One of our favourite things to do in the toy business is to visit a factory making really beautiful toys, and to see those toys in various stages of build/creation. A recent visit to the Muñecas Guca (Muñecas is Spanish for dolls!) factory near to Alicante, Spain was one of those delightful experiences seeing hand crafted highly realistic baby dolls being produced.
Guca are one of Spain’s leading doll manufacturers and suppliers. They have been going for around 15 years and have in this time buil tup an impressive business as well as a highly committed and very skilled workforce. Over time Guca have built their business in Spain to the point where they are now in the top 5 for dolls in Spain, and number one for ‘Reborn’dolls. For those who haven’t yet come across ‘Reborn’ dolls, these are super realistic, highly crafted baby doll toys produced with huge care and attention. In Guca’s case, they are also produced with techniques which are patented/patent pending depending on which market we are looking at. One of the methods by which Guca achieve ultra-realistic hair on their baby dolls is by a special gluing process featuring real Mohair hair – and it is this process which is patented, meaning that while Guca can freely use this technique, other companies may not without infringing the patents (which have been vigorously defended to date).
Guca recently changed ownership, and with this change of ownership came an increased focus on international growth. Export Manager (and shareholder) Pablo Amorós has extensive international business experience from outside the toy industry, with a track record in import export in various product categories. We caught up with Pablo as part of writing this profile to ask him more about Muñecas Guca, their future plans and any news we can share:
STEVE: Pablo, it was a pleasure to visit with you recently and to see your impressive production facility. My first question for you is why you (and your fellow investors) recently decided to invest in Guca Munecas? What was it you saw which made you want to be involved?
PABLO: Hello Steve, it was nice to have you here, thank you for your visit to the factory. The decision of investing in Guca is a mix of different things, on one side is what we can call entrepreneur instinct, and then on the other the certaincy of having a nice and good business opportunity in front on me. Guca was the first factory positioning Reborn dolls for the mass market, and is positioned now in Spain as the Reborn leader. I thought, why not to do this in the rest of the world…and we are now here going for it!
STEVE: What do you see as the main strengths of Guca Munecas?
PABLO: The main strength of Guca is definitely our people. Our added value processes are all manual: painting, hair gluing etc., and these require detailed and in depth training and talented people to do it. Beside this, our success is just the passion and love that every worker puts on his work. Without this it would not be possible to get the high quality and finishing that we have in our dolls.
STEVE: Which is your personal favourite product from Guca & why?
PABLO: Difficult, but If I have to decide, I would go for Leo. He has everything, he has natural hair which looks very real and the hand painted finishing in head, arm and legs makes him look like a real new born baby.
STEVE: Can you share any exciting news for 2019? Any new products or initiatives you can share withour audience?
PABLO: Well, I don´t want to spoil our presentation in Nuremberg, but we will present a completely new line of dolls, a new conceptwith a higher level of finishing than our actual Reborn Line. We will also present our new Corporate image, according with our new vision of the company.
STEVE: My understanding is that the Reborn doll category is well known in some markets e.g. USA and Spain, but still growing in some other markets. Can you explain the underlying appeal of ‘Reborn’ dolls and why you think they will roll out globally to be a permanent feature around the world?
PABLO: Reborn dolls are so similar to real babies, this awakes similar feelings in people as when they hold a real baby. They all want to take care of them, to dress them, to hug them. We have different profiles of clients, most important are girls between 8 and 12 years playing to be mums, handling the doll like they see real mums with real babies!
STEVE: Can you give an idea of your Export plans and which markets you are working on next? Also, what kind of companies/customers are you looking to meet @ Nuremberg and other toyfairs?
PABLO: Well, until now our international market quote is quite low, so we can say we have everything to do. We are targeting USA, the biggest market for us as a specialist for Reborn dolls, but we obviously are targeting all the big markets in Europe as well: UK, France, Germany and Italy. For big markets we are looking for sales agents, this way we can control better where we place our dolls. Other markets we are looking for potential partners, could be distributors or wholesalers. We are anyway open to consider every possibility on any market. This year we open our company to the world and we are definitely going for it.
STEVE: If we had this talk again in ten years’ time, where do you think Guca will be/how will things have changed and what would still be the same?
PABLO: Ten years!! – who knows :).We believe that Reborn has come to stay long term as a new category of doll. Anyway we are working hard to update our Boutique line, which is our traditional doll line, and must say that we are quite proud about the collection. Answering to your question, in ten years we would like to be a reference in the doll market, placing Guca between the top 5 doll suppliers worldwide.
STEVE: Thanks for this interview Pablo. If anyone reading this wants to contact you how can they get in touch?
PABLO: Anyone who would like to join our project please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will go through every cooperation possibility.