China Toy Fair


Barnes & Noble Partners with Rovio for Exclusive Angry Birds Stella Preview

June4.ABStella-300x186 copyNook Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble Inc., together with Rovio will make the upcoming Angry Birds Stella game available for fans to preview exclusively at Barnes & Noble stores from today to September 3. Angry Birds fans and Barnes & Noble customers can visit the Nook counter at any store nationwide to play the game on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook in-store demo devices.

Angry Birds Stella will launch on September 4 across all major platforms.

Toys & Kids Russia Becomes Kids Russia

Kids Russia will be held at the Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre in Moscow from March 11 to 13. The trade fair, now in its ninth year, has been renamed Kids Russia after previously being called Toys & Kids Russia. The new title is meant to highlight that the fair is part of the Spielwarenmesse eG portfolio of trade fairs.

With its international World of Toys trade fair program, Kids Russia helps companies gain a potential foothold in Eastern Europe’s toy market. The event is organized by Grand Expo, formerly RNTA Expo, a company in which Spielwarenmesse eG holds a share together with other Russian toy manufacturers.

The closing date for registration for the World of Toys Pavilion at Kids Russia is November 30. Questions can be answered by Sabine Liebscher, senior project manager at Spielwarenmesse eG, who can be reached at +49 (0) 9 11/9 98 13-11 or s.liebscher@spielwarenmesse.de.

Brick Fan Festival Comes to Philadelphia in September

Brick FestThe Philly Brick Fest Fan Festival is coming to The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center on September 12 to 14. Attendees can play with the hands-on building attractions and shop a variety of Lego-themed merchandise. Attractions include the Brick Fest Derby, where participants can build and race custom Lego derby cars; the Video Game Arena, an area to challenge others to play Lego video games; The Brick Zone, where builders are free to create anything they desire; and more.

Additional Brick Fest live dates and locations are at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Maryland from September 19 to 21, Duke Energy Convention Center in Ohio from October 17 to 19, and Palm Beach Convention Center in Florida from December 4 to 7.

Toys “R” Us Releases 20th Anniversary Edition of Shopping Guide for Families with Differently-Abled Kids

toysrusLast week, Toys “R” Us published the 20th anniversary edition of its Toys “R” Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, a complimentary shopping guide for parents, caregivers, and other gift-givers in search of appropriate toys for children with special needs.

Available in both English and Spanish at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide, as well as online at toysrus.com/differentlyabled, the 63-page Guide is packed with everyday playthings selected for their unique ability to help kids build critical skills–such as creative, emotional and cognitive skills–through play. Skill-building icons are paired with each featured toy to help parents select the most developmentally appropriate toys for their kids.

All of the toys in the Guide were vetted in partnership with the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible for children of all abilities. The guide’s 2014 cover features baseball World Champion, father, and special needs advocate Albert Pujols, who appears on the cover alongside Cameron Withers, a five-year-old boy from Southern California.

Dan Sugrue Joins Jazwares LLC as UK Sales Director

jazwaresDan Sugrue has joined Jazwares LLC as its UK sales director, and will lead the London-based sales force at retailers across the region. Most recently, Sugrue served as business manager for Flair Leisure Products Ltd.

The news follows the recent announcement of an investment by Allegheny Capital Corporation, and marks the company’s continued global growth and firm commitment to the expansion of its UK operation.

Brilliant Sky Toys & Books Acquires Retailer Bean Head Toys

BrilliantSkyInteriorBean Head Toys has turned over its keys to regional toy store chain Brilliant Sky Toys & Books. Seven years ago, original proprietor Chris Lowe opened Bean Head Toys in Sandy Springs, Ga., with a second store popping up several years later, in the Buckhead district of Atlanta.

The stores hosted weekly community events, such as story times, art classes, and Elf Magic gatherings during the Christmas season. [Read more...]

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...]