C2C Studios

Nelvana Extends Shopkins Brand with New Marketing and Licensing Partners

ShopkinsNelvana Enterprises has a full “menu” of new programs for the Shopkins brand. There will be a QSR (quick service restaurant) campaign with McDonald’s restaurants in France and Monaco. Additionally, Nelvana named Megalicense International as sub-agent for Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Ukraine, and the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. [Read More...]

ASTRA Marketplace Exhibit Hall Expands to Three Full Days Next Year

PrintThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)’s Marketplace & Academy has now expanded to three full days.

“ASTRA always asks our exhibitors and our retailers what we can do better, and they came through loud and clear that they need more time on the exhibit floor,” said Kimberly Mosley, president of ASTRA. “About 70 percent of members surveyed asked ASTRA to expand the time they have available for exploring products and writing orders.” [Read More...]

Aterian Investment Partners Acquires Step2

Aterian Investment Partners affiliate Backyard Discovery acquired North American branded toy manufacturer Step2. The combined company will have market share positions in swing sets, playhouses, activity tables, play kitchens, and ride-ons, as well as outdoor, home, and garden products. The company will be led by Chris Quinn and headquartered in Streetsboro, Ohio.

CPSC Report May Lead to Further Reductions in Unnecessary Phthalate Testing

A new report commissioned by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) examined 11 different plastics for the presence of 10 specified phthalates, including six phthalates currently regulated in the U.S., according to the Toy Industry Association (TIA). The research was completed in support of the CPSC’s mandate to reduce third-party testing costs for toy and children’s product manufacturers. [Read More...]

Silvergate, Mattel Partner for Octonauts in China

MattelOctonautsSilvergate Media and Mattel in China partnered for Octonauts, the undersea preschool adventure property. As part of the deal, Mattel China will manage the Octonauts consumer products and retail program in China, in partnership with local licensees. The partnership will establish a greater synergy between TV, content, toys, publishing, and merchandising for the brand.

Octonauts airs in China on CCTV.

ABC, Mattel Announce New Toy Designer Competition Series

ABC and Mattel Creations have partnered to launch a primetime TV series The Toy Box. Co-developed with Hudson Media and Electus, the series is set to premiere during the 2016-2017 season on the ABC Television Network. [Read More...]

Nintendo Reveals New Console with Detachable Controllers, Portable Gameplay

NintendoSwitchNintendo released an introductory video today featuring its new home gaming system formerly known as the Nintendo NX. Set for release in March, the brand new, innovative Nintendo Switch system features a dock that connects the system to a TV for play at home, or it can be lifted from the dock and taken on the go.

A vast upgrade from both the Wii U and the portable 3DS consoles, the Switch features a bright, high-definition display. The portability of the new console is exactly what fans have been waiting for, and extends the gaming experience to wherever players are, with just one console. [Read More...]

ChiTAG Annual Young Inventor Challenge to be Presented by Target and Pressman Toy

CHITAGGrouplogoRegistration is now open for the Chicago Toy & Game Group’s 10th annual Young Inventor Challenge through Nov. 1. Kids ages 6 to 18 can enter to showcase their original toy and game ideas to a panel of play industry experts on Nov 19. At the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG). [Read More...]

Lego Harry Potter Collection Gets Remastered on One Disc

LegoHarryPotterWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games, and The Lego Group have launched the Lego Harry Potter Collection, bringing Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 to PlayStation4 for the first time. Both video games are remastered on one disc.

Developed by TT Games and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the Lego Harry Potter Collection includes spell-casting, potion-making, dueling, and more that fans recognize from the franchise. [Read More...]

Sesame Street Debuts 47th Season With New Spin on Elmo’s World

123SesameStreetIn January, Sesame Street will premiere a new season on HBO with a reimagined “Elmo’s World” segment and a kindness curriculum relevant to today’s preschoolers as it heads into its 47th season. [Read More...]

Hasbro Creates HasCon Family and Fan Event

HasConHasbro Inc. is launching the first-ever HasCon family and fan event to be held at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin Donuts Center. Coming next September 8 to 10, the three-day convention will treat attendees to live interactive experiences, exclusive products, talent appearances, and more. [Read More...]

Silverlit Named Master Toy Partner for CJ E&M’s Robot Trains

RobotTrainsCJ E&M has appointed Silverlit Toys as master toy partner for its new series, Robot Trains.

The 3-D CGI animated series airs globally and revolves around Train World fighting evil to save its village. As a coming-of-age story, the main character Kay displays courage and adventure. The show explores themes of self-development, friendship, and teamwork. [Read More...]

WIT Member Spotlight: Anne Marie Kehoe

by Genna Rosenberg, Principal at GennComm & WIT Executive Board Member

Anne_Marie_KehoeWhether you call them wonder women, girl heroes, girls action stars, or girls with power, each corner of the toy industry is filled with powerful women knocking down barriers, pushing through walls, and empowering those around them. They support, promote, and inspire each other through connections, purpose, and empowerment. Providing opportunities to women economically is smart business, and no one knows that better than this industry’s own superhero, Anne Marie Kehoe, vice president, toys at Walmart and recipient of the 2016 Women in Toys Retailer of the Year Award. She is a real-life action hero in the toy world, committed to providing opportunities for women-owned businesses at Walmart. The Toy Book recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kehoe and discuss the role women are playing in the toy industry, Walmart’s commitment to source from women-owned companies, and what it’s like to be a bonafide Wonder Woman.

Why is it important for Walmart to source from women-owned businesses?

