Author: Maddie Michalik

State of the Industry Q&A: Bonkers Toys

Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.  DEBORAH STALLINGS STUMM, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Bonkers Toys Some of the hottest toys this year were based on multiplatform games and YouTube content. Do you expect this trend to continue in 2019? Influencers, social media, and gaming apps are at the core of how kids and teens now consume entertainment. YouTube stars and social media influencers are the new celebrities and role models that drive sales and demand for merchandise. Finding ways to integrate...

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State of the Industry Q&A: Basic Fun!

Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.  JAY FOREMAN, CEO, Basic Fun! Basic Fun! made several acquisitions in the past year, including K’NEX, Playhut, Geoworld, and more. Do you have plans for further acquisitions in the future? Yes, acquiring companies, brands, and toy IP is part of our DNA and growth model. We see the market continuing to strain in the below-$50-million-revenue range, and we believe we continue to offer a great opportunity for companies worrying about how to navigate the changing retail landscape....

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State of the Industry Q&A: LEGO Group

Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.  SKIP KODAK, Senior Vice President, Americas, LEGO Group  What is one of the biggest challenges toy manufacturers have to face, and how is LEGO addressing it this year? Today’s kids have more to choose from than ever before, and they move quickly from one thing to another, so maintaining their interest and attention is a constant challenge. Innovating a play experience to constantly meet the changing needs of kids around the world is a major undertaking and...

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State of the Industry Q&A: Wicked Cool Toys

Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.  MICHAEL RINZLER, Co-President & Founding Partner, Wicked Cool Toys What are the differences in creating proprietary product lines versus licensed products? The creation of proprietary product lines tends to be more all-encompassing as you are essentially starting from scratch and “birthing a baby,” while managing licensed brands and caretaking for someone else’s intellectual property tends to be more like “babysitting someone else’s child.” Both of them require passion, strategy, line planning, marketing efforts, and more. Furthermore, the...

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State of the Industry Q&A: ASTRA

Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.  KIMBERLY MOSLEY, President, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association What are the biggest challenges facing the specialty toy industry as we head into 2019, and how is ASTRA addressing them? Last year at this time, we anticipated more large chain store closures. As we all know, that prediction became a sobering reality that continues to reverberate across the entire toy industry and at all levels in the distribution channel. It offers members of the American Specialty Toy Retailing...

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State of the Industry Q&A: The Toy Association

Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.  STEVE PASIERB, President & CEO, The Toy Association What are the biggest challenges facing the toy industry as we head into 2019, and how is The Toy Association addressing them? Preventing tariffs on toy products from China and a threatened fourth tranche is The Toy Association’s top legislative priority, among many, this year. Our staff continues to aggressively communicate the detrimental effects tariffs would have on the toy industry in meetings on Capitol Hill and to the...

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State of the Industry Q&A: MGA Entertainment

Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.  ISAAC LARIAN, Founder and CEO, MGA Entertainment What is one of the biggest challenges toy manufacturers face, and how is MGA Entertainment addressing it? One of the biggest challenges toy manufacturers face in the industry is the mass production of counterfeit toys and other toy companies that knock off the hottest toys on the market. It’s also an easy way out for some toy companies and so-called “inventors” to make a copy of an original idea instead...

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State of the Industry Q&A: Jazwares

Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A. LAURA ZEBERSKY, Chief Commercial Officer, Jazwares Spending in video games increased 24 percent in the third quarter. How does this affect the toy industry? The increased popularity of video games is amazing for the toy industry—it’s bringing new consumers into the toy aisle. These players are fully committed to the games they are playing, and spend countless hours honing their skill set, exploring endless opportunities of customization, participating in storytelling, and diving into multi-player interaction. Players are...

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State of the Industry Q&A: Wonder Works

Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.  CHRISTINE OSBORNE, Owner, Wonder Works What is one of the biggest challenges specialty toy retailers face, and how is Wonder Works addressing it? Staying relevant is one of the important challenges specialty toy retailers are facing in 2019. Discovering the experiences and products customers want and expect and tailoring one’s business to offer them are key to developing this year’s business plan. Reviewing our product mix for the age categories we provide for in our communities is...

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State of the Industry Q&A: eBay

Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.  MICHAEL MOSSER, General Manager, Lifestyle, Media and Toys, eBay eBay launched Toytopia, a new section of the site specifically for toys, and its first-ever toy catalog. Were these initiatives successful? What are your plans to expand in 2019? eBay distinctly stands apart from other retailers with a toy selection that only our online marketplace can deliver—the latest, trending toys, the sold-out and impossible-to-find toys, and the collectible, nostalgic, and super special toys. eBay brought this unique shopping...

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