Author: Guest Contributor

SDCC: Toy Industry Experts Offer Insight on How Action Figures and Collectibles Are Made

At Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC), toy industry experts will gather for Action Figure Insider‘s annual weekend panel. Toy Book / Pop Insider Senior Editor James Zahn will talk all things action figures and collectibles alongside other members of the industry in Behind the Plastic: Licensees, Licensors, and Buyers: How Your Favorite Action Figures and Collectibles Are Made. Hosted by Daniel Pickett of Action Figure Insider, panelists include Dolly Ahluwalia (vice president, licensing & business development, Funko), Steven Anne (category manager – toys, Walgreens), Jason Labowitz (president, Entertainment Earth), Jimmy Liu (manager, global brand marketing, Hot Wheels, Mattel), Jeremy Padawer (co-president,...

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The Toy Insider Hosts the Biggest Birthday Bash EVER at 10th Annual Sweet Suite Toy Showcase Event

Celebrating its 10th birthday this year, The Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite event is the BIGGEST night of play! On Wednesday, July 24, join in the fun at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City for a first look at the hottest new toys that will be flying off store shelves for back-to-school and holiday shopping. More than 85 top toy makers will be in the room, including industry giants like Hasbro, Mattel, Spin Master, Vtech, Leapfrog and LEGO, along with up-and-coming toy companies. Plus, check out some cool new items from brands like Nintendo, FYE and Arcade1Up that will be on...

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WIT Gears Up for 7th Annual Empowerment Day

WIT and Walmart team up to host the annual mentoring event by NANCY ZWIERS, co-chair, WIT Empowerment Day Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WIT) will be holding its seventh annual Empowerment Day on Oct. 1. The day is dedicated to helping dozens of women each year give their dreams a chance. Many women spend a lot of time with children, as mothers, educators, or community leaders. Not surprisingly, that “together time” often inspires promising new product ideas. Who better to see what children would like than those who spend so much time with them? Yet, many of these...

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Hear the Latest on Toy Industry Tariffs at The Toy Association’s Annual Business Conference

Next week, hundreds of toy and youth entertainment industry executives will gather in Minneapolis for The Toy Association’s Annual Business Conference, where they will learn insights on the most important issues affecting their businesses, including critical updates about the threat of tariffs on toys imported from China. Registration is still open for those interested in learning how to grow their businesses and protect their brands in today’s challenging environment. Co-hosted by Target, the two-day conference, taking place June 18 to 19, will feature top industry, finance, and retail leaders including Target executives, The NPD Group, toy industry CEOs, CIT...

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The Legacy of ASTRA Lifetime Achievement Winner Beau James

by KIMBERLY MOSLEY, president, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association When toy industry veterans share memories of the late Beau James (1943-2019) — recipient of this year’s American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) Lifetime Achievement Award — you hear the same warm words over and over: legend, mentor, friend, big-hearted, larger than life, passionate, sparkling personality, ethical, knowledgeable, and of course, champagne. “Beau was one of a kind,” says toy industry consultant Linda Breler, who worked closely with James for more than 35 years. “He combined his razor-sharp business acumen with an enduring commitment to quality toys and to living...

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How Video Games and Esports Are Reshaping Play

Changing the Game by KHALED SAMIRAH, video games analyst, Euromonitor International The world of video games has come a long way from massive arcade machines to gaming at our fingertips. Mobile gaming is on pace to become the preferred choice for gamers around the world. In fact, Euromonitor data projects the global value size of mobile gaming to grow larger than all other video game segments combined by 2022. Mobile gaming provides a convenient way for the increasing amount of time- and cash-strapped gamers to indulge in their hobbies — disrupting the industry. The mobile gaming segment grew in...

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Navigating the Pitfalls of Unsolicited Ideas

by AMI FOGER, member, and KEVIN COUGHLIN, associate, Saiber LLC You hear the familiar ding as a notification pops up on your screen. You see an email from an external sender pitching a new toy line — and you are struck when you realize the idea is similar to a new concept your team hatched at last week’s informal lunch meeting. What should you do? Better yet, what steps should your organization have taken before this email appeared in your inbox? Increasingly, many companies are adopting “unsolicited ideas” policies so they are prepared for this type of scenario. These...

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Making The Most Out of Summer Toy Sales

Easy Ways to Market and Merchandise Summer Toys to Consumers by AMY OPHEIM, freelance marketing consultant They may not be quite on par with the holidays, but summer toy sales can make a meaningful contribution to your bottom line, too. With a little forethought and planning, you can easily inspire big-time summer sales — and it all starts with thinking like a parent. While parents purchase holiday toys with the intention of surprising and delighting the kids on their shopping lists, many make summer purchases with a different goal in mind. Whether you’re a manufacturer or a retailer, you can tap...

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What Sets Products Apart on Amazon and Walmart

By ANDREW WABER, manager of data insights, Salsify A majority of Americans now prefer to buy toys online. To that end, in the year since Toys “R” Us closed its doors for good, Amazon and Walmart have stepped in to capture much of the defunct chain’s $11.5 billion in annual toy sales. Amazon reported a 30% year-over-year increase in toy sales during the latter portion of last year, and Walmart has similarly seen its toy sales help grow overall e-commerce revenue. If you’re a toy brand, driving increased sales on these major online retailers is critical to your short- and long-term profitability,...

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