun to the whole family!
Our aspiration is to offer our customers a cutting-edge assortment of toys. This includes timely recognition of trends and being able to react to current circumstances flexibly. Here’s an example: starting in the second quarter of 2020 during the worsening of the coronavirus crisis, we noticed a huge increase in the sales of our workshop toys. Classic products like workbenches, tool belts, and a construction set from the new „Miniwob“ product group became great successes in the course of the rest of the year. In general, we’re convinced that the importance and meaning of role-play toys will continue to grow in 2021: whether it’s for imitating the grown-ups in the „home office“ or taking care of their own young patients – such as with the new small foot Doctor’s Bag which also naturally includes a face mask. Start getting excited! We’re extremely well-prepared with an attractive mix of products and ready to be at your side in 2021!