What is Firetoys?
Firetoys had a modest beginning in the UK back in 1999. We started manufacturing fire spinning props and selling them through this new, exciting thing called the “internet”. It turned out that the internet was a great place to sell niche items like fire props and as a result Firetoys grew quickly. We graduated to larger premises and started to stock juggling and other circus equipment. As we continued to grow, we had to move to even larger premises to accommodate our ever increasing range.
A few years later we started selling and manufacturing aerial circus equipment. Aerial quickly became a cornerstone of Firetoys’ business.
We’ve always been an international business with customers from around the world. In recent years we opened a warehouse in the state of Ohio, and launched www.firetoys.com so we could offer American customers better prices with faster, cheaper shipping compared to www.firetoys.co.uk. We also recently launched Irish (www.firetoys.ie) and European (www.firetoys.eu) websites to make it easier for people in those locations to order circus props.
Is there something you think separates your products from other similar ones on the market?
All the products we make in our workshop are crafted and tested by people passionate about circus arts. We’ve always focused on making high-quality equipment that will last a long time. For example, our fire staffs have large wicks, something we’ve found lacking on some other staffs. Those wicks are made from top of the line fiberglass and copper wire free para-aramid webbing. We’ve also designed the wick fastening system so you don’t wear away the staff’s core when the time comes to replace the wick.
The aerial equipment we manufacture shares the same quality ethos but we also strength test all our aerial apparatus at an external facility. That means you always know the loading limits and can comply with insurance policies, as well as being certain your apparatus is safe.
We also strive to provide awesome customer service. We’re always happy to offer advice, we have a great return policy and we do everything in our power to resolve those rare occasions when things go wrong, such as a failed delivery or broken item.
Of course, there are other passionate vendors who offer quality and safe equipment as well as good customer service. What really sets us apart is that we have everything under one roof. Juggling, aerial, fire spinning, flow arts, hula hoops, unicycles, yo-yos, diabolos, kendama and even accessories such as face paint, modeling balloons, and clown noses are available on our site from a whole host of manufacturers. We also have an extensive wholesale catalogue that features great brands like Mr. Babache as well as our own products.
For the casual spinner or the newer spinners, can you talk about the importance of quality made fire equipment?
Safety is absolutely paramount in fire spinning. A big part of that is high-quality equipment made by people who understand the rigors fire props go through and the potential dangers to the performer and their audience. You can’t have a fire poi wick come loose and fly off in the middle of your set! That’s why we only use high-quality components; for example, you won’t find any split rings on our fire poi as they simply aren’t strong enough. Instead, we use quick links that are more than strong enough to handle the forces of even the fastest spinner.
Perhaps less important, but more concerning for your wallet, is the durability of the equipment. It can be a false economy to buy the cheapest props you can find as you may need to replace them a few months down the line. All our Fibre 3 contact staffs, for example, are made with a fiberglass core to ensure they don’t develop a bend – the bane of all contact staff spinners. We offer a 12-month guarantee on all the items we sell.
Your company offers many different products for the flow arts and circus arts. Have you seen any changes to demands for certain products or a change in popularity of certain equipment over the years Firetoys has been in business?
Fire spinning and other flow arts continue to gain popularity on both sides of the pond and around the world. Not only that but new flow arts, such as s-staffs, or variations of older flow arts, such as contact poi, have popped up along the way. The increasing reach of flow arts and the innovation that goes with it has been great to see and keeps us on our toes!
Diabolos have been another area that keeps going from strength to strength. They have been a craze in UK schools for many years now and show no signs of falling out of favor. Diabolos also seem to be gaining popularity in the USA these days.
The biggest change we’ve seen in circus arts in recent years is the booming of aerial acrobatics. More and more people are seeing aerial as a fun and exciting way to keep fit and clubs and classes are springing up in every town and city. This has created a big demand for high quality and safe equipment both for classes and for more experienced aerialists who want to train at home.
What does the future hold for Firetoys?
We’ve got a few exciting developments in the pipeline that we are working on right now. I can’t give too much away, but if you keep your eyes on our website and Facebook page you’ll hear all about them when they arrive.
What is your favorite item you sell?
My favorite prop is the Fibre 3 contact staff. This has been one of our flagship products for some time. It’s weighted really nicely, has large wicks and is bend-proof. It’s been a favorite of mine, and many other c-staff spinners for years now.
Nick, our sales manager loves the sock poi: “They are hugely versatile and fun to experiment with. Adding 70mm glow balls to the ends gives the sock poi a really nice weight – slow fade and strobe look really cool at night inside the jailhouse socks. For a change putting 2x tri-its (pyramid juggling beanbags) into each sock poi head makes them very nice for isolations.”
Ian, who’s in charge of purchasing is a big fan of the Firetoys aerial straps. “Straps are certainly less forgiving than other pieces of aerial equipment (which takes a bit of getting used to, and you need to be careful in how you train them), but there’s not much else that has such a direct response to your actions, or feels quite as rewarding when you finally get a move, or is nearly as fun to swing on.”
Lastly, Hannah, who works in dispatch says: “My favourite prop here at Firetoys is the one point aerial hoop. I have trained and performed on these hoops for years. It is by far the best aerial hoop I’ve used in terms of weight and bar diameter. The finish on them is also great. The powder coating means they are useable with and without additional grip tape.”