top of page

If you want in depth analysis, insights and anecdotes from someone who has worked across the Toy & Game business for c. 25 years, and if you like listening to podcasts, then you might want to check out our PLAYING AT BUSINESS podcast, just click the following link to listen:

At the time of writing, we have 106 episodes of the podcast live. Below are a few links to the most popular episodes:


We are living through times of massive change and disruption. Technology is advancing at a frighteningly quick rate, and the very fabric of society has been changed by our adoption and development of new technologies. 

However, despite that there are 5 unchanging fundamentals of the Toy & Games business. In this podcast your host Steve Reece takes a look at what has not changed in his nearly 25 years in the Toy business, and what is unlikely to change looking forward another 25 years into the future.


Products tend to vary from category to category, but at the heart of any top selling you will normally find most or all of the 5 key ingredients we run through in Episode 83 of the Playing At Business podcast. We discuss successful products such as Spin Master's Paw Patrol ranges, Monopoly board game & the truly iconic Rubiks Cube.

This episode is for anyone who hopes to develop & launch a top-selling toy or game.


Effectively presenting products is one of the most critical skills for people in the commercial departments of the toy industry. In Episode 57 of the Playing At Business podcast we take a look at 5 key success elements of effectively presenting toy products. It isn't just a case of showing how the product works (although that's part of it). There is much more to presenting products well enough to sell them. Check out this week's episode to find out more!


New toy businesses are the lifeblood of the industry. Today's Toy start ups can become tomorrow's corporate behemoths. But there are a lot of hurdles and barriers in the way of success for those starting up a new toy business. In this latest podcast episode, toy industry expert Steve Reece runs through a few key areas which need to be well managed in order for new toy companies to grow profitably and to achieve success over time. Steve has lead, worked on and advised dozens of successful Toy start ups, listen in to find out more.

And finally, if you just want the complete episode list for our PLAYING AT BUSINESS podcast, just click here:


Legal cases are usually stressful and antagonistic. These are not conditions we would normally typically seek out! Most legal disputes are resolved, one way or another well in advance of going to court. Normally commercial concerns make both sides come to the negotiating table to find agreed resolution in advance of forking out $£€ hundreds of thousands to lawyers.

Yet I have had some very interesting experience of being involved in legal cases which actually did go to court. Clearly I'm not going to comment on the matters concerned in the cases themselves, but I can describe some of what it is like to be an toy expert witness or a board games expert witness in such a case.

The process of being an expert is mostly focused on two elements:

1. Researching and writing a statement

2. (Potentially) testifying on the stand.

The first part of the process is an almost academic process of briefing, desk research and document reading, leading towards the detailed expression of opinion on whatever the topic at hand is. The opinion tends to be detailed because it needs to be robust enough to stand up to rigorous scrutiny and cross examination from both sides of the dispute. This is far from easy - interpretation can swing from one side of a matter to the other dependent on various factors. Typically available evidence is flawed/has shortcomings in some way, so a toy expert witness or board game expert witness can only hope to reach the least flawed, least imperfect conclusion available versus the perfect representation. Typically writing such a statement can take 1-2 months in total, followed by some back and forth with the lawyers instructing the toy expert witness.

The second part of the process is arguably far more stressful, as being cross examined by highly competent, highly experienced (and highly paid!) expert lawyers is not easy, especially when they clearly understand the law better than the toy expert witness. In circumstances where the evidence available is limited or very imperfect, the challenge for the expert witness is greater, as the more subjective a matter or an opinion is, the more it relies on opinion and less on proven hard data, the more 'holes' in the argument there are likely to be for the expert crosss examiner to utilise. Moreover, other evidence presented in court may change the facts available to the court/those involved in the case, and render an opinion or extensive statement less compelling and ultimately less persuasive.

Having been an expert witness, I found the experience to be very intellectually challenging (mostly in a good way), but also very stressful - to insert oneself into ardent conflict is not likely to be a particularly comfortable place to go, however, the intellectual and professional development it offers can be rewarding nevertheless.

by Steve Reece, Managing Director of Kids Brand Insight, a leading international Toy Expert Consultancy which helps people & companies get ahead in the toy industry, find the right toy & game factories and to consumer research test their products with kids and parents.


Steve recently gave an interview - he was asked to describe a day in his working life. Here is the transcript of the interview:

INTERVIEWER: Please describe a typical day as a toy expert

STEVE Firstly, I feel somewhat awkward with the label 'toy expert' - so many people in the toy business have greater knowledge than me on many topics. However, I guess I have some specific knowledge on certain aspects of the toy industry as well a good overall 'generalist' view.

INTERVIEWER Which specific topics would you claim 'expert' knowledge of?

STEVE Well I'm still cringeing slightly at the label, but I guess I probably have as good a knowledge as nearly anyone in terms of consumer research testing toys and toy manufacturing in India. I have also managed development of many toys and games (lots of hits and a few too many non hits!), but I think there are many people in the industry with similar experience of developing and launching toys and games, so not sure that one qualifies!

INTERVIEWER Ok, well thanks for the explanation. So what does a typical working day look like for you?

STEVE From about 7am I'm checking overnight emails coming in via India, HK and China.

After some kind of exercise I'll be at my desk around 08:30-09:00 typically. I then plan the day around a few key tasks and a reasonably active call schedule.

I'll usually try to keep the morning free to complete factory liaison tasks, work on Consultancy projects/presentations and to plan consumer research sessions.

In the afternoon, I'll tend to have phone calls with clients/customers, often back to back for most of the afternoon. Or I'll find myself moderating focus groups with children, something which never fails to be challenging/revealing in terms of how kids react to new toys.

Early evening I'll focus on family time before picking the call schedule back up, sometimes into the night! The worst start for a call time in recent weeks has been 1am, although going back further in time I have done 2am before!

At some point in the evening I'll make sure I've parked as many action points as possible in factory inboxes for the next day, and eventually relax with an hour of brainless TV before eventually sleeping from around 12:30am.

Not very exciting really when you write it down, but that's a fairly typical day in the life of this toy 'expert'!

Home: Blog2
Home: About Me
bottom of page