China Toy Fair


Women in Toys (WIT) Kicks Off New Initiatives in Dallas on October 6

WITWinningMovesWomen in Toys (WIT) has launched its new Empowerment Program with three exciting initiatives that provide members with opportunities for professional support, career development, and a roadmap to success.

The Winning Moves Empowerment Workshop gives entrepreneurs, inventors, and manufacturers the opportunity to pitch products to retail giant Wal-Mart as well as top toy and game companies including Hasbro, Spin Master, and Winning Moves Games. The event takes place on October 6 at Dallas Market Center at 1:00 pm, the day before the Toy Industry Association‘s Fall Toy Preview begins. It also features panel discussions, one-on-one speed mentoring, and networking opportunities such as a cocktail party open to women, men, members, and non-members.

One-on-One Mentoring pairs industry expert mentors with up-and-coming WIT members as well as those looking to change their career path. Volunteer mentors include manufacturers, retailers, marketing/PR agencies, and licensors. Members interested in becoming a mentor or mentee can sign up at www.womenintoys.com or contact Nancy Zwiers at nancy@funosophy.com

Learn-the-Ropes Webinars are hosted by industry experts and will provide information, insights, education, and support on a wide variety of topics. These are designed to help members with their career goals and professional development. Webinars will begin in December on Wednesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Anyone looking for more information can visit www.womenintoys.com or contact Deb de Sherbinin at deb@kidsmartusa.com.

Hasbro, Disney, and 3DPlusMe Team Up for Super Awesome Me

SuperAwesomeMeHasbro 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.

WIT Unveils Details for Its Winning Moves Empowerment Workshop

WITWinningMovesWomen in Toys’ (WIT) Winning Moves Empowerment Workshop will take place at the Dallas Market Center on October 6, the day before the start of Fall Toy Preview. The event will provide attendees with the opportunity to pitch to Wal-Mart, share their inventions with toy companies including Hasbro, and learn through speed mentoring sessions.

The workshop schedule includes panel discussions on topics such as selling to Wal-Mart and approaches to raising capital. There will also be an evening cocktail party with appetizers on the 15th floor of the Dallas Market Center.

The deadline for applications has been extended until September 12, and the event is open to women, men, and WIT members and non-members. The ticket price is $40 for WIT members and $55 for non-WIT members. More information about the workshop can be found at the WIT homepage.

Toys “R” Us Bolsters Leadership Team to Drive TRU Transformation Strategy

toysrusToys “R” Us Inc. has appointed a number of proven executives to key leadership roles, as the company continues to position its business for long-term profitable growth.

Debbie Lentz has been named senior vice president, chief supply chain officer, with responsibility for U.S. distribution and customs compliance, global importing and exporting, fleet operations, and domestic transportation. She will report to Hank Mullany, president, Toys “R” Us, U.S. In this role, Lentz will oversee inventory planning and allocation, as well as e-commerce fulfillment, while driving efforts to significantly improve in-stock levels both in stores and online. She will also lead logistics strategy development for the company’s international markets and efforts to improve global supply chain efficiencies, reporting in this capacity to Antonio Urcelay, chairman and CEO of Toys “R” Us Inc.

Lentz most recently held the position of senior vice president, customer service and logistics, at Kraft Foods Group. Prior to Kraft, she worked for many years in logistics operations at Nabisco Foods Group. [Read more...]

Not a Hoax! Not a Dream! Marvel Launches Month-Long National Celebration: Marvel Super Hero September!

SuperHeroSeptemberDisney Consumer Products and Marvel have teamed up for Marvel Super Hero September, a national multi-platform campaign that encourages the public to, “power up like a Marvel super hero.” This month-long celebration features retail partnerships, licensing partners, advertising, and online activations. The strategy is on behalf of the Marvel brand, as both Marvel and its characters celebrate 75 years of history.

“This stands as one of the largest non-film campaigns in Marvel history and we’re looking forward to seeing how kids, fans, parents, and adults will celebrate their passion for Marvel,” said Josh Silverman, executive vice president, global licensing, Disney Consumer Products.

