A VILLAGE hotel is the unlikely venue for what is believed to be one of the UK’s first ever conventions dedicated to a toy craze that is currently sweeping the globe.
And if the ‘Moshi Convention’, to be held at the Blue Bell Hotel and Brasserie in Burton Agnes is a success it could pave the way for the UK’s biggest independent toy retailer to set up shop in Bridlington.
The convention, taking place, on Saturday August 4, will be all about Moshi Monsters – an online game in which children can adopt their own pet monster – and one which has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon spawning a merchandising empire worth millions.
The local convention has attracted the backing of toy retailer The Entertainer, with the manager of their Hull store Dan Barker hoping to use the event as a platform to persuade his bosses to look at opening a shop in Bridlington.
Mr Baker, who has 10 years experience in the retail industry, said: “If we can make a success of this we are the type of company that would look at Bridlington as a place for a new store.
“My personal ambition is to be able to take a portfolio of this event to show the bosses ‘this is what we created and we have these new customers’.”
The Moshi Monster craze has proved so popular that The Entertainer toy store at St Stephen’s now runs ‘Moshi Swap Days’ every Saturday, with Mr Barker seeing many customers travelling in from across the Humber.
According to Mr Barker on the store’s last character day, in which visitors can meet Poppet the Moshi in person, 25% of their sales that day were from Moshi merchandise.
With two Moshi Monster mad children of his own Blue Bell owner Alan Wilson decided hosting a convention was the perfect opportunity to boost the area’s profile, drum up some business and potentially attract the attention of a big retailer like The Entertainer with whom he is working in partnership.
“The Entertainer are one of the biggest kids toy outlets in the UK, Moshi Monsters are the biggest toys in the UK so we have secured their services to help put Bridlington on the map.”
“I think it’s got the potential to bring 5,000 people in. This will be the only convention of its kind in the UK, no-body has ever put one on and it goes wild and the toys stay in fashion it has to be an annual event.”
And the Moshi Convention has also been given the thumbs up by Michael Acton Smith, the CEO of the company Mind Candy who operate Moshi Monsters.
Mr Smith told the Free Press that it sounded like a “great event” if it was being organised by their community of fans.
The virtual game has spread into the real world becoming a merchandising machine which now features toys, video games, apps, magazines, trading cards small plastic replicas of the characters which youngsters collect and swap, with some particularly rare models selling for hundreds on pounds.
The convention will feature a whole host of fun Moshi themed games and competitions including a Moshi character hunt contest and a Moshi Swap Day.