Author: Tatyana Bellamy-Walker

Party On this Holiday Season with Douglas’ New Party Animals

Plush toy maker Douglas Company is introducing eight holiday-themed dressed animals, as well as two new styles for its Sweet Petite collection this year. The holiday plush toys include Blaze, a 10-inch gray and white Husky with blue eyes, as well as a red, white, and green holiday scarf; Minty, a Small Moose Pudgie with bright red antlers and red and white knit scarf; Leroy, a 7-inch Spotted Pig; Bosco, a 8-inch Chocolate Labradoodle with curly brown hair; Spunky the Hedgehog, available in 5-inch and 8-inch sizes; Cotton Candy, a 7-inch pink Flamingo; and Bjorn, a 10-inch Black Bear Pudgie with mink-like fur as well as a red, white, and green knit scarf. The new additions to the Sweet Petite collection each include an 8-inch wide, tote-style handbag. These 12-inch-tall, fully-dressed plush animals include Reba the Fox, a hot pink fox wearing a fox print and polka dot fabric pinafore trimmed in bright green and white stripes. The accompanying handbag is lined and corded with bright green and white fabric. Fiona the Fawn is styled in a combination of turquoise, red, and white hues with a sprinkling of gray and hot pink. The plush is dressed in a snowflake-patterned print pinafore with a red and white bow on its ear, and its bag is lined and corded in red and white pindot fabric. Both the new holiday-themed animals and...

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LittleBits Electronics to Debut NYC Pop-Up Store

LittleBits Electronics Inc. is opening its first store in New York City. Located in the SoHo district, the pop-up store will open to the public on July 31. The store, targeted towards families, educators, and creative professionals, will take visitors through a series of interactive experiences including: • A musical twister wall, a new take on and homage to the FAO Schwarz giant piano. • A workshop lab in which visitors can create inventions such as the Keytar (a synth guitar) or a BitBot car, a self-powered drawing machine. • A Get Snapped Photo Booth, in which visitors can share their inventions with the world The littleBits store is also pioneering a new concept in tech retail: Inventions To Stay and Inventions To Go. Visitors who participate in the workshop tables are able to leave their inventions for others to remix, encouraging open source collaboration, or buy what they invented on the spot. For the design of the store, littleBits commissioned a Montreal-based design firm, Daily tours les jours (DTLJ). The pop-up store, located at at 355 West Broadway, is set to run through this holiday and will feature a continuous stream of talks, classes, and hands-on activities for all...

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TIA Announces Business-Savvy Line-Up of Speakers for Fall Toy Preview

As reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), speakers at this year’s Fall Toy Preview include Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire investor from the hit TV show, Shark Tank. He will deliver his address at the Women in Toys Empowerment Day, a mentoring and networking event for female business owners taking place on October 5, the day before Fall Toy Preview officially opens its doors. On October 7, Martyn Tipping, branding veteran and CEO of StoryScore, will deliver Fall Toy Preview’s keynote address, How to Tell if Your Toy/Game Brand’s Social Media Strategy is Really Working. Tipping will...

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TIF Lights Up the Lives of Chicago-Area Foster Children with 3,700 Toys

The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, as well as CASA of Cook County, hosted nearly 500 Chicago-area foster children at Play Your Part–Chicago on July 16 at U.S. Cellular Field. TIF provided more than 3,700 playthings valued at more than $50,000 to foster children served by CASA of Cook County. Kids ages 3 through teens will be gifted with additional new toys to help celebrate birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. Twenty-two manufacturers, retailers, and distributors donated playthings to TIF’s Toy Bank. Event sponsors included Beverly Hills Teddy Bear, E Revolution Ventures, Fibre-Craft, LLC, Intertek Hardlines...

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Gund to Launch New Huggy Buddha Product Line

Gund will release a new product line under license with Huggy Buddha International. Brokered by Remarkable Brands Inc., this global, multi-year agreement covers all retail channels, including department stores, mid-tier specialty stores, and more. The product line will launch in early fall. Sandra de Vries, who wanted to give her first grandchild a laughing Buddha plush as a good luck symbol for a happy life, created Huggy Buddha in 2010. The new line will include familiar Huggy Buddha fan favorites, while offering expanded colors and formats: Large Huggy Buddha will be available in an 11-inch gray format. Medium Huggy Buddha will be available in a 7.5-inch format in blue, pink, and gray. Huggy Buddha Backpack Clip will feature a 4-inch plush and a high-quality metal ring...

