Author: Guest Contributor

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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The Toy Association Calls on Toy Community to Push Back Against Trump’s Tariffs

The Toy Association is urging toymakers and industry supporters to band together to let President Donald J. Trump know that his administration’s proposed 25% tariffs on toys made in China would hurt American families, businesses, workers, and communities. Here’s how everyone in the toy community can get involved: Send this grassroots letter to local congressmen, congresswomen, and senators. Simply fill out the online form, add in a line or two about your company, and hit “send.” Once your letter is in, share the grassroots link on social media and with all your coworkers, family, and friends. Follow The Toy...

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The Toy Association Issues New Study: What Makes a Good STEM/STEAM Toy?

How can toy companies create products that truly prepare kids for careers in science, technology, engineering and math? According to a new study, “STEM/STEAM Formula for Success,” released today by The Toy Association, great STEM/STEAM (with the “A” representing arts) toys encourage open-ended play and trial-and-error exploration, teach problem-solving, and allow children to lead the play experience, among other attributes. “The Toy Association’s latest report is the second phase of our multi-year initiative to bring more clarity to the topics of STEM and STEAM, and the central role of toys and play in advancing science- and math-based skills in children,” says Ken Seiter,...

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Tariffs and Other Regulatory Challenges: Critical Reasons to Attend The Toy Association’s Annual Business Conference

Toy professionals will learn key information to help them address industry challenges including the latest sweeping tariff proposals by President Trump and how to combat counterfeit goods, during The Toy Association’s Annual Business Conference (ABC), taking place June 18 to June 19 in Minneapolis, MN, and co-hosted by Target. In the following Q&A, Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs at The Toy Association, explains how the Association will update and inform conference goers on regulatory and legislative issues affecting their businesses: What will conference attendees learn about The Toy Association’s priorities this year when it comes to...

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