by Laurie Chartorynsky, The Toy Association

Rosie O’Neill, co-founder and co-CEO of gourmet candy boutique Sugarfina, will share insight into her approach to retail and the confections industry during a “TED-Talk”-like session at PlayCon, May 8 to 9 in San Francisco, Calif.

“Rosie O’Neill’s fresh and exciting perspective on entrepreneurism and industry disruption is sure to get the creative juices flowing by all who attend PlayCon,” said Marian Bossard, The Toy Association’s executive vice president of global market events. “We are looking forward to hearing from our impressive speaker roster as the level of expertise and diverse knowledge at PlayCon makes this conference a not-to-be missed event.”

This year’s PlayCon, The Toy Association’s International Conference of Play Professionals, features a new format of short “TED-Talk”-like sessions led by more than two dozen thought-leaders, industry analysts, toy influencers, consumer product executives, and other motivational speakers. Confirmed speakers include: Facebook’s Eva Press; Google’s Victoria Fang; alternative reality game designer Jane McGonigal; Dale Dougherty, “father” of the Maker Movement; Euromonitor’s Matthew Hudak; YouTube’s Dan and Lincoln Markham; Bottle Rocket Management CEO Chas Lacaillade; Activision Blizzard’s Tim Kilpin; Trend Hunter’s Armida Ascano and Courtney Scharf; Jefferies’ Stephanie Wissink; Ted Curtin of ProdigyWorks and many more.

Sugarfina opened its first store in 2013 and now has more than 50 locations across North America in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, and Vancouver. O’Neill and her co-founder and now husband, Josh Resnick, launched Sugarfina after being inspired by watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on their third date. The luxury candy store features sweets from artisan candy makers around the world, with candies such as rose all day gummi bears, tequila grapefruit sours, and dark chocolate sea salt cashews.

O’Neill is no stranger to the toy business. She was director of marketing for Barbie at Mattel for seven years. She received her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from UCLA. O’Neill has been named to Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People” list and Goldman Sachs’ “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs.”

The Toy Association is hosting an open forum focused on succeeding over bankruptcies, retail disruption, and a changing marketplace, taking place Tuesday, May 8, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the SF Jazz Center–prior to PlayCon’s official opening. The forum is open to all toy and play professionals at no cost and registration for PlayCon is not required. Email Robyn Gibbs to RSVP.

Visit ToyAssociation.org/PlayCon to register and for a list of up-to-date speakers, hotel information, and other news about the industry’s premier conference for play professionals.