Toy KID is planning Christmas presents… 2024

Employees at Toys KID, one of Canada’s largest distributors and importers of toys, are at the end of a long sprint that will end under the tree. Behind the scenes, the company is in the process of extending 75% of its offering for Christmas…2024.

“It’s always like that locally,” says the Quebec-based company’s general manager, Paule Rancourt. We can’t rely on what worked last year, even if we made millions in sales. Every year it’s like a blank page.”

The CEO and her buying team fill this largely blank canvas by traveling the world to track trends and figure out which toys will be popular on shelves next year.

“We often say that Christmas is our real boss. This is the crucial moment for us and we plan months in advance so that everything is ready,” explains the woman who, before arriving at the company, had her own boutique in her hometown of Saint-Georges in Beauce.

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Toy expert

The general manager of Cadeau KID has been working in the toy industry for 40 years and knows it inside and out. In order to fill a gap left by her “anything but prosperous” childhood, she initially found herself there.

“There is nothing I love more than seeing a child have fun with a beautiful product that allows them to learn and stimulates their development,” admits Paule Rancourt with shining eyes.

That expertise and all-consuming passion made the businesswoman the first Quebecer inducted into the Canadian Toy Industry Hall of Fame on Nov. 16.

Toy KID is planning Christmas presents... 2024

Photo Stevens LeBlanc

“It is a great pride not only to be one of the first women to be there, but especially to have made it from Quebec. “The fact that I made it as a Beauceronne in a very masculine and English-speaking world must have done something good,” notes Ms. Rancourt.

In her opinion, there are two parallel worlds in the country’s toy industry: Quebec and everything else.

“The way we see products and their properties is completely different. In Quebec we strongly follow European trends and want well-designed properties. Elsewhere in the country, it’s the appearance and the glamor side that is influenced by American marketing and works well.”

“The toy is fine,” but…

Despite rising interest rates and inflation in the country, the toy market is doing “well,” according to Paule Rancourt.

“Christmas presents for children is the last place people cut back on spending. It is often said that the toy industry is the last to be affected by an economic slowdown,” she argues.

However, the expert for dolls, puzzles and figures of all kinds admits that retailers have become more cautious about their investments in recent years.

This puts pressure on her business as she has less time to fulfill orders.

Over the years, children’s increasingly early access to technology has also led to the disappearance of the eight to eleven year old age group.

“Gaming habits are becoming increasingly fleeting. Young people now have instant access to everything and it is difficult to maintain their interest in a toy over a longer period of time,” concludes Ms. Rancourt.

However, she looks to the future with a touch of optimism, in keeping with the excitement that exists in her field despite these upheavals.

Much

Entrepreneurship is…? Take what you do to heart and master your craft. It’s also about building lasting bonds with others by showing a lot of respect.

What inspires you? Change. In all facades of my life. I am someone who hates routine and is always looking for new things.

If you could change one thing in the world, would it be…? The war. It is so sad. We are lucky to be in Canada and that it is not part of our daily lives because it is terrible.

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