China Toy Fair


Chicago Toy & Game Group’s Mary Couzin Selected to Judge DevelopHer Challenge

ChicagoMary Couzin, the founder and CEO of the Chicago Toy & Game Group, has been selected to sit on an eight-person panel of judges for the 2014 DevelopHer Toy & Game Challenge, which charges individuals and companies to create new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-based toys for young children, particularly girls.

Joining Couzin will be actresses and activists Geena Davis and Maria Bello, as well as Clare Munn, the CEO and founder of the social impact media company The Communication Group. Couzin and her fellow judges will critique games designed to challenge girls from the ages of three to 12.

Any individuals or companies with a valid prototype are eligible for entry to the DevelopHer Toy & Game Challenge.

Donald Duck Quacks the Line-Up for Disney Infinity 2.0

donald duckDonald Duck will join the cast of characters set to appear in Disney Infinity 2.0 Edition, from Disney Interactive, alongside Merida, Maleficent, Stitch, Tinker Bell, Aladdin, and Jasmine.

Donald will deliver his signature catch-phrases, fiery temper, and special abilities like tossing objects, sweeping up enemies with a broom, and becoming a feathered fury to the new Toy Box mode, where families will be able to use hundreds of Disney- and Marvel-themed items, locations, props, vehicles and characters.

A new Donald Duck themed Power Disc will also be available for players to use in the Toy Box mode, which allows players to change the characters’ outfits, among other features.

Donald Duck and the All for One Power Disc will be available in retail stores this fall.

Sean Hynes Joins VTech as Vice President of Sales

New-VTech-LogoVTech has appointed Sean Hynes as vice president of sales. A marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience in sales leadership and brand management, including 15 years in the toy industry, Hynes will oversee VTech’s sales operations from its U.S. headquarters in Chicago, Ill.

In his new role, Hynes will aim to increase sales of VTech’s newest products, including the Kidizoom Smartwatch and the InnoTab MAX. He will also oversee sales of additions to VTech’s extensive infant/preschool range, Switch & Go Dinos Turbo, Go! Go! Smart Wheels, and brand expansion, Go! Go! Smart Animals. [Read more...]

Rubik’s Speedcubing Comes to Denmark

Rubik's CubeThe bi-annual Rubik’s Cube European Speedcubing Championship is being held in Roskilde, Denmark, this weekend. More than 250 contestants will be competing during this long weekend of cubing.

The competition will bring together Europe’s elite Rubik’s Cube solvers for several elimination rounds, followed by finals. The overall winner expected to solve a Cube in under 10 seconds.

Favorites to win this year are UK, Dutch, and German champions.

Kids India 2014 Announces Special Educational Program Open to TIA and CTA Members

kids india 2014Toy Industry Association (TIA) and Canadian Toy Association (CTA) member companies with an interest in the Indian toy market are invited to participate in a special program for overseas visitors at the second annual Kids India, a three-day trip that will provide toy makers with a view inside India’s rapidly developing economy and emergent retail landscape. The program is hosted by Spielwarenmesse eG (Nuremberg Toy Fair) in cooperation with the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC), and will run from September 18 to 20 at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Center in Mumbai.

The program will kick off on September 18, when visiting toy companies will connect with representatives of Spielwarenmesse eG and receive a tour around the Kids India fair, before taking part in the fair’s workshop program, followed by a dinner reception at the Westin Hotel. Participants will also visit various Mumbai-based toy stores, including the world-renowned Hamleys Toy Shop, and receive information about the Indian toy market, including consumer demographics and opportunities for market entry. The program will conclude on September 20 with a sightseeing tour of Mumbai. [Read more...]

BeginAgain to Distribute Artterro Eco Art Kits

BeginAgain_logoBeginAgain is expanding its offering of earth-friendly playthings, as the three-year-old company has inked an agreement to distribute Artterro’s popular line of art and craft kits.

Artterro is known for unplugged art projects made of sustainable materials, and the company’s line is assembled by hand in Madison, Wis. It includes eleven titles featuring needle felting, mixed-media collage, art journaling, and more.

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.

Alleghany Capital Corporation Invests in Jazwares

jazwaresAlleghany Capital Corporation (ACC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Alleghany Corporation, has acquired an interest in Jazwares LLC.

Judd Zebersky, CEO and president of Jazwares, commented, “Jazwares has grown significantly over the past number of years by delivering high quality, must-have toys and consumer electronics to children worldwide. As we pursue our next stage of growth, we are enthusiastic to partner with ACC given its unique long-term perspective and history of backing entrepreneurial management teams.”

Valufinder Group Inc. acted as financial advisor while Seyfarth Shaw LLP acted as legal counsel to ACC. Marketing Management Group Inc. acted as financial advisor and Pryor Cashman LLP acted as legal counsel to Jazwares.

“C’mon, Let’s Play” Campaign from Toys “R” Us Encourages Imaginative Play

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 11.39.59 AMToys “R” Us has announced the, “C’mon, Let’s Play,” campaign to encourage kids to do exactly that: get out and play.

Designed in partnership with advertising agency The Escape Pod and YouTube sensation Daniel Hashimoto, the campaign was inspired by Hashimoto’s son, James, who was filmed playing with a lightsaber in his local Toys “R” Us store. Hashimoto edited the video, bringing James’ play adventure to life through animation. “C’mon, Let’s Play” is intended to teach children the value of playing and imagination.

The first television advertisements for, “C’mon, Let’s Play,” will begin airing August 3, and will encourage fans to promote on social media using the hashtag #letsplay.

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.