Behind the Brand | Play Press Toys
Can you give an introduction to who you are and who/what your brand is and how long your brand has been around for? Is this your first Top Drawer?
Hi, I’m Matthew, also known as peach, and me, my dad, Melvin and brother Kingsley design and make pop out playsets in the UK. We started a few years ago and were running it part time around our full time jobs, going to markets like Portobello to test out our sets and had a bunch of fun. About a year ago I took redundancy from my job as a designer at M&S and now focus full time on making eco conscious play sets. It’s a dream come true. This is our first Top Drawer and we couldn’t be more excited!
How did you start your brand?
I dropped out of Uni and wanted a project to work on. I figured I loved Lego, Playmobil and the like growing up and how could I make something that’s as fun but more affordable and more eco. After experimenting for ages with materials and designs PlayPress was born and we’ve been developing it ever since. I would work on it all in my spare time and just loved making and designing. My older brother Peter really helped out with the design direction and I partnered up with my best friend Mike, the most talented artist and we worked on it together and he helped make it what it is. I’m so lucky to work with my dad, with his huge business brain, he has taken it from a part time hobby-business to a full time business selling around the world. Mike no longer works with us, but my younger brother Kingsley has joined the team and is helping us sell, he’s so good with people, my mum also helps out a lot, it’s a real family business. Without my friends and family this wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is, I love working with them and feel so lucky.
What’s been your biggest highlight whilst creating your brand? Why is it you love what you do?
So many fun times at the market with Mike, getting to work with some amazing brands and licenses, like Gruffalo and Ardman. But I think winning an award with my dad for our RNLI lifeboat set stands out, it really meant so much to us both. I just love making things, my whole life, I always have. Designing a world of toys is great, because it gives you opportunities to design literally everything, from a space station to little tiny boxes of cereal.
Knowing what you do now, what advice would you give to yourself when you were first starting out?
Gosh, not sure, it’s been so much fun I’m not sure if I would change anything. I would say figuring out distribution is really important. Before my dad got involved we didn’t have a plan at all and weren’t really going anywhere from a business point of view. And I think it’s important to know strengths and things you’re not so strong at. You can always learn but if there’s things taking up a lot of your time and you don’t enjoy them you ain’t gonna have much fun. So I would advise anyone to find people to work with who are great at those things and love them so everyone’s main focus can be on what they are good at. I’ve been lucky that they are people close to me that are also brilliant at the things I’m not.
Can you tell us about your new collections/ranges that you’ll be launching at Home & Gift?
We’ve got this brand new Shaun the Sheep set from working with Aardman, it really is a great character and show and we’ve put so much time into getting it right we can’t wait to show people. We’re also launching a new range of mini collectables we are really excited about.
Any personal favourites from your new collection?
I think this new range of collectables are so much fun, they’re very cute and we’ve design them to be really pocket money prices, £3-4, paper wrapped so they really are born from our original vision for PlayPress. We have a little tiny vets set and it’s just so sweet, I’m looking at it right now and I just really love it, hopefully other people will too.
Find them at their stand in the PLAY area, stand J50.