China Toy Fair


NFL Players Inc. Wants to Turn Toymakers into Playmakers

NFLPlayersAssociationNFL Players Inc. (NFLPI), the marketing and licensing arm of the NFL Players Association, introduces Playmaker Challenge, an exciting new competition for toy developers. To be considered, new toy ideas must feature the unique intellectual property assets licensed only by NFLPI, including names, uniform numbers, signatures, nicknames, images, and likenesses for more than 1,800 active NFL players.

The competition, announced at Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, runs through December 19, and NFLPI is accepting applications for concepts through the Playmaker Challenge microsite. The grand prize winner will receive an NFLPI-issued license, an NFL player promotional appearance at their Toy Fair booth, and $10,000 towards player marketing, which can be used on retail partnerships, social media activation, and/or player appearances. Additionally, NFLPI will work with the winner and retail launch partner to donate a quantity of the newly licensed toy to a pre-determined children’s charity.

A committee will review submissions and invite three finalists to present their concepts to the NFLPI committee from January 4 to February 13. The winner will be announced at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.

Toy State Showcases New Branding for Road Rippers and Nikko

Toy State New BrandingOn Monday, Toy State unveiled new branding designs for its flagship lights and sound and R/C product lines, Road Rippers and Nikko. The company is showcasing the new-look product lines and branding at Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, and will continue to highlight them at Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair in January.

Toy State acquired Nikko and Nikko Entertainment BV in May. The moves came on the heels of a period of aggressive growth, including new licensing partnerships with Hot Wheels, Transformers, Hello Kitty, and Angry Birds.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the new logos and packaging these leading brands will have when they hit retail shelves in 2015,” said Andy Friess, Toy State’s general manager of U.S. operations and senior vice president of global marketing. “Redefining the Nikko brand was a major design objective following our acquisition, and returning Road Rippers to its signature ‘orange package’ roots provides an exciting refresh for the leader in the lights and sound vehicle category.”

Out of the Blue Enterprises Acquires Colorforms

Out Of The Blue Enterprises.logoOut of the Blue Enterprises is planning an extensive new toy line, animated series, and digital apps based on its newly acquired legacy brand, Colorforms. New products in the line are expected to debut at retail next fall, based on popular brands including Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, Bubble Guppies, Spongebob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Peter Rabbit, Pete the Cat, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

Colorforms Brand LLC, the new division of Out of the Blue, is showcasing its new Colorforms toy line to retailers at the Fall Toy Preview in Dallas this week.

TIA to Host Young Professionals Cocktail Party in Dallas

TIA.YoungProfessionalsNetworkThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) Young Professionals Network (YPN), which supports the growth, development, and retention of young professionals in the toy industry, will host a networking cocktail party on October 8 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The event will take place following the close of the second day of Fall Toy Preview.

All young toy industry professionals ages 35 and under are invited to attend the party, to be held at the Hilton Anatole Gossip Bar. Admission is free for both TIA members and non-members; TIA member company representatives will receive one complimentary drink.

RSVP for the cocktail party is requested by October 2. Questions and suggestions for expanding or improving upon the YPN—formerly known as Toy Industry Next Generation (TING)—may be directed to TIA’s Bernadette Boyle, membership manager, at (646) 454-5585.

Women in Toys (WIT) Kicks Off New Initiatives in Dallas on October 6

WITWinningMovesWomen in Toys (WIT) has launched its new Empowerment Program with three exciting initiatives that provide members with opportunities for professional support, career development, and a roadmap to success.

The Winning Moves Empowerment Workshop gives entrepreneurs, inventors, and manufacturers the opportunity to pitch products to retail giant Wal-Mart as well as top toy and game companies including Hasbro, Spin Master, and Winning Moves Games. The event takes place on October 6 at Dallas Market Center at 1:00 pm, the day before the Toy Industry Association‘s Fall Toy Preview begins. It also features panel discussions, one-on-one speed mentoring, and networking opportunities such as a cocktail party open to women, men, members, and non-members.

