China Toy Fair


Sanrio and Target Say Hi to Hollywood with Hello Kitty Con

Hello Kitty Con 2014 LogoSanrio has revealed details for Hello Kitty Con 2014, the first official Hello Kitty fan convention in the world. Presented in conjunction with Target, Hello Kitty Con was developed in celebration of Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary, and will take place at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (The Museum of Contemporary Art) in downtown Los Angeles from October 30 to November 2. This milestone event will invite Hello Kitty fans to immerse themselves in an environment in which the brand is celebrated, explored, and experienced.

Hello Kitty Con 2014 will present a full line-up of activations ranging from integrated workshops, lectures and panel discussions; special appearances and signings with Hello Kitty head designer Yuko Yamaguchi and other special guests from Japan; interactive art installations and daily artist signings; the Hello Kitty Friendship Station Pop-up Shop offering convention exclusives; and the Hello Kitty Super Supermarket, featuring a curated selection of vendors offering products and experiences available only at the convention. There will also be a Hello Kitty retrospective and vintage shop selling rare collectibles from the past, product and collaboration previews, a tattoo shop, photo opportunities, and more. [Read more...]

NRF Reports Back-to-School Shoppers Still Wrapping Up Shopping Lists, Leaning More on Coupons

nrfAccording to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) latest Back-to-School/College Surveys, the average family with children in grades K to 12 completed 49.9 percent of its shopping by mid-August, down slightly from last year’s 52.1 percent.

As of August 12, fewer families had stepped out to take advantage of retailers’ special school savings opportunities; specifically, 23.6 percent had not started shopping yet, up from 20.9 percent last year. However, some were eager to get started: 15.7 percent said they have completed their lists, which is roughly the same as last year.

Meanwhile, college families got a jump on retailers’ sales and promotions this summer, with 23.4 percent stating that they completely finished with their lists, up from 20 percent last year. Slightly fewer families this year say they haven’t started shopping, at 26.2 percent versus 28.8 percent last year. [Read more...]

Fuhu Repeats as No. 1 on Inc.’s Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

Inc_Magazine_Cover_Sept14Fuhu has repeated as No. 1 on the Inc. 5000, Inc.’s annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Fuhu has seen a 158,957 percent leap in revenues over the past three years, which is the largest growth spurt ever recorded in the Inc. 5000. When Fuhu took top honors last year, its growth rate was 42,148 percent.

The only other back-to-back No. 1 in the Inc. 5000′s history was energy management company Cogentrix, in 1989 and 1990. To make the top 500, a company had to have achieved a three-year growth of 942 percent. [Read more...]

WIT Announces Winning Moves Event for Female Entrepreneurs, Inventors, and Manufacturers

Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT) is hosting its first Winning Moves workshop, which will provide WIT members with an opportunity to develop their careers and grow their businesses.

Women-owned businesses can pitch their products to Wal-Mart, inventors can present their product concepts to toy companies, and members seeking professional development advice can meet with toy experts for a speed mentoring session. [Read more...]

NPD Reports Star Wars, Disney Princess among Top-Selling Toy Properties in Six Countries

npd_group_logoThe NPD Group recently released lists of the top five toy properties by country, ranked by value sales for January to June. Across the U.S., the UK, France, Spain, Germany, and Australia, Star Wars is the one property that ranks among the top five properties for each country. In the U.S., the top toy properties are Disney Princess, Barbie, Nerf, Little Tikes, and Star Wars.

Lego ranks in the top five toys for the UK, Australia, and Germany, with both Lego City and Lego Duplo on the short list for Germany. Disney Princess, meanwhile, ranks among the five top-selling toy properties in the U.S., the UK, and Australia.

“The unique cultures of a country lend themselves to unique preferences, and the toy industry is no different,” says Frédérique Tutt, global toy industry analyst with The NPD Group. “However, there are clearly messages and styles of play that resonate with a child, regardless of geography.”

Penguin UK Reaching for the Skylands with First Licensed Magazine

SkylandersLogoPenguin UK is taking its first steps into licensed magazine publishing after acquiring the world representation rights to a new Skylanders Universe magazine, based on the Skylanders video games.

Penguin, which also owns the rights to the Skylanders Universe books, acquired the rights from brand owners Activision. It has appointed Immediate Media to produce the content and distribute the magazine in the UK.

The stories in the magazine will be based on characters from the Skylanders games—Skylanders Spyro’s Adventures, Skylanders Giants, and Skylanders Swap Force.

MasterPieces Donates More than $117,000 to TIF’s Toy Bank

tif_logoMasterPieces Puzzle Company recently donated just over $117,000 worth of jigsaw puzzles to the Toy Industry Foundation’s (TIF) Toy Bank during TIF’s annual Summer Toy Drive. Beneficiaries include: the Huntington Area Food Bank, of West Virginia; New Threads of Hope, of Wisconsin; and First United Presbyterian Church, of Ohio.

K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers served as the Toy Bank’s logistics partner. TIF’s 2014 Summer Toy Drive is ongoing through August 31.

New Disney Infinity Toy Box 2.0 Trailer!

In the wake of the first annual Disney Infinity Toy Box Summit, Disney Interactive today unveiled a new Toy Box trailer for Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition), with appearances by Marvel and Disney characters.

Toy Box 2.0 features new toys, tools, templates, Toy Box Games, and more.

LeapFrog Introduces New Learning Friends Preschool Brand Featuring Fun Animals

Jan27.LeapFrogLeapFrog Enterprises Inc. has debuted the Learning Friends brand, an all-new collection of friendly characters for children ages 2 to 5. The collection features 11 fun animal school friends, which help children prepare for their first days of school through pretend play and fun dialogue.

Learning Friends products include the Play & Discover School Set, Adventure Bus, the Hippo & Panda Figure Set and Board Book, and the Owl and Parrot Figure Set and Board Book, as well as two free animated short adventures and four Learning Friends apps available for download. [Read more...]

Smallest Skylanders Make Big Debut with Skylanders Minis

SkylandersMinis.SpryFans attending the recent Gamescom 2014 in Cologne, Germany, got a hands-on opportunity to play Skylanders Trap Team with cute, pocket-sized characters called Skylanders Minis. The new line of 16 characters, from Activision Publishing Inc., is playable with upgrades and abilities just like any other Skylanders, including the ability to trap villains.

The figures are roughly one-third the size of regular Skylanders playable with Skylanders Trap Team. The Skylanders Minis available for play at the Gamescom booth were Spry, Mini Jini, Drobit, Trigger Snappy, and Hijinx.

Skylanders Minis will be sold in two-packs and will be available at Wal-Mart.