Hi Dominique, great to see you. How are you?
“Very well, thank you. There’s a lot going on at the moment but we’re having great fun thinking of new ideas and making sure that we have everything ready for the upcoming seasons – especially Halloween!”
We’re talking over stroopenwaffles in Smiffys’ Amsterdam showroom at the moment – what differences have you noticed in the UK and EU marketplaces?
“They are actually surprisingly similar and getting more synchronised all the time, as the Halloween market increases across Europe and the Oktoberfest and carnival market is growing in the UK. Trend-wise it’s very similar – the same key licenses such as Top Gun and Grease play well across both markets, for example.”
Do the dress-up seasons also follow the same pattern?
“To a certain extent. The big difference is that in the UK we dress up for all manner of moments, occasions and events, while in the EU they are more focused towards big events and key dates such as carnival, Halloween and Pride. That’s starting to change, but it’s a gradual process.”
You mention Pride – is that a big celebration across Europe?
“Very much so, it’s hugely international. There are pride events in London, Paris, Rome, Sydney, Barcelona and Madrid. They are very family-orientated as well, so it’s a great thing to be a part of. We have a huge range of product which is suitable for Pride celebrations and it does well internationally. It’s definitely growing as an occasion.”
Sounds like it’s rainbows all the way! What other trends have been doing well for Smiffys this year?
“Do you really need to ask? This year has been all about mermaids and unicorn. I can’t see them going away any time soon but next year we’ll be building on that mythical element even more, with fairies and phoenixes. It’s a natural progression of the theme.”
Thanks Dominique – it’s been great talking to you!