China Toy Fair


BubbleBall Inc. to Launch Bubble Soccer in New York City

BubbleA New York City-based start-up, BubbleBall Inc., is introducing bubble soccer to the United States. The sport is regular soccer played inside a giant, protective, and bouncing bubble suit, and is popular in Europe and Australia. BubbleBall Inc. is currently selling products nationwide and inviting people to play the sport in New York. In celebration of the World Cup, the company is also giving away free products through its Twitter sweepstakes.

Reservations can be made to play BubbleBall in New York at Chelsea Piers starting July 12.

Dedicated Rilakkuma Shop to Launch at FAO Schwarz in October

RilakkumaFAO Schwarz will convert three towers in the Grand Hall of its New York flagship store into a Rilakkuma destination for the month of October. Over the past decade, the Rilakkuma brand and its characters have become a key part of Japanese culture and the essence of the Kawaii lifestyle, which emphasizes cuteness and adorableness.

FAO Schwarz currently carries a variety of plush Rilakkuma product in its flagship store and online at fao.com. To celebrate the brand’s shop-within-a-shop launching in October, FAO Schwarz will expand its product assortment to include Kigurumis, hats, cell phone cases, ear buds, graphic t-shirts, and new plush items.

In 2003, San-X launched Rilakkuma in Japan, and Aliquantum International (AQI) has since brought the brand to North America.

Safe Kids Day 2014 Planned for Los Angeles, New York City

tia_logo[1]The Toy Industry Association (TIA) will sponsor Safe Kids Day 2014, hosted by Safe Kids Worldwide. The events for the nationwide initiative will take place on April 5th in Los Angeles and April 12th in New York City. The TIA will provide attendees with free tips, tools, and guidelines for choosing age-appropriate products to play with that will keep kids safe while they play. 

The bicoastal events will feature games, activities, guest appearances, and an opportunity for families to learn how to stay safe from preventable injuries.

Toy Fair 2014 to Be Biggest U.S. Toy Fair Yet

The American International Toy Fair in February is expected to be the largest toy trade show ever held in North America. Though registration has been open for just a few weeks, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) reports that the show has already surpassed a record-breaking 400,000 net square feet of exhibit space at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The 2013 event—which hosted the largest exhibit area since 2000—covered just over 366,000 net square feet at the Javits Center. As of press time, total registration for the 2014 American International Toy Fair is up 10 percent over the same period last year, while buyer registration is up 6 percent year-to-date, and international buyer attendance has surged 18 percent over last year’s point-in-time figures.

Approximately 30,000 visitors are expected to attend, exploring products on display by more than 1,000 exhibiting toy companies.

Ridemakerz Comes to FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue

imagesRidemakerz is driving to New York City with the grand opening of the experimental Ridemakerz store-within-a-store at the FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue location on the second level. The shop officially opens at 10 a.m. on November 11, and Ridemakerz will offer 100 complimentary Ridez to the first 100 people who arrive before 11 a.m. In celebration of Veteran’s Day, a complimentary Ridemakerz baseball cap will be offered to veterans who visit the store.

The Ridemakerz shop resembles the look and feel of an authentic race car garage and offers a unique experience for kids and adults to build their own toy cars. Customizers can choose from authentic cars, including Corvettes, Vipers, and Mustangs, and entertainment characters like Lightning McQueen, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. There are more than 649 million possible combinations to be made with customizable options, including lights, sounds, accessories, and decals.

For a unique experience, participants can also engage in the Pit Crew Challenge where their build times can be compared against family and friends. For special occasions such as birthdays, group outings, and company team-building, Ridemakers offers Revved Up Bashes, where friends can “Chooze, Customize, and Cruise” home with a one-of-a-kind Ridez. As the holidays approach, Ridemakerz will begin offering special, in-store events, as well as in-store and online deals on new products.

Interactive Ridemakerz retail shops have already opened in Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Calif.; Downtown Disney in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.; Branson Landing in Branson, Mo.; and Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

WIT Accepts Nominations for 2014 Wonder Women Awards

WITAwardsWomen in Toys (WIT) is accepting nominations for the 10th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment Awards. Winners will be announced at an awards dinner scheduled for February 17 during Toy Fair Week. The awards program recognizes and celebrates leaders, innovators, and other powerful women who have made lasting contributions to the toy and entertainment industries.

