The World of Eric Carle Expands at Babies “R” Us, Target, and Kohl’s

The  Joester Loria Group is working with licensees and retailers to expand the World of Eric Carle product collection.

Babies “R” Us has added new infant developmental toys from Kids Preferred and play and nap mats from Venture Products to its existing program. Target’s See Spot Save program launched 20 World of Eric Carle products this month, including stationery and tote bags from Innovative Designs, socks from PS Brands, and feeding utensils and containers from Zak Designs. Following the success of their World of Eric Carle infant developmental toy inline program, Kohl’s selected the brand for its semi-annual Kohl’s Baby Event, which kicks off in September and offers consumers great deals on the latest baby products.

Momentum for the brand will continue to build as all partners gear up for the 45th Anniversary of Carle’s most famous title, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, in 2014.

memBrain Licensing, Evy of California Partner for Exclusive Target Collection

Evy of California, manufacturer of girls and juniors apparel, has joined memBrain Licensing to manufacture Emily the Strange apparel for girls ages 4 to 16. The apparel will be sold exclusively at Target stores. Artist Rob Reger created Emily the Strange in 1993 at his design studio in Berkeley. The character has been used for a Nintendo DS videogame, iPhone app, and a series of HarperCollins novels popular among kids and tweens. Emily the Strange is known for empowering individualism. The first appearance of the apparel, which coincides with the icon’s 20th birthday, will include graphic T-shirts sold online and in stores. A pin and a hand tag that reads “Be Yourself” will be given out with the T-shirt purchase as a gift.

TIA Hosts Summer Credit Conference

As a chief educational component of its Credit Interchange Program, each year the Toy Industry Association hosts the National Summer Credit Conference that brings eligible TIA member companies together to share and discuss vital credit-related information to help protect their bottom line. This year, the conference was held from July 16-17 at The Depot Renaissance Hotel in Minneapolis.

At the day-and-a-half event, attendees from across the country participated in a problem-solving workshop and sessions that tackled the challenges facing credit and collection professionals working within the toy industry.  Retail partner Target Corporation, industry analysts, and legal counsel who led discussions covered a wide range of practical topics  including trends in vendor fraud and counterfeiting, the dynamics of cargo theft, insurance options, reducing credit card processing fees, and credit risk analyses for key retail accounts.

For more information about the TIA Credit Interchange Program or the EZCredit system, contact Dina Gittings, program manager, TIA Credit Interchange, or Paul Vitale, vice president of finance and administration.

This post was originally written by Lindsay Gordon 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.

Meet Hexapillar: Target’s Robotic Gift Card

Innovation First and Target teamed up to create the Hexapillar gift card. The newest addition to Target’s 2,000-plus gift card archive, the Hexapillar gift card is a robotic caterpillar that flies. The gift card/bug is a collaboration between the design teams at Target and Hexbug, which specializes in micro robotic creatures.

Derived from the Hexbug Nano—the  autonomous robotic critter that behaves like a real bug—the Hexapillar features a caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly. The gift card launched in stores last week and can be found in the stationery, toys, and electronics departments until the end of the year.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski 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.

Nickelodeon Reveals NickMom TV Block at NYC Press Conference

Today at a press conference, Nickelodeon announced that General Mills, Target, and Reckitt Benckiser have signed on as charter sponsors for NickMom, Nickelodeon’s new multiplatform content destination that targets moms. The just-announced deals will include brand integration, content development, and sponsorships across the new NickMom TV block, launching this fall on Nick Jr. The deal also includes NickMom.com, which launched last year.

“With the creation of NickMom, we are offering a unique comedy and entertainment destination created just for today’s moms,” said Jim Perry, head of sales of Viacom’s Nickelodeon Group, in a press release. “Our partners clearly understand the value of moms and recognize our ability to serve moms with relevant entertainment across all platforms.”

The NickMom nightly television block will feature a mix of original long- and short-form humor-based programming, including talk shows, stand-up and sketch comedy, hidden camera television shows, and more. NickMom.com, a blog that debuted last November, currently features editorial franchises, photos, and video. Throughout this year, Nickelodeon expects the site to grow, complete with more editorial, photos, videos, gaming, and a community, becoming a fully integrated website timed to the TV launch.

