Refreshed, retooled and relaunched Spirograph wins the 2015 Toy & Hobby Retailer Industry Awards Arts and Crafts Product of the Year.

Spirograph returned to the market in a big way ahead of Christmas 2015, racking up exceptional sales, with orders still being shipped to retail outlets in the week prior to Christmas.

A chance meeting in an elevator in Hong Kong last January led Spirograph to return to Australian shores. Following this happy event, distributor MJM Australia continued to meet and negotiate with Hasbro – Spirograph owner and licensor – and Kahootz Toys, the licensee and developer behind the revamped Spirograph product.

Kahootz re-launched the Spirograph brand in the US in 2013, utilising the original product gears, wheel components and updated packaging. The modern Spirograph kits use removable putty in place of pins, or are held down by hand to keep the stationary pieces in place on the paper.

Two products were launched in 2013, with a further eight items added to the range over the past three years. And more innovative products are set for launch this year. In 2014, Spirograph was a finalist in two categories in the US Toy of the Year awards, almost 50 years after the product won Toy of the Year in 1967.

Up to 15 Australian distributors had shown keen interest in securing Spirograph for the Australian market, and MJM, Hasbro and Kahootz finally reached an agreement at the end of February after working through strategic marketing plans and financial arrangements.

Given the market had received only limited distribution from the US since 2013, MJM decided to launch Spirograph at the Toy Hobby & Licensing Fair in March 2015. According to MJM Australia’s joint managing director Marcel Levy, part of the company’s strategy was to nurture and protect the heritage and integrity of the brand to ensure the brand’s longevity was managed.

“We agreed, in conjunction with Hasbro and Kahootz, to launch the brand through department stores, specialist toy and gift stores,” Levy says. “This resulted in outstanding success at the Toy Fair, and we had product shipping to stores by early June 2015.”

Spirograph was developed and produced by British engineer Denys Fisher, who unveiled the product at the 1965 Nuremberg International Toy Fair. Kenner acquired the US distribution rights, introducing it to the United States market in 1966 and promoting it as a creative children’s toy.

Hasbro has owned the Spirograph registered trademark since 1998, following the purchase of the company that had acquired the Denys Fisher company.

“We’re very proud to be associated with Spirograph,” Levy says. “We have a close working relationship with both Hasbro and Kahootz, and look forward to working with them for many years to come. We encourage retailers to jump on board and come for the Spirograph ride in 2016.”

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