Sweet Suite 2016

Q&A: Patch Products Becomes PlayMonster

BobWannThe Toy Book catches up with Bob Wann, CEO of PlayMonster.

Patch Products is now PlayMonster! What’s the story behind the new name?

The name was changed to PlayMonster to better represent the diversity and quality of the company’s product line, which is a reflection of our mission and values. We started the process several months ago with motivation to simply update and evolve our logo, but as we researched and examined the changing marketplace, we saw an opportunity to create a playful new brand name that better expresses our belief in the power of play and that play is not only about fun, but also about making a difference in people’s lives.

The new name also better reflects that we are champions of play, a belief and attitude shared by all of our employees—from the management team to sales people to product creators.

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How has PlayMonster evolved over the past 30 years?

PlayMonster was founded as Patch Products in 1985 and named for co-founders and brothers Fran and Bryce Patch. The company started more than 30 years ago with children’s puzzles, but has since grown into one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of award-winning games and toys that enrich the lives of the young and the young at heart. The company has grown tremendously over the past five years alone, because we’ve expanded from being a games-only company into a multi-category toy and game company developing play for all ages, with our infant toy line Mirari, all the way to our best-selling games such as The Game of THINGS… for adults. With this variety of products, we’re now shipping millions of units of toy and game products per year, three times as many as we did five years ago. We wholeheartedly believe in bringing high-quality play to people of all ages, and will continue to do so under the PlayMonster name.

PlayMonster has experienced rapid growth over the past few years, and is now a top 30 toy company. To what do you attribute this growth, and how do you plan to maintain it?

We’ve continued to be picky about the games we create and take under our brand. We only want to produce quality products that have timeless play, not a toy or game that’s frivolous, or some short-term fad that will not have long-term appeal. A good example of this is our popular party game 5 Second Rule. We first started working on it seven years ago, and today it’s even more popular than it was when it first launched. It is still a top seller because of the fun interaction it creates. Ellen DeGeneres enjoys it so much that she frequently plays the game on her show, and the interaction between her and her guests is hilarious. In the same way we’re picky about specific ideas, we’re also careful in the acquisitions we make. We look for long-lasting play value, often with a point of difference that makes it special, and that’s what we found with our most recent acquisition of Roominate.

What inspired the acquisition of Roominate? How will this acquisition impact PlayMonster?

With the acquisition of Roominate, a line of toys designed to open up possibilities for kids by showing them that creativity and engineering are fun, PlayMonster expands into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) category.

STEM is one of the fastest-growing categories in the toy industry today. What makes Roominate different is that not only do parents like it because it delivers on the principles of STEM, but kids love it because it’s so much fun they want to play with it over and over again. The founders of Roominate did a fantastic job of designing this line with the help of kids so that the fun is new every time. What good is a STEM toy if it’s not fun and kids don’t want to use it, right?

Roominate.Amusement

In an age where kids are spending more time with technology at younger ages, how are you helping kids and families spend more time playing together?

We make fun games and toys that promote interaction and quality time by playing with friends and family. We are champions of play because play brings people together with laugh-out-loud fun, and that’s important in today’s high-pressure world. We offer a fun way to escape stress and “screen time”and consumers clearly seem to be responding to that, as evidenced by not only by our increasing sales, but also by all of the awards and accolades our products have received recently. In the last six years alone we have had eight TOTY (Toy Industry Toy of the Year) award finalists across multiple categories—that’s a huge accomplishment for us, as well as a great honor.

What are your future plans and expectations?

We expect to continue to achieve high growth as PlayMonster by continuing our momentum and building on what’s been successful for us, and so far that’s two very essential things: The first is providing great play for all ages, not just for kids or adults or infants, but for everyone. The second is providing high-quality play that stands the test of time and offers a remarkable play experience, not games or toys that will only hold interest for a few days. These two ingredients, plus scaling up our marketing and advertising on digital media and TV, will be our key to continued growth. Last year we promoted one item, Chrono Bomb, on TV, and this year we plan to promote several more, including our popular kids’ game Yeti in My Spaghetti. So we’re definitely Yeti—oops, I mean ready—for an exciting new year!

Patch Products Changes Name to PlayMonster

PlayMonsterPatchPatch Products has changed its corporate name to Play Monster and will introduce its new name for the first time at the North American International Toy Fair in New York City. The company says that the name change better reflects its commitment to provide play for all ages.

The new name is effective immediately and will begin being implemented across the company’s products and services this calendar year and forward. PlayMonster most recently acquired Roominate to increase its STEM offerings and will add products throughout the year, including My Fairy Garden.

