Toy and Consumer Products Veterans Launch Cartwheel Kids

Cartwheel LogoToy and consumer products industry veterans Vince Klaseus, Len Mazzocco, and Daniel Setton have launched Cartwheel Kids, an expanded proposition to Xcessory International, focused on bringing creativity and innovation to the toy aisle and beyond. In addition to the quality, innovative dress-up product that Xcessory International currently develops, Cartwheel will design and manufacture toy products, including boys’and girls’ role play, preschool toys, figures and play sets, plush, seasonal, novelty items, and more, that will debut next year.

Boasting a solid track record of success and decades of combined experience, the Cartwheel Kids executive team has already managed to capture the attention of companies in the entertainment and toy industries. The company will be announcing key partnerships in the coming months.

Daniel Setton, founder and CEO of Xcessory International, serves as chief executive officer. Vince Klaseus, former chief executive of Disney Consumer Products’ Global Toys division, is leading the team as president, and Len Mazzocco, former SVP of creative at Disney Consumer Products, is chief creative officer.

According to Klaseus, Cartwheel Kids’ focuses on developing strong relationships and partnerships based on collaboration, mutual trust, and creative solutions. To best serve these partnerships, Cartwheel has recently opened its Los Angeles office to complement the existing Xcessory International office in New York.

Toy Industry Hall of Fame Nominations Now Open

Members of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and other toy industry stakeholders are invited to submit nominations of deserving candidates (living or deceased) for induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, the TIA says in a news release. Selected candidates will join 62 current members of the hall of fame during a ceremony to be held in conjunction with the 14th annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards ceremony on February 15 of next year. The nomination period will extend from May 28 through June 28. Membership in TIA is not a prerequisite for submitting a nomination.

Nominees for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame should have longstanding experience in the toy industry; unimpeachable integrity and respect among his or her peers; have made outstanding contributions to the industry and/or to TIA; and be recognized for various accomplishments. Examples include innovative product or marketing introductions; manufacturing process changes, which significantly improved processes or products; a prominent role in promoting the public’s awareness and appreciation of the importance of toys in the lives of children, or promoting the public’s awareness of the toy industry as a significant and responsible member of the business community; and service on the TIA board of directors, or in other important capacities in or related to toys and youth entertainment.

Additional information on the Toy Industry Hall of Fame is available online. Questions and completed nomination forms should be directed to TIA’s Stacy Leistner (646) 520-4858 by June 28.

Thrash Lab and Giant Robot Profile Uglydoll Creator

Ashton Kutcher’s Thrash Lab, in collaboration with Giant Robot Profiles, profiles Uglydoll creator David Horvath. The profile tells the story of how Uglydoll was born around 10 years ago from a simple character drawing in a letter margin to a hand-sewn doll by Horvath’s now wife Sun-Min Kim.

Check out the profile on Uglydoll’s YouTube channel below:

Dunecraft’s Grant Cleveland Opens New Art Show

Grant Cleveland, CEO of DuneCraft, who had his first art opening at the Dick Kleinman Fine Art Gallery, is having another opening at Fairmount Center for the Arts. The opening will be on April 27, 2013 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with an Artist’s Dialogue at 7:00 p.m.

Dick Kleinman, a massive proponent of Cleveland’s paintings, coined him the father of abstract symbolism, in which a story is told through symbols in the abstract form, colors take on meanings, patterns signify something, and it is possible to learn the language to some degree. Cleveland has just released an e-book, which features his paintings and the stories behind each one. The published version is now for sale and will be at the opening at Fairmount Center for the Arts.

Cleveland’s style is recognizable from the color, broad strokes, compelling subjects, and unique style and energy. Cleveland is an artist and serial entrepreneur. His current business enterprise is DuneCraft, which was started 11 years ago. DuneCraft creates themed terrariums, sprouting kits, and science novelties.

Harold Chizick Launches ChizComm

Toy industry veteran Harold Chizick has launched ChizComm Ltd., a full-service marketing and communication agency dedicated to launching, marketing, and promoting products and entertainment for children. Chizick is the former vice president of marketing services for Spin Master, where he served for 14 years. The agency will provide strategic planning, product launches, communication strategy, and digital strategy, among other services. Based in Toronto, ChizComm has already signed with Tech 4 Kids to work on the launch of its Tech Recon brand. For more information, email Harold: harold@chizcomm.com.

Britney Spears to Release New Song for New Smurfs Movie

smurfs2Britney Spears will release a song for Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation‘s family comedy The Smurfs 2, titled “Ooh La La,” via Kemosabe/RCA Records. “Ooh La La” will play at the end credits of the film. The Smurfs 2, the sequel to the hybrid live action/animated film released in 2011, is set to hit theaters on July 31.

Spears says, “I have always loved the Smurfs as a kid and now my boys are the biggest Smurfs fans ever. I wanted to surprise them with a song in the movie. I know they’ll think it’s Smurftastic!”

Delta Children, Kids In Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) Donate Cribs to Phildelphia Families in Need

Delta Children donated 200 new cribs—valued at $60,000—to Pennsylvania United Medical Association (PUMA) in Warrington, Pa. The donation was made possible with the help of Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S), a non-profit organization that connects companies and children in need.

Joe and Gloria Shamie

Joe and Gloria Shamie

The Safe Sleep demonstration was held at PUMA, where Delta Children’s Co-President and K.I.D.S. Board Member Joseph Shamie stressed the importance of a safe crib and offered tips to the families.

K.I.D.S. implemented the distribution of the cribs on behalf of Delta Children to the families in need.

Dreamworks Animation Packs a Powerful Punch with Cast Additions for Kung Fu Panda 3

“Pandamonium” is back for a triple kick with a trio of new cast members in DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.’s Kung Fu Panda 3, which will be distributed by 20th Century Fox. Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen, and Rebel Wilson join Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and other original cast members in the third installment of the action-packed franchise.

The film, slated for December 23, 2015, marks the first planned co-production with China-based Oriental DreamWorks and follows Po, the chosen one, as he continues on his journey mastering the art of Kung Fu… and noodle slurping.

LIMA Cares on Track to Raise $4 Million for Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation

Through the dedication of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) and the generosity of the licensing industry, the LIMA Cares campaign is well poised to raise $4 million for the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF), the organization’s charity of choice. LIMA expects to reach the achievement just in time for May’s National Brain Tumor Awareness Month–and the group’s commitment will continue strongly, as it works to meet its goal of raising an additional $5 million in the next five years.

As part of the 2013 LIMA Cares campaign theme, “Save the Bravest,” LIMA is encouraging all of its members and licensing industry professionals to “Tweet for the Bravest” on April 17. In addition, companies and individuals of the licensing community can invest in a tribute ad to appear in the official program distributed at the LIMA Awards Ceremony on June 18, 2013 during Licensing International Expo in Las Vegas.  [Read more...]

The Strong Welcomes New Chief Entomologist and Archivist

The Strong has announced two recent additions to its professional staff:

Marisha Burgess has been hired as chief entomologist at The Strong where she provides primary oversight for all wildlife that inhabit the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden (including butterflies, birds, and small reptiles), as well as for the aquaria housed in the National Museum of Play.

Julia N. Rossi has been hired as an archivist at the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong. Her full-time, two-year position coincides with a rapid acceleration of archival donations, particularly as they relate to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games. Rossi is responsible for appraising, accessioning, and processing both traditional and digital archival collections and institutional records.