Latest toy craze was total surprise to its inventor

Increasing competition and falling profits for toy retailers are proof the industry is far from child’s play. Yet the success of one toy innovator shows imagination is still the key to capturing kid’s hearts.

Madeleine Hunter is one of the biggest names in Australian toy design. Her award-winning toys have won lucrative distribution deals across Europe and the US, and have injected new life into her family’s business.

Hunter was named the Rising Star of 2018 by the Australian Toy Association after the huge success of her Shibajuku Girls. The dolls, which retail for $20 each, are inspired by Japanese Harajuku fashion and are sold in more than 60 countries.

Hunter says she was blown away by the success of the Shibajuku Girls in Europe, but could barely believe it when they were picked up by major US retailers.

“When we went to Target in the US, they just kind of fell over for it, so that was really exciting, and then we thought, ‘Why not give Walmart a try?’, and we couldn’t believe it, but the same thing happened there,” she says. Read more

Kate Jones – Brisbane Times – 10 Jun 2018