As reported by Reuters and other news outlets, FAO Schwarz, the oldest toy store in the U.S., is closing its iconic Fifth Ave. flagship store in Manhattan, citing rising rent prices. The store will shut its doors on July 15, exiting early from its lease.
The 15th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on February 13 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. The evening event, which kicks off the North American International Toy Fair, will include a cocktail networking reception with hors d’oeuvres and dinner, followed by the awards ceremony.
Over the course of the event, presenters will announce the TOTY winners in 12 categories, as well as the People’s Choice Award, which is based solely on consumer votes, and the overall Toy of the Year Award, which is selected by mass and specialty retailers, journalists, and Toy Industry Association (TIA) members. The winners will be chosen from more than 600 products submitted for consideration during the open call for nominations this fall. Voting is currently open for all TOTY finalists at www.toyawards.org. [Read more...]
Guests will be able to interact with a life-size Rilakkuma mascot and Kawaii girls, and will have a chance to win giveaway prizes. A Rilakkuma pop-up shop featuring plush, apparel, accessories, electronics, and stationery based on the brand will remain in FAO Schwarz’s Great Hall until the end of the month.
The free event will be held on October 11, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Giveaways will be distributed to guests while supplies last.
The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is launching an online fundraising auction to benefit TIF programs and grants, which help children in need around the world.
TIF partnered with global charity auction site, Charitybuzz, to host the auction—which includes a visit to the set of Sesame Street in New York, tickets to Nickelodeon’s 2015 Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles, and private meetings with top toy executives.
Bids may be placed through September 30 at charitybuzz.com/tif.
Hasbro Inc. and 3DPlusMe are introducing Super Awesome Me, a personalized 3-D printing experience that allows kids (and those who are kids at heart) to become Captain America or Iron Man. The initiative provides fans with a customized, 12-inch action figure through an in-store experience. In conjunction with Disney Consumer Products’ Marvel Super Hero September celebration, the Super Awesome Me experience will launch at ten Wal-Mart and two Sam’s Club locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston between September 19 and 28.
Fans visit an in-store scanning station, where a 3-D face scanner captures their likeness to create a 3-D model. Each Super Awesome Me figure, recommended for fans ages 4 years and up, features a traditional articulated plastic action figure body and full-color 3-D printed head. Figures are available for pick-up at Wal-Mart locations or shipped to Sam’s Club customers in four weeks.
More information on the Super Awesome Me experience, as well as a full list of participating Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations, is available at superawesomeme.com.
A 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.
FAO 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.