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.

TIA Elects New Leadership at 2014 Annual Business Meeting

March5.TIAThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) has elected three new members to its Board of Directors and a new chairman of the organization during its Annual Business Meeting in February. John Gessert of American Plastic Toys will assume the position as chairman for a year, replacing retiring Board Chairman Soren Torp Laursen of The Lego Group

The new members of the TIA Board are Drew Brazer, vice president of sales in North America for Lego Systems Inc.; D. Hugo Malan, senior vice president and president of sporting goods at Sears Holding Corp.; and William To, president of VTech Electronics in North America. Each elected member will serve for two-year terms, expiring at the 2016 TIA Annual Business Meeting. Laursen will become an advisor to the governance body.

The 2014 TIA Annual Business Meeting was held in conjunction with the 111th American International Toy Fair in New York City. The meeting also included accomplishment highlights from the first year of TIA’s 2013-2015 Strategic Plan and an announcement that the TIA had grown its financial reserves last year.

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.

Licensing Expo, American International Toy Fair Announce Collaboration

licensingAdvanstar Licensing, organizers of Licensing Expo, and the Toy Industry Association Inc. (TIA), organizers of the American International Toy Fair, have announced a new collaboration to cross-promote attendance at their two complementary trade events next year.

Through this new alliance, Advanstar Licensing and TIA will introduce Licensing Expo exhibitors to current and emerging toy trends, and inform Toy Fair exhibitors of licensing issues and opportunities in emerging international markets. The collaboration will also provide cross-promotional opportunities via direct mail and electronic marketing, editorial content, and co-hosted seminars.

The American International Toy Fair will take place February 16 to 19 at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Licensing Expo, which is sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, will take place June 17 to 19 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Bipartisan Congressional Toy Caucus Launched on Capitol Hill

caucusAccording to the Toy Industry Association (TIA), a bipartisan Congressional Toy Caucus was formed and launched on Capitol Hill at TIA’s 6th Annual Washington, D.C. Fly-In. Co-chaired by Congressman Ron Kind and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, the Toy Caucus was created to engage lawmakers in a constructive dialogue about issues currently facing the U.S. toy industry and the important role that toy businesses have in the development and education of children worldwide. Members of Congress who have toy companies in their districts and/or have an interest in the toy industry have been invited to participate in the Caucus.

Last year, the U.S. toy industry sold 3 billion toys and directly employs approximately 320,000 individuals with small businesses creating more than 30 percent of that number. Throughout the week, toy companies are meeting with federal policymakers to underscore the impact that their policy decisions have on real people and real companies.

TIA Presents Toy Safety Seminar for Chinese Manufacturers

Toy Industry Association (TIA)tia_logo[1] will co-present a Toy Safety Seminar on October 18 in Shanghai, China as part of its ongoing commitment to industry education. Since 1996, the TIA has conducted such seminars to provide factories with information on the most up-to-date U.S. standards, testing, and conformance requirements. This year, representatives from the TIA, along with experts from Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the industry, will share their practical understanding of the requirements. CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum will also give  key presentation.

The upcoming Toy Safety Seminar will cover key toy safety information and U.S. compliance requirements such as:

  • U.S. toy safety standards and regulations, including recent legislative changes and their impact on Chinese manufacturers and suppliers.
  • The role of the CPSC as the lead U.S. government body responsible for monitoring and enforcing toy safety in the U.S.
  • Necessary elements of a factory quality program.
  • Emerging issues and hazards and how they are being addressed.
  • Ensuring material safety and reporting.

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.

Registration for TIA’s Sixth Annual Washington D.C. Fly-In is Open

DCFlyInLogoRepresentatives of small, mid-size, and large toy companies are invited to make their way to the nation’s capital for a line-up of events scheduled for this year’s Toy Industry Association, Inc.’s (TIA) Washington D.C. Fly-In, to be held on September 17 to 19. Each activity will showcase to federal policymakers the impact that the U.S. toy industry has on the economy, and the positive role that toys play in the development and well-being of American children.

A Congressional Toy Caucus will launch during the Fly-In. Its goal is to help advance the discussion of toy safety, the value of play, the growth of small toy businesses, the importance of creativity and innovation, and the increase of free trade opportunities in foreign markets.

According to TIA-commissioned reports, the total economic impact of the toy industry in the U.S. is $75.03 billion. From toy inventors and designers to store clerks in every state, the toy industry supports an estimated 321,030 jobs across the country—of those, just over 30 percent are employed by small businesses. Although the average unit price of a toy is less than $8, the industry generates roughly $22 billion annually in direct retail toy sales.

TIA will host a Congressional reception on Capitol Hill on September 18, and additional TIA-directed communications to members of Congress will raise toy industry awareness in D.C. A special Capitol Hill briefing on the world of toys and games will be held on September 19, and a print ad will be published in The Hill, a widely read political paper. Registration for the Fly-In is open.

The Strong, TIA Partner for Museum Installation

overview1The Strong and the Toy Industry Association (TIA) partnered to house TIA’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame alongside The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y. The two halls of fame—one recognizing classic toys and the other recognizing the individuals who designed, made, and sold them—will share a $4 million museum installation, 75 percent of which will be funded by TIA and the toy industry.

By fall 2015, The Strong’s existing 5,000-square-foot National Toy Hall of Fame gallery will be fully transformed and renovated to accommodate the new halls. The new gallery will feature a programmable 100-foot-long by 20-foot-high LED theatrical screen visible from the street through a circular glass wall. The screen will blend stop-motion animated effects, pulsating color, and sound to highlight messages about toys, invention, and play.

Additional gallery components will include a second, smaller LED theatrical screen, an orientation theater, and five highly interactive, artifact-rich play environments that feature distinct modes of play—imagine, create, build, move, and compete. Inductees will be recognized on individual etched glass panels mounted on two lit, 14-foot-high curvilinear glass walls. Artifacts, documents, touch-screen interactivity, and physical play will position the inductees of both halls in the broad cultural context of play and its impact on the social history of everyday life. [Read more...]

Toy Industry Hall of Fame Nominations Now Open

Members of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and other toy industry stakeholders are invited to submit nominations of deserving candidates (living or deceased) for induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, the TIA says in a news release. Selected candidates will join 62 current members of the hall of fame during a ceremony to be held in conjunction with the 14th annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards ceremony on February 15 of next year. The nomination period will extend from May 28 through June 28. Membership in TIA is not a prerequisite for submitting a nomination.

Nominees for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame should have longstanding experience in the toy industry; unimpeachable integrity and respect among his or her peers; have made outstanding contributions to the industry and/or to TIA; and be recognized for various accomplishments. Examples include innovative product or marketing introductions; manufacturing process changes, which significantly improved processes or products; a prominent role in promoting the public’s awareness and appreciation of the importance of toys in the lives of children, or promoting the public’s awareness of the toy industry as a significant and responsible member of the business community; and service on the TIA board of directors, or in other important capacities in or related to toys and youth entertainment.

Additional information on the Toy Industry Hall of Fame is available online. Questions and completed nomination forms should be directed to TIA’s Stacy Leistner (646) 520-4858 by June 28.