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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.

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.

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...]

New Opportunities for Toy Companies at Fall Toy Preview 2014

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has made several changes to its Fall Toy Preview to widen the show’s attendee base and provide added value for members of the global toy industry. According to the TIA, the updates were developed by the Trade Show Committee and were based on feedback received from buyers and sellers who responded to TIA post-show surveys.

As part of the changes, Fall Toy Preview is no longer strictly a “by-appointment-only” event allowing exhibitors onsite opportunities to do business. The TIA will now offer new booth packages that provide exhibiting companies with both open or combination—closed with and open display area—booths.

In addition, specialty buyers who are ready to show product for the 2015 holiday season and have an interest in previewing are invited to attend. Traditionally, only toy companies that sold product to mass market were allowed to exhibit. Also, the show will introduce new educational programming and a Woman’s Empowerment Initiative co-hosted by Women in Toys and Wal-Mart. Additional events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Fall Toy Preview will take place on October 7 to 9.

WIT Restructures, Unveils New Committees

Women in Toys (WIT), which recognizes and promotes the achievements of outstanding female leaders within the toy industry, recently underwent an organizational change and restructuring. Along with appointing Ashley Mady, president of Brandberry Inc., as its new board president, WIT’s other board appointments are as follows: Stephanie Barone, vice president of product development for Innovative Designs, as treasurer; Caitlin Gutekunst, senior manager, content acquisition and business development at LeapFrog, as regional chapter chair; Jennifer Quattrock, independent design contractor, as design chair; and Mali Baum, CEO of Beezeebee, as chair of international chapters.

WIT also has a new committee-based structure to support the organization’s goals and mission. These committees will focus on such topics as community involvement, empowerment initiatives, public relations, scholarships, and more.

Anyone seeking information about WIT should contact Heidi Schwartz at hschwartz14@gmail.com, or visit the WIT homepage.

WIT Honors Outstanding Business Leaders with 10th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards

At a February 18 dinner attended by more than 400 executives, Women in Toys (WIT) celebrated 10 visionary women business leaders with the 2014 Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards. The award recipients are: Kiyomi Haverly of Mattel, Global Brands; Naz Cuevas of Rovio Entertainment Inc. and Donna Tobin of Hasbro Inc.; Rita Raiffe, design director at Gund; Stefanie Barone of M.Z. Berger & Co.; Susie Lecker of Fisher Price; Michele Litzky of Litzky Public Relations; Joan Packard Luks of The Seranata Group; Christina Jansa of Target; and Debra Sterling of GoldieBlox.

With support from major sponsors including Nickelodeon and Bandai, WIT also granted six scholarships to future toy industry leaders at toy design programs in universities worldwide.

Women in Toys Collaborates with Walmart at Toy Fair 2014

WIT.WalmartWomen in Toys (WIT) and Walmart will once again collaborate to help women-owned businesses pitch children’s products and brands to Walmart buyers at the 111th annual American International Toy Fair in New York City in February.

Scheduled for February 18, the Second Annual WIT-Walmart Women’s Global Economic Empowerment Initiative will kick off with a morning panel discussion featuring Raquel Taylor and Kelly Deimel of Bobo Buddy. Immediately following the panel presentation, by-appointment-only pitch meetings between women-owned toy companies and Walmart buyers will take place in Room 1C01 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Companies that would like to apply for Walmart pitch meetings must complete the online application form by December 30. Accepted applicants will be notified by February 1. More information is available through Patti Becker at PBecker@BeckerAssoc.com or at (203) 321-6813.

UPDATE: Women in Toys says it has “received an anonymous offer from a mentor who has promised to consider an investment in a company whose products are accepted by Walmart.”

WIT Accepts Nominations for 2014 Wonder Women Awards

WITAwardsWomen in Toys (WIT) is accepting nominations for the 10th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment Awards. Winners will be announced at an awards dinner scheduled for February 17 during Toy Fair Week. The awards program recognizes and celebrates leaders, innovators, and other powerful women who have made lasting contributions to the toy and entertainment industries.

Industry stakeholders are invited to nominate a co-worker, client, associate, family member, or acquaintance for consideration in one or more of the following categories: designer/inventor, licensing and entertainment, manufacturer, rising star, marketing PR, and retailer. Nominations may be submitted online, and tickets are currently available for purchase at the WIT site.

The awards dinner will take place at Pier Sixty and The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

National CASA Association, Toy Industry Foundation Launch National Partnership with Volunteer Event

National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Association and the Toy Industry Foundation have partnered at the national level to provide toys and increase the number of trained CASA volunteers to benefit children in the foster care system. The Toy Industry Foundation will donate more than 25,000 toys to CASA this year. The launch of this partnership will take place at the Toy Industry Foundation’s Play Your Part volunteer event on April 5 in Los Angeles.

National CASA, a network of 946 community based programs that recruit, train, and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities, will be working with CASA programs across the country to identify and distribute the donated toys to children in the foster care system.

Former foster youth, CASA volunteers, and special guests will share their personal stories at Play Your Part, joining more than 100 Toy Industry Foundation volunteers from Southern California toy companies to package and sort more than 16,000 toys for local foster youth. Walmart is donating the use of two tractor-trailers to ship toys to destinations throughout Southern California, and World Vision has donated the space for the event. Mattel, Leapfrog Enterprises, Funrise Toy Corporation, and Women in Toys are additional event sponsors.

President of The Alexander Doll Company Receives Wonder Women of Toys Award

Gale Jarvis, president of The Alexander Doll Company, was named Manufacturer of the Year at the Women in Toys’ 9th annual Wonder Women of Toys Licensing and Entertainment Awards dinner held during the American International Toy Fair. The annual dinner recognizes and celebrates the most outstanding women in the toy industry. The Wonder Women of Toys award was presented to Gale Jarvis by Shirley Price of Funrise.

During Jarvis’ tenure, the Alexander Doll Company has developed licensed brands, including Madeline, Eloise, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Radio City Rockettes, Peanuts, Olivia, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, and more.

Jarvis spearheaded and is credited with the company’s venture into a new category of fashion dolls, which has included couture dolls styled by innovative fashion designers like Jason Wu. She has also been responsible for adding to the classic family of familiar faces with new sculpts for dolls from the Alex doll line, as well as one of Judy Garland, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich for the company’s Screen Legend Series.