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New Toy Inventor Competition Series from Mattel Coming to Primetime TV

New Toy Inventor Competition Series

Mattel Creations, the content creation and distribution division of Mattel, has partnered with the ABC Television Network to launch the reality competition series, “The Toy Box.”

Slated for a primetime spot in the 2016-17 TV season, the show will follow amateur toy inventors as they vie for an opportunity to market their invention with the support of Mattel. The inventions (and their inventors) will be put to the test by the ultimate judges: a panel of toy-loving kids.

The winning toy invention will be available for purchase upon the series’ completion. Not only will families get to witness the process behind toy invention — from the conception, to prototyping, all the way to the marketing of the final product — but they will have the opportunity to purchase it, too.

“Along with our partners at Hudsun Media and Electus, we are extremely proud to announce ‘The Toy Box,’ the first major production project from Mattel Creations,” said Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Mattel’s Chief Content Officer.

“The Toy Box” brings the pressure and drama of competition-style shows to the toy-design process in a format that’s sure to thrill kids and families alike,” said Michael Rourke, CEO of Hudsun Media. “For the first time, viewers will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of toy making, as they see what it takes to design the next great American toy.”

For more on information about “The Toy Box,” see the full press release from Disney ABC Press.

Sago Mini Releases New Product Line

Just in Time For Holiday Shopping Season

Sago Mini New Fall Product Line

Sago Mini has unveiled its fall product line, which includes two new Portable Playsets, a floor Puzzle Mat, the Tuck Me In Quilt, and a series of board books. 

Portable Playsets
Harvey’s Spaceship and Jack’s Diner are both great additions for play dates. The pieces fit neatly inside; they fold up and can be secured with the attached band. It even has a handle to make it easy to grab on the go. Harvey’s Spaceship includes a Harvey figurine along with six fun accessories, while Jack’s Diner includes all the fixing of classic diner—booth seating, a jukebox, and more! 

Tuck Me In Quilt
To create this adorable bedroom accessory, Sago Mini partnered with textile designer Libs Elliot. With its built-in pockets, children can tuck their favorite stuffed animals and toys into bed with them, tell them stories and kiss them goodnight at bedtime. This was one of our favorites at ASTRA this year. We know kids will love this unique quilt.

Foam Puzzle Mats: Robin’s Roadtrip
Robin’s Roadtrip puts a new spin on classic kids’ foam floor mats. Designed for kids ages three and up, the tiles connect in hundreds of configurations so kids can customize their own road trip. Some tiles even include pop-up features to bring the environment to life!

Each book in this series stars Sago Mini characters that kids have grown to know and love. Kids can interact with Jinja the cat, Harvey the dog, Robin the bird, Jack the rabbit, and Hugboat in these beautifully designed storybooks.

For more information, visit sagomini.com/.

Press release courtesy of PR Newswire.

Are You Participating in Neighborhood Toy Store Day?

Neighborhood Toy Store Day

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is gearing up for the 7th annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day, encouraging specialty toy retailers across the nation to participate in this year’s event. Neighborhood Toy Store Day, held on the second Saturday of November will take place on November 12 this year.

As ASTRA states, this is a day to come together and celebrate the special role that neighborhood toy stores play in their communities. While Small Business Saturday takes place on November 26, this national initiative is focused specifically on specialty toy retailers and is a unique opportunity to kick start the holiday sales season and connect with the ASTRA network.

For holiday shoppers who don’t like waiting until black Friday to mark items off of their shopping lists, Neighborhood Toy Store Day gives ASTRA members an edge on the competition.

If you’d like to participate in Neighborhood Toy Store Day, join ASTRA today!

EleFriend... The Bendable Toddler Toothbrush

October Cover

Introducing EleFriend, a brand new bendable toothbrush for toddlers from Baby Banana, the company behind the #1 selling baby toothbrush on Amazon. Parents who loved the flexibility of the infant Baby Banana Brush have been looking for a similar safe toddler product, but there wasn't anything available. Enter EleFriend... the only toddler toothbrush that bends.
EleFriend is intended for children ages 2-4 years old, which is a very important time in the development of life long oral health care habits. If brushing is enjoyable, kids are more likely to do it on their own. There is also a high risk of oral injury at this age and learning stage. The risk of oral injury is significantly reduced when a toothbrush bends. If a child falls, the brush will bend instead of impacting the soft tissues of their mouth. The flexible neck of EleFriend also prevents children from pushing down too hard as they learn to brush. The nylon bristles are extra soft yet still effective for plaque removal. The head of the toothbrush is perfectly sized for little mouths. The body of EleFriend is extra wide, ideal for little hands. All of these features combined make for a better option in the world of toddler toothbrushes.
Make sure your little one has a friend that bends when they are learning how to take care of their teeth... the EleFriend!

