China Toy Fair


Patch Products Under New Ownership

Patch.logoPatch Products has announced that its founders, Fran and Bryce Patch, have sold the business to Topspin Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in New York City.

Founded in 1985, Patch has grown from a small puzzle and game manufacturer to a family entertainment company which designs, manufactures, distributes, and markets games, children’s puzzles, preschool toys, creative activities, and teaching tools.

The Patch headquarters and management team, led by CEO Bob Wann, will remain in place. “We are excited to have Topspin as our partner going forward,” Wann states. “It was very apparent from all of our discussions that Topspin shares the same excitement and support for the strategic vision we have for Patch. This, combined with the additional financial resources that they can provide, will trigger further expansion and growth for Patch.”

FAO Schwarz to Host Rilakkuma Day of Fun

RilakkumaFAO Schwarz will host a Rilakkuma Fun Day on October 11, where the store will convert three towers in the Grand Hall of its New York flagship store into the ultimate Rilakkuma destination for the duration of the month. During the Rilakkuma Day of Fun, consumers can participate in giveaways and a meet-and-greet with the Rilakkuma Mascot and Kawaii girls. Rilakkuma, created by San-X, is one of Japan’s most popular characters, famous for its “bear in relaxed mood” lifestyle of eating, sleeping, and listening to music.

FAO Schwarz currently carries a variety of plush Rilakkumma product in its flagship store and online on FAO.com, but will expands the product assortment to a 6-foot space on the second floor to include plush, apparel, accessories, electronics, and stationery.

 

Minecraft Will Join Microsoft Studios

Minecraft-gamesMicrosoft Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire Mojang, the Stockholm-based game developer behind the popular Minecraft franchise.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios. Microsoft will acquire Mojang for $2.5 billion, and expects the acquisition to be break-even in fiscal year 2015 on a GAAP basis. Subject to customary closing conditions and any regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close later this year.

Available across multiple platforms, players have downloaded Minecraft more than 100 million times, on PC alone, since its launch in 2009. Minecraft is also the most popular online game on Xbox, and the game’s community is among the most active in the industry, with more than 2 billion hours played on Xbox 360 alone in the past two years. [Read more...]

CWIST and Science Buddies Partnering for STEM Education

CWIST LOGOScience Buddies will join the CWIST platform, giving kids and parents additional resources to learn something new and build on their in-classroom science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

CWIST offers a crowd-sourced library of educational and fun challenges for kids ages 5 to 11, including customized content, challenges, and wishes from curated partners. The not-for-profit Science Buddies empowers K to 12 students, parents, and teachers to find free project ideas and help in all areas of science from physics to food science, and music to microbiology.

Together, CWIST and Science Buddies will create customized STEM education challenges for the CWIST platform, available at www.cwist.com. Membership is free and provides access to thousands of challenges in dozens of categories.

Toy Industry Foundation Reaches $100 Million Milestone

toyindustryThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) has distributed $100 million worth of toys and games to children in need since its Toy Bank program was founded in 2003. The historical milestone was reached following this year’s Summer Toy Drive, which collected $11 million worth of toys. To date, TIF and its supporters have donated enriching playthings to nearly 17 million disadvantaged kids worldwide.

Contributions to the Summer Toy Drive more than quadrupled over last year, growing from nearly 900,000 toys donated in 2013 to nearly four million toys this year. The Lego Group donated roughly 250,000 toys—half of which have already been distributed to children in such locations as Albania, Armenia, Romania, Zambia and Zimbabwe—putting the foundation over the $100 million mark. [Read more...]

TIA and JPMA Enter Information-sharing Partnership

by Alexis Willey

tia_logo[1]The Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) have entered into an information-sharing partnership to better provide safety and product information to their respective customer pools.

jpma_newestlogoAs of September 7, the organizations are working together to “provide trusted and timely information on a wider variety of topics to families with kids of all ages,” according to Joan Lawrence, TIA vice president of standards and regulatory affairs.

Above-average Retail Imports as Longshoremen’s Negotiations Continue

by Alexis Willey

The import of retail merchandise remains above average as negotiations continue between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.

In a report released September 9 by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, 1.47 million containers are expected to pass through U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report this month. September has averaged 1.42 million containers for the past five years.

Concerns grew among retailers as the West Coast longshoremen’s contract remained unsettled after its expiration on July 1, which prompted an early import of back-to-school and holiday goods in preparation for a potential disruption on the docks. August saw an all-time monthly record of 1.53 million containers because of these precautions. [Read more...]

Tonner Haute Couture Wizard of Oz Dolls Still Available for Bidding

WizardofOz.TonnerThere’s still time to bid on haute couture dolls by high-end fashion and costume designers inspired by Dorothy Gale, Glinda the Good Witch, and The Wicked Witch of the West. These collectible dolls were made for Tonner Doll’s collection of 22-inch dolls in celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.

Doll designers included Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan Atelier, Hervé Léger by Max Azria, Betsey Johnson, and more.

Earlier this month, Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and Tonner Doll Company unveiled the 20-doll collection at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. The collection is now located at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship in New York City for additional public viewing on the third floor until October 9.

The dolls are still available for bidding on eBay Giving Works at wizardofozdollauction.com until Sunday, with proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity as part of the There’s No Place Like Home campaign.

Toys “R” Us Reveals Plans, Programs for Holiday Season

toysrus

Toys “R” Us unveiled its plans for the upcoming holiday season. The company will launch a new Rewards “R” Us program for its more than 18 million existing Rewards “R” Us members, and those who sign up in-store or online at toysrus.com/myrewards, who are now able to earn more rewards.

The complimentary Rewards “R” Us program enables members to earn one point per dollar spent at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us locations; for every $125 spent, Rewards “R” Us members receive $5 in “R” Us Rewards. Rewards “R” Us members who are also “R” Us credit cardholders earn two points per dollar spent in-store or online at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us—for a total of $10 for every $125 they spend. In addition, they can enjoy special financing and partake in 10 percent off Thursdays at any “R” Us location.

Toys “R” Us will also introduce online layaway, giving customers the ability to create layaway orders at toysrus.com and babiesrus.com, make subsequent payments either in-store or online, and pick up their order at a local store or have it delivered to their home. [Read more...]

Mia Hamm, Kids, and Families Set Record in Celebration of LeapBand

Jan27.LeapFrogLeapFrog Enterprises Inc. hosted its Fit Made Fun Day event last Saturday at Santa Monica Beach with soccer star Mia Hamm and more than 300 kids and families. The attendees became the new Guinness World Records record holders for three active play records: the most people making sand angels, the most people hopping on one foot, and the most people doing the swim dance.

In celebration of the newly launched LeapBand activity tracker for kids, Fit Made Fun Day encouraged families to get active in creative ways while having fun together. LeapFrog invited families nationwide to host their own Fit Made Fun Day, and share images and videos across media channels.