One-on-One Mentoring pairs industry expert mentors with up-and-coming WIT members as well as those looking to change their career path. Volunteer mentors include manufacturers, retailers, marketing/PR agencies, and licensors. Members interested in becoming a mentor or mentee can sign up at www.womenintoys.com or contact Nancy Zwiers at nancy@funosophy.com

Learn-the-Ropes Webinars are hosted by industry experts and will provide information, insights, education, and support on a wide variety of topics. These are designed to help members with their career goals and professional development. Webinars will begin in December on Wednesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Anyone looking for more information can visit www.womenintoys.com or contact Deb de Sherbinin at deb@kidsmartusa.com.

Innovation First Partners with Tony Hawk for New Circuit Boards Brand and Products

Innovation First International, the creator of Hexbug, is launching a new Tony Hawk Circuit Boards brand and product line, due to hit shelves across Europe and North America this fall.

Kids can choose between two ways to play: traditional fingerboard style, or slapping on the power axle and utilizing the I/R remote control. Users can build the ultimate skatepark and grind the rails, pull off a rock to fakie, or master their own series of tricks with their favorite Birdhouse deck. The initial product assortment available at launch will include 24 Birdhouse and Tony Hawk authentic decks to customize and collect, along with a variety of ramp sets and skateparks.

Hexbug will showcase the new product line by appointment at TIA Fall Toy Preview in October at the Dallas Market Center.

WIT Unveils Details for Its Winning Moves Empowerment Workshop

WITWinningMovesWomen in Toys’ (WIT) Winning Moves Empowerment Workshop will take place at the Dallas Market Center on October 6, the day before the start of Fall Toy Preview. The event will provide attendees with the opportunity to pitch to Wal-Mart, share their inventions with toy companies including Hasbro, and learn through speed mentoring sessions.

The workshop schedule includes panel discussions on topics such as selling to Wal-Mart and approaches to raising capital. There will also be an evening cocktail party with appetizers on the 15th floor of the Dallas Market Center.

The deadline for applications has been extended until September 12, and the event is open to women, men, and WIT members and non-members. The ticket price is $40 for WIT members and $55 for non-WIT members. More information about the workshop can be found at the WIT homepage.

WIT Announces Winning Moves Event for Female Entrepreneurs, Inventors, and Manufacturers

Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT) is hosting its first Winning Moves workshop, which will provide WIT members with an opportunity to develop their careers and grow their businesses.

Women-owned businesses can pitch their products to Wal-Mart, inventors can present their product concepts to toy companies, and members seeking professional development advice can meet with toy experts for a speed mentoring session. [Read more...]

New Affiliation Between TIA and CTA Now in Effect

A new affiliate agreement between the U.S. Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the Canadian Toy Association (CTA) went into effect on July 1. As previously reported by TIA, the partnership was formed to help strengthen the products, services, and events both organizations offer their collective members and industry stakeholders throughout North America.

Under the terms of the initial three-year partnership agreement, any TIA member with operations in Canada will be eligible to become a member of the CTA with one membership fee, while current CTA members will pay a single set of dues to access the benefits of CTA and TIA membership. A representative of each organization will sit on the leadership committee of the other body, and CTA will maintain its Canadian incorporation, mission, and bylaws.

Every CTA member is now in the TIA membership database and has unrestricted, members only access to TIA’s online products and services, including free educational webinars, proprietary reports on market research and industry practices, legislative bulletins on industry issues, and more. [Read more...]

New Opportunities for Toy Companies at Fall Toy Preview 2014

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has made several changes to its Fall Toy Preview to widen the show’s attendee base and provide added value for members of the global toy industry. According to the TIA, the updates were developed by the Trade Show Committee and were based on feedback received from buyers and sellers who responded to TIA post-show surveys.

As part of the changes, Fall Toy Preview is no longer strictly a “by-appointment-only” event allowing exhibitors onsite opportunities to do business. The TIA will now offer new booth packages that provide exhibiting companies with both open or combination—closed with and open display area—booths.

In addition, specialty buyers who are ready to show product for the 2015 holiday season and have an interest in previewing are invited to attend. Traditionally, only toy companies that sold product to mass market were allowed to exhibit. Also, the show will introduce new educational programming and a Woman’s Empowerment Initiative co-hosted by Women in Toys and Wal-Mart. Additional events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Fall Toy Preview will take place on October 7 to 9.