Meet the Seller: Rainbow Gifts & Fireworks

01 November 2016

Within his own corner of Brigg Garden Centre, Colin Tindall of Rainbow Gifts & Fireworks sells colourful, traditional wooden children's toys as well as a collection of fireworks - perfect for the upcoming bonfire night season. We had a chat to find out how the two styles of products came together in one retail space.

How did your store begin?
We're actually a professional firework company, our main business is firework displays and we've been doing that for nine years now. We started it as a hobby and it just grew and grew, and I gave up my 9-to-5 job in 2012 to take it up full time. One of our firework suppliers suggested we sell fireworks to consumers as well, so we thought we'd give it a go. We ended up with a retail range of fireworks and a licence to sell to the general public all year round, it goes side by side with our professional displays. Retail fireworks are very seasonal, obviously November and New Year is a busy time for us, so we needed something to keep the shop ticking over for the rest of the year, and we decided on traditional toys. Predominately, we have wooden products although we have some plastic toys, anything that we see that is a bit different, traditional and unique. Something that you wouldn't necessarily see in high street toy shops, toys that are bright and colourful.

Tell us a bit about your space in Brigg Garden Centre.
Originally we were based in Scunthorpe, but the area was redeveloped and we had to relocate. So, we moved to Brigg Garden Centre and it has been our fifth year here now. When we first came here, we had a smaller space so the centre let us expand, and last year we got another area which we use as our shop window, so we try and put some eye catching pieces in place for people as they walk down the corridor.

How do you decide what you stock?
We used to go to various trade fairs but we have two little kids now and my wife and I alternate our time in the shop, so it's difficult to fit them in. But we're always looking out on the internet and we have four or five key suppliers who bring out new products most seasons. Orange Tree Toys is one of our main suppliers, they have a lot of nursery toys, musical carousels and a Peter Rabbit range. And then we have Le Toy Van, who has a big Wooden Ark which is one of our best sellers. Then there's Melissa & Doug, they've really grown with us over the last couple of years. They are a really nice, solid type of products, and fairly reasonably priced. We try to have that balance. We want nice products but equally people are concerned about the cost, so we have luxury items with some that are a little cheaper.

And what are your best sellers?
The Pirate Ship from Le Toy Van is one of our best sellers, and puzzles are always a favourite as well as little stacking cubes - they're made from a really nice wood. We have a digger too, it's really well made and is one of our best sellers. Train sets from Melissa & Doug are new in, it's not something we've tried before but we wanted a reasonably priced train set on display so that the kids can play with it while they're in store.

What is a typical day for you?
Because I do my firework displays as well, I spend a lot of time on the computer planning those, and we have websites for the displays, the retail fireworks and for the toys, so I am busy maintaining them, and of course serving the customers.
With our firework displays, we're busy all through the year; every weekend there is somebody around the country doing something. They're popular for weddings nowadays and we do corporate events too. We did the national Armed Forces Day celebrations in Cleethorpes, one on the Friday and one on the Saturday, which was great.
And now the children have gone back to school, it gets manic in the run up to Christmas. Brigg Garden Centre has really impressive displays and it just gets crazy!
This time of year, we're getting prepared for the rush. For the firework displays, you get a lot of clients who want fireworks over the course of the first week in November, and they tend to be quite big displays so there's a lot of preparation, getting all the stock in place, building all the firing orders and organising all the labour requirements. Then you're trying to work out what stock you need for the retail fireworks, and what toys we want in stock for Christmas, so it's just a crazy few months.
It all seems to happen from September up until New Year for us, you look forward getting past 1st January when it all calms down!

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