ToyBooklogoAfter 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 a scholar—and as such, it is a tough decision.

Jurassic World Indominus Rex figure, from Hasbro

In the battle for the attentions of 4-foot-tall consumers, toy companies are not going at it alone; they are bringing partners, which can lead to memorable and inspiring products. For example, Jurassic World has partnered with Hasbro to create a line of dinosaur toys, through which kids can role play as a massive Indominus Rex, or more. Who knows, one of these toys could lead to a child discovering they want to be a scientist, an explorer, or even a paleontologist!

Although it has only been a month since I arrived in the toy industry, I am quickly learning that it is more than just an arena for child’s play.

For more commentary from Tatyana, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!