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July 7 - 14, 2023


Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin' Friday! 


LA was super hot and fun last weekend with the premier of the Barbie movie! In September, it will be hot and fun again with the LA Previews. Our LA Preview Directory is ready right now! Register now - with your POP profile url. The Directory is new today and will populate as people sign-up. We have a hotel block at Embassy Suites LAX South for all industry folks, inventors, distributors, manufacturers, reps, etc.

Register and reserve your hotel room for POP Week, November 1 - 5: Inventor Pitch and Innovation Conference,  Toy & Game Innovation Awards - the TAGIEsYoung Inventor Challenge, POP Roast of Rich Mazel, Toy Takedown (Family Feud Inspired) with Brian Turtle, Tom Rushton and Matt Nuccio, PlayCHC and Chicago Toy & Game Fair

​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here or on the Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed!


  • The BLOOM REPORT is fantastic and it allows me to stay on top of all the breaking news in the Toy industry! - Wai Or, Longshore Ltd.

  • “I seriously look forward to each Friday to learn most every update + more in the Industry. Priceless info! Thank you” -Michael Kohner, The Michael Kohner Corporation

  • "TBR is required reading for: inventors, manufacturers, retailers, marketers, suppliers, absolutely everyone!" - Robert Fuhrer, Founder, NEXTOY

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Person of the Week - Christopher Byrne

Thinking, Learning, Playing, Growing

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The back-to-school season is on us, and for the second year since the pandemic, kids are really going back—to real schools, in classrooms, with each other in person. That means a lot of household spending on goods related to the season. Where do toys fit into that? Well, none of the major tracking services separate out toys as one of the major consumption categories, which include clothes, electronics, books, and supplies.  However, we know anecdotally that parents are buying toys for kids during this season, and we know from teachers that new toys are coming to school in backpacks. (I’ll save my own wind-up robot detention story for another day.)


The new school year is also a time of beginning. It’s almost as if we get a clean slate as we head into the fall. It is an exciting time for everyone—even adults can get caught up in the novelty of the time. As we look to the ’23-’24 school year, here are some of the trends we’re seeing influencing play:

Social/Emotional Development


There’s been a lot of talk about this in recent years, but it’s front-and-center for this season. The trending buzzword is MESH, an acronym for Mental Emotional and Social Health. It’s especially important because it acknowledges the whole child, and their needs.  First and second grade teachers we’ve talked to have stressed that the past two years have been different.  They show up on day one needing to develop social skills and an ability to function within a peer group that they would have learned in a traditional preschool setting. For these teachers, that means incorporating more opportunities for teamwork and collaboration into their lesson plans. It’s also meant that kids are experiencing stress in different ways than previous groups of kids did at that grade level.  READ MORE...

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 Person of the Week - Amy Holden

Adventure Capital

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As toy sector people, many of us travel (a lot) and I’m sure we’ve all had the same pains; delayed flights, late samples, issues at the hotel, and so on. On my last trip to the US, I had a succession of incidents beyond all previous mishaps combined, which I can only describe as “Insane planetary alignment”. I survived and am here to tell you the tale if you’d like to read on.


First stop was Boca Raton to pitch two of our new, and secret at the time, launches. Then on to Sarasota to visit a friend who is a VC investor to discuss financing, and then lastly onwards to LA, for some product development meetings and more pitches at the LA Previews.


As it was April and I had almost spent my whole years travel budget already, I booked to fly in economy and stay at a regular hotel, upon our MD’s suggestion. I chose a hotel by the beach, so at least I could go jogging in the morning and enjoy a little tourism after meetings. My handmade samples had been sent directly there one week in advance lest they not arrive to me from China to take them personally. Upon arrival at Boca Raton, I noted the hotel was actually a motel, you know the two story, built in the 70’s ones where the windows overlook a central pool? Yes, the ones from the movies where everyone ends up shot.

At this interesting residence, reception was only open from 11am until 5pm. So, as I arrived in the evening, I found a key was taped to the door with my name on it. I proceeded to drag my bags upstairs and enter a room that looked disappointingly nothing like the sunny, clean and modern room in I’m no snob so went about opening the window and unpacking. My greatest concern was that reception did not open until after my very important meeting the next morning and I was not going to be able to get those samples. Alas, that was the least of my problems as I would soon find out.    READ MORE...

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Person of the Week - Rebecca Horrace

When in Doubt, Look to the Children, They have all the Answers!

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Welcome to our team, Rebecca! As the new Editor for Play in Education’s newsletter, what attracted you to People of Play, and what goals do you have in mind for the organization?

I value play in all areas of education and think it’s imperative to incorporate educational components into toys and games. I am humbled to collaborate with an organization like the Chicago Toy and Game Group that honors the important purpose of play in education. Educators and play professionals can access a full-range of researched content regarding the benefits of play in education through articles, a newsletter, interviews, etc. which become vital resources for the entire community.


My goal is to continue to provide playful, research-based information while showcasing our amazing advocates and community through additional spotlights, resources for educators, and highlights on up-and-coming toy products and design professionals who value education.


You’re not only PIE’s Editor, you also contribute to our industry in other ways. Can you share how you stay involved?

Two-fold actually: As a play and education expert I collaborate with toy and game companies to provide insights on how to best incorporate educational value into their products, which in turn helps the marketability of their toys. I also partner with educational spaces, such as schools, libraries, and museums to help them navigate the ever-changing educational landscape while prioritizing play for their audiences. My work encompasses the entire spectrum of play and education, truly bridging the gap between these two spaces, which is rather exciting–no two projects are ever the same!   READ MORE...

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Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile! 

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Thank you Bob Fuhrer for our amusuing cartoon this week! 


