China Toy Fair


MGA Entertainment Unveils New Additions at Toy Fair

LalaloopsyAt the 2014 American International Toy Fair, MGA Entertainment will introduce its spring line-up for its Lalaloopsy, Mooshka, Moxie Girlz, and Little Tikes lines.

The Lalaloopsy brand will expand with Lalaloopsy Babies, featuring original characters Crumbs Sugar Cookie, Pillow Featherbed, Jewel Sparkles, and Mittens Fluff ‘N’ Stuff as soft, adorable babies. Lalaloopsy Bubbly Mermaids Pearly Seafoam and Ocean Seabreeze have hair that can be filled with bubble solution, and tails that can be squeezed to watch their bubble hair grow.

The newest additions to the Mooshka Fairytale lineup include Princess Palia, Ballerina Casia, Mermaid Sonia, and Fairy Ina. Each is adorned with a shimmering tulle dress, colorful soft ribbons, and lace crowns. In addition, each soft doll has Velcro hands that are perfect for holding hands with friends. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: 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’s 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.

Shang has Charcot-Marie-Tooth, a debilitating form of muscular dystrophy, and is leading one of the fastest-growing petitions right now on change.org for American Girl to create a Girl of the Year doll with a disability. Shang is truly an inspiration. In just over 72 hours of her starting the petition, more than 15,000 people have joined the campaign she has launched. [Read more...]

Geeky Stocking Stuffers for the Nerd in Your Life

GiantMicrobes has designed dozens of creations, from ornaments to collectibles, that make the perfect gift for science buffs, collectors, and those with a good sense of humor. Each GiantMicrobe, which can be the Common Cold or an adorable Amoeba, has an image as well as educational information about what the microbe represents.typhoid-fever

Highlights include:

  • GiantMicrobes Ornament Boxes: Three gift boxes (Tree, Stocking, and Wreath) include five best-selling microbes dressed up for Christmas
  • New GiantMicrobes Originals: Antibody – Antibody will keep the humbugs away from your celebrations
  • New GiantMicrobes Originals: Heart Cell – Get your sweetheart’s pulse pounding this Christmas (makes heartbeat sound when squeezed)
  • New GiantMicrobes Originals: Muscle – Expands and contracts like the real thing
  • New GiantMicrobes Originals:  Tapeworm – The elastic Tapeworm grows and grows
  • New Computer Virus Dolls and Key Chains: Perfect geeky gift for computer nerds, or anyone who’s encountered a computer virus

NPD: Fashion Dolls Still in Fashion for the Holidays

According to retail sales data from The NPD Group, year to date through October, the doll category is entering the holiday season with dollar sales up 1 percent compared to year ago. The Fashion Themed Dolls segment is the main driver of this growth with year-over-year sales growth of 6 percent through October.

This increase is due not only to several new brands such as My Little Pony Equestria Girls and Sofia The First, but also growth in some of last year’s more popular brands, including Monster High, Doc McStuffins, and Lalaloopsy.

Within dolls, other subclasses that have experienced strong growth are Fashion Styling & Dressup and Fashion Themed Clothes, which include items such as Monster High Fashion Sets and Barbie Ultimate Closet.

The following lists the Top 15 Fashion Doll items for the last 13 weeks ending November 9, ranked on dollar sales and in alphabetical order:

Survey Shows Children Want Game Systems, iPads for Holidays

Non-traditional items are finding their way onto children’s wish lists this year, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. For the first time, iPads are among the most popular gifts for both girls and boys, with slightly higher demand among the former.

Among the other results from NRF’s 2013 Top Toys survey: 44.3 percent of holiday consumers plan to buy toys as gifts this holiday season; children are still asking for timeless items such as Barbie and dolls (No. 1 and 2 among girls, respectively) or Lego and toy cars (No. 1 and 3 among boys, respectively). And the younger generation is clearly technologically savvy, asking this year for tablets/iPads, smartphones (girls’ No. 11), and game consoles like Xbox One (boys’ No. 5) and PlayStation 4 (girls’ No. 10, boys’ No. 6).

Other popular toys for girls include Monster High Dolls, Disney Princess, and American Girl. The hot new item for boys this year is Skylanders, a hugely popular interactive video game that allows kids to play with a toy action figure at the same time. [Read more...]

The Toy Book Chats with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO, Popstar Club

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO of Popstar Club, which is the manufacturer of the fresh, new doll line, The Beatrix Girls. Sherry gave me an overview of what makes her doll line so unique, and why girls are going to be clamoring for them this holiday season.

SherryGunther.BeatrixCEO

 

Where did you get the idea for Beatrix Girls?

The Beatrix Girls came out of the idea of tying music and dolls together. Ultimately the approach to this was to create a multiplatform brand that really reaches kids everywhere that they are, recognizing that kids are not just watching TV and they’re not just playing with dolls or toys, they’re not just online playing games or being social, they’re doing all of the above. A forward-thinking property really needed to have presence in all of those mediums and to have an integration between all of those formats ingrained in its DNA.

The webisodes are done in a very unique way. How did you come about using that style?

