Toy Industry Foundation Gives Back To Military Families with a Day Filled with Toys and Games

TIFThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) Military Services to host a special toy giveaway for children of military families at Venture County Naval Base on June 10th. More than 1,000 kids and teens enjoyed a fun-filled day that included music and basketball games. Children were able to pick from a selection of brand-new toys and games, including stuffed animals, action figures, arts and crafts kits, puzzles, and more. The playthings were donated to TIF’s Toy Bank by generous toy manufacturers, distributors, and retailers from across the nation. [Read more...]

Swedish Toy Retailer Believes Toys and Baby Products Should be Sold Together

Lena Hedö, swedenBy Lena Hedö

Kungen’s Kurva Shopping Centre, just outside of Stockholm, is Sweden’s largest commerce site. This is where Peter Stenlund opened his sixth store one year ago—only 600 meters from another shop in the same retail chain, and with several other competitors close by.

“If you are confident and believe in your concept there is no reason to be afraid of competition. On the contrary, it is positive to establish your brand where the traffic is,” Stenlund says.

The large shopping center originally came together by several different malls that over time grew in to each other. Kungen’s Kurva, which can pride with having the largest Ikea in the world, also has a brand new shopping arcade and there are plans to double the amount of shopping opportunities. Additionally, there are two other centres in the area: Heron City and Skärholmen’s Centre. “The catchment area is very large,” Stenlund explains, “and tells us there are about 1.7 million potential customers. This opportunity was just right, as the development during 2014 was very strong.”

Stenlund’s business has reached a critical point as it’s become too large to handle without some essential areas being covered. “The fifth store was probably the most difficult,” he says. “We were still working in a small scale and couldn’t hire a Regional Director, but [it was] too big for me to handle myself. It was up to me to delegate the workload, have self-sufficient stores, and to trust the staff. A Store Manager is completely necessary and also functions as a Deputy for the store.”

Lekia kk bp gavel

The competition in the new establishment is grand, however Stenlund says that Lekia’s double establishment isn’t remarkable in the context, and there are several strong examples to mark this. They are contending with the in-size, largest Toys ‘R Us in the Nordics, Big Baby, a large-scale child and baby store, and not to be forgotten—Ikea. ”If I’ve learned anything, it comes down to observing the traffic and most of all customer frequency. Competition can drive customers for each other and at the same time it pushes the retailers to become better and better,” Stenlund says.

The store is located on the second floor in Kungen’s Kurva Shopping Centre and holds 630 square meters of retail place. It is a combined area of Lekia and Babyproffsen, which are both Voluntary Specialist Retail Chains that Stenlund is a member of. This is something he finds both convenient and natural. At our visit to the store, the baby section isn’t fully ready but everything else has found its place. The staffs are fully trained and a walkway is prepared in the center of the store.

“We want the line between ‘play’ and ‘baby’ to be a bit blurred, but it’s essential that it’s easy for the customers to find what they are looking for,” Stenlund says. About 40 per cent of the revenue comes from ‘baby,’ according to Stenlund.

Stenlund is a spokes person who strongly speaks for the sake that toys belong together with child- and baby products. “This is a necessary qualification to achieve profitable stores,” Stenlund says. “You have to see it from the customer’s point of view. The advantage with ‘baby’ is that it requires a deeper knowledge, which means you can’t sell it everywhere.”

Lekia kk barn i bil

As previously mentioned, the employees are an important resource for Peter Stenlund, who works after the principle of “team power.”

“Everyone helps out, and everyone has knowledge of the different areas, even if some have specific responsibilities,” Stenlund explains. “It’s important that you are a sales person in a positive and true sense. For example, we have an extra large retail expertise, as both the Store Manager and the Deputy in charge have a background of working at large retail chains. There is a difference in selling and to have goods for sale.”

On Stenlund’s to-do list we find staff supplementation, as well as to continue having recurring phone meetings with the Store Manager every week. When and if the long-sought-for Regional- or Sales Director can be hired, all depends on when the next store comes to life. In terms of the turnover Peter don’t want to rush to conclusion.

“I expect it to take 24 months before we reach a reasonable level,” Stenlund says.

Q&A with Hansa Creation

The Toy Book spoke with Richard Martinez, president, Hansa North America, about what sets the plush company apart.

Tell me about Hansa’s background.

Inspired by our mission to educate today’s generation and future generations on the need to preserve and protect nature’s wildlife, Hansa’s artisans have lovingly designed and hand-crafted the world’s largest collection of “true to life” animals. From the 3-inch mole to the life-size mammoth, the quality, care, and commitment to education, creative play, heirloom quality, and exacting detail are reflected in each Hansa item.


What are your plans for expanding U.S. distribution?

Hansa offers its dealers unique opportunities through multiple merchandising and display platforms. Everybody loves animals, and offering customers and guests “wow”-evoking, traffic-driving attractions and must-have quality designs makes your store even more of a destination. Delighting and empowering Hansa collectors—who value the quality, eco-friendly, educational, and creative play features—provides unlimited opportunity for zoos, museums, wildlife parks, children’s and pet stores, specialty retail, display, home décor and furnishings, attractions, promotional, event planners, catalog, eco-friendly, rental, and educational facilities to “share the magic” of Hansa’s Creations.

What makes Hansa different from other plush companies?

