Bonkers Toys is a playthings manufacturer that was founded in 2015 by industry veterans Brian Bonnett and Jade Throgmorton. The mission of Bonkers Toys is to develop quality, trendsetting and true-to-license pop culture toys and collectibles. One of their most successful and recognizable brands to date is “slither.io” which is a massively successful online game. Now that Bonkers Toys has secured the worldwide toy license, they have started producing collectible blind bags, plush toys, collector vinyl figures, backpack clips and more in line with the characters from “slither.io.”
Released by Lowtech Studios, “Slither.io” is a Google Play award-winning free app game that has been downloaded 150 million times to date and been played globally more than 12 billion times in 2017, with the numbers increasing by the day.
Via an exclusive interview, Brian Bonnett, the President & CEO of Bonkers Toys discussed the company and its plans for the future.
Meagan Meehan (MM) of Entertainment Vine: When was Bonkers Toys started and why was that specific name chosen?
Brian Bonnett (BB): Bonkers Toys was founded in 2015 by myself, Brian Bonnett and Jade Throgmorton. We are both toy industry veterans. We decided upon the name Bonkers Toys as it reflected our passion for the toy business.
MM: Right now many toys does Bonkers offer?
BB: For 2017, Bonkers is focusing on a high-quality line of products for the worldwide gaming sensation, slither.io. Slither.io had 12 Billion game plays in Q1/Q2 2017. The first product, slither.io Blind Bags, has been selling out at major retailers such as Walmart, Target & Toys “R” Us. The Bonkers Toys fall product line recently hit shelves at retailers all over the U.S. and includes large and small plush, backpack clips, collectibles and more.
MM: Do you work entirely with licenses and how did you secure the rights for “slither.io”?
BB: Bonkers Toys launched in 2015 with key chains for Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. After selling over 1 million pieces, Bonkers Toys placed our bets on the highly popular app, slither.io, and negotiated the worldwide toy license. Bonkers has recently secured other licensed properties that will be announced later this year.
MM: What considerations did you make whilst designing the slither.io line?
BB: Bonkers Toys was founded to create high quality, true-to-license, pop culture toys and collectibles. Our mission is to create products that fans will be proud to own and collect.
MM: If you develop original products, how do you think up ideas for them? For example, do you ever work with inventors?
BB: Currently, Bonkers Toys does not work with inventors but has an in-house product development team.
MM: What are some of your most unusual products? Which are most popular?
BB: All of our products are true to the spirit of their license. We do not believe in creating products that do not make sense for the brand. For example, with the slither.io game, part of the appeal is that players can choose their “skin” from many different colors and patterns including rainbow, USA flag and many other color combinations. Every slither.io toy Bonkers create is based on an actual “skin” from the game. Fans really appreciate the attention to detail.
MM: To date, what has been the most rewarding part of working with Bonkers Toys?
BB: Building a company from the ground up is exciting and challenging. With the executives’ combined toy industry experience, Bonkers is on the pulse of what today’s generation of kids and collectors are looking for. It is extremely rewarding to get feedback from fans letting you know that you’ve exceeded their expectations with your products.
MM: Where do you hope the company will be in ten years?
BB: In ten years, no doubt technology will have evolved even further. Since Bonkers is at the intersection of tech and toys, we will definitely be staying one step ahead of the hot trends.
MM: What advice would you give to someone who is striving to enter the toy/games industry?
BB: The toy industry is currently going through an evolution as kids are moving more and more toward technology. Those looking to enter the industry need to have a passion for traditional play while embracing the new forms of entertainment.