Quote of the Week: "As a game designer, I'm always trying to create a magic circle of wonder and possibility." - Brenda Romero, renowned game designer Romero's enchanting approach to game design has led to creations like Train and The Mechanic is the Message, captivating players and sparking important conversations. Read More...

Lexophile Lovers:  I'm a big fan of whiteboards. I find them quite remarkable. Thank you, Jerry Cleary for sharing with our readers! 

Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me!  Mary


Toys Matter:  The Power of Playthings


From antiquities to AI, baby dolls to board games, character toys to card games, toys in museums to toys in the marketplace and much more, the 2023 International Toy Research Association World Conference is poised to shine a global spotlight on cutting edge toy research, design, and pedagogy.  The conference will be held 9-11 August, 2023 at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY, USA and is open to interdisciplinary toy researchers, designers, students and industry professionals. 


With keynote speakers, workshops, symposia and more than 80 paper presentations by scholars from more than 20 countries across 6 continents the biggest challenge for conference participants is deciding between which presentations to attend. 


Registration fees are $425 ($225 for students).  Space at the conference is filling up fast, so reserve your spot today by registering through The Strong’s online click here.  The Hampton Inn and Suites in the Neighborhood of Play right across the street from the museum (101 South Union Street Rochester, NY 14607) is available at a special conference rate of $149/night +taxes. 1 585-450-3801


Founded in 1993, the International Toy Research Association is the longest running international research conference focused specifically on the wide, wide & wonderful world of toys & games. Learn more at:

More information about the Conference here! 



Financial and Legal

The UK government is leveling the tax relief playing field for animated feature films by upping the amount these projects can claim to 39% of budget, bringing them on par with animated television productions. Starting on January 1, 2024, the Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit (AVEC) will cover both types of animation production. Movies could previously only claim 25% of budget through the Film Tax Relief, so...


The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Arts (SAG-AFTRA) union is now on strike, instructing its members with film and TV contracts to stop working. After more than four weeks of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP)—which represents more than 350 studios and streamers such as Walt Disney Studios, Paramount and Netflix—ended...

New Zealand’s billion-dollar toy company Zuru has lost a legal trademark battle over packaging that told consumers its building bricks were compatible with Lego. Zuru, a home-grown Kiwi business that grew into a global success story, began selling its Max Build More products in 2018, including through a deal with the giant United States chain store Walmart. It intended to put a “compatibility statement” on its packaging...

Lionsgate has established pole position to acquire the Hasbro-owned Entertainment One, sources tell Deadline. Since Hasbro declared it was shedding all but its core business, Lionsgate has been oft-mentioned as a suitor, as has Legendary. The two indie studios have been more recently bidding for the eOne film and TV assets alongside distributor GoDigital Media Group, with former eOne CEO Darren Throop launching...


***The above posted after July 14th***


Sega of America's worker-led union AEGIS has successfully voted to unionize. The nearly 200-member group held a vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), with a 91-26 majority in favor of creating a union.  As AEGIS noted on Twitter, it's now "the largest multi-department union of organized workers in the entire game industry."


US inflation rises at slowest pace in two years. The rate of price growth in the US dropped to its slowest pace in more than two years last month, helped by cheaper used cars. Inflation rose 3% in the year to June, according to data, from 4% in May. Inflation has fallen sharply from a peak of more than 9% in June 2022 and the latest reading marks the slowest pace since March 2021. 


South China Sea: Philippines to allow Barbie movie but wants map blurred. The Philippines has requested that a controversial map in the new Barbie movie be blurred, but it will allow the film to be screened. The production was banned in Vietnam for allegedly showing the nine-dash line on a map. The line is significant as it is used by China to assert its internationally rejected claims in the South China Sea. 

NY-based investment firm Integrated Media Company (IMG) has agreed to purchase Canadian media company Corus Entertainment’s animation software developer Toon Boom Animation. Corus will generate around US$112.4 million (CAD$147.5 million) from Toon Boom’s sale, which it will use to repay outstanding debts, according to a release. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year.


Only one thing still stands in the way of Microsoft's Activision takeover. Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion is closer than ever to becoming a reality after the companies defeated the Federal Trade Commission in court this week. While the FTC can still appeal, all eyes now turn back to regulators in the UK, that last thorn in the tech giant’s side as it seeks to dramatically alter the trajectory of Xbox. 


Microsoft wins FTC trial, can proceed with Activision Blizzard merger. Following its week-long trial against the FTC, Microsoft has been allowed to continue its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. California judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled in favor of the Xbox maker, saying the US regulator "has not shown a likelihood it will prevail on its claim this particular vertical merger...may substantially lessen competition." 


Microsoft lays off nearly 300 in new round of job cuts. Today's layoffs are separate from the 10,000 jobs that were cut earlier in the year. Months after laying off 10,000 employees at the start of the year, Microsoft has cut more jobs.  Outlets such as CNBC have said this new reduction is considerably smaller, with reportedly 276 staffers affected. These cuts are said to span its customer service, sales, and support... 

GST: India's online game tax could kill a booming industry. The Indian government's decision to impose a 28% tax on online gaming poses an "existential threat" to the booming industry and could spell its death knell, say experts. Shares of Indian online gaming platforms and casinos have crashed following the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council's decision. The country's 900+ gaming start-ups...

UK economy 'listless' with little growth in four years. The UK economy has barely grown since 2019 before the pandemic, with one economist describing it as "listless". It shrank by 0.1% in May, partly due to the extra bank holiday for the King's Coronation, which meant there was one fewer working day than normal. The rising cost of living and higher interest rates have been squeezing households and businesses.  

Amazon disputes EU categorization as a Very Large Online Platform. Amazon was among the first 17 companies to be designated a VLOP in late April, The online retailer has taken legal action to have the designation under the region’s Digital Services Act (DSA) removed. Facebook, Twitter, Apple’s App Store, Google Play, YouTube, Alibaba’s AliExpress and German retailer Zalando are all included, among others, in the list. 