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Target’s Mommy Ambassador, Soleil Moon Frye, Reveals Top Holiday Picks

I attended Target’s Holiday Toy Preview on November 9, and had the great pleasure of meeting Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster, Sabrina the Teenage Witch). She is Target’s Mommy Ambassador, and frankly, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Soleil has two daughters herself, and seemed to have a ball talking about her favorite toys for the holidays. Rocking a pair of comfy slipper socks, Soleil walked me through Target’s top holiday toy picks, and introduced me to the toys she chose as her personal top picks:

  • Disney My First Princess Doll and Toddler Dress Gift Set
  • Disney Cars Charge n Race Speedway
  • LeapFrog LeapPad
  • Barbie Hairtastic Printables
  • Paper Jamz Pro Series Microphone
  • Scrabble Flash

Perhaps I should have removed my heels and rocked some slipper socks myself. It was a pleasure to meet you Soleil!

Target, Disney, and Julie Andrews Announce National Princess Week

Target and The Walt Disney Company is partnering with Julie Andrews (actress, singer, and children’s author) for the inaugural launch of National Princess Week, beginning April 22 and running through April 28. National Princess Week will celebrate the sparkle and imagination of every princess—real, aspiring, or imagined.

The event coincides with the 10-year anniversary of The Princess Diaries, starring Andrews and Anne Hathaway. Target and Target.com will feature an array of Disney Princess merchandise, from apparel, toys, and books, to CDs, movies, personal care items, and stationery. The week will also highlight the newest release in the “The Very Fairy Princess” children’s book franchise, The Very Fairy Princess Here Comes the Flower Girl!, co-authored by Andrew’s daughter and writing partner, Emma Walton Hamilton, and published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

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Top Toy Trends This Holiday Season, According to Target

This holiday season there will be nearly 7,000 toys featured in Target stores and on Target.com. Stephanie Lucy, vice president of merchandising at Target, shares what she thinks will be the five key toy trends this season and the hot toys that match them.

Interactivity

“One of the key items we selected is Fijit Friends. You look at Fijit and the ability to put it in dance mode, and the voice-recognition and built-in responses. Also, Let’s Rock Elmo is interactive for a much younger child, but we believe interactivity is important.”

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From Factory to Shelf: An Inside Look at Target’s Holiday Toy Merchandising Strategies

Walking into the toy section of a store like Target during the holiday season can be overwhelming for shoppers, who are faced with toy aisle upon toy aisle of great products to choose from. Thousands of additional products can be found online. Those that make it onto store shelves during the season are often thought of as the crème de la crème, and being chosen for Target’s shelves can bring tremendous success to a toy manufacturer.

Stephanie Lucy, Target’s vice president of merchandising, chats with Elizabeth A. Reid of The Toy Book to talk about holiday merchandising strategies, how it makes its toy selections, and what Target is doing to become a top destination for holiday shopping.

The Toy Book: Let’s paint a picture of how great toys get to Target. How far in advance do you plan for each holiday season?

Stephanie Lucy: We actually start looking for content for the holiday season in September or October the year before. For example, we are going to market right now to look for products for next holiday season.

TB: So, how do you pick the toys? When you are at market, what do you look for?

SL: First of all, it starts with us evaluating what is currently working at Target—what’s selling and what’s not—and ensuring that we understand what the guest is interested in. Beyond that, it really is strong partnerships with our vendors. We do business with the largest toy manufacturers around the world. So, it’s sitting down with them and understanding what they believe the hottest toys are going to be, and what they believe content should look like for the year to come.

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My Little Pony Featured in Target Stores

Hasbro, Inc. has premiered an exclusive My Little Pony retail program at Target. The program includes an out-of-aisle premium space in the toy department devoted to My Little Pony merchandise, inspired by the magical world of Canterlot from the television series My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, which airs on The Hub. The new program debuted this week.

My Little Pony-branded products featured in the Canterlot section at Target include bedding, costumes, books, T-shirts, arts and crafts, activity sets, and exclusive toys, primarily focused on the ponies Princess Celestia, her sister Princess Luna, and Twilight Sparkle.