The short answer is that empowering women economically is smart business. Our women’s empowerment work is a step forward in our commitment to help people live better and a defining issue for our business and the world. For Walmart, empowering women helps us better understand and serve our customers, find the best talent, and promote economic growth in the communities we serve. Walmart’s Women’s Economic Empowerment program has the potential to be a game-changer for women and for economic growth. By tapping its core competencies as a global retailer, Walmart will empower more women to access markets and develop careers in the global supply chain, transforming their lives and the lives of their families.


Two of WIT’s youngest members and co-creators of Poketti pitch their plush toys to Walmart.

Through its Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, Walmart is paving the way for women-owned companies. How do toys and WIT fit into the overall mission?

Through Walmart’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, we’ve set goals and we are taking practical steps to help change the lives of countless women around the world. We are committed to sourcing $20 billion from women-owned businesses for our U.S. business and double sourcing from women suppliers in international countries where we do business. Additionally, we have set goals to empower nearly 1 million women through training and promote diversity and inclusion representation within our suppliers.

Through its annual Empowerment Day held each year at the Dallas Toy Fair, WIT has been an incredible pipeline to women-owned business leaders. Our buyers are able to network with companies they may not have access to, and manufacturers can pitch their products to Walmart, participate in learning sessions and panels, and empower women to reach their goals. WIT is an important partner in this endeavor, and the event works as a two-way street. WIT members provide us with a robust pipeline to mine for new and innovative products we can provide to our consumers, and we provide WIT members an opportunity to meet with buying teams to which they may not normally have access.

What does it mean to be recognized as a WIT Wonder Woman?

It was really an honor to be recognized. But with the honor comes great responsibility, which I take very seriously. Throughout my career, I’ve strived to create pathways for women from all areas and WIT gives me an opportunity to do just that. I strongly believe in WIT’s objective—and am a member of the Empowerment Committee and advisory board. I am committed to the organization’s mission of providing a collaborative, supportive environment and unparalleled opportunities that foster relationship building and innovation, all designed to help them advance women in their careers and succeed in business.

Kehoe accepts her Wonder Woman 2016 Retailer of the Year award.

Kehoe accepts her Wonder Woman 2016 Retailer of the Year award.

What is the story behind the “Women Owned” logo that Walmart helped develop?

Women are our biggest customer base by far, and when given the opportunity, many women will buy from women-owned companies. In partnership with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and WEConnect International, we developed the “Women Owned” logo to help customers easily identify products made by women-owned businesses sold through any retailer, not just Walmart. All women-owned businesses that are WBENC and/or WEConnect certified are eligible to display the logo on their product packaging.

Can you give an example of a success story that came as a result of Walmart’s Women Economic Empowerment initiative?

During the very first WIT Women Empowerment Day, our buyers met Jodi Norgaard from Dream Big Toys. She had a line of dolls, books, and apps called Go, Go Sports Girls that promote self-appreciation and healthy life skills. When our team met with Norgaard, we saw something unique and wanted more, so we gave her some suggestions and agreed to a test in 50 stores. Within two years, her product was in 162 stores and we are proud to provide her products, which support creative play and social-emotional growth through sport, and encourage girls to dream big.

In another example, we are currently selling doll clothes made by apparel merchandising students from the University of Arkansas. A few years ago, through our Women’s Empowerment Initiative, we reached out to students at Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas to design a doll clothing line for My Life As dolls in Walmart. The program allows students to interact directly with professionals in the apparel industry, build their resumes and portfolios with hands-on experiences, and showcase their work in a national retail arena.

What’s next for Walmart and its Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative?

As a company, we don’t believe that we have to choose between being a successful business and a responsible one. We have a model for making a difference that works. And when we combine the Walmart model with women’s empowerment, we have an incredible opportunity to make a difference on the big challenges facing our world.


Funrise Announces Executive Appointments

Funrise Inc. announced two executive appointments to accelerate the company’s brand growth strategy and drive international expansion. Randy Shoemaker has been appointed as vice president of global brand marketing, leading the global development, consumer marketing, and retail promotion of all Funrise brands. Shoemaker joins Funrise from Lionsgate and has more than 20 years of experience [...]

GoldieBlox Expands Executive Team

GoldieBlox expanded its entertainment and marketing teams with the hiring of Kenny Davis as chief marketing officer, Jenna Boyd as chief content officer, and Jennifer Rahardjanoto as creative director. Davis, Boyd, and Rahardjanoto will play key roles in expanding the company’s presence across media and product categories. Each specializes in launching new kids’ entertainment properties [...]

Odyssey Toys Brings on Kevin Corson for Next-Gen Product Line

Odyssey Toys signed a deal with Kevin Corson, founder and CEO of Marketing Engineers, to create an application programmer interface (API) for the company’s future product line of drones and quadcopters.

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WIT Member Spotlight: Anne Marie Kehoe

by Genna Rosenberg, Principal at GennComm & WIT Executive Board Member Whether you call them wonder women, girl heroes, girls action stars, or girls with power, each corner of the toy industry is filled with powerful women knocking down barriers, pushing through walls, and empowering those around them. They support, promote, and inspire each other through [...]


Talkin’ Toys: Schleich

The Toy Book chats with Michael Keaton, president, Schleich North America, about how the company thrives in a tech-focused world. Tell me about Schleich’s history and how the company was founded. Schleich was founded in Germany by Friedrich Schleich in 1935. One of the first important milestones was when Schleich brought its first toy (Jopo, [...]


Talkin’ Toys: Yvolution

The Toy Book caught up with Thomas O’Connell, Global CEO, Yvolution. Tell us about Yvolution’s background and how the company was founded. I began selling scooters all around Ireland when I was 21 and, in the 10 years after that, I had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the toy industry. When [...]

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