Celebrating 3 Years of Fun Adventures with Green Bean & Friends
We’re excited to be celebrating Green Bean’s third anniversary here at Green Bean Studios! Since launching in 2018, Green Bean has grown to become a hugely popular household friend, loved by children and parents across the UK and beyond.
The Green Bean Collection was developed by author and founder, Anita Frost. Combining her extensive professional experience in child development and business, with her passion for creativity and sustainability, Anita created this unique and highly collectable series of books, toys, and games for children.
The books centre around leading character, Green Bean - a fun, cool, genderless anthropomorphic green bean - along with six lovable friends in the fictional world of Adventure Dales. The stories are highly appealing and accessible for young children from birth, to preschoolers and primary aged children.
Edutainment is at the heart of our business, bringing joy and excitement to the process of learning and education through fun adventures. Each of the characters in the stories help to emphasise the importance of community and friendship, teaching the value of working together and respecting each other despite our differences.
Young children are able to relate to the experiences within the stories, such as going to school, visiting the park, a bedtime routine, all of which helps them to reflect on their own lives and to overcome any challenges or anxieties they may have. By showing these relatable experiences, children are better equipped to identify and process their own feelings, helping them to build confidence and develop into happy, capable adults.
The Green Bean Collection upholds a real sense of having fun adventures, encouraging an awareness of the natural world around us, and helping to inspire children and families to live greener, healthier lifestyles whilst nurturing the environment. From recycling, to harnessing natural resources to build and be creative with, the Green Bean brand teaches children to have respect and love for nature, animals and the planet.
When creating this collection, an important consideration was to promote a love of learning and reading. All of the books and toys contain elements of the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) statutory framework, to support children’s learning and development of key skills including numeracy, literacy and communication.
The last three years have been a rollercoaster ride, with the Green Bean brand going from strength to strength - as we celebrate Green Bean’s birthday, we look back on some of the highlights since launching:
An instant hit with fans on the highstreet
The first highstreet shop to sell the Green Bean Collection was Waterstones on Deansgate, Manchester. We were overwhelmed with the popularity of our books, retaining two feature walls of goods which completely sold out within a two-week time frame.
This demonstrated to us that there was an instant love for our stories, the characters, and the brand from children and parents alike.
Multi-award-winning children’s books, toys and games
Bolstered by our initial success, the Green Bean Collection went on to win multiple awards. In 2020, we won our first award at the SME UK Enterprise Awards for Best Children’s Toys & Books Retailer 2020. Then, a year later, we scooped up the SME UK Enterprise Award for Best Eco-Friendly Children’s Toys & Books Retailer 2021.
The SME awards recognised our commitment to innovation, creativity, and sustainability, reflecting the time, energy, and passion we have invested into our business over the past few years.
In 2021, we were also named as Children’s Toys Retailer of the Year 2021 at the Corporate LiveWire Global Awards. This was further proof of our dedication to creating a brand with integrity that puts children’s enjoyment and learning at the heart of our business.
A growing collection with a growing fan base
In 2019, we expanded our collection by launching our first children’s toys and games to cater to our fans’ desire for more ways to play and learn with Green Bean. We launched our Green Bean and Mr Bear Soft Toys, which have been immensely popular with new and existing fans of the Green Bean Collection.
These gorgeous, cuddly toys were designed to be played with alongside reading the books from our collection, to enhance the enjoyment of the stories, develop children’s imagination, and become childhood friends to take on adventures. To date, our Green Bean Soft Toy remains to be our best selling toy yet.
We also launched Green Bean’s House at the same time as our plush toys, which gave children the opportunity to explore imaginative play and broaden their creativity. This fun, pop-up toy house reflects where Green Bean lives within the stories, giving children the chance to reenact the stories and immerse themselves in the adventures of Green Bean & Friends.
The Green Bean Pop-Up House was instantly popular with parents as well as children, as it encouraged playing away from digital screens, and the house also serves as a handy box for storing toys when play time is over!
In 2021, we launched two more exciting educational children’s toys - our 7in1 Card Games, and Jigsaw Puzzle Summer Edition. Our card games proved hugely popular, being great value for money and providing a variety of different games for the whole family to enjoy in one compact box - perfect for taking on holiday, visiting friends, or to the park.