It’s interesting because the natural for me was to go with animation as I spent over 20 years in animation, but there were a lot of things that attracted me to doing it this way, creating webisodes that have the dolls featured interacting in real life. It comes out of the fact that the concept itself has the girls as real. So they’re real and they interact in our world. They’re a real pop star band, we9’re creating real music, not composed music like we would for a toy property or an animated show, but real, credible, pop music written by a platinum-winning writer/producer, mixed by a Grammy-winning engineer, so this is really relevant, today, great music and so we really want to sell them as true pop stars.

Animation oftentimes, especially when doing them based on a product or especially dolls, skews a little bit younger, and we really wanted to have the cool factor and have these be edgier. The medium that we used felt so much more current and fresh and innovative and YouTube generation-like and it felt much more fitting to the brand itself. It gives the dolls the credibility of being real in our world. They have a real human manager, they perform in real venues, so it allows us to play up that real factor for them. And then the scale gives us a lot of humor opportunities for 12-inch dolls interacting in a life-size world.

The really nice side effect that we found is that girls are really responding to the fact that they can relate to the way it was done because it was shot on purpose with hands showing and manipulating the dolls. The idea was that kids could really relate to it and feel like I can do that, I can get four dolls and with my friends create a scene and a scenario.

 

For some reason it reminds me of Mr. Bill, the old SNL skit.

That’s kind of what we were going for. We were going for rather than just sort of just straight, weak, almost too young-skewing animation. We wanted it to be edgier and quirky and fun and hilarious and this medium allowed us to do that, to have that feel to it.

[Read more...]

Disney Releases New Frozen Product Collection

FrozenproductsTo commemorate the release of Walt Disney Animation Studios‘ film Frozen, Disney Consumer Products (DCP) will release a diverse new product collection of role-play items, plush stuffed animals, dolls, and more. These products are available now from Mattel, Just Play, and other licensees at mass retailers nationwide, as well as at Disney Store and DisneyStore.com.

Disney’s Frozen chronicles the epic quest of fearless Anna to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Highlights from Disney’s Frozen product line include:

  • Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls, from Mattel: When kids hold their hands—or when they hold each other’s hands—the dolls magically light up and play enchanting music.
  • Disney Frozen Pull Apart and Talkin’ Olaf, from Just Play: Olaf’s nose, head, and torso all temporarily separate and then safely rejoin, recreating memorable moments from the film. Plush Olaf also says funny phrases from the movie.
  • Frozen Rolling Travel Trunk, from Jakks Pacific: Kids can dress up like Anna and Elsa with two beautiful dresses and tons of accessories, then pack everything up and roll the trunk to their next destination.
  • Frozen Storybook Deluxe, from Disney Publishing: In Disney Publishing’s digital Storybook Deluxe app, Elsa and Anna retell the animated feature Frozen from two points of view.
  • Frozen: A Sister More Like Me by Disney Publishing: A jacketed picture book featuring an original story about Anna and Elsa, as well as illustrations by one of the artists who worked on the film.
  • Frozen Big Golden Book by Random House: An illustrated hardcover Big Golden Book based on the film, suitable for kids ages 3 to 7.

Tonner Gets into the Action with Lady Action

Lady ActionTonner Doll Co. Inc. has developed a new 16-inch Lady Action collectible doll through a partnership with Captain Action Enterprises. The Lady Action British Superspy doll recently debuted at New York Comic Con at the Javits Center in New York City and will be showcased at the American International Toy Fair in February, as well as the Tonner Collectors Convention in May.

Since Lady Action was introduced in 2007 as part of the Captain Action line, she has been scheduled to appear in the upcoming Captain Action comic series, Codename: Action, published by Dynamite Entertainment. Caption Action: The Animated Series is also currently in development with Gang of Seven Animation.

This collectible doll, also known in reality as Niki Sinclair, daughter of an adventurer and now part of the A.C.T.I.O.N. Directorate international spy organization, will be available to fans and collectors in comic shops nationwide as well as through online retailers and at tonnerdoll.com in May.

Mattel Launches Ever After High Globally

Photographer Jeremy Lloyd Stylist Lin CarlsonMattel has launched its newest intellectual property, Ever After High. Based on the everyday lives of the teenage sons and daughters of well-known fairytale legends, Ever After High leverages multiple platforms to reach consumers.

The story of Ever After High takes place at an enchanted boarding school, where Raven Queen, daughter of the Evil Queen, questions her storybook fate of becoming the next Evil Queen. After she questions her own pre-determined destiny, the school becomes divided between those who want what is promised to them, and those who want to write their own storybook endings.

This new tween property is available in 14 countries and will continue to roll-out to more than 30 territories next year. In addition to the initial collection of six fashion dolls, the property is supported by an immersive digital experience including a website, EverAfterHigh.com, global Facebook page, and YouTube channel. The digital ecosystem includes animated webisodes, character bios, games, avatars, and an interactive music video.

The Beatrix Girls Makes Its Retail Debut at Toys “R” Us Stores Nationwide

TheBeatrixGirlsThe Beatrix Girls, a new line of collectible pop-star dolls driven by original music, is set to empower and inspire young girls nationwide with its retail debut this month at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com. Kids can collect their music, join their fan club, and vicariously live the fantasy of being a pop star through play.

The Beatrix Girls have already generated a huge amount of momentum securing early strategic deals with licensing partners such as Peavey Instruments, along with nine other licensing partners covering every major category, including apparel, accessories, back-to-school stationary, footwear, and more.

The Beatrix Girls collection of dolls is recommended for ages 5 and up.