Author: Guest Contributor

The Toy Association Offers Toy Safety at Your Fingertips

The Toy Association has unveiled a Safety Education Program and an exclusive International Toy Safety Database to help ensure toy company representatives are knowledgeable and up-to-date on U.S. and international toy safety regulations and requirements. The Toy Book spoke with Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs at The Toy Association, to get the scoop on these important new resources and how they can be leveraged by Toy Association members free-of-charge. The Safety Education Program, announced at Toy Fair New York, is a brand-new resource offered by The Toy Association. Why was it created? Ed Desmond: The Toy...

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Approachable, Interactive & Affordable: Meet the New Tech from Toy Fair New York

by Reyne Rice, CEO and founder, ToyTrends and Robin Raskin, founder, Living in Digital Times At CES 2019, the focus was all about the tech in toys.  At Toy Fair New York, the equation flipped. It was all about the toys that were tech-centric.  As we hunted for the best of Toy Fair we found lots of technology working under the hood to create approachable, interactive and affordable tech solutions, designed especially to encourage kids to explore and interact. And this year “Kidults” got in on the action.  Here’s some of the emerging trends and hot products for the season...

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Saturated Fact: Using Trademarks to Build Your Brand

by Howard N. Aronson, managing partner, Lackenbach Siegel LLC Toy companies, like almost all consumer-oriented businesses, face an oversaturated market—or is it just saturated? A market is saturated when it is no longer generating new demand for certain products, whether as a result of increased competition, decreased need, or obsolescence. Consider water pistols, for example—a product that anyone can buy anywhere, anytime. Or board games—in the U.S., the market for board games is saturated because almost all Americans own a board game. An oversaturated market occurs when these conditions become so extreme that sales cannot budge—or even stay the same —from year...

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Allow Your Sales Reps to Thrive and Succeed

Learn how the Certified Master Sales Representative credential can enhance your business. by Kimberly Mosley, president, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association What’s happening at the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)? The launch of the brand-new Certified Master Sales Representative (CMSR) credential, for one thing. Members who attended ASTRA’s first CMSR in person—a customer-service-focused workshop during the annual December 2018 sales representative meetings in Las Vegas—got a sneak preview of upcoming programs. ASTRA members and other toy professionals can now enjoy 24/7 access to an online, on-demand education that can lead to a lifetime CMSR credential. Sales representatives make...

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Innovative Opportunities to Captivate Toy Consumers

An Exclusive Report from The Toy Association by Laurie Chartorynsky, communications specialist and content developer, The Toy Association How can toy manufacturers and retailers evolve to attract new toy consumers? The Toy Association’s recently released report, “Toy Manufacturing and Retail Solutions—the Future,” explores fresh ideas for the industry to innovate around who is playing, what truly defines a toy, and what play is in order to capitalize on the changing landscape. Toy companies face new realities, including shifting consumer preferences and technological advances, which are redefining the nature of a toy and how kids play. Given the advent of the...

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The Toy Association’s Smart Packaging Tool

Helping Manufacturers Produce More Eco-Friendly Packaging Designs by Laurie Chartorynsky, communications specialist and content developer, The Toy Association Consumers are usually shocked when they see the amount of packaging left behind after opening their child’s toy. Often referred to as “wrap rage” or the “Christmas-morning effect,” packaging seems like a heap of frustrating trash to a consumer. But what many consumers don’t understand is that packaging plays many important roles in the toy industry. Packaging is crucial to tell a story on-shelf in a split second. It also facilitates the transport and display of products while helping to reduce...

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Kid-Speaking Brand Packaging

Creating a Visual Language that Appeals to Younger Generations by Ted Mininni, president and creative director, Design Force How can we reach new generations of consumers? Many marketers at mature consumer product companies ask themselves this question, as younger customers actively seek brands offering personalities and experiences that are relevant to them. You may think this is best left in the hands of disruptors—the brash brand startups and fearless entrepreneurs. While there are plenty of examples of these kinds of brands, there are also intriguing new launches from consumer product companies with deep heritages. Brands that market the most...

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Standing Out in the Clutter: How to Help Your Product Compete in a Crowded Category

by Amy Opheim, freelance marketing consultant While it’s true that technology is changing the landscape of the toy market and offering some exciting new ways for kids to play, many of children’s interests remain timeless and fairly predictable. Think about pretend play and dress up, arts and crafts, building, and board games: These play patterns are classics because they appeal to a basic way kids want to play. From wooden blocks to LEGO Duplo, preschool-aged kids have enjoyed the process of stacking and building for hundreds of years. The same goes for drawing, painting, sculpting, and creating. Madame Alexander...

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The Convergence of Specialty and Mass

How Toy Trends Affect the Retail Landscape by Steve Starobinsky, chief marketing officer, Diverse Marketing; founder, Diverse Insights Like everyone else, I made New Year’s resolutions for 2019. Some are personal, such as learning how to say “thank you” in every language, and some are business related, such as not using the words “mass” or “specialty” when describing a product or brand. The industry changed so much over the past 36 months—and especially in the last six—that those terms no longer tell the full story of an item. I believe it started back in November 2013 with the release...

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CES 2019: Reflecting Changing Times in the Toy Industry

by Reyne Rice, CEO and founder, ToyTrends and Robin Raskin, founder, Living in Digital Times By no means do kids’ toys dominate the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES)—the world’s largest tradeshow in Las Vegas for technology and innovation—landscape; but there are always some great harbingers of what’s next in kids’ technology-driven toys. This year’s lesson for the toy industry is to put the focus on play and off of tech for tech’s sake. Here are a few of the important trends we saw rising to the top. Look Ma, No Screens Parents are increasingly more aware—and distraught—about their kids’...

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