Startup Toymail Receives Investment from Amazon, Will Integrate Alexa Voice Service into Toys

ToymailToymail Co., the creator of Mailmen toys and the Toymail app for iOS and Android, has received an investment by Amazon from the Alexa Fund and plans to integrate the Alexa Voice Service into its messaging platform for kids. Toymail will use the investment from the Alexa Fund for product research and to scale its SAS footprint.

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Canal Toys Launches Selfie Kits for Kids and Families

Canal Toys' Selfie Photo KitCanal Toys is putting a new spin on selfies with its soon-to-be released selfie kits for tweens, teens, and families. The Selfie Photo Fun kits include a selfie stick, themed photo booth props, and a wireless remote in select sets. The kits transform a typical selfie into a creative photo shoot experience.

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Amazon, Lego, and Hasbro Rank Among Reputation Institute’s 2015 U.S. RepTrak 100

ReputationInstitute2,logoAmazon ranked first for the second year in a row in Reputation Institute‘s 2015 U.S. RepTrak 100, an annual survey of corporate reputations. Lego ranked third among the top ten companies, and Hasbro ranked 23rd.

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COMMENTARY: Toy Shoppers Have More Tools at Their Disposal than Ever

ToyBooklogoToday’s toy shopping experience has become a combination—or choice—of in-person browsing, online price comparisons, and research in a way we’d previously never seen before the dawn of the smartphone. Gone are the days of browsing the aisles of a single store, limited to its inventory and prices. Competitors used to be a trip or a phone call away, and often, shoppers didn’t have the time or desire to drive around town in search of a slightly lower price.

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Amazon.com Launches STEM Toys & Games Store

Amazon.com today launched its STEM Toys & Games Store, a single destination for discovering products that are meant to help children of all ages develop science, technology, engineering, and math-related skills.

STEM was the second most-visited category, as well as the second highest in terms of sales volume for Amazon during the most recent holiday season.

American Greetings Hires Karen Vermeulen, Revamps Internal Licensing, Entertainment Teams

ResizedAGPLogoAmerican Greetings Properties (AGP), the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corporation, is revamping its licensing, entertainment, digital, and distribution teams, starting with the hire of former longtime Zodiak Kids executive Karen Vermeulen. Vermeulen joins AGP as its new head of global sales and co-productions, and will initially be based out of London.
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Tris Barbie Re-Enacts Iconic Scene from The Divergent Series: Insurgent

Insurgent,BarbieTimed to the release of The Divergent Series: Insurgent, the sequel to the 2014 film Divergent, images of the new Tris Barbie doll are available now on thebarbiecollection.com and amazon.com.

In this photo, the Tris Barbie doll reenacts an iconic scene from the new movie in theaters nationwide March 20.

Q&A with Eva Lorenz, Category Leader, Amazon Toys & Games

Eva Lorenz, AmazonThe Toy Book (TTB): How are you engaging consumers to drive sales?

Eva Lorenz (EL): Amazon customers, particularly busy parents, appreciate having the ability to shop on their own time and from the comfort of their own home or while on-the-go using a mobile device. They also love having access to the largest selection of products and all the information they needcomprehensive product details, high-resolution images, video content, and customer reviews–to make informed purchasing decisions. We consistently deliver on these promises to customers, which has earned their trust and keeps them coming back to shop on Amazon. [Read more...]

Ann Kearns and Eva Lorenz to Receive WIT Honors

WIT.logoWomen in Toys (WIT) will honor Ann Kearns, vice president, global toys, Sesame Workshop, with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the WIT 11th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment Dinner on February 15. The organization will also present Eva Lorenz, general manager for Amazon Toys & Games, with Retailer of the Year. The event coincides with the North American International Toy Fair in New York City. [Read more...]

Toy Fair 2015 Sells Out of Exhibit Space

ToyFair15LogoAs reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), exhibit space for the 112th North American International Toy Fair, scheduled for February 14 to 17, has officially sold out. The show has already surpassed a record-breaking 419,000 net square feet of exhibit space at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and going forward, prospective Toy Fair exhibitors will be placed on a wait list (under no financial obligation).

The expanded show floor, equivalent in size to more than seven football fields, will feature hundreds of thousands of innovative new toys, games, and youth entertainment products. The North American International Toy Fair draws buyers, licensors, entertainment executives, and other play professionals from 100 countries, who will be on-hand scouting toy trends, spotting unique product lines and brands, and writing orders for next year.

Major global retail outlets already registered to attend include Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, Apple, and Hobby Lobby.