UPS – Teamsters talks break down, no new bargaining sessions scheduled. Talks on a new contract between UPS and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have broken down early last Thursday with no new talks scheduled, according to both the company and the union.  Both accused the other of walking away from negotiations.  Teamsters voted to authorize a strike when the current contract...


The mega-strike that could take down Hollywood. Hollywood's writers have been on strike for two months and soon the actors may join them, swapping the red carpet for the picket lines. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) contract expires at midnight local time on 12 July, following a deadline extension that delayed the possibility of a mega-strike by almost two weeks.

Hornby acquires minority interest in Warlord Games. Hornby will have the option to acquire a majority stake in Warlord two years after the initial acquisition and to acquire any remaining shares on future anniversaries. Hornby has announced that it has acquired a 25% share in Warlord Games, based in Nottingham, for cash consideration of £1.25m. .

Pokémon Go developer Niantic accused of sexual bias in lawsuit. An ex-developer at Niantic has leveled a lawsuit at the AR developer, alleging the studio has been underpaying its female employees. First spotted by The Verge, the former staffer claims the Pokémon Go developer has spent years denying equal pay to staff who were women or women of color. 


Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka handed suspended sentence and fined $1.1 million for insider trading. Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka has been handed a suspended prison sentence and fined over $1.1 million after being found guilty of insider trading. As reported by IGN Japan (via IGN), the veteran developer was found to have violated Japan's Financial Instruments and Exchange Act for insider trading during his time at Square Enix. 



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Financial Reporting

Barbie, which has presales far exceeding that of Disney’s The Little Mermaid ($95.5M), has a crazy range of projections stateside, from $90M-$125M. Warners is safely calling for $75M at 4,200 theaters. Worldwide, Barbie is eyeing around $165M: $60M-$65M from 69 offshore markets including France and Korea among majors on Wednesday, followed by Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia and all of Latin America on Thursday, and then the UK and China on Friday.


BBC Studios Hits Record $2.7B Annual Revenue, Driven by 40 Percent Content Studio Gain, ‘Bluey’ Merchandise

Tumblr is losing $30M each year, CEO says


Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

UK streaming growth slowing down as subscription fatigue hits home

Kids and teens drive up TV usage in June. For the two to 11 and 12 to 17 demos, streaming and gaming account for most of the monthly jump.




***The above posted after July 14th***


To celebrate the retailer’s 50th Birthday, new research commissioned by Argos has revealed how children’s play has transformed over the last half a decade.





STEM toys are booming. So is ‘STEM-washing’.

The latest Stationery trends for toy shops.

Circana talks UK summer toys

BrandTrends Group’s Latest Research Reveals Influence of Licensing Products. The findings show that featuring popular characters on toys and other merchandise can boost sales.

The hottest toys on Amazon to buy for the Holidays

Toy World takes an in depth look at Construction toys, speaking to leaders in the space to find out how they are building on their ranges this year.

Women make up 37% of Asia's gamers. New survey also says that women account for 23.5% of total market revenue

ESA says one-third of American adults over 65 are playing video games.

Stocked for Baby? Here Are the Latest Baby, Toddler Toy Trends

'Barbie' movie hype sends Mattel stock surging

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

Get ready for the rise of Kencore. Ken has always been a fashion icon, but he hasn’t had Barbie’s cultural influence. Until now. Ever since Ken debuted as Barbie’s boyfriend in 1961—wearing nothing but red swimming trunks and matching slides—he, too, has been a fashion icon. From Ken’s earliest days, toy-maker Mattel hired designers to create his wardrobe, which is every bit as stylish as Barbie’s. Despite that...

Playful - Behold the Unique Beauty of Japan’s Artistic Manhole Covers. Matsumoto City highlights one of its popular folk craft souvenirs, the colorful silk temari balls that once served as toys for female children and bridal gifts... The proximity of the Sanrio Puroland theme park allows Tama City to lay claim to Hello Kitty and Pokémon-themed lids have sprung up like mushrooms from Tokyo to Okinawa.


Can Barbie be the new Iron Man in a Mattel universe? It may sound like an unlikely comparison, but the boss of toy co. Mattel would like Barbie to be the next Iron Man. That's because Ynon Kreiz aspires to create a "Mattel universe", he tells me - emulating the success of the Marvel universe, which has spawned dozens of hit films for Disney from a cast of comic-book characters like Thor, Captain America and Guardians of...


Barbie: A Visual Dictionary. The things that make Barbie Barbie. Maybe you’ve heard there’s a Barbie movie coming out? Well, this isn’t about that. It is, however, about the 11½ inches of intellectual property that inspired all the madness: the doll itself. You know the one. Often blond, always smiling, occasionally naked and neglected at the bottom of a toy chest? Chances are you do: According to Mattel, more than 100 dolls...


***The above posted after July 14th***


John Baulch, Toy World - It wasn't me... it's the Friday Blog! I have been in Italy visiting Clementoni this week, as the company celebrates its 60th anniversary. Hence I find myself writing this week’s Blog overlooking the beach, trying to make sense of some of the more bizarre stories that have been doing the rounds this week. As it’s summer, we have definitely hit silly season and some companies seem to be embracing...


How Michael Bay Tracked Down The Perfect Car For Transformers' Bumblebee. Michael Bay's "Transformers" movies were never shy about changing the Robots in Disguise, including what they transformed into. Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, gained a flaming-paint job. The Autobot medic Ratchet, bafflingly, turned into a yellow Hummer instead of an ambulance.

13 Looks That Did the Most at the ‘Barbie’ Premiere. Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Issa Rae, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Billie Eilish and many more stars came out on the pink carpet. Were only Susan Sontag alive today to rewrite her famous “Notes on ‘Camp,’” she might have had a field day at the “Barbie” movie premiere, which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday night (and, for all we know, she might...

