Corgi Week Day 2 – Collecting kids rule
Welcome to this latest edition of our Diecast Diaries blog and day TWO of ‘Corgi Week’.
Yesterday, we started this special week of blogs off with a bang, although we may have inadvertently been responsible for causing just the tiniest bit of collector trauma. Focussing on our popular Military Legends range, we used a series of exclusive images to ask readers if they had ever considered weathering one of their beloved models. We haven’t received too many replies as yet, but that could be because you are all still reeling from the shock.
For day two, we are delighted to introduce you to the newest member of the Corgi team, our new Assistant Brand Manager Meg-Atkinson-Chance. To her absolute credit, Meg was really keen to get behind Corgi week and to actually have a go at producing a blog herself, so the vast majority of Day 2 has been produced by her. We are sure you would like to join us in welcoming her to Corgi and we know you are going to be hearing a lot more from her in the future.
Here we go with Day 2 and a look at some of the products we produce for arguably our most demanding collector demographic – our youngsters!
What a time to start a new job
New Assistant Brand Manager Meg Atkinson-Chance has started her Corgi career at a very challenging time and she will certainly never forget her first few weeks with the company. She has yet to have her full guided tour of our of our Head Office site
Before we hand over the blog proceedings to Meg, we would like to just set the scene a little on how she came to us and her first few weeks with the company. Joining us from a previous position where she gained experience in all aspects of working within a small and dynamic company, Meg has a successful track record in management, marketing, key account support and social media roles to name just a few, but was essentially involved in every aspect of the company’s business. Keen to test her skills further, she applied for the post of Assistant Brand Manager at Corgi along with a great many other applicants, but her CV and supporting details saw her progressing to the interview stage without much trouble. She must have impressed, because the first time the rest of the Corgi team heard her name was when we were all being told that we had a new colleague starting soon – a new member of the Corgi Family.
Meg’s introduction to Hornby and her new work colleagues could not have been more challenging, because almost as soon as she turned up for her first day in our Margate offices, the country was already in a state of emergency, with the Government due to make an announcement at any moment. With less than two days in the office, Meg and the rest of the Hornby Hobbies staff were told they would have to work from home for the foreseeable future – at least she had the change to pick her laptop up. It is difficult enough for anyone when starting a new job, but when you can only speak to your colleagues via Microsoft Teams and everything has to be completed remotely, we all really do feel for Meg. One thing the remote team meetings has allowed us all to do is to become acquainted with Meg’s two dogs Willoughby and Hugo – if they are not flying through the air behind her during a meeting, they are squeaking a toy at the most inappropriate moment.
We are really pleased to have Meg with us and look forward to seeing how she takes this fantastic brand forward. Now, we are delighted to hand today’s blog over to Meg.
Guess who? We are petite and loud, hilarious yet infuriating, and incredibly draining (both emotionally and financially). Of course, we are talking about kids! On a serious note, whilst the whole country knuckles down in solidarity and perseverance, many of us have taken on additional and completely new roles within the household, particularly regarding the home-schooling and care of children. What once was the role of a qualified professional, we, the lowly diecast collector, are now expected to continue the educational and personal development of our children. Our day now consists of planning and delivering a well-rounded educational programme, all the while attempting to remember how to use a calculator aside from the odd crude word, and figuring out what one of those triangular shaped rulers is actually used for.
It’s a good job Meg is made of strong stuff – her introduction to the Corgi family could hardly have been more challenging
The excitement of ‘grown up hour’, to enjoy hobbies not related to parenting (this can include wine drinking), is long gone. All over the UK, families are starting to get used to the new normal, however that might look. Your family is far away but you can speak with them online, and you can work online; we can even shop online. It might not come as a surprise then, that Corgi has seen a huge increase in sales since the UK wide lockdown; our lives are so virtual now, that maybe we all just want something tactile? We cannot hug and chat in a coffee shop, but we can learn and broaden our horizons; or in this case, expand our collections. Last year, the top gifts to buy children were tech based, however one could argue that living in a limited time were technology is our only option, could cause a shift towards good old fashioned toys and gifts; long live the Die Cast model, and long may she reign!
Life here at Corgi HQ has seen a huge focus towards child targeted web-based content, with our new Corgi Kid’s Zone now becoming one of the most popular areas of our website. What started as a temporary, reactive venture, really opened our eyes to how universal the Corgi brand is. As collectors ourselves, we know the pride and emotion behind every collection, and how sharing with friends and family members is a special and important thing. Yet, as the granddaughter of an aeroplane enthusiast and hobby pilot, I also know how difficult it can be to get the younger generation into your hobbies and passions. Hours spent, with impassioned aviation tangents falling onto deaf ears, only for the belligerent offspring to get a job marketing and developing model planes (15 years too late, sorry granddad). When I was a young girl, the concept of model collecting filled me with dread; another pristine treasure for little miss ‘no hand-eye coordination’ to ruin.
A tough environment for toys, it is perhaps as well that our Chunkies range of models are built to last!
With that sentiment in mind, Corgi introduced a full child focused range - CHUNKIES. Tough and durable, with oversized wheels and bold bright colours, the CHUNKIES range is a quintessential children’s toy. No scary, perfectly pretty packaging to ruin, just a box of joy and good old fashion interactive play. But really, CHUNKIES were not designed as throw away toys to grow out of. Socially relevant and broad in range offering, children can gradually collect the range, playing and learning as they go. Children learn about the world via play, and the career based models, including Ambulance, Fire Truck, and Safari Vehicle, offer them an opportunity to explore careers and the ‘grown up’ world, all through the safety and enjoyment of play. Drag them through mud, throw them at adults who aren’t paying attention to your colourful one toddler performance piece, or leave them in a petrol station toilet, CHUNKIES are built to last through even the most inventive destruction methods.
