D-Toys, the largest independent manufacturer of puzzles and educational games in Romania, is rebranding under the name ROOVI for easier expansion abroad, but also to strengthen its positioning as a games brand.
The company worked throughout the rebranding process with the branding agency Glitch, and with the naming agency Namzya on research and initial naming strategy.
ROOVI (formerly D-Toys) is a company founded in 2001 by entrepreneur Tibor Fustos. Last year a 70% stake was acquired by Black Sea Fund, an investment fund dedicated to accelerating small and medium-sized enterprises in Romania. The company produces educational games, board games and puzzles for children and adults, among the most famous being “Jocul Autostrăzilor”, “Roata Norocului”, “Toma Pan”, “Dacii și Romanii” (The Highway Game, Wheel of Fortune, Toma Pan, Dacii and Romanii).
“We want the new ROOVI brand to focus on our aspirations, communicate more easily with our target audience, and be more recognizable internationally. We are also not a toy company, but a game company, with puzzles, board games, educational games, card games and many other games. We have been using this brand for several months already, and we will support as long as needed the transition from the D-Toys brand to ROOVI, which we expect to take at least six to nine months”, stated Alex Bute, CEO of ROOVI.
“We looked for a name that was not only catchy, easy to say, memorable and with personality, but also perfectly rhymed with the brand’s new positioning of ‘Quality time in a box’ – incorporating that thrill and excitement you only feel when playing with friends, family or even alone. It’s a fun and groovy name – the word from which the naming originates – just like ROOVI games or puzzles, a name that is easy to say in any language and country, a name as a call to play”, said Dan Stănescu, Creative Director of Glitch.
Optimism about the end of the year despite the difficult context
In 2021 the company had a turnover of 15.8 million lei and a profit of 1.8 million lei. ROOVI has a modern factory with 120 employees in Sfântu Gheorghe, but the company is also present in the distribution segment in Romania, Germany and France.
“This year started very well. Of course, we all know what happened in Ukraine at the beginning of spring and all the consequences of rising raw materials and energy costs. We have been living in a non-standard economic world for more than three years now and I look forward to the boring years before COVID, wars and inflationary shocks or all of them together. The last quarter of the year is also the most important for us and we are a little more optimistic about the end of the year compared to the second and third quarters”, added the ROOVI CEO.
Puzzles are the most important category in ROOVI’s sales.
The company focuses on expansion in Western Europe in 2023
With the acquisition of the majority stake in the company by the Black Sea Fund, one of ROOVI’s main goals has been to expand into markets such as Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The company officially launched in Germany in October at the Essen Game Fair.
“We are expanding through several channels, but we believe 2023 will be the year of the first significant results. We remain focused on Western Europe as our main targets and, despite the recession we expect next year, we aim to gain some market share from the big European players in specific segments”, explained Alex Bute.
According to him, game prices are, on average, 50% higher in Western Europe.
ROOVI’s CEO believes that Romania is still a tiny market regarding the game sales, but more and more people, with or without children, are starting to enjoy board games, moving from classic games to more complex game mechanics and styles.
International launch campaign
ROOVI’s manager expects 2023 to be a difficult year for customers due to inflation and the gas crisis, which will implicitly affect the labor market and consumers. But he believes ROOVI is better off than other players because it has its own factory and lower logistical costs than most of the market that imports the products it sells.
“I expect 2023 to be the year with the most launches in the company’s more than 20-year history. At the beginning of the year, we will have a PR campaign in Romania and internationally; this will focus on a new launch that we have been working hard on for several months. It’s still a secret, but it is an unique game in the entire game that we believe in from the bottom of our hearts. We have already started to find our first partners for this amazing new game. We will also continue to expand Word Colony, a trivia game that is already popular in Romania and has started on a positive note in Germany”, said Alex Bute.