Marvin's Magic, based in Markyate nr St Albans, is widely recognised as the brand leader for magic worldwide. Its range of magic tricks and products for children have won many awards and are listed amongst the best sellers for major UK High Street multiples and independents, including Hamleys.
Founded by Marvin Berglas, a magician and entrepreneur, the company contacted UKTI in 2012 for advice on finding their best route to market in Australia.
International Sales Manager Rakesh Kakaya explains: “From our own online research we knew there was a buoyant market for our products in Australia and that the spend-per-child there was high. However, as Australia is so far away and an unknown territory for us, we felt we needed advice from UKTI on how to target the country effectively in order to minimise the risk.”
Rakesh was put in touch with International Trade Adviser Anton Rudgalvis who recommended the company consider UKTI’s Export Marketing Research Scheme (EMRS), which offers eligible companies both commercial and financial support when approaching a new overseas market.
“The EMRS provides independent advice about carrying out marketing research overseas, whether companies are looking at new markets or re-evaluating an existing one. All exporters can benefit from the free marketing research advice that the scheme provides. Companies may also be eligible for a grant of up to 50% towards the cost of conducting market research in their target country.” explains Anton.
“Through EMRS we received 40% of funding for our first trip out to Australia to carry out market research. If we hadn’t received this funding, we may well have decided that it wasn’t worth exploring a potentially risky venture such as this,” says Rakesh.
During the trip Rakesh met with several potential distributors, retailers and agents. The company also carried out focus groups with parents, which backed up the company’s original research by establishing that there was definitely a demand for its products.
“From the focus groups we learnt that, in Australia, magic is seen as educational, the perception being that it increases confidence in children; parents were therefore very receptive to our products,” says Rakesh, adding: “From our various meetings we were also able to deduce that our best route to market would be selling directly to retailers rather than going through a distributor or agent as this approach allowed sufficient margin for both parties.”
The company began working initially with two major Australian store groups, Australian Geographic and David Jones, through which they secured orders totalling $360,000 in 2012/13. Their customer base in Australia is expanding rapidly and they are now working with Myer and Kidstuff, again both major players within the toy industry. Sales for 2014 are estimated to reach $1.0M, with a sales forecast for 2015/16 in excess of $1.0M
“There are many companies in Australia that we could potentially work with but there’s potential growth for us in all different directions and not just Australia,” says Rakesh. “We’re currently targeting Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and India and have just received £2,500 of funding from UKTI that will enable us to attend an Indian toy industry trade show.”
“From a zero start a year ago, total cumulative sales to Australia are likely to exceed $1.0 million next year,” says Anton. “It really has been a pleasure to work with Rakesh and his team and I’m pleased to have been a part of the Marvin’s Magic success story.”
“It’s been a pleasure as always working with the UKTI team, the help and advice along our growth journey has always been appreciated. We look forward to continue this partnership as we grow into international territories,” say Rakesh