The central hub for Marvel Super Hero September is a new online portal, superheroseptember.marvel.com, which houses content and activities, including a national photo sweepstakes contest supported by select national retailers. Marvel is also re-launching marvelkids.com with additional content. [Read more...]

Sprout Introduces New Sprout Channel Cubby Tablet

SproutLogoThe 24-hour preschool TV destination Sprout has its own kids’ tablet, the Sprout Channel Cubby, which will be available this October at Wal-Mart stores and at walmart.com. Produced by Ematic for kids ages 2 to 6, the Cubby features trusted entertainment and learning content preloaded onto the tablet, and will include special credits for vudu.com, allowing customers to download additional content.

SproutCubby.vers2The preloaded content accessible without Wi-Fi connectivity includes full episodes of Sprout shows, such as The Chica Show, Barney, Fireman Sam, Chloe’s Closet, and the premiere episode of Astroblast; music videos; and songs. Meanwhile, the preloaded, Sprout-recommended apps include Sproutlet Weather Report, favorite characters The Wiggles, and more. [Read more...]

WIT Announces Winning Moves Event for Female Entrepreneurs, Inventors, and Manufacturers

Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT) is hosting its first Winning Moves workshop, which will provide WIT members with an opportunity to develop their careers and grow their businesses.

Women-owned businesses can pitch their products to Wal-Mart, inventors can present their product concepts to toy companies, and members seeking professional development advice can meet with toy experts for a speed mentoring session. [Read more...]

Smallest Skylanders Make Big Debut with Skylanders Minis

SkylandersMinis.SpryFans attending the recent Gamescom 2014 in Cologne, Germany, got a hands-on opportunity to play Skylanders Trap Team with cute, pocket-sized characters called Skylanders Minis. The new line of 16 characters, from Activision Publishing Inc., is playable with upgrades and abilities just like any other Skylanders, including the ability to trap villains.

The figures are roughly one-third the size of regular Skylanders playable with Skylanders Trap Team. The Skylanders Minis available for play at the Gamescom booth were Spry, Mini Jini, Drobit, Trigger Snappy, and Hijinx.

Skylanders Minis will be sold in two-packs and will be available at Wal-Mart.

SwimWays Uses Its Noodle with Aqua Rider Acquisition

SwimWays.AquaRiderSwimWays Corp. recently acquired Aqua Rider, a patent pending pool noodle float that features the head and tail of colorful animal characters, as well as a built-in seat for riding. SwimWays will be able to consolidate production efforts using the same base noodle, and the product will be made in both China and the U.S., and assembled and shipped from the U.S.

Aqua Riders, which were introduced to market last year, will be available in many styles, including Orca, Shark, Gator, and Sea Horse. SwimWays will begin distributing Aqua Riders, which are made for swimmers of all ages, under the SwimWays brand next January.

The item is currently sold at Wal-Mart, BJ’s, and Leslie’s Pool Supply, among other retailers, and the acquisition is not expected to affect the Aqua Rider’s distribution.

VTech’s Kidizoom Smartwatch Includes Built-In Camera and More

VTech Smartwatch Release FINAL[4]Today, VTech launched its first ever camera watch for kids: the Kidizoom Smartwatch. The world’s first smartwatch for kids, its features include a built-in camera, video, and photo effects. The Kidizoom Smartwatch also has a 1.4-inch color touch screen, more than 50 digital and analog clock displays that help kids learn to tell time, a rechargeable battery, alarm clock, timer, stopwatch, voice recorder with funny voice changing effects, and parental game controls.

Since it is made for kids, the Kidizoom Smartwatch features a durable design to withstand drops and bumps, and is splash and sweat proof. In addition, the Kidizoom Smartwatch is PC and Mac compatible for uploading photos, videos, and recorded voice files, and offers access to VTech’s Learning Lodge app store.

The Kidizoom Smartwatch is recommended for kids ages 4 and up, and is available now at www.vtechkids.com, amazon.com, target.com, toysrus.com, and walmart.com.