As with the other toys in our range, the Jigsaw Puzzle is aimed at bringing the family together for quality, fun time away from screens. We have received some fabulous feedback from parents and children, who have enjoyed seeing their favourite characters on the jigsaw and spending valuable time together on something constructive.
We are excited to further expand our range with more educational toys and games for children and families to enjoy in the coming years!
Reaching more fans with our YouTube channel
When we launched our brand three years ago, we also launched our YouTube channel alongside it. Our video team is headed up by Gaby Johnston, Film Director for all of our video content.
Our storytime videos with children’s TV presenter, Steve Jesson, gave us another way to share the joy of learning and adventures with even more fans across the globe. Reading our stories with children in the videos is a fun and engaging way to connect with our fans and make the stories accessible to all.
We recently launched a new series of videos called Play and Learn, featuring some of our genuine and devoted fans. Turning the tables for these videos, we let children take the lead, as they explore and play with the toys and games from our collection, discussing what they like about them and giving viewers an authentic experience of our range with feedback from a child’s perspective. These insights and feedback from children themselves is of key importance to our business, and demonstrates the real love children have for our brand and products.
For the love of reading and learning
To keep our readers engaged and provide more opportunities to learn, we have produced seasonal magazines which our fans have loved. We started with a Christmas magazine, which many parents said they included in their children’s Christmas Eve Box as an extra present, or used as an activity to keep the kids entertained over the Christmas holidays.
We then went on to release our summer edition - customers who had bought our Christmas magazine came back as return customers to purchase the summer magazine too! The magazines include a range of fun and educational activities, which younger children are able to go through with their parents or caregiver, whilst older children who are learning to read and write are able to enjoy doing independently.
With every issue, there are also free stickers, fun arts and crafts projects, puzzles, and a brand new short story - all helping children to learn whilst stimulating their imagination and creativity.
Green Bean on tour with live storytelling events
In 2019, we added another string to our bow, with stories from the Green Bean Collection being brought to life through a range of exciting live storytelling events across the UK.
We are proud to have been invited to the iconic Trafford Centre multiple times to host our live interactive storytime events in Green Bean’s home city of Manchester. These have been hugely successful, attracting many of our existing fans as well as attracting plenty of new ones too.
Our pop-up attraction, Green Bean’s House, has annually toured the UK in key retail areas, from shopping centres to theme parks. Events like this really bring the stories to life in a fun and engaging way that captures the imagination and hearts of children and their families.
As a brand, we are always looking for ways to give back to the community, and our founder Anita Frost runs several free events each year to connect with people in local communities, including talks at schools and libraries.
As well as our free events, we have also been running private paid events which fans can book. After a challenging year of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns putting our events and community outreach on hold, we were delighted to be able to resume these events this year and were thrilled that both our public and private events went on to be fully booked for 2021.
We are looking forward to many exciting events planned for 2022, with more appearances at the Trafford Centre in the pipelines.
Supporting families and children through COVID-19 lockdowns
With the forced stay at home orders during 2020 and 2021, we wanted to do our bit to support families and children with their education whilst schools were closed and parents were having to home school them.
We created free, downloadable learning resource packs to help entertain children whilst supporting their learning at home. Many parents saw this as a lifeline to help them through this difficult time, and we were proud to have been able to support families in this way with the Green Bean Collection.
A shared vision turned into a successful children’s brand
We have enjoyed some phenomenal success over the last three years, but none of this would be possible without an incredible team working behind the scenes, bringing our shared vision of inspiring, educating and promoting greener living through fun adventures into being.
We harness the unique skills of both local homegrown talents from people near Green Bean Studios in Manchester, as well as freelancers and seasonal workers from across the UK, to make up our diverse, dynamic, and creative team who have a true passion for what we do and what our business stands for.
A huge thank you…
As we celebrate our anniversary, we wanted to take a moment to thank YOU! We are hugely grateful for our devoted fans who have supported and encouraged us every step of the way, sharing our journey as we develop our children’s brand. We appreciate every single one of you and all that you do to show your love for Green Bean & Friends!
We are excited for what the future holds for Green Bean Studios and can’t wait to share more of our fun adventures with you over the coming years!
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Melissa Brannlund is the features writer and editor, for Green Bean Studios.
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You can find Melissa's monthly features on the News & Media page, discussing children's books, toys, and games,, reading, play, early years education, and enjoying a fun and greener lifestyle.
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Children’s Toy Retailer of the Year 2021