January 09, 2014

China Toy Fair

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DreamWorks Animation and Fuhu Inc. Launch the DreamTab

DreamWorksDreamWorks Animation and Fuhu Inc. have partnered to develop the DreamTab, a new tablet specifically designed for kids. The DreamTab was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, and will launch at U.S. retail this spring. There will also be an international release later this year.
The tablet will include Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliant email, texting, and sharing; an education system aligned to Common Core Standards; and advanced parental controls.


Cardinal Industries Turns 70

In 1944, a young Les Berger, the founder of Cardinal Industries, started the company in Brooklyn. With his knowledge of plastics, Berger began manufacturing dominoes poker chip racks, hula hoops, and Mah Jongg sets.
Seventy years later, Cardinal has grown to become one of America’s top signature board game and puzzle companies, offering more than 400 items including traditional games such as dominoes, checkers, and poker sets, as well as an extensive line of licensed games and lenticular, wood, and basic puzzles. With a worldwide reach, Cardinal products can be found throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. Cardinal has excelled in the licensed puzzle and game arena working with Disney, Marvel, Sanrio, Mattel, and Hasbro, among others.

Four International Trade Fairs Showcase Toys, Baby Products, Stationery, and Licensing

Nearly 2,900 exhibitors from around the world displayed products and services at four international trade fairs that opened on Tuesday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC)’s Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair turned 40 with a special display area dedicated to Hong Kong toys over the decades. Other fair highlights included the new Smart-Tech Toys zone, presenting toys and games that combine traditional design with smart devices and apps for children, teenagers, and adults. These include augmented-reality storybooks, soft toys with handheld games, and an app for keeping virtual pet rabbits.
The HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair attracted a record 462 exhibitors from 29 countries and regions, including first-time exhibitors from New Zealand, the Philippines, and Sweden. The Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, the Hong Kong Baby Products Fair, and the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair are scheduled to continue through January 9.

Swimways Acquires North Carolina-Based Spongex

Swimways Corp. is acquiring Spongex LLC, makers of Aquaria luxury aquatic leisure products, from Nomaco Inc. The acquisition includes the Spongex manufacturing plant in Tarboro, N.C. and its 45 employees.
Known for its Aqua Cell foam technology, an exclusive custom closed-cell foam molding process, Spongex produces high-quality, comfortable, and long-lasting floats, loungers, and luxury noodle-shaped floats. The addition of the Spongex assortment to the Swimways portfolio will enhance the company’s collection of pool floats, including the top-selling Spring Float featuring patented inner spring technology.
While the changeover to Swimways’ leadership began on January 1, the acquisition will not be noticeable at retail until next year, when Spongex products will be distributed under the SwimWays brand.

Kids Preferred Debuts New Lines Featuring The World of Eric Carle

Eric Carle easelThis spring, Kids Preferred will debut two new collections of toys from The World of Eric Carle. The Little Artist Collection features artistic toys and accessories that offer young artists the chance to paint the world as they see it, while the Little Musician Collection helps budding little musicians create their own notes, rhythms, and tunes. Both the Little Artist and Little Musician Collections will debut at the American International Toy Fair in February.
The Little Artist Collection includes a wooden easel with accessories, an art smock with vinyl pockets, and a splat mat/floor cover with a colorful design. The Little Musician Collection includes wooden maracas in caterpillar and ladybug, the Colorful Wood Castanet Set, the “I Heart Music” Tambourine featuring The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a wooden recorder, and more.




New Wii Fit U Challenges Gamers, Families to Get Active

Wii Fit UOn January 10, Nintendo’s Wii Fit U for Wii U will arrive at retail. Wii Fit U features some of the best activities from the original Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus games, as well as new activities that incorporate the Wii U GamePad controller. Users can create their own personalized workouts or select from multiple recommended ones based on their fitness goals. Wii Fit U bundles come packaged with a new activity meter called the Fit Meter, which is designed to sync up with the game and track daily routines.
Nintendo has partnered with celebrity trainer and fitness expert Kathy Kaehler, whose Wii Fit U Challenge encourages Wii U owners to incorporate Wii Fit U into their busy lives and to continuously stay active throughout the entire year.

Nickelodeon Suites Resort Hosts Power Rangers Weekends in February

Power RangersNickelodeon Suites Resort will host Power Rangers weekends with two Power Rangers Super Megaforce-themed celebrations on February 14 to 17 and February 21 to 23. These weekends include activities for guests such as a super-charged Power Rangers lunch, featuring training sessions with all five Power Rangers; up close and personal meet-and-greets; Power Rangers-themed activities and crafts; and a sneak peek screening of an all-new episode of Power Rangers Super Megaforce.
Guests can book a Power Rangers Super Megaforce weekend stay by visiting NickHotel.com/Power-Rangers.