Inside the ‘House of Barbie’, Mattel’s $30 Million Mistake. The Barbie-themed martinis and breast-firming treatments just weren’t enough to excite the citizens of Shanghai. For a brief stint, the center of the Barbie universe wasn’t Malibu, it was Shanghai. While Barbie has long been a cultural icon in the States—the new movie only extends that narrative—she’s never been much more than a doll in China. 

Why adults should read children's books. The best children's fiction "helps us refind things we may not even know we have lost", writes the author Katherine Rundell, with many books proving subversive, emboldening – and awe-inspiring. I've been writing children's fiction for more than 10 years now, and still I would hesitate to define it. But I do know, with more certainty than I usually feel about anything, what it is not...

A Pokémon card 'holy grail', one of only a dozen copies in perfect condition, just sold for $175,000. One of the rarest Pokémon cards of all time recently sold for $175,000, continuing the ongoing buzz - and staggering money - around collectible cards for the TCG. The Kangaskhan Family Event trophy card was handed out during a tournament held in Japan during the spring of 1998. 


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History and Nostalgia


From the archives: Mattel's toy story. From Barbie and Ken, to Hot Wheels cars, to Chatty Cathy and countless others, California-based Mattel is the largest toymaker in the world. In this story originally broadcast on "CBS Sunday Morning" November 10, 2013, correspondent Mo Rocca went for a rare behind-the-scenes tour to see how the magic happens.

Skee-Ball from Cadaco (1981). Released in 1981 by Cadaco, the tabletop Skee-Ball game promised all the action of the arcade game for players at home. A number of people had a role in launching Skee-Ball into entertainment venues and beyond.nSkee-Ball was created in 1908 by Joseph Fourestier Simpson. The New Jersey resident licensed the game to John W. Harper and William Nice Jr. with the goal of...


Roger Robot from Whitman. In 1961, Whitman introduced Roger Robot, a paper-craft toy with a sci-fi twist. Using die-cut cardboard pieces with steel paper fasteners children could build a silver-colored “giant playmate” that was a whopping four feet tall. Roger was decidedly low-tech — once he was constructed, his only moveable part was a central control knob installed in his chest that could be turned...


Musical Toys that have influenced modern music. There is a certain sphere of musical instruments design that has always overlapped into the realm of musical toys. We’re looking at some of the times these toys or tools have made their mark in the history of recorded music. The connection between creativity, curiosity, and fun has always been a part of certain toy-like instruments that have cropped up over the years. 


Iconic 90s toys that’ll take you on a nostalgia trip. Only ’90s kids will remember the unbridled joy of holding their favourite toy for the first time. Let’s revisit some popular toys from the ’90s for a nostalgia trip. Over the past decade, toys from the ‘90s have garnered a huge fan base. Such is their craze that some people will pay a fortune to own vintage collectables like Nintendo 64 even today. 

15 terrifying movie toys that give us nightmares. Every child and former child on Earth has, at some point or another, played with a toy. They've probably done so quite a bit. So what is it about toys that can be so terrifying? Maybe it's the unmoving plastic faces, whether they be attached to a dolly or a nightmarish Cabbage Patch Doll.

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Licensing and Entertainment 


The live-action Masters of the Universe movie is no longer happening at Netflix. Kidscreen has confirmed that the streamer has axed the project after developing it for more than a year. The film was previously in development at Sony for several years before Netflix took it over in January 2022. While the film was not greenlit, the platform was going to develop and produce the pic with Mattel Films, and actor Kyle Allen...

Common Sense Networks has announced three new FAST channels for kids and is looking to partner with content suppliers to keep them fresh every three months. The for-profit affiliate of Common Sense Media has been quietly rolling out the channels in beta since the beginning of the year on US streamers including Roku, VIZIO, Sling TV and TCL.  Sensical Jr. is aimed at preschoolers and features Moonbug... 


Batman executive producer Michael Uslan has signed up with online bookstore Legible to develop characters for 12 new digital and print comics inspired by Stan Lee’s unpublished concepts. This talent deal builds on Legible and Kartoon Studio announcing a partnership last week to work on the Stan Lee project as a collaboration. They’ll develop and distribute the comics for pre-teens and older audiences...


GOLIATH PARTNERS WITH WONDERY FOR THE LAUNCH OF THE LUNAR DIAL. Goliath enters an agreement with Wondery to launch The Lunar Dial, a celestial strategy game based on Morbid, a top-ranking podcast on the Wondery Network. The stars have aligned themselves for the exciting launch of The Lunar Dial, a new strategy game brought to you by global toy and game company Goliath in partnership with Morbid...

Moose Games announced that it has acquired the game That’s What She Said, its expansions, and full rights to sell the hilariously twisted adult party game globally. That’s What She Said delivers unforgettable moments of laughter and outrageous fun to millions of living rooms, game nights and gatherings worldwide. The best-selling party-in-a-box has players matching side-splitting setup cards to the funniest...


The Beanie Bubble: release date, cast, plot, trailer and everything we know. The Beanie Bubble examines the craze from the inside, looking at the rise of Beanie Babies inventor Ty Warner and his lovable soft toys, but also examining how many other visionaries played their part in his success without getting the public credit.

The American Girl x FAO Schwarz 2023 Toy Soldier Doll Shines Bright with Real Swarovski Crystals. Take home a piece of toy history this holiday season! This limited-edition doll is part of the American Girl® Collector Series. No more than 4,000 American Girl® x FAO Schwarz 2023 Toy Soldier Dolls have been created worldwide.