BREAKING: Patch Enters STEM Category with Acquisition of Roominate

6de77f60-394a-44e0-97da-1e5bbd023cb7Patch Products expands from puzzles, toys, and games into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) category with the acquisition of Roominate. STEM has become a prominent topic within the toy industry, as it builds and supports education through play. [Read more...]

TIF Lights Up the Lives of Chicago-Area Foster Children with 3,700 Toys

TIF,Chicago childrenThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, as well as CASA of Cook County, hosted nearly 500 Chicago-area foster children at Play Your Part–Chicago on July 16 at U.S. Cellular Field. TIF provided more than 3,700 playthings valued at more than $50,000 to foster children served by CASA of Cook County. Kids ages 3 through teens will be gifted with additional new toys to help celebrate birthdays, holidays, and special occasions.

[Read more...]

TIF, National CASA Team Up to Help Kids in Southern California

pyp2015-250x167Nearly 150 volunteers from the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (CASA) gave gift packages to 7,000 foster children in need throughout Southern California as part of the TIF’s annual Play Your Part event. Forty-one companies from the toy industry participated in the event, including Funrise Toy Corp., Jakks Pacific, Mattel, Patch Products, Tomy International, and VTech Electronics North America, as Big Heart and Specialty level event sponsors.

[Read more...]

Kids Can Be Spy Mission Heroes with Chrono Bomb from Patch Products

Jan19.ChronoBombPatch Products is bringing France’s popular Chrono Bomb game to the U.S. The game is a secret spy mission, where kids use included clamps and a string to create a pretend laser field to crawl through. Kids must make it to the end of the maze to defuse the bomb, which will tick down faster if the string is bumped.

The game encourages kids to get up and move around. Different courses can be played, or kids can race each other against the clock to see who can diffuse the bomb the quickest. Kids can also use a smartphone to download a free companion app, where they can scan special cards to receive extra secret missions.

Children of Soldiers and Wounded Warriors Get New Toys from TIF and BGCA

toyindustryMore than 1,700 children of military personnel and Wounded Warriors were given brand-new toys and games on November 6 at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Va. Hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services, the toy giveaway was held in celebration of Military Family Appreciation Month.

Every child in attendance got to take home a toy, choosing from a selection of skill-building, enriching, and comforting playthings donated by Barnes & Noble, Big Time Toys, Imperial Toy, Lego, Mattel, Patch Products, and Yamie Chess. The event was held as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program, in which toys and games are delivered on an annual basis to families on U.S. military installations at home and abroad.

Patch Products Expands Product Line with Acquisition of Onaroo

OnarooPatch Products has expanded its line of toys to include children’s room decor by acquiring Onaroo, previously owned by American Innovative LLC. Patch’s line of products now includes Onaroo brand night-lights and alarm clocks designed to help kids sleep better and on schedule.

 

ChiTAG Group Brings Largest Toy and Game Inventor Event to Chicago Toy & Game Week

CHITAGHosted by the Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG), the International Toy & Game Innovation Conference (T&GCon) is a networking and educational opportunity in which both industry leaders and those looking to get involved in the industry and/or have their product licensed can come together to share key insights and ideas.

The conference, scheduled to take place on November 20 and 21 at the Navy Pier in Chicago, also includes the International Summit for Professional Inventors (I-SPI), and the Inventor Relations Summit (IRS), which is part of I-SPI. Attendees will have the chance to meet top executives from Hasbro, Spin Master, Ravensburger, NASA, Patch Products, and more.

At T&GCon, new inventors will have opportunities to show their ideas to dozens of toy and game industry companies. Meanwhile, at I-SPI, aspiring inventors can meet colleagues from around the world, experience new technology, meet with manufacturers in private offices, and more. Finally, at IRS, attendees can discover new ideas, products, and innovation from different inventors and companies, as well as discuss ways to strengthen both the inventor community and the industry as a whole.

Registration includes a ticket to PlayCHIC, the toy, game and entertainment brand-inspired fashion show on the evening of November 20, as well as a ticket to the Toy & Game Inventor of the Year Awards. Interested parties can visit the official T&GCon site to register.

Patch Products Under New Ownership

Patch.logoPatch Products has announced that its founders, Fran and Bryce Patch, have sold the business to Topspin Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in New York City.

Founded in 1985, Patch has grown from a small puzzle and game manufacturer to a family entertainment company which designs, manufactures, distributes, and markets games, children’s puzzles, preschool toys, creative activities, and teaching tools.

The Patch headquarters and management team, led by CEO Bob Wann, will remain in place. “We are excited to have Topspin as our partner going forward,” Wann states. “It was very apparent from all of our discussions that Topspin shares the same excitement and support for the strategic vision we have for Patch. This, combined with the additional financial resources that they can provide, will trigger further expansion and growth for Patch.”