“Pivot” and “innovate” may be the buzzwords of the day, but for Alan Sutton and his family, they are core to the heritage of their family toy business. Alan’s family has been in the toy business since 1945 and has learned how to continually innovate and pivot to stay relevant and meet the demands of retailers, parents, and of course, children. In a trend-driven industry that Alan likens to fashion, staying small and nimble to meet the demands of the market has helped Jay At Play thrive, as he shares on this episode about “Heritage” on the Happy Marketer Connection podcast.
Happy Marketer Connection Episode 9
Alan Sutton, VP Global Sales and Operations, Jay At Play
The support of his family – his Partners are his father and sister – and their belief in staying small and lean, working closely with the inventor community, and always putting the business first have helped Jay At Play find success in an ever-changing and trend-driven global market. Alan shares the pros and cons of working with family, how to build a global brand, the importance of staying nimble as a company, methods to resolve conflicts within your team and supply chain, and what the fashion and toy industry have in common.
- [0:14] Sue Frech, Happy Marketer Connection, Vesta
- [0:50] Alan Sutton, VP Global Sales and Operations at [email protected]
- Sue Frech interviewing Alan Sutton on HERITAGE
- [1:38] Family Business
- [1:49] What is [email protected] and what is Alan’s role?
- [2:12] Sales, Operations
- [2:19] Stephanie Sutton, Product Development, Marketing
- [3:20] How does [email protected] stay ahead of trends in the toy industry?
- [3:58] YouTube
- [4:42] Demographics
- [5:15] Intellectual Property (IP), Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Warner Bros.
- [6:36] Logistics
- [7:45] How did [email protected] get started?
- [9:22] How do you make decisions in a family business?
- [10:29] Financial Crisis of 2008
- [11:29] Joseph Sutton
- [13:17] Why did Alan join [email protected]?
- [16:57] SARS
- [17:17] Chinese New Year
- [18:31] Starbucks
- [19:14] How did Alan keep his supplier relationships strong during the pandemic?
- [20:42] Where do Alan’s father’s strong values come from?
- [21:33] Community Powered marketing delivers a new world of sales growth. Learn more at Vesta-Go.com
- [21:50] Did Alan’s father always want to get into the toy business?
- [22:14] Manufacturing, Capital
- [22:43] Licensee
- [23:30] Supply Chain, Monopoly
- [23:56] WTO (World Trade Organization)
- [24:49] Did [email protected] pivot during COVID-19?
- [25:16] Inventory
- [25:43] New York Toy Fair, Javits Center
- [26:39] Is [email protected] in holiday mode?
- [27:22] What does their development for 2021 look like?
- [27:43] CapEx (Capital Expenditure)
- [27:51] Zoom, Working From Home (WFH)
- [28:34] How much has eCommerce grown?
- [28:48] Instacart, Amazon
- [30:04] Is there a toy Alan was told wouldn’t make it but did?
- [31:00] “Axel F” by Crazy Frog
- [32:19] Best Buy
- [32:56] Early Adopters
- [33:14] MGA Entertainment, Isaac Larian, O.L. Surprise
- [33:49] Flipazoo, Walmart
- [34:34] Business Plan
- [36:43] DIY (Do-It-Yourself)
Get More Happy Marketer Connection
Check out previous episodes and subscribe on Apple Podcasts:
Episode 1: Welcome to Happy Marketer Connection with Guest Marlea Clark, CMO of Stella Rising on “Evolution”
Episode 2: Dawn Dobras, CEO of Credo Beauty on “Champion”
Episode 3: Gina Bonafede, Director of Marketing at DAS Companies on “Connection Marketing”
Episode 4: Tom Deierlein, Co-Founder and CEO, Thundercat Technology on “Grit”
Episode 5: Michele Muhammad, CMO of DSE Healthcare on “Transformational Marketing”
Episode 6: Chris Pyne, Founder and President, Junction 37 on “Values”
Episode 7: David Rich, Founder, Palabra on “Storytelling”
Episode 8: Alex Colkitt, Content and Community Strategist, Sir Kensington’s on “Engagement”
About the Happy Marketer Connection Podcast
Welcome to Happy Marketer Connection. Marketers know it’s the connections we make – between ideas, people, and brands – that make all the difference. Each week, Happy Marketer Connection invites you to connect with our Co-Founder and CEO Sue Frech, Martech pioneer, and unfailing optimist, as she and her fellow passionate marketers explore engaging and inventive marketing strategies and toast brands making impactful consumer connections.