China Toy Fair


SwimWays Uses Its Noodle with Aqua Rider Acquisition

SwimWays.AquaRiderSwimWays Corp. recently acquired Aqua Rider, a patent pending pool noodle float that features the head and tail of colorful animal characters, as well as a built-in seat for riding. SwimWays will be able to consolidate production efforts using the same base noodle, and the product will be made in both China and the U.S., and assembled and shipped from the U.S.

Aqua Riders, which were introduced to market last year, will be available in many styles, including Orca, Shark, Gator, and Sea Horse. SwimWays will begin distributing Aqua Riders, which are made for swimmers of all ages, under the SwimWays brand next January.

The item is currently sold at Wal-Mart, BJ’s, and Leslie’s Pool Supply, among other retailers, and the acquisition is not expected to affect the Aqua Rider’s distribution.

ToyFest West Returns to Las Vegas for Third Year

The annual ToyFest West trade show will take place for the third year in Las Vegas. It will be held at the South Point Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, and the Western Toy and Hobby Representatives Association (WTHRA) will once again offer the popular promotion of a free Monday night when attendees book Saturday and Sunday night at the host hotel.  The offer is limited to the first 300 rooms booked.

At ToyFest, more than 700 established and new vendors alike unveil their products for the upcoming year. Products include traditional toys, hobby, dress-up, craft, infant and toddler, museum, science, and more.

Information on the show, manufacturers and representatives that will be present, the special room rate, and the program can be found at ToyFest West’s homepage, or by calling (909) 899-3753.

LeapFrog Acquires Kid-Safe Internet Browser KidZui

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGOLeapFrog Enterprises Inc. has acquired KidZui, a leading kid-friendly internet browser. KidZui currently powers LeapSearch, a browsing tool that allows kids—including those who are not yet reading—to explore web content in a safe way by categorizing content based on age and topic.

KidZuiLeapSearch provides browsing experiences on all LeapFrog children’s tablets, including the new LeapPad3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi.

Urban Canvas Introduces Design Tins Craft Kits

UrbanCanvas.DesignTinsUrban Canvas, an eco-friendly craft toy company, has introduced Design Tins, a new collection of portable tin boxes packed with art activities. The first two kits in this collection, Doll-Tin Cafe and i.am.ro.bot., contain wooden and paper board pieces that children can decorate, assemble, and easily transport from place to place in a tin box.

The Doll-Tin Cafe contains two wooden dolls, decorative tape, paper board furniture pieces, and wooden tableware. With this kit, children can use their imagination to create a cafe scene and “dress up” wooden dolls with removable decorative tape.

The second kit, i.am.ro.bot., is a do-it-yourself block set. With this set, children can mix and match robot parts with blocks that are decorated with stickers that they can stick on and color. The kit comes complete with four wooden blocks, robot stickers, and colored pencils.

LeapFrog Adds VP of Sales and VP of Platform Marketing

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGOLeapFrog Enterprises Inc. recently added two executives: Dan Burns and Scott A. Steinberg.

Burns joins LeapFrog as vice president of sales. In his new role, Burns will lead LeapFrog’s efforts to drive sales of the company’s award-winning products, including the recently unveiled LeapTV active video gaming system, the new LeapBand activity tracker, and more.

Prior to joining LeapFrog, Burns was vice president of sales at VTech Electronics for 10 years, where he drove record sales revenue and profit, set the strategy for global brand and product development efforts, and led retail merchandising initiatives for all sales accounts. He previously held executive sales positions at Radio Flyer Corporation and Hedstrom Corporation, as well as management positions at Hasbro and Kolcraft. [Read more...]

NRF Finds Back to School Spending Is Up, Driven by Demand for Electronics and Supplies

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2014 Back-to-School Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies, and electronics. This is up 5 percent from a total spend of $634.78 last year, driven by increased demand for electronic items, as well as parents’ need to restock their children’s school supplies.

NRF broke down spending by grade, and according to the survey, the average family shopping for high school students will spend $682.99, while spending on middle school/junior high comes in a close second at $682.13. Parents with elementary school-age children will spend an average of $580.94. [Read more...]

LeapFrog’s Newest Learning Tablet, LeapPad3, Now Available

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGOThe LeapPad3, from LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., is now available for sale online and at retail locations across the U.S. As part of the LeapPad children’s tablet line, LeapPad3 features a five-inch screen, LeapFrog’s latest and most powerful processor, 4GB of memory, two mega-pixel front and back cameras and video recorders, and a built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery.

Twenty One Toys and Spin Master Ltd. Send Empathy Toys to Israel and Gaza

TheEmpathyToyTwenty One Toys has partnered with Spin Master Ltd. to send its Empathy Toy to children and communities in need in Israel and Gaza. For Twenty One Toys, it represents the opportunity to have an impact far from home.

The Empathy Toy is a blindfolded puzzle game for kids and adults, designed to get players to think creatively, laugh through frustration, and help build a spirit of dialogue and understanding.

Spin Master Ltd. recently sent thousands of its toys to summer camps and kibbutz community centers in southern Israel, where children and families currently seek shelter amid the hostilities. It’s the third donation program for a war-torn area launched by Spin Master during the past eight years. Local and international support has included free freight shipping of all toys by El Al Airlines.

Genius Brands Names Stone Newman President, Global Consumer Products

StoneNewmanGenius Brands International Inc. (GBI) has appointed Stone Newman to the newly created post of president, Global Consumer Products. In this new role, Newman will work with retailers and licensees to build comprehensive consumer products programs for each of the company’s brands, including Baby Genius, Secret Millionaires Club, Stan Lee’s Mighty 7, and others. He will also appoint and oversee a team of licensing agencies from around the world to operate as sub agents.

Newman will continue to manage licensing programs represented by his former company, Art + Science International, including WowWee brands, ElectroKidz, MiP, and Archie Comics.  These brands will now be managed under GBI’s wholly owned subsidiary, A Squared Entertainment LLC.

Hasbro Shows Off New Transformers Toys at Comic-Con International

SuperionAt Comic-Con International: San Diego last week, Hasbro unveiled new toys from next year’s Transformers lines, including Transformers: Robots in Disguise and Transformers Generations.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise, based on the upcoming animated series, features new designs for favorite Transformers such as Bumblebee and Sideswipe, as well as new characters including Underbite and Strongarm. Meanwhile, the Transformers Generations line gets a new theme next year: Combiner Wars, which lets fans build Combiner figures such as Superion and Menasor, or customize their own. Voyager Scale figures act as the torso, while interchangeable Deluxe Scale figures serve as the arms and legs.