China Toy Fair


Funko and Mindstyle Form Alliance with Sights on China and Southeast Asia

PopAsiaFunko and Mindstyle International have reached an agreement for a strategic alliance in greater China and southeast Asia. The new alliance will build on Funko’s existing position globally and create new growth opportunities.

Funko will retain creative, marketing, and sales responsibilities for its portfolio of iconic collectibles, which include its Wacky Wobbler Bobble-Heads, Wisecracks, Mystery Minis, and the ultra collectible Pop! Vinyl Figures. Mindstyle—a global creative, development, and manufacturing company based in China—will bring strong product development with Pop! Asia and premium product lines, local distribution, and a history of initiatives for the Asia market.

NRF Revises Annual Economic Forecast to Expect Stronger Second Half of Year

The National Retail Federation has lowered its retail sales forecast for the rest of the year. Originally, slow growth was recorded during the first half of the year, but growth is expected to be significantly faster over the next five months. NRF forecasted in January that retail sales would grow 4.1 percent this year over 2013, but has since revised that number to 3.6 percent.

NRF calculated that sales grew 2.9 percent during the first half of the year and are expected to grow at least 3.9 percent during the second half. The numbers include general retail sales and non-store sales, and exclude automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants. This winter’s severe weather contributed to the slow growth during the first quarter, but a second look at the forecast is positive, expecting growth to increase, manufacturing to expand, and the employment rate to remain its strongest since 2005.

Goliath Games Acquires Pressman Toy

GoliathLogoGoliath Games is acquiring Pressman Toy, a move that supports Goliath’s goal of creating global brands. With the move, Goliath now shares a number of successful game brands with Pressman, including Rummikub and Tri-Ominos. Goliath will look to use elements of its European marketing campaign for Tri-Ominos in North America.

This past May, Goliath also made a strategic investment in Crown & Andrews, an Australian-based manufacturer of toys, puzzles, and games.

CPSC Releases CHAP Report on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives

Following four years of investigation by the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP), appointed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the CPSC has released a long-awaited report detailing the potential health effects of phthalates and phthalate alternatives in toys and child care articles. Phthalates are substances used to make certain plastics soft and pliable, and there exist federal restrictions on the presence of phthalates in toys and certain children’s products.

Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, there are currently permanent bans on three types of phthalates—DEHP, DBP and BBP—in toys and certain child care articles, and interim bans on three additional phthalates—DINP, DIDP and DnOP—in mouth-able components of these products. [Read more...]

Schleich Names Jeremy Robinson as New Country Manager

Jeremy RobinsonJeremy Robinson has been appointed as Schleich UK’s new country manager. He will take over responsibility for the UK and Eire from Gary Wilmot.

Robinson, who took up his new post beginning this month, has a wealth of sales experience within the toy trade, having held senior sales posts previously at Tomy and Bluw.

Faber-Castell Launches Terracycle Project

Faber-Castell Premium Children’s Art Products has partnered with Terracycle to offer recycling of plastic marker barrels. Teachers and students can place finished markers into a collection box, which will be sent to a UPS collection facility when full. Terracycle will then sort, store, and recycle the plastic marker barrels.

Teachers can sign up here to be part of the Terracycle Project.

Skylanders Trap Team First-To-Play Tour Launches at Comic-Con International: San Diego

SkylandersLogoActivision Publishing Inc. is kicking off a four-month, nationwide Skylanders Trap Team First-to-Play Tour, in which attendees can play Skylanders Trap Team inside a customized Game Truck, which serves as a mobile video game media room.

The tour will give fans a hands-on experience of the game prior to its North American launch on October 5. The first stops coincide with Comic-Con International: San Diego, and are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fans can visit the Game Truck at Interactive Zone, located at Petco Park’s Lexus Premier Lot, Imperial Avenue at 11th Avenue.

CBME China in Shanghai Features More than 2,400 Participating Brands

The 14th Shanghai International Children Baby Maternity Industry Expo (CBME China) welcomes local and international suppliers to showcase their latest products through Thursday at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

The event features 2,428 brands from 1,751 exhibitors across 166,680 square meters of exhibition space. Participating brands include Chicco, Hallmark Babies, Mattel, OXO, Teletubbies, and more. The range of maternity products covered extends beyond toys and accessories, to strollers, healthcare, and more.

This year’s CBME China offers private meetings to help buyer meet one-on-one with top suppliers, as well as leading chain stores and online retailers for children, baby, and maternity products. In addition, there will be presentations from government representatives to discuss the latest guidelines and laws covering milk importation, social media marketing, and retail store development strategy, among other topics.

VTech Taps Jennifer Eiselein to Lead Marketing Team

VTech-LogoVTech has hired Jennifer Eiselein, a former Amazon senior manager who was instrumental in the launches of the company’s Kindle tablets and e-readers, as its new marketing director. She will lead VTech’s marketing team from its U.S. headquarters in Chicago, oversee the creation and execution of innovative campaigns for VTech’s brands, employ strategies to generate brand awareness, and target customers to enhance growth in key markets.

Prior to joining VTech, Eiselein served as senior manager for merchandising and marketing at Amazon’s Appstore in the U.S. and Canada.

Grammy Award-Winner Pharrell Williams to Curate NBA 2K15 Soundtrack

nba 2k152K has announced a new collaboration with Pharrell Williams to curate the soundtrack compilation for NBA 2K15, the next installment of the NBA video game simulation franchise. Pharrell’s soundtrack selections will be revealed later this summer.

NBA 2K15 is scheduled for release on October 7 in North America, and on October 10 internationally for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, the Xbox One and Xbox 360, and Windows PC.