‘Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge’ Boss Teases Mattel-Themed Renovation Competition. We’re gonna need more pink! As Mattel’s globally beloved Barbie hits theaters for her first live-action film, HGTV presents Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge, a four-part competition set within a life-size version of the 11.5-inch doll’s iconic abode. The series premieres Sunday, July 16 at 8/7c on the network.


Horizon Group USA Unveils Barbie Collection Ahead of Summer Movie. This summer, everyone is living in a Barbie World! Building on the excitement of the upcoming Barbie movie premiere, Horizon Group USA has a magnificent collection of Barbie toys and crafts that will ignite the inner Barbie of children everywhere, allowing them to sparkle and shine as bright as Barbie herself!


***The above posted after July 14th***


Toy World spoke to senior director of Games at Funko, Stephan Brissaud, about the reimagination of Cranium games and what he hopes it will bring to players, the brand and Funko Games. In January this year, Hasbro and Funko Games announced a multi-year partnership to introduce Cranium to a new audience of millennials and their families for the game’s 25th anniversary. The relaunch of Cranium...


This looks like fun! WONKA | Official Trailer. Starring Timothée Chalamet in the title role, this irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time—proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

TOMY International and NBCUniversal Announce a New Collaboration with a Crowd-Funded Back to the Future Time Machine Diecast Replica. The Model is authentically replicated in 1:10 scale measuring 17.40 x 7.80 x 5.48” with diecast metal parts. The interior and exterior LED lights are functional and movie-accurate, with a detailed interior and smoking rear fins. This is the first Time Machine car to be offered...

Jazwares Comic-Con panel to unveil new collections. Jazwares will host its first-ever San Diego Comic-Con panel when the pop culture event returns this month. On Saturday, July 22nd,  Jazwares chief Brand officer Jeremy Padawer will moderate a candid conversation on all that’s hot from Jazwares in 2023 and beyond.

Lion Forge and Nickelodeon Animation sign a first-look deal. The companies have selected three projects that could get developed into shows in a deal that prioritizes bringing more diversity to screens. The companies have identified three projects for “potential development” under the deal. The companies are eyeing Born Driven, which centers around the first Black NASCAR driver Wendell Scott.

Consumer products and new broadcasters confirmed for animated series ‘The Deep’. Australia’s A Stark Production has secured a licensing deal with BMS Brands Australia, which has partnered with ABC for a range of 3D puzzles for the animated series, “The Deep.” For ages 5+, the puzzles are now available via Amazon and the Nile Group in Australia. 


Sesame Workshop is leaning into new stories about diverse families and heroes that kids want to see on screen. The nonprofit company has crafted its new development slate and is currently looking for broadcasting partners. Early Birds stars an 8-yr-old girl and her grandmother (both African-American) who become part of a covert network of elderly spies to keep their town safe. It targets kids ages six to eight...

The Entertainer Launches ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ x Fuggler Toys. Ahead of the new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” movie premiere this summer, U.K. toy retailer, The Entertainer, has revealed the launch of exclusive, limited-edition Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fugglers. 


Sambro launches new licensed TMNT range. As part of the three-year contract extension between Sambro and Paramount Consumer Products announced earlier this year, Sambro International will launch a new range of toys based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Timed to coincide with the highly anticipated movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, coming to cinemas in August 2023...


Barbie premiere sees London turn pink. To mark the London premiere of Barbie, the capital saw activations such as pink buses, taxis, floodlit landmarks and a Doctor Who TARDIS. The Barbie movie’s European premiere took place on Wednesday evening in London’s Leicester Square. Fans queued for hours from early on Wednesday morning to secure a wrist band for the ‘fan pen’ at the premiere. 


Funko Games to release ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ board game. Classic horror film jumps from the screen to the tabletop. Tabletop games developer, Funko Games, will release a board game based on “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” film. Although the 50th anniversary of the popular horror franchise is in 2024, Funko will release the board game in September. 


MINISO announces upcoming Snoopy collaboration with the world-famous Peanuts brand. MINISO is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Peanuts, the brand based on the world-famous comic strip, paving the way for a collaboration based on the beloved characters of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. 


Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game’s 25th anniversary fuels new line of licensing collectibles. As the 25th Anniversary of the immensely popular Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game (TCG) continues, Konami Cross Media NY, Inc has signed four new agreements that will bring an array of exclusive licensed products to market in honor of the milestone, ranging from apparel, back-to-school accessories, streetwear, and metallic posters. 


New multiplayer game L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Fashion Club officially launches. MGA Entertainment – one of the largest and fastest growing privately held toy and entertainment companies in the world –and TutoTOONS – a leading kids ’gaming company dedicated to creating educational and entertain-ing experiences for children – are delighted to announce the highly anticipated official launch o..


Licensed to Charm launches’ Wallace & Gromit’ collection. Licensed to Charm has announced the launch of the latest additions to its special edition figurine series, this time capturing the essence of “Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers,” which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Produced under license from Aardman Animations, these miniature bronze figurines come packaged in...


Fashion Brand Cider teams up with popular fashion doll brand Bratz on first global collaboration. Cider, the global fashion brand favored by Gen-Z trendsetters, and Bratz®, the highly popular fashion doll line known for its bold and edgy aesthetic, from MGA Entertainment, are thrilled to announce their first-ever collaboration. 

Since Covid, Reydon Sports has grown “massively”, after expanding its offering beyond sports equipment. The team began to diversify into outdoor toys, games and leisure, allowing it to take on a lot more products and brands. In the last 18 months, the business has joined the Toymaster Group and attended its first regional toy shows in April, followed by the May show in Harrogate. 

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People of Play

Rob Liefeld Net Worth 2023- Exploring The Jaw-Dropping Wealth Of Famous Comic Artist.  Rob Liefeld is a renowned comic book artist, writer, and entrepreneur who has left an indelible mark on the industry. Born on October 3, 1967, in California, Liefeld’s contributions to the world of comics have been both celebrated and critiqued, making him a controversial figure in the industry.