Industry stakeholders are invited to nominate a co-worker, client, associate, family member, or acquaintance for consideration in one or more of the following categories: designer/inventor, licensing and entertainment, manufacturer, rising star, marketing PR, and retailer. Nominations may be submitted online, and tickets are currently available for purchase at the WIT site.

The awards dinner will take place at Pier Sixty and The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

Voting Opens for 2014 Toy Industry Hall of Fame Inductees

HallofFame2014logoThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) has opened its annual ballot to determine the next inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The voting period will extend to September 13. This year’s candidates were chosen from a slate of 24 highly-qualified nominees submitted for consideration by members of the Hall of Fame (HOF) Committee. All of the nominees left notable marks on the North American toy industry.

Living candidates for induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame included:

  •     Jill Barad, former CEO, Mattel
  •     Horst Brandstätter, president and sole owner, PLAYMOBIL/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG
  •     Thomas Chan, chairman and CEO, Playmates Toys Inc.
  •     Joel Glickman, founder, K’NEX Brands
  •     Bruce Raiffe, president, Gund, division of Enesco, LLC

Candidates for posthumous induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame included:

Responses are due by September 13. Designated points of contact at TIA member companies, former Hall of Fame inductees, and recent TIA Board members are invited to rank their choices in the living and posthumous categories.

The inductees will be honored during the Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards ceremony on February 15 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which officially launches Toy Fair Week in New York City.

Keeping the Momentum Going After Toy Fair

Final post in a six-part series of posts on preparing for the annual trade event

By Julie Livingston, Director, business development and accounts, Child’s Play Communications, New York City

With Toy Fair officially over, it is time to take a quick breath and capitalize on the media interest your company or brand received during those intense four days. You may return to a desk piled high and an overwhelming number of emails to answer, but don’t lose the momentum you’ve created. Many Toy Fair exhibitors come back from the show re-energized about their own businesses, so now is a good time to move fast. If you wait more than two weeks after Toy Fair to start following up on media leads, there’s a good chance you’ll never do it. Following are tips on the most effective ways to keep the momentum going after the show:

1.     Re-read Toy Fair notes and identify next steps: Transcribe your Toy Fair meeting notes as soon as possible while the show experience is still fresh in your mind. Ask other colleagues to review and “weigh in” from their perspective. With input from everyone who worked the booth, keep a record of which media outlets stopped by and who worked with them. Importantly, note any issues or problems. Did a reporter come early or late to an appointment, finding that there was no one available to work with them? How was this handled? Were bloggers treated with respect? How were business cards collected? How could these things be handled better in the future?

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Toy Fair NY to Feature Three-Meter Touch Screens of Exhibitor Information

This year’s American International Toy Fair, to be held in New York in a few weeks, will feature an interactive, digital wall called Fair Necessities. “Fair Necessities will be an interactive gateway to all things Toy Fair,” said Kimberly Carcone, senior director of trade show and event marketing at TIA, in a press release. “With the tap of a finger, multiple users will be able to simultaneously access floor plans, event schedules, exhibitor listings, photos, videos and news clips, apps, and more on the huge three-meter touch screens.” The LCD multi-touch display screen was designed by European IT firm Uma, and will be located in the main concourse of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during the four days of the show.

For more information of Toy Fair, visit www.ToyFairNY.com.

This post was originally written by Elizabeth A. Reid and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Showrooms at Fifth Ave. Building to Display Products During NY Toy Fair

During American International Toy Fair in New York City, 20 floors of showrooms at 230 Fifth Avenue will showcase various types of toys, gift items, general merchandise, books, seasonal, stationery, and related products. The Toy Fair will run from February 12-15.

A listing of all participating showrooms can be picked up from one of the registration coordinators at the lobby registration desk in the building. Special perks and amenities, including the newly designed Buyers Lounge, will be available to all attendees.

This post was originally written by Elizabeth A. Reid and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.