Why Specialty Toy Retailers Have the Holiday Sales Advantage

Specialty Toy Retailers Have the Holiday Sales Advantage

Manufacturers, retailers, and industry influencers are already beginning to talk to consumers about the holiday season. It’s no secret that October, November, and December are the biggest season for toy sales, and according to cheatsheet.com, overspending is becoming a holiday tradition. Overspending on gifts is especially tempting for parents. A 2015 T. Rowe Price survey that sampled 1,000 parents across the country in January 2015 found that 62% of parents agree with the statement, “I spent more for my kids over the holidays than I should have.”

While we’re not encouraging you to trick your customers into overspending, it’s obvious that holiday shopping is an especially big deal for parents with young and school age children. So, instead of pushing your customers to overspend this holiday season, focus in on toys, gadgets, and kids’ gizmos that have tremendous value, quality, and staying power.

There’s no denying the advantages of online shopping, especially at this time of year. Customers can compare pricing on different websites, products are shipped within days of purchasing, and they don’t have to scour the aisles of some big box store or stand in those awful long lines (we’re looking at you, last minute shoppers). The best part of all? They can do this all from their warm and cozy couch or on their phone during their lunch break.

Specialty toy store retailers do have one big advantage over online retailers, though. When shopping online, decision paralysis (no matter how big or small the decision) can lead parents to making poor spending choices—only to later go back and return the product or buy another one to make up for their buyer’s remorse. As a specialty toy storeowner or manager, your customers can feel confident with their purchases when they’ve consulted an expert.

You can explain the value of one toy over another. You can help them weigh the pros and cons of two competing products. You can emphasize how you saw the product at the Fall Toy Preview and just had to have it in your store because you loved it so much. Going out to shop on a cold winter evening after a day at work, can seem like a taxing endeavor, especially for parents who aren’t well-versed in the latest toy trends.

Holiday gift shopping should not be a chore. Make gift shopping fun, satisfying, and worth the difficult trek in the cold. Your customers will thank you. And their kids will thank Santa.

Playmobil to Launch How to Train Your Dragon Play Sets

Playmobil How to Train Your Dragon

Just 3 months after announcing its foray into the licensed toy market with a Ghostbusters line, Playmobil has announced plans to release a series of How to Train Your Dragon playsets.

The new Playmobil Dragons sets will feature Hiccup, Toothless, and the dragon riders of Berk as 7.5 cm tall figures. They’re set for an autumn 2017 release.

“We are excited to bring the world of How to Train Your Dragon to life as Playmobil toys,” said Silke Heinrich, member of Playmobil’s executive board.

"The epic story with its adorable characters and amazing scenery is just perfect to encourage hours of imaginative role play. We are pleased to be aligning with DreamWorks to launch a new line of toy sets with a strong appeal among our joint target group. We believe the Dragons products will ignite our fans’ passion even more and at the same time invite more children to get to know the play benefits of Playmobil.”

Story courtesy of

Stock Up for Halloween With These Costume Companies

Some folks meticulously plan for Halloween months in advance, picking out just the right fabrics and accessories to create the perfect homemade costume. For those last minute shoppers among us, though, we might find ourselves in a mad dash trying to find a fun and wholesome costume for ourselves or our kids. Make it easy for your customers by offering a wide range of high quality costumes the whole family can enjoy. We’ve picked out some of our favorite costume companies to make Halloween shopping easier for you, too.

Rubies Costume Company

Rubie's Costume Co

Rubie’s Costume Company is the world’s largest designer, manufacturer and distributor of Halloween costumes and accessories. A family owned and operated business celebrating 65 years in business, Rubie’s offers a vast selection of products that extends well beyond Halloween helping people around the world celebrate holidays and special occasions from Easter to Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day to Christmas, New Year’s Eve to bachelorette parties and everything in between. With costumes and accessories from the hottest licensed properties and their stellar in-house design team, Rubie’s offers something for everyone in the family… even your pets!

With their finger on the pulse of pop culture, Rubie’s 2016/2017 license portfolio includes collections from movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Shop the Rubie's Costume Company catalog here.

Fairy Finery

Fairy Finery

Fairy Finery is dedicated to nurturing the imagination and magic that lives in young children. Innocent, sweet and simple, their versatile dress-up clothing and gift items give a child’s imagination room to soar. All of their garments are sewn in the USA for a fair wage, under good working conditions so parents and kids can feel good about these adorable costumes.

Shop the Fairy Finery catalog here.

Aeromax Toys

Aeromax Toys

Aeromax Toys are an award-winning maker of high quality toys and dress up products for both children and adults since 1997. They’re guaranteed to spark imagination at any age. Their Get Real Gear Dress Up for Kids line offers costumes such as astronaut and firefighter suits. They offer costumes in sizes suitable for 6-month-old infants all the way up to adulthood.

