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. 

LAWRENCE ROSEN, Chairman, Cra-Z-Art

The Activities category was up in the first half of 2018. To what do you attribute the success?
The Activities/Arts & Crafts category did well due to the continuing popularity of slime and other hot themes, such as sequins, glitter, bath bombs, and more. With Cra-Z-Art being one of the leaders in the arts and crafts category and being known for finding hot trends, we already had popular items, such as Nickelodeon Slime, Shimmer ‘n Sparkle Bath Bomb kits, and sequin bags, in the marketplace. We also included popular current themes, such as unicorns and emojis, into our designs. Our Nickelodeon slime kits, bath bomb kits, and glitter kits evolved into our trendy Nickelodeon Slime Studio, Bath Bomb Maker, and Glitter Maker.

These activity sets allow kids to customize designs and engage in imaginative, creative play, as well as be socially interactive. Kids also like the tactile feel of working with different materials and textures. All of these self-contained activity sets come with everything kids needs to create their own arts and crafts masterpiece, making them easy and fun to use. Kids can showcase their artistic expression with this traditional play aspect using arts and crafts. We expect these trends to continue through 2019 alongside new and recurring trends, such as friendship bracelets and loom bracelets.

How was Cra-Z-Art’s first holiday season without Toys “R” Us?
There is no doubt that Toys “R” Us was missed this holiday season, as the retailer garnered an approximately  14 percent share of the toy marketplace and allowed us to showcase a wide array of our toy catalog. It certainly made the retail environment more challenging to navigate for sellers and consumers. However, Cra-Z-Art was able to aggressively and successfully make up share and fill the void. We also worked with our great key retail partners to expand listings and promote items both at the store level and online, and found new, alternate retail channels. Fortunately, we had a very good portfolio of items, including our Nickelodeon Slime and other arts and crafts items, such as our Bath Bomb Maker, that drove sales and increased revenue for us to have another good year. We’ll continue these efforts and look for additional growth channels this year.