Larry Wood, a Hot Wheels toy designer for 50 yrs, is being inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit on July 20. His garage is practically a living history of Hot Wheels and all things automotive, from classic cars to classic gas pumps. Wood worked for Mattel Toys in El Segundo and has been a resident of Redondo Beach for over 5 decades. He still plays with cars, big and small, at the age of 81. 

Toy designer Yoshiaki Ito introduces a collection of wooden retro transformers that unfold from a compact square into a whimsical array of animals. Titled Morphits, these animal figures bring enchanting play experiences to people of all ages, fusing adorably expressive designs with versatile poseability. 

Meet the Fashion Designer Responsible for “Dressing Barbie”. With eye-popping colors, Dressing Barbie invites the reader to enter a unique museum; an individually curated Barbie and friends’ collection. It is lavishly illustrated with Carol Spencer’s own striking photographs of many of the dolls she created complete with their coordinated outfits, accessories, cars and houses along with vintage advertisements and little...

Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ Dream Job. Mattel wanted a summer blockbuster to kick off its new wave of brand-extension movies.  The moment Greta Gerwig knew for certain that she could make a movie about Barbie, the most famous and controversial doll in history, she was thinking about death. She had been reading about Ruth Handler, the brash Jewish businesswoman who created the doll — and who, decades later, had two mastectomies. 


Who was Ruth Handler, the woman that invented Barbie? There have been rumours flying around that Ruth Handler will appear as a character in the Barbie movie. According to Margot Robbie's recent TIME interview, it sounds like she'll appear in some form as the creator of the 'perfect woman.' It comes as Greta Gerwig revealed that one of the scenes bears a 'striking' resemblance to Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam...


***The above posted after July 14th***


Funko’s Brian Mariotti to Take Leave of Absence, Cease Serving as CEO. The move comes amid the company’s 25th anniversary celebration. The move comes with the full support of Funko’s Board of Directors and happens nearly eight months following Mariotti’s return to the CEO role amid a leadership shuffle last fall. Director Michael Lunsford has been appointed interim CEO as the company begins a search for...


The House of Mouse is keeping Bob Iger in the C-suite longer than originally planned.  Iger has agreed to remain as CEO of the Walt Disney Company till the end of 2026—a contract extension that adds two years to his tenure, which was originally set to end in 2024. 

The veteran executive returned to Disney’s helm in an unexpected rejig last November, replacing his handpicked successor Bob Chapek.


“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design goes live from the show floor at ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Stream the new episode to hear mini interviews featuring Adam Hocherman (Fat Brain Toy), Karen Hermann (Hand Craft), Julien Amundsen (Fantasma Toys), Chrissy Fagerholt (EAP Toys and Games), Jan Marie Zawitz (Tangle Creations), Dan Hakim (It Coins), and Eric Child (Tubelox).

Just Play, has announced the recent appointments of Sebastien Cardi as country manager, France and Alexis Lanzas as country manager, Iberia. Just Play is confident that these strategic appointments will bolster its growth trajectory, strengthen partnerships and further establish its position as a leader in the global toy industry.


Barry Kudrowitz is a toy inventor, a University of Minnesota professor and an expert in creativity. Kudrowitz knows a bit about problem-solving innovation. He's an expert in creativity as a University of Minnesota product design professor and department head in the school's College of Design. He's also fun. He's designed toys for Hasbro, was a slam poetry competitor and his design for a "Catsup Crapper"...

Meet the voice of all your favorite Barbie toys and games. It’s no wonder why Chris Anthony Lansdowne was in Mattel’s CA studio every day for years; she’s the voice not only of Super Talk Barbie but of all ’90s products where you hear Barbie’s voice. From Barbie Fashion Designer and Barbie Riding Club to a Barbie flip phone and boombox, Lansdowne’s voice is embedded in all things Barbie. For so many kids who grew up in...

Larry Wood, Redondo’s “Mr. Hot Wheels” to be inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame. One day in 1956, the football coach at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., confiscated a “Hot Rod” magazine from a player who wasn’t paying attention. He went home and threw it on the kitchen counter. His 14-year-old son picked it up. The boy had never before seen the publication. He would not be the same again. 

Dr. Seuss Enterprises selects Ellie Terveen as director of retail salesDr. Seuss Enterprises has named Ellie Terveen as its Director of Retail Sales. Terveen, who previously held the role of Interim Senior Director of Retail Operations at Adidas Global, will spearhead all retail relationships in the U.S. and abroad for Dr. Seuss Enterprises.


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Companies and Brands

Neopets is going independent and embarking on a brand revival strategy. According to a company blog post, new indie entity World of Neopia has assumed ownership of the virtual pet brand and appointed Dominic Law (an exec at former brand owner NetDragon) as CEO. This major development comes on the heels of LA-based video game publisher JumpStart, which ran Neopets, shutting down last month. 

The development and design of robots is reaching unsuspected heights. A few days ago the well-known company Robosen and Hasbro announced its new toy, which more than a toy is a artwork for collectors of this type of devices. It is nothing more and nothing less than a robotic grimlock that transforms into dinosaur like in robot fighter. Robosen and Hasbro has become known after in 2021 they launched...

***The above posted after July 14th***


EXPLODING KITTENS LAUNCHES NEW LINE OF GAMES FOR KIDS. The concept of the Kitten Games line was created by the Exploding Kittens' CEO Elan Lee and his 4-year old daughter Avalon out of a need for more games for preschoolers to play. Lee explains what led the creation of new line: “When we played the standard games for my daughter’s age group, she would get distracted, she wasn’t learning anything, and I was...

