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And it’s not just the spirits that have been signalling their approval ever since, confirming Berglas’s magic touch as both a performer and entrepreneur. Weaving together showbiz and business, his “professional magic made easy” mission to make the craft more accessible and affordable to young people and hobbyists, is beguiling fans from toddlers to centenarians in 62 countries from China to the US.
But there is nothing Hey Presto! about inventing a new trick and bringing the product to market which can often take up to a year.
Retail, online and TV sales of the UK-developed sets (from £10 to £30) are approaching £10 million and include flagship customers such as toy heaven Hamleys, Selfridges, Harrods, Argos and New York’s FAO Schwarz along with online stalwart Amazon.
Beginning with a starter set from five- to eight-year-olds, they progress up through the ages and experience with compilations such as 60 Greatest Magic Tricks among the evergreen bestsellers.
And in a digital age the magic profession is having more than a magic moment as its multitude of dimensions and educational benefits come to the fore, amplified now by lifestyle changes since lockdown which have led to record online sales.
“Magic is very visual in how it creates amazement. Digital and video offer a feast of opportunity,” says Berglas, whose father David was a TV pioneer of the art.
“Young people can express themselves on social media platforms such as YouTube and TikTok, then there are all the audiences that have been inspired by blockbuster films, TV superstars and wannabe tricksters,” he explains.
“Magic can help build many skills – self-discipline, dexterity, presentation, logic and confidence, the ability to entertain and for kids the power to be special among family and friends.”
An app containing bonus tricks, developed before the pandemic to capitalise on the move to online, has been well received and had a significant impact.
“We’ve award-winning augmented reality that brings magic bang up to date. Our customers can scan the instruction booklet to get video demos and tutorials and there are ground-breaking tricks for phones and tablets.”
Marvin’s Magic counts many staff who have developed their careers with the company over three decades and spellbinding demonstrations of the products carried out by 70-in store trained entertainers have played a central role promoting the business prior to the crisis.
Lockdown temporarily ended that but “the re-opening of stores,” says Berglas, “even with social distancing, is showing customers are returning”.
With the Rubik partnership set to unleash the inner wizard in many more in coming months, Marvin’s Magic show is definitely going on and, who knows, may even float one day.
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