Right now, I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘but Meg, a collection should be at least somewhat intact’, and you have a fair point. But let us take a minute to think about the hobby of collecting. I am sure there are those of you who have pristine models, sitting pride of place, without even the tamper seal out of joint. You waited months on the pre-order, and the moment you finally placed that heavy, colourful box onto a dedicated shelf, you heart burst as you welcomed a new member to your family of models. I also know that somewhere out there, there are lots of dogeared, crayon riddled vintage Corgi Toys and models, which have brought many happy hours of playing joy over the years. Given to you by your father or grandfather, not only does this box hold a model, but it carries with it your history, as destructive and playful as it was. In short, a collector item is not defined by the item itself and its original use; an item worthy of collection almost always has a story.
An irresistible combination – the iconic red London bus designed specifically to be played with. These Chunkies models look so cute that is easy to see why they have been such a successful addition to the Corgi range
Sitting in taped up boxes on a playroom shelf, CHUNKIES can retire from heavy duty play, to a life of display and status of nostalgia, with battle scars and all. From the outside, CHUNKIES serve a purpose; durable and fun, with the added benefit of being educational. But as all collectors know, anything is worthy of the hobby, it is about the story and reason behind the item. On a practical level, giving a simple item such as a toy or teddy bear the regal status of ‘collector’s item’, creates a level of mystique; I treated my (definitely not) limited edition TY Monkey bear with Gollum levels of care and protection. Teaching your children or grandchildren to treasure items to hold onto future value, may instil a respect and care that should be shown towards all possessions, whatever the value.
As with all great things, appetites for collections develop over time. Although CHUNKIES may appear to be our only range explicitly targeted at children, there are so many other options; see it as the gateway to the hobby, and a great introductory range. What starts as an impulse purchase for your toddler who defiantly states, ‘Dad collects models, that’s so weird’, soon manifests into a fully formed and beloved collection of their own - sneaky, yet effective. When the world wasn’t involved in a large scale group hibernation, we were fully aware that our Showcase range was incredibly popular with our younger collectors, as these are always our most popular products at exhibitions and Airshows. Pocket money purchase appropriate and robust representations of the machines scores of youngsters have just been admiring, Showcase is a fantastic diecast step up from CHUNKIES.
As a staple product of the UK Airshow scene, the Showcase Red Arrows Hawk has always been one of our most popular model releases and it is incredibly difficult to keep it in stock. In fact, this model is probably in production more than any other in the Corgi range – it is definitely the ideal ‘Dad, can I have one?’ model
Possessing similar quality to our more advanced collector diecast ranges, the vehicles included in the Showcase range move away from everyday career-based models, and give children an insight into British, European, and even American military history. Although appropriate for children as young as three, rest assured that these models carry the high quality and historical accuracy associated with Corgi and are a great addition to any collection, regardless of age.
Right now, the world is in a state of limbo, with a cloud of uncertainty hitching a ride on our shoulders. Last week, you smashed those weekly goals and tasks, displaying to the neighbours that deep in the undergrowth of your front garden, there was in fact a green thumbed master. This week, you showered and put the bins out. The next few months will be ever changing, as we try to navigate this new world around us. One thing that won’t change however, is the joy behind the upkeep and expansion of your collection, and the passion and commitment in which we provide you with the means to do so. In the shroud of darkness, comes some light and positive sentiment; if they can’t go outside, maybe, just maybe, they’ll start their own little model collection?
It's never too young to start collecting
We have already activated our second competition of ‘Corgi Week’ and in support of Meg’s first blog contribution, she has kindly supplied us with a fantastic selection of models which could be described as being for the younger collector, but would not look out of place on any model display shelf.
Every Corgi model range includes a variety of models intended to appeal to committed collectors, casual gift buyers and some of our most demanding customers – youngsters. With mum or dad’s limited edition collectables proving quite the attraction, but always kept well out of reach of little fingers, there is nothing quite like giving youngsters their own range of models to play with, ones which are robust enough to survive many hours on the front room carpet, but ones which look great when placed on the display shelf at the end of the day.
We all have the collector bug within us and there should be no reason why our younger collectors should be left out of this fantastic hobby. The winner of this ‘Play and Collect’ diecast model selection will certainly be in the good books when they hand these great looking models over to the novice collectors in their lives.
To be in with a chance of winning this appealing selection of models, simply head for the Corgi Competitions page where you will find all the information you will need and a relatively simple Corgi Chunkies related question for you to answer. As usual, there will be three possible answers for you to select from, but only one will be correct. Our lucky winner will be selected at random from the list of correct answers and we will contact them directly with news of their success after the closing date. There will be more competitions to enter throughout ‘Corgi Week’, so please keep checking back.
That’s it for Day 2, but there is much more to come. In tomorrow’s blog, we will be looking at how the current world situation has had an impact on diecast model production and some of the first models which are due to be released following the relaxing of social distancing measures in the Far East. The blog will be posted as usual at midday tomorrow.
As usual, Corgi fans can continue their collector discussions on our official Facebook and Twitter social media pages, where your contributions are always welcome. Thank you for your continued support and we hope you enjoy the rest of ‘Corgi Week’.
The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team
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