We are focusing more on Tier 1 and 2 towns: John Baby

In an exclusive conversation with John Baby, CEO, Funskool India Ltd, who sheds light on the growth strategy of the brand.
“We are focusing more on Tier 1 and 2 towns”: John Baby
What is the estimated size of Toy industry in India? What will be the size of the industry be in the next five years? 
The estimate size of the toy industry in India is around 3000 crores Rupees in retail value. The industry is expected to grow around 10 to 12% in the coming years. Hence, in five years we can expect the size of the industry to be around 5000 crores.
How has your journey in Funskool been so far? What are the major challenges the company has faced so far? 
It has been wonderful working with the team at Funskool, most of whom have been with the company for long. One of our major challenges was to achieve the highest quality standards acceptable to international markets and to make a dent in the areas of exports.
We have had considerable success of late and exports have been growing at a very rapid pace over the last few years. Last year we won the TAITMA Award for “Exporter of the Year” and Golden Award for “Highest Exporter of Toys” from Sports Goods Export Promotion Council Delhi.
What are the major challenges of kids toy retailing in India? Since the toy market is constantly forayed by international brands, how do you remain price competitive in such fierce competition especially from Chinese brands? 
The major challenge of kids toy retailing in India is the lack of awareness amongst parents about the role played by toys in the development of a child. Even now, a large section of Indian parents are ignorant of the developmental needs of their children and hence do not encourage the children to play with toys which help in their overall development. 
Indian toy market is a focus for all international toy makers and they are spending large amount of money to establish their brands in India as they see the largepopulation of young children as a big opportunity. On the other side, cheap Chinese toys are a major threat for Indian toy manufacturers. We focus producing quality toys complying to international safety standards. We manufacture products in our factories and ensuring we make it at the best cost possible and pricing it affordably, so that a large section of Indian children are able to afford playing with Funskool toys.
Kindly shed light on company’s current distribution in online and offline space?Kindly shed light on the strategies to scale up the distribution?
All major E-Com sites like Amazon and Flipkart do sellFunskool toys and our online sales are growing at a much faster pace compared to offline sales. We have a large network of dealers and distributors across the country and our toys reach more than 4000 stores located right from Kashmir in the North to Kanyakumari in the South. We have 17 ware houses spread across the country to supply the products to any market on short notice.
How are you looking to grow the company’s online presence?
Our own line of business is growing at a fast pace mainly on account of the growth rate E-com companies are achieving. Also, we ensure right products are available for online business. Right now we do not have our own online sales organization. However we can too open one if the market demands.
What are the plans to increase the brand presence in  Tier II and tier III cities?
Three years ago we started our first retail store in Coimbatore, a tier two town. We are focusing more on Tier 1 and 2 towns to start our own brand stores and we are continuously working to extend our distribution to towns, which do not have our presence.
What is the company’s growth plan?
We plan to grow above the market growth rate. Our major focus is on growing our own brands  - Giggles, Fundough, Play & Learn,  Handycrafrts and many board games and also  products of internationally acclaimed brands we  represent in India .
John Baby