Author: Guest Blogger

The Five Mistakes You’re Making with Your Product Packaging

By Richard Carlow and Eugenia Chen, founding directors, C2C Studio You have a cool brand, an innovative toy, and a great logo—but is that enough? Packaging, when done right, is what draws the consumer’s attention. It makes an emotional connection with a child or parent and motivates them to buy. During our 20 years of combined service, we have seen a lot of mistakes made by companies in their product packaging. It is easy to eliminate these common errors, which can have detrimental effects on the launch of a new product. Here are five common mistakes to look out for: 1. Following a Basic Packaging Template Manufacturers often produce packaging that follows a basic template. Rarely is there a custom design behind the package matching the brand’s identity, which would enhance the value of the product. These generic packaging templates don’t allow the uniqueness of the company to be represented in the market, rendering the products indistinguishable from other products on-shelf. Manufacturers use basic templates because they are a fast and cost-effective way to get products out the door and into stores, but a basic package design will not sell your product. It will cause your item to fade into the background of mass products in any major retailer. 2. Not Thinking About Your Audience Do not forget this golden rule: Always think about whom you are talking to....

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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 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...

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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 I first spotted the Fliker, our three-wheeled scooter, I knew it was radically different from anything else in the marketplace and looked insanely cool. I got in touch with the maker and it wasn’t long before they gave me global distribution rights. Then, in 2012, I co-founded Yvolution with Shane Connaughton and soon after, the Fliker hit shelves at Toys “R” Us in the U.S. and sold out. These days, we’re continuing to design and manufacture cutting-edge products to keep families active and healthy. From balance bikes to performance scooters, we’re leading the pack in innovative outdoor toys that benefit overall well-being. What kind of growth has Yvolution seen since its inception? In 2013, we had a 4-foot space in Toys “R” Us and this year we are up to 32 feet, and we’re also in all major retailers. In fact, we are in more than 12,000 stores in the U.S. market, and our products are available in more than 50 countries worldwide. We are growing at an accelerated rate rarely seen in the...

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Talkin’ Toys: Auldey North America

The Toy Book caught up with Adiran Roche, president, Auldey Toys North America. Tell us about The Alpha Group and how it has grown over the last 10 years. The Alpha Group originated as a toy company under the Auldey brand name in 1993. At the time, Auldey toys were distributed solely in the China market and quickly became a top toy brand known for its high-quality, innovative toys. With the chairman’s foresight and understanding of the relationship between entertainment and toys, Auldey established the animation side of the business and the company was renamed Alpha Animation and Toys....

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WIT Announces Empowerment Day Speakers and Industry Experts

Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WIT) announced the speakers and experts who will be participating in its annual WIT Empowerment Day event, to be held on Sept. 26, the day before Fall Toy Preview in Dallas officially begins. Held in collaboration with Walmart and the Toy Industry Association (TIA), the day includes informational sessions and panels to help WIT members with their businesses. This year, WIT has gathered industry experts, buyers, speakers, and panelists from the toy industry to help woman-owned start ups, entrepreneurs, and small business owners grow their businesses. Throughout the day, attendees can expect to hear from the following experts: Alice Brooks, Play Monster/Roominate Anne Marie Kehoe, Walmart Avi Levine, Star Funding Belinda Gruebner, Moose Toys Ben Dermer, Spin Master Carlos Lopez, Toy Backer David Gifford-Robinson, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Deb de Sherbinin, Kidsmart Jamie Cygielman, Madame Alexander Jeff Pinsker, Pressman Games Jerry Welch, Bambini Partners Joan Lawrence, Toy Industry Association (TIA) John Lee, Bambini Partners Karen Kilpatrick, JazWings Kelli Couchee, UBM Kim Mosley, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) Laura Zebersky, Jazwares Marian Bossard, Toy Industry Association (TIA) Maureen McHale, McHale Design Nancy Zwiers, Spin Master Patti Becker, Becker Associates LLC Paul Solomon, Moose Toys Phil Sage, Hasbro Sarah Wilson, Walmart Stephanie Pottick, Pottick Law Stephanee Synnott, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Steven Heller, Esq., The Brand Liaison Sue Warfield, American...

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