COMMENTARY: Summer Is Here!

Yes, yes, I know that summer actually starts next month. But for all intents and purposes, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and for the next three months, we’ll be cramming in as many cookouts, camping trips, beach days, and family get-togethers as we can. Kids have already started the countdown to the end of the school year, and after the long, harsh winter we had here in the northeast this year, they’re ready to get out and make the most of their summer vacation. Here are some great outdoor toys that will make it a summer to remember:

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The Slip ‘n Slide Wave Rider, from Wham-O, is an obvious go-to for a hot summer day. This 16-foot slide is a classic way for kids ages 5 to 12 to cool off and have hours of fun. Hydro-glide technology creates water beads on the surface, giving kids a fast ride, and the included boogie board gives an even smoother time as kids slide alongside the water bumper and into the splash pool. The bumper also continuously sprays water, guaranteeing a cool, wet ride. [Read more...]

Wham-O Partners with The Wish Factory to Create New Merchandise Lines

Wham-O and The Wish Factory Inc. have entered into a strategic sales and marketing agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, The Wish Factory will manage marketing and sales worldwide for Wham-O classic brands Super Ball, Hula Hoop, Track Ball, Hacky Sack, Aqua Sports, Arctic Force, and Continuous Air Water Slides.

In addition to re-launching many of the Wham-O iconic brands, Wham-O and The Wish Factory will present an expanded line next fall. The new product lines will include Wham-O Extreme Sports, which will be introduced to retail trade in January, and Wham-O Swim.

Wham-O manufactures classic brands such as Frisbee discs, Hacky Sack, Slip ’N Slide water slides, and Hula Hoop toy hoops as well as outdoor brands like Morey, Boogie body boards, Snow Boogie sleds, and BZ Pro Boards.

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.

Reshoring Toys

By Howard N. Aronson, Managing Partner, Lackenbach Siegel LLP

Like the proverbial child who runs away from home only to return before nightfall, an American toymaker is bringing most of its manufacturing back to the U.S.—after more than a decade of outsourcing in Asia. The decision of K’NEX Brands, a family-owned maker of plastic building toys, to boost manufacturing at The Rodon Group, its Hatfield, Pa. plant, is only one example of a major trend. Persuasive factors leading to the ultimate decision included quality control, overall costs, timeliness of deliveries, and intellectual property issues. Many are following the lead of K’NEX and rediscovering that home sweet home is the best place to make and distribute products after all.

Manufacturing in the U.S. created many advantages for K’NEX:
• Greater ability to react to shifts in consumer demands for toys because it’s much quicker and easier to retool–thus creating additional sales;
• Delivery times are quicker–as are changes in delivery schedules, for example, to take advantage of unexpected increases in sales at some stores;
• There’s more control over quality–including avoiding toy safety product recalls;
• There’s more control over materials–again, especially important where safety is an issue, as it is with many toys;
• Overseas labor costs are increasing, whereas using robotics in its U.S. plant is boosting productivity–thus lowering per unit labor costs;
• Transportation costs are rising;
• Time zone differences make communication between manufacturers and suppliers difficult. [Read more...]

Video: “Wham-O Moves to America” – The Daily Show

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WHAM-O Merges with Sprig Toys

WHAM-O, Inc. has merged with Sprig Toys, Inc., and the two have created a new line of battery-free, kid-powered preschool products under the new WHAM-O Jr. brand. WHAM-O will now have access to Sprig’s reclaimed wood and recycled plastic material, Sprigwood. In addition to Sprig’s products, such as the Eco-Trucks Dump Truck and the Dino Adventure Rig, the WHAM-O Jr. line will include WHAM-O’s inflatables and outdoor play products.

[Read more...]

The Toy Book’s Toy Report 01/13/10

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Catch up on last week’s news! Read The Toy Book Toy Report for 01/13/10.

To view click here.

WHAM-O to Bring Frisbee Production to U.S.

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Starting at the end of the month, WHAM-O will produce half of its Frisbees in the United States, which the company says is an effort to increase manufacturing jobs in the domestic market. The domestic production is part of a partnership with Manufacturing Marvel America, a division of the international Manufacturing Marvel Group, which specializes in plastic injection molding for toys and operates facilities in California and Michigan. Last August, WHAM-O began producing one of its PoolZone products in Michigan.