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KFC Promotion with UglyDoll to Launch in China

The Uglydoll brand has secured a retail promotion partnership with KFC China through its Asia licensing agent Global Pursuit, which will see Uglydoll premiums distributed with kid’s meals at more than 4,000 KFC restaurant locations throughout mainland China. The KFC Uglydoll promotion is set to run through this month. The product line is available at retail establishments in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou as well as Taiwan and Hong Kong. Additional products will be released by Global Pursuit and will include a line of...

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Mark Cuban to Deliver Keynote at WIT Empowerment Day

Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WIT) has announced that business maverick and entrepreneur Mark Cuban will deliver the opening keynote at this year’s WIT Empowerment Day, which will be held at Dallas Market Center on October 5. This annual event, held the day before the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) Dallas Fall Toy Preview, offers women business owners access to industry resources, mentors, and role models, and for those who pre-qualify, the opportunity to pitch Wal-Mart toy buyers onsite. Cuban’s business advice will kick off the event. He is the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theaters, Magnolia Pictures,...

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Thunderbirds Are Go Toys Take Off in Australia

Merchantwise, ITV Studios Global Entertainment’s appointed licensing agency in Australia, has announced strong toy and DVD sales, as well as a host of new licensing and retail partners, for the TV series Thunderbirds Are Go in Australia. The TV series, produced by ITV Studios and New Zealand-based Pukeko Pictures in collaboration with Weta Workshop, premiered in April and is consistently attracting more than 200,000 viewers on Channel 9’s Go! The first season, consisting of 26 22-minute episodes, is currently airing and the second season has been commissioned. The master toy line, produced by Vivid Imaginations and distributed by HeadStart, launched in June and is sold at toy retailers including Myer, Toys “R” Us, Big W, and Target. The range includes vehicles, action figures, and a deluxe Tracy Island Playset. This August, publishing partner Hachette will launch a line of storybooks, sticker books, and activity...

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McDonald’s Debuts Minion Happy Meals Across Southern California to Support Families with Critically-Ill Children

McDonald’s has partnered with NBC Universal to introduce a line of Minion Happy Meals across Southland. The McDonald’s Happy Meals will include one of 12 Minions sound toys, and a choice of Minion themed milk, apple slices, or a strawberry-banana-flavored Yoplait Go-Gurt. Happy Meals are part of how the McDonald’s Operators’ Association of Southern California (MOASC) supports Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California. With every Happy Meal sold at participating McDonald’s restaurants, a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Chapter to help keep families close to their critically-ill child. In Southern California, RMHCSC supports thousands of families every year through six Ronald McDonald Houses in Bakersfield, Loma Linda, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Orange, and Pasadena; two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo; and Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. The Minion Happy Meal promotion will run through July 30 in participating restaurants across the...

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COMMENTARY: What I’ve Learned About the Toy Industry—An Intern’s Perspective

After quarterly report cards and end-of-the-year science projects, if my grades were above a B+—and my teacher’s comments weren’t scolding—my mother would drive me to Toys “R” Us in Massapequa, N.Y., to pick up a Summertime Beach Barbie. At 10 years old, dolls had a very innocent appeal. But now, at the age of 19, I realize that I was a targeted consumer in a multi-billion-dollar industry. We not only bought the doll, but the Barbie Beach cruiser to complete the collection. Through news releases and access to in-house experts at Adventure Publishing Group, I have a behind-the-scenes look at some of the leading players in the toy industry. Before coming to The Toy Book, I did not quite understand everything that the industry represents, much less the idea of partnerships, licensing deals, and toy franchises. Here is what I’ve learned about the toy industry so far: • While playing with and reviewing toys is fun, the toy industry is also a major player in the nation’s economy. According to the Toy Industry Association (TIA), the toy industry generates more than 491,000 jobs in the U.S. alone. • Most parents who drive their child to the local toy store are under all kinds of pressures. For example, whether to buy active toys or video games could be the difference between a future play-date with a couch potato or raising...

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