SmartMax, the brand behind the award-winning My First pre-school magnetic construction sets, has unveiled two new products in the range. My First People and My First Pirates both have fun characters and engaging play mechanics. The My First People set is suitable for ages 1-5, and pre-schoolers can get creative as they mix and match the funky figurines. The set is bursting with bright colours and friendly faces...

Barbie x Barbie: All of Margot Robbie’s Mattel-Inspired Red-Carpet Looks.  Take a look at all the outfits Margot Robbie has worn for the Barbie press tour—and the Barbie dolls that inspired them. Barbie isn’t just a doll, she’s a muse. Throughout Barbie’s whirlwind press tour, Margot Robbie has been sporting looks paying homage to the titular doll, walking red—well, often pink—carpets everywhere from Seoul to Mexico...


Spin Master is celebrating two esteemed workplace wins, landing a spot on Fast Company's fifth annual Best Workplace for Innovators list, and separately securing a Great Place to Work certification. Fast Company's Best Workplace for Innovators list honours organizations that demonstrate an inspiring commitment to encouraging and developing innovation at all levels. In addition to this accolade, Spin Master...

New LEGO Duplo sets are taking kids all over town. LEGO Duplo is taking kids on adventures this summer. Designed for preschoolers, LEGO Duplo sets include chunky blocks that are easy for little hands to build without an adult’s help. The new additions to LEGO Duplo are taking kids on adventures from camping trips to working on a recycling truck. 


Thames & Kosmos’ Hydraulic Boxing Bots bring educational action to building. What’s better than a boxing toy? A boxing toy that you can build and learn from! Thames & Kosmos is known for its huge collection of educational toys, with everything from engineering kits to escape room games. The company is bringing some extra action to one of its newest offerings with a set of buildable Hydraulic Boxing Bots...


TinkerTar is the perfect instrument for beginner musicians. This one-string guitar is easy for kids to learn! This toy is sure to strike a chord with little music lovers! Buffalo Games is teaming up with guitar maker Brian Calhoun to branch out to the world of music with the new TinkerTar. TinkerTar is made with kids in mind. 

Steve Jackson Games will release new edition of 'Groo: The Game'. Steve Jackson Games will release Groo: The Game, a new edition of a classic card game, into retail in fall 2023. Groo: The Game, designed by Groo the Wanderer creator and Eisner Award Hall of Fame member Sergio Aragones and Ken Whitman, was first released in 1997, but has been off the market for a decade or more. 


Risk Strike, a fresh way to play the Risk Game, available now. Get off the board and right into the action with this quick-playing Risk Strike cards and dice game, a fresh way to play the Risk game. Players can enjoy all the intensity of the Risk board game in a fast-paced, easy-to-set up game that can be played in as little as 20 minutes. 


My Little Pony celebrates the magic of friendship with a 40th-Anniversary collection. My Little Pony is celebrating the magic of friendship for its 40th anniversary. Basic Fun!’s new collection goes retro by bringing back the brand’s classic 1980s style. To celebrate four decades of magic, fun, and adventure, Basic Fun! is introducing new plush toys and figures for all MLP fans. 


Moose Toys enters doll category with Magic Mixies Pixlings and launches Magic Mixies Magic Lamp. Moose Toys, a leading innovator in the toy industry, continues to expand the universe of its global sales phenom, Magic Mixies. The toy maker predicts Magic Mixies will top holiday wish lists for the third consecutive year, as it takes the “real magic” experience to the next level with two new products...

CMON unveils new 'A Song of Ice & Fire' Starter Set for retail. CMON unveiled Bolton Starter Set, for A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game, which will hit retail on August 25, 2023. The Bolton Starter set adds a brand new faction to A Song of Ice & Fire.  This faction is headed up by Roose Bolton and Ramsay Snow, and features some their allies like Walda Frey and Jeyne Poole. 

Flat River Group will release Reiner Knizia's 'Sunrise Lane'. Flat River Group will release Sunrise Lane, a neighborhood building game by Horrible Guild, into retail soon. In this game, players take on the roles of construction companies attempting to build up a residential neighborhood. They will need to pick up prestigious plots of land to build houses and town structures on. 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development


One of the most important games ever gets the release it deserves 40 years later. In 1984, a game was released for the Apple II that was totally unlike anything that had come before. Casting you as a martial artist who must infiltrate a warlord’s castle fortress, Karateka had breathtaking animation that was far more lifelike than anything that had preceded it. It also set new standards for martial arts combat and...


Xbox will add voice recordings to its player reporting functionality. With video and voice clips, Xbox now covers every possible way that players can report one another for harmful misconduct. Xbox players will soon be able to include voice clips when they report other players. On Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, the new feature will allow for clips to be uploaded after "experiencing or witnessing inappropriate verbal ...

First-ever Angry Birds retail café launching in USA. SCG America has announced their partnership with Angry Birds’ creator Rovio Entertainment to launch one of the world’s most popular game franchises into a one-of-a-kind retail café. The companies came together to build an engaging and interactive location for Angry Birds fans to visit.

Study finds nearly every pre-2010 video game is unavailable. 87 percent of classic video games released before 2010 in the United States have failed to be preserved in any real capacity, according to the Video Game History Foundation (VGHF). In a new study on classic video games and their "commercial availability," the VGHF found that these older titles are "critically endangered." 

Video games: YouTube channel NoClip rescues tapes from landfill. As a keen gamer, Danny O'Dwyer's no stranger to quests. But the documentary maker's just embarked on a different type of mission. He's rescued thousands of tapes containing rare video game footage - demo reels, interviews and behind-the-scenes clips - from being sent to landfill and lost forever. 

