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2016-04-29 11:01:00 Interview Happy Horse

How many of us still have our favourite childhood cuddly toy – and have maybe even passed it on to our own offspring? Children often consider a soft toy as a friend for life; whatever traumas life throws at them, their favourite teddy bear or rabbit can always raise a smile.

Happy Horse BV in the Netherlands designs and produces soft toys with a difference.


With multiple collections of plush toys in a range of themes and designs, from classical to modern, in striking colours and pastels, distinctive design is the company’s signature. Its toys are all created with an unusual twist, for example a knitted panel or a particularly bold colour combination. Most of the collections consist of not only cuddly pets, but also a range of related articles such as rattles, comforters and musical toys to create a chic, coordinated nursery. Other concepts include a line of bears ranging from 16 cm to 1.5 m high, and one of the most popular products, Rabbit Richie, which comes in five colours, three sizes and with a range of extras. Overall the portfolio consists of over 500 toys, each one eye-catching and original.


All products are manufactured in accordance with very strict regulations. “We are not the cheapest producer, but quality and safety are guaranteed,” explains General Manager Desiree van Doremalen. Happy Horse sells to retail clients including department stores, hospital shops, specialist baby stores, independent toy and gift retailers, and Internet stores. Approximately 40% of its toys are exported, mostly within Europe, although Canada and Asia are developing markets. “We look at where we can find appropriate partners for distribution,” says Ms. van Doremalen. “We find a company that is a good match, and then we launch in that country. We need to feel that someone can represent us well. So far we have partners in the UK, Germany, France, Switzer land, Spain and Sweden.” As well as supplying retail outlets, Happy Horse also makes private label toys for other businesses, which are used as marketing giveaways or gifts for staff and customers. The company cooperates with several good causes,  providing soft toys to be offered in return for donations to various children’s charities.


“The market is tough,” concludes Ms. van Doremalen. “But retailers who add value will survive. Once your reputation for outstanding service and quality is established, people don’t choose the lowest price. When true quality is visible in pictures, products sell well on the Internet too. We always try to be a bit different, to draw out a smile when people see our products.” With children the world over seeking new friends, the potential for Happy Horse seems huge.


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