In terms of toy manufacturers, Henbrandt is relatively new to the game (pardon the pun). The company was founded in 1971, and has continued to grow in its success. The firm is English, and was first based in East London, within reasonable access to to Felixstowe port. This was so they could import and distribute with ease. These days, the company is still in Felixstowe, but the factory is much bigger. They moved here in 2007 so that they would be in the perfect spot for importing, buying and selling their goods. However, the move meant that there were a lot of job cuts to long-term members of staff.
Henbrandt have created a massive range of toys and novelty items, as well as fancy dress items and party packages.
The company was set up by Michael Brandt and Barry Henderson. Their names were combined for the label Henbrandt. However, the partnership did not last long. Henderson pulled out, but Brandt decided to continue. The reason the name did not change was because he couldn’t afford new letterheads!
Within the toy industry, the Harrogate Toy Fair was an important even in the calendar. In the first few years of business, Henbrandt tried in vain to get a place at one of the stalls, but to no avail. Eventually, Brandt managed to get a spot (albeit an awful one). Twenty years on he would be the director of the same fair.
After working tirelessly, Brandt finally found a partner in Joe Dyer, who took over office administrations. Brandt focused on creating new products, and the buying and selling side of the company, and soon the range and popularity of Henbrandt began to grow.
The company soon relocated to Grosvenor road in North London. Most of the seventies consisted of struggling with new toys and manufacturers, but by the eighties, the company was well and truly established.
Although Henbrandt do not produce any particularly ‘famous’ or household name toys, they do manufacture a great deal of affordable merchandise. Products include toys for both boys and girls, arts and crafts kits and boxes, board games, stationary, bubble machines and toys, and stuffed animals, as well as novelty items for adults, including jewellery, hats, joke items, and fancy dress.
However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Henbrandt. There have been a number of product recalls over the years. The most recent ones have been in 2011. One novelty item, the stink bomb fart bomb, was recalled due to risk of damage to hearing. One reported case measured the explosion at 144 decibels, which did not comply with toy regulations. Another dangerous product recalled in 2001 was the Happy Halloween Mask. The mask was recalled as it contained a higher number of chemicals that regulation, which could prove dangerous if children put the toy in their mouth.
Although there have been recalls, Henbrandt insist that the safety of its customers is of the utmost importance, and that all products for children are branded with the CE mark, meaning it complies with toy regulations. They also insist that they perform regular checks on updates of safety regulations.