Shop Aeromax Toys here.


Elope Costume Co

Elope, which stands for Everybody’s Laughing on Planet Earth, shares love of laughter and style with the world. Their wide range of costume accessories includes whimsical headgear, gloves, and boots. They’re a great way to finish off a homemade costume with a little bit of help.

Shop Elope's whimsical product catalog here.

Dress up your imagination!

Imagine by Rubie’s is a toy division of Rubie’s Costume Company, offering a full line of dress-up apparel and accessories for children in blister sets, boxed sets and separates. Achieving substantial growth over the past 3 years, Imagine continues to provide innovative designs by introducing new products such as light up muscle chest shirts for Spider-Man, Captain America and Iron Man, as well as an entire line of Wonder Woman light up accessories which include a light up belt, light up tiara, light up necklace and light up gauntlets. Each and every new eye-catching design can be enjoyed by kids 365 days a year!

Available in the toy aisle of most major retailers (Target, Walmart, Toys R Us) as well as online, Imagine by Rubie’s offers today’s younger generation the hottest licenses including Star Wars Rogue One, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Captain America, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the ever-popular DC Super Hero Girls: Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Bumble Bee and Katana. Embracing “girl power” these new dress-up styles are specially designed to help build character and confidence by empowering girls to discover their true potential. Other popular “girl power” characters include Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Black Widow from Marvels: The Avengers.

In addition to the various licensed properties, Imagine by Rubie’s also offers a variety of non-licensed characters including: Pirates, Ninjas, Fire Fighters, Police Officers, Chefs, Military Men, Fairies and Princesses. Each of these everyday heroes encourages the importance of dress-up and role play by stimulating one's imagination.

With new styles and new characters, every child can be whoever they want to be with Imagine by Rubie’s!


TIA Revamps Categories for Toy Fair 2017


The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has dropped gendered categories from the 2017 TOTY Awards in order to make the event more relevant in the current marketplace. 

To help combat issues of stereotypes around certain toys, the TIA hopes to shake up the industry by removing these categories. Despite the benefits of play being universal, for example, construction toys are often targeted at boys while dolls are often targeted at girls.

In place of these categories, the TIA is adding six new categories:

1. Action Figure of the Year
Toys that include action figures, and their play sets/accessories

2. Collectible of the Year
Toys that compose a set; can include novelty playthings miniature versions of existing lines, licensed collectibles, etc.

3. Construction Toy of the Year
Toys that include building & engineering sets

4. Doll of the Year
Toys that include fashion and plush dolls, and their play sets/accessories

5. Rookie of the Year
A new company (created within the last 2 years) that has brought to market an outstanding toy

6. Vehicle of the Year
Toys that are powered or non-powered vehicles, and their play sets/accessories

Toy, game, and license submissions across all 14 TOTY categories can now be made at the TIA website

Visit http://www.toyfairny.com for more information.

New Kit from Alex Brands Combines Jewelry Making and Storytelling

Lil Lockets

Today Alex Brands announces the launch of Lil Lockitz, a line of lockets that allows kids to express their style, interests and cherished memories by customizing them with different accessories.

Six of the eight products from the initial Lil Lockitz are included below:

1. Memory Studio - Memory Studio provides lots of storage for all the locket supplies, and displays up to 4 lockets. With the turn of the knob, the lights and music infuse the locket with a personal story that can be worn as a necklace, bracelet or keychain. Makes 10 lockets.

2. Best Friend Party Pack - Creating lockets is easier than ever with a storage tray that comes stocked with supplies, tweezers and a photo puncher. Makes 18 lockets for necklaces, bracelets and keychains.

3. Selfie Set – Children can take personalization to the next level with lockets featuring a selfie or photo with friends. Simply cut a photo to the perfect size with the easy photo puncher, and add charms making an extra special memory for them to wear. Makes two locket necklaces.

4. Pets Set – Children can create an adorable locket all about their precious pal that can be worn as a necklace, bracelet or keychain! Makes six lockets. 

5. Sweets Set – The perfect set for children with a sweet tooth. They can choose their favorite sweet treat charms, store them away in a locket with other yummy elements and wear it as a necklace, bracelet or keychain. Makes six lockets. 

6. Vacay, Rock Star or Juice Bar Set– With these separate sets, children can create three keepsake lockets, themed as their favorite vacation, rock n' roll, or adorable fruit charms. 

"We are extremely proud to introduce Lil Lockitz and believe the line depicts incredible innovation in the children's DIY space," said Neil Friedman, CEO of Alex Brands. "Lil Lockitz offers an exceptionally creative experience beyond traditional DIY products, as children are in control to design lockets that portray their personal interests, style, aspirations and dreams."

Press release courtesy of PR Newswire. For more information, visit www.alexbrands.com.

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