Each item is individually hand-crafted, giving every animal a unique personality.

Hansa_GiraffeWhat makes your products so special?

Custom-designed fabrics, pin-point creation detail, and the eco-friendly design studio setting provide the creation team with the environment where gentle paws, swishing tails, and soulful eyes and faces come together to give each character a realistic look and heirloom-quality feel that is unmistakably Hansa.

Are there educational components to your products?

Yes, each item comes with an educational booklet that features factoids, a teaching tag, and pictures and tells the story of the animals in their natural settings.

What messages are you imparting to consumers?

Our mission is to educate, delight, and entertain today’s generation and future generations, reminding them of the need to preserve, protect, explore, and understand nature’s majestic animal kingdom.

What are Hansa’s plans for the future?

Hansa will continue to enhance and expand our collection, availability, and consumer access, while creating opportunities for our dealers with unique, educational, traffic-driving, cuddly, and creative play designs. Hansa will never rest in its goal to make our good products better and our better, best. »

CES 2016 Ignites Tech with Innovation

By Reyne Rice, trend hunter and thought leader, CEO ToyTrends

The latest and greatest innovations rocked the tech world at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas from Jan. 6-9. Trade guests viewed the latest virtual reality headsets; flew unmanned systems and drones; test-drove the newest automotive vehicles with built-in enhanced entertainment and digital connectivity for kids and families; and marveled at the enhanced 4-D TV and home entertainment systems. Hands-on experiences and product testing dominated the crowded show floor as global exhibitors showcased their newest launch products, services, apps, and devices. [Read more...]

Same Card, New Tricks: Using Gift Cards to Go Beyond the Basics

First Data LadyBy Euphemia Erikson, First Data

The holiday season is once again approaching, and this year, retailers are not leaving any tactics on the table as they begin strategizing creative ways to boost customer traffic. Starting Black Friday and continuing past Christmas, retailers will turn to door busters, flash sales, deep discounts, and shockingly early store openings to drive their holiday sales higher than years before.

With big picture tactics like these, it’s also important for retailers to remember the power traditional retail tools command when driving revenue up. Gift cards are consumers’ most desired holiday present, and for retailers this classic has the unique ability to drive value far beyond a single purchase. Digital and plastic gift cards, more so than store credit, add a nice edge to retail sales planning by supporting marketing efforts, driving sales, and even engaging new audiences. [Read more...]

Paul de Glasenapp, Chief Editor of Baby, Hobby & Leketøy, Passes Away

paulChief Editor Paul de Glasenapp, born December 22, 1941, left us Thursday morning, 22 October 2015. Paul struggled, but finally had to give in to cancer. Until recently, he was doing what he lived and breathed for, with his work as a journalist for the toy industry.

Paul started the trade magazine Hobby og Leketøyhandleren in 1974, which eventually also added Babycare. In 2000, the magazine received its present name, Baby, Hobby & Leketøy. He has for many years made a considerable effort and contribution to the toy industry, and was awarded in 1992 the industry’s own Honorary Award for his dedicated years of service. [Read more...]

Q&A with Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG

unnamed-4Marek Jankowski, president of Baby Care Magazines International, recently spoke with Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, about the growth of Spielwarenmesse eG, toy fairs throughout the international community, and more.

Marek Jankowski: I remember us talking a few years ago. You mentioned that every year there are 200-250 companies queuing to exhibit at Spielwarenmesse. I suggested that you could build a new hall, but you were not convinced. You replied that assuming that the number of buyers remains stable, if they would scatter over a wider area, an average exhibitor would have fewer visits at their booth. But in 2014 you opened a new hall—3A. From today’s perspective, was it a good idea to build it?

Ernst Kick: Yes, I think, because we could have improved the quality of the whole fairground. I would say that the new hall 3A is one of the most modern halls in the world. And if you see it from the organisation view, the climate is better than in the old halls. We are also in discussion how to reconstruct the older part of the fairground. I think there can be some possibilities — not today, but in the future; I think it is also necessary. [Read more...]

Jakks Pacific Named Master Toy Licensee for Make It Pop

by Melanie Rainone

MAKE IT POP - newDHX Brands, a part of DHX Media, has appointed Jakks Pacific Inc. as master toy licensee for the show, Make It Pop, for all territories outside of Europe. The products will include dolls, plush, dress-up, role-play, girls’ electronic toys, and Halloween costumes, and are expected to launch in 2016.

[Read more...]

Ubisoft and RSG Partner to Create Next-Generation Theme Park

Ubisoft.logoby Varuni Sinha

Ubisoft is partnering with RSG, a co-owner and co-developer of Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) to develop a next-generation theme park. By combining a rich portfolio of world-renowned brands with expertise in designing highly interactive gaming experiences, Ubisoft aims to revolutionize the basic concept behind theme parks.

[Read more...]

Hasbro to Participate in Panel Discussion on Millennial Moms

Hasbro-logo-jpgJohn Frascotti, the president of Hasbro Brands, will take part in a panel discussion on Millennial Moms at the Goldman Sachs 22nd Annual Global Retailing Conference, scheduled for September 9 at 2:25 p.m. ET in New York City. He will be joined by Brian Lynch, the president of Carter’s Inc., and Chuck Vila, the vice president of consumer and customer insights at Campbell Soup Company.

[Read more...]