VTech Bolsters Learning Lodge with New Properties from Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, and DreamWorks

VTech is continuing to grow its comprehensive app store, the Learning Lodge. New software downloads feature a variety of education-packed learning games and e-books, as well as new videos and songs, which are compatible with the InnoTab Learning Tablet range, including the InnoTab 3S with Kid Connect and InnoTab 3.
New video downloads are available featuring such properties as Paw Patrol from Nickelodeon, Kung Fu Panda from DreamWorks Animation, and Little Pim, which teaches young kids a second language at the age they learn best. In addition, VTech has partnered with Sesame Street to offer licensed songs for the first time.

TudorCon 14 World Championships and Convention Scheduled for January

Tudor Games, makers of the classic electric football game, on Tuesday announced TudorCon 14, the world’s largest open invitational Electric Football world championship tournament and convention. Children and adults will go head-to-head in three tournaments, competing for the coveted Crystal Football World Championship Trophy. TudorCon 14 will be held the weekend before Super Bowl XLVIII, January 24 to 26, at the Embassy Suites Philadelphia Airport Hotel.
There are three levels of participation: Electric football world championships for adults, the Spark Bowl senior championships for kids ages 13 to 17, and the Spark Bowl junior championships for kids ages 8 to 12. There will also be an Electric Football store, 60 years of Tudor Games on display in curated exhibits, book signings, special guests, and more. The event is free, but registration and a TudorCon 14 badge are required. Badges can be reserved at Tudor Games’ website.

Inspirational Young Girls Can Change the World

American Girl has this wonderful program where they release a Girl of the Year doll, who comes along with stories, games, and activities that “celebrate what it means to be a girl today.” There are a lot of dolls out there on the market that are providing great, positive messages to girls worldwide. Whether they are promoting positive body image, confidence, the drive to dream big, STEM education, or all of the above and more, girls have their pick of the litter when they are searching for a doll that is, in a sense, just like who they are or who they strive to be. American Girl announced their 2014 Girl of the Year on January 1: Isabelle, “an inspired dancer that finds her own way to shine.” But some girls aren’t able to find that doll that would really make them feel special—and brave 10-year-old Melissa Shang has spoken out (adorably and politely) requesting that her favorite doll company, American Girl, make the 2015 Girl of the Year doll that is more like her. Read more…

Change in Leadership at becker&mayer! LLC

Jim Becker has stepped down as president of becker&mayer! LLC, and into the newly-created role of SmartLab creative director and founder. In his new position, Becker will focus on the production of new toys, leading the SmartLab product development team and realizing his dream of making science fun and accessible for kids of all ages.
Mike Oprins, currently Chief Operating Officer of becker&mayer! LLC, has been named president of the company. Oprins joined becker&mayer! in 2011, bringing more than 30 years of retail merchandising and operations experience. As COO, he oversaw all of the operations, production, procurement, and finance efforts for the book group and SmartLab Toys. Oprins will continue to work closely with becker&mayer!’s parent company, The McEvoy Group. 

New Sales Director Named for Spielwarenmesse eG

Daniel Pein has been named the sales director of the global sales network of Spielwarenmesse eG. He has worked in the trade fair business for more than 20 years, and his duties included sales and marketing planning, while specializing in the development and marketing of new products and setting up sales structures. Pein previously worked for Blenheim International Deutschland, K+S München, easyfairs, GHM Gesellschaft für Handwerksmessen, clarion events, and Messe Essen. He also managed the Head Office of the General Association of the Promotional Products Industry (GWW Gesamtverband der Werbeartikel-Wirtschaft e.V.) from 1993 to 1997.

Big Tree Group Full Year Revenue Led by Growth in Toy Exporting

Big Tree Group Inc., which serves as a one-stop shop for the sourcing and distribution of toys and related products, is continuing to see full year revenues reach a record of more than $45 million and earnings per share exceeding $0.14. The company expects to report its full year results in March. The revenue growth was led by Big Tree Group’s wholly owned subsidiary, Shantou Big Tree Toys, which operates its toy exporting business.
The toy exporting business at Shantou Big Tree Toys grew by approximately 50 percent last year and is expected to account for total revenues of approximately $15 million. The company has targeted export sales as a major area for future growth.

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