Vivid Imaginations was founded by Nick Austin and Alan Bennie, respectively the ex Matchbox UK Managing Director and Finance Director.
The first Vivid Imaginations products hit the market in 1993.The top boys brand of the year was Captain Scarlet helping the company turnover £9.8 million in its first year of operation.
The company launched the Puppy In My Pocket range of collectibles and also Take That dolls styled on the tween pop sensation. These two ranges catapulted Vivid in to the Girls sector of the toy market where it now holds the number 2 position.
The company strengthened the R & D team with key personnel and also moved to Haslemere, Surrey.
Vivid launched its Gift Division after securing licenses with Disney (Winnie the Pooh) and Twentieth Century Fox (The Simpsons). Vivid Group sales exceed £20 million with the Pogmaker selling 400,000 units in just 4 months and winning Toy Of The Year! Vivid becomes a Top 10 UK Toy Company.
Vivid was recognised as the 10th fastest growing private company in the UK by the Sunday Times / Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100. Group turnover passed £25 million.
Vivid received major investment funds from the Jordan Group to finance future growth. Group turnover approaches £30 million. The Sindy brand is acquired for launch in 1999. Vivid is now the number 7 UK Toy Company
1999 saw the launch of Vivid Direct and also the acquisition of distribution rights for Playmates and Toy Biz products in the UK. Sales for the year excluding the new acquisitions exceed £33 million. Vivid opened its own offices in Hong Kong to manage product development, engineering and production in China.
In 2000 Group turnover soared past the £70 million mark and established Vivid as the Number 2 boys toy company and the Number 2 girls toy company. Market share hit 5.6% (Source NPD) making Vivid the Number 3 UK Toy Company and the third largest advertiser in the UK. Major successes were Amazing Ally, Thunderbirds and Teksta the robotic dog who scooped the coveted Toy of The Year Award!
2001 was another record year for Vivid with Thunderbirds becoming the number 1 boys toy. Spider-Man, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings all performed strongly and Sindy enjoyed a record sales year! By the end of 2001 turnover exceeded £81 million.
Sales grow to £85mm/$137mm and market share to 5.5%. International sales double!!! Vivid management team secure MBO with Phoenix / RBS to drive future growth and retain management team for the long term. The introduction of Disney Princesses and Magic Merbabies double Vivid’s international sales. V.J. Starz Karaoke Machine is hotly tipped to be toy Of The Year. Vivid celebrate ten years in business as the clear number 3 Toy company in the UK and one of the top 5 product development companies in Europe!
Sales grow to £96mm / $168mm with the successful introduction of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Care Bears and Tractor Tom. Two Toy Of The Year BATR awards for Lord Of The Rings and Ninja Turtles are superceded by Entrepreneur Of The Year award from Ernst & Young and Toy Licensee of the Year by LIMA. A major deal with MGA Entertainment Inc. secures the UK / Ireland rights to market Bratz from Jan 1st 2004.
2004 saw another record year for Vivid with sales topping US$218million. The success was built on the tremendous popularity of Bratz, Lil’ Bratz, Spider-Man 2, Cabbage Patch Kids, Balamory and Bella Ballerina amongst others. Vivid won Licensee Of The Year for the second year running and also signed a deal with leading US toy maker Jakks Pacific for Vivid to take over their UK distribution effective January first 2005. Vivid also relocated to brand new offices in Guildford, Surrey.
Vivid Group grew gross sales to US$230 million in 2005 with the introduction of Fly Wheels, TV Games and WWE from Jakks Pacific as well as product related to blockbuster movies The Magic Roundabout, Fantastic 4 and KONG. Home grown developments include Animal Hospital and Fifi and the Flowertots. Vivid signs UK distribution rights with Zizzle and launches the hotly anticipated iZ! Bratz ends the year as the number 1 brand in the industry. In December Vivid inks a deal to distribute Binney & Smiths Crayola Brand in the UK effective January 1st.
Hot introductions for the year include from Zizzle the master toy line for Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 – Dead Mans Curse. From Jakks Pacific come revolutionary new iPets combining the handheld virtual pets craze with Jakks Plug & Play technology. The MGA division is offering the strongest line of Bratz product ever. Vivid developed product includes Doodle Doug, MXD’s, Fifi & The Flowertots and seven new Vivid Games. Reinforced by the new Crayola Division, Vivid Group gross sales targets for the year are US$248 million.