Highlighted Press Releases

BRAINS, BEAUTY & GORGEOUS NATURAL HAIR–MALIA M., KHARI & NIA HAVE GOT IT ALLBRAINS, BEAUTY & GORGEOUS NATURAL HAIR – Meet The 18” Multicultural Dolls Who Proudly Empower Kids. For Who They Are, From Head To Toe, At Sicklerville, NJ (July 20, 2023) – There are no bad hair days for Malia M., Khari or Nia ($89.99 at, a trio of multicultural 18” dolls, as their lustrous thick hair awaits styling by their young owner to brush, braid, twist, curl, straighten, apply Bantu knots, or leave as is. The message from Brains & Beauty Dolls is that empowerment, hence confidence, starts from within. If you don’t believe it, just give the doll a squeeze and listen for one of the 20 phrases that the doll speaks, such as, “You are unstoppable!”


***The above was posted after July 14th***


P IS FOR POSITIVITY! NURTURING STRONG CAPABLE TOTS IS AS EASY AS ABC WITH AFFIRMATION CARDS & BABY BOOK. Kids for Culture® Has The Perfect Baby Shower Or First Birthday Gift. Filled With Self-Esteem Boosting Phrases From A to Z To Give Or Receive. Nashville, TN (July 12, 2023) — Imagine reading aloud a little board book that has the power to teach tots their ABC’s, boost confidence and practice positivity! Say hello to ABC Affirmation Board Book ($12.99) from Kids for Culture®. The sweet 6” x 6” sturdy book is available at big box stores like Walmart and online at This is where A is for Amazing and as the page continues, I am an amazing person!

WHEN THE PURR-FECT FAMILY CARD GAME IS RATED 5/5 CANS OF TUNA, IT MUST BE “HERE, KITTY, KITTY!”. Fireside Games Gets The Fur Flying As Ages 10 & Up Compete For A Colony Of Cats In The Midst Of A Cat Fight, Cat Burglar And A Few Hairballs! Austin, TX (July 13, 2023) – When have you ever heard of the player who owns the most cats (in real life) goes first? In every round of Here, Kitty, Kitty ($29.95 at, felines rule in this competitive card game! A little cattitude goes a long way as three to six players interact with a cat burglar, a can opener, catnip, cat fights and the occasional stray dog. There are no fraidy cats here as Zoomers and Boomers claw their way to the winner’s circle!

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Safety and Counterfeiting


Barbie’s Big Screen Debut Lures Toy Scammers. According to LatentView Analytics, counterfeit toys generated over $32 billion in revenue in the U.S. in 2019. LatentView says that a key driver of fake toy sales is online marketplaces and since their advent, “52% of toy brands have seen an increase in fake toys sold.” In the EU, a majority of goods seized at the border are counterfeit from online trade and online shopping.

***The above posted after July 14th***


Smyths Toys, Next and Amazon share warning after products pulled from shelves. The Office for Products, Safety and Standards (OPSS) has recalled products this month due to various risks they pose on customers. Some of the safety fears include risk of fire, chemical risk and electric shocks. Brands recalling items this month include Smyths Toys, Next and Amazon for products such as electric scooters, wellies and lights. S Drives Pro Electric Scooter sold by Smyths. Hazard: The product has been recalled for repair as it has been identified that the ….

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals


The Spiel des Jahres jury announced the winners for the 2023 awards season. Games from Pegasus Spiele and Libellud/Space Cow took the top two laurels: Dorfromantik won the coveted Spiel des Jahres award and Mysterium Kids won the Kennerspiel des Jahres. The nominees for these awards were announced in May 2023. The award for the top children's game, the Kinderspiel des Jahres, went to Challengers...


The Game Designers Association (SAZ) is pleased to announce the founding of SAZ Nederland, its second foreign group after SAZ-Italia (2017). This was the logical consequence after the number of members in the Netherlands had developed positively in recent years. The SAZ Nederland can build on the already proven structures of the Spellenmaakgilde, which was founded by Arjan van Houwelingen back in 2015.


Nonprofit research and innovation lab The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop is convening a panel at the 20th Annual Games for Change Festival on July 18th,2023 to help shape digital play experiences for players of all ages. Representatives from The LEGO Group, Scratch Foundation, and Riot Games will join the Joan Cooney Center’s Executive Director Michael Preston to discuss emerging...


***The above posted after July 14th***


Monopoly is being brought to life at Brand Licensing Europe in London. BLE has unveiled its first location-based experience (LBE) themed keynote session for the show, which takes place Oct. 4-6 at ExCeL in London. Hasbro and The Path Entertainment Group will present “Passing GO: Bringing the World’s #1 Board Game to Life” on Oct. 4. Matt Proulx, Hasbro’s VP of LBE, and David Hutchinson, CEO of The Path Entertainment...

PlanToys Cheese and Charcuterie Board wins 2023 ASTRA Play Awards for the Eco category. ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, announced at ASTRA Marketplace & Academy in Columbus, OH, that PlanToys, the global leader in sustainable toy manufacturing, has won the Eco category for the ASTRA Play Awards with their Cheese & Charcuterie Board set.

Ernst & Young named The Lumistella Company Co-Chief Operating Officers and Co-Founders Christa Pitts and Chanda Bell Entrepreneur of The Year 2023 Southeast Award winners.  The Entrepreneur of The Year Awards program celebrates distinguished entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies across a wide variety of industries. Pitts and Bell were selected by an independent judging panel...

The submissions window has opened for this year’s Kelvyn Gardner License This! competition. The popular competition, which has been the springboard for many successful brands and careers over the years, is free to enter, closing at 17:00 BST on 28th August. Organised by Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) and License Global, the competition propels illustrators, publishers, designers or animators with unlicensed...


The Last of Us is sweeping Emmy nominations this year. The 75th Emmy Awards revealed its nominations on July 12, and a video game adaptation is one of the most nominated shows of the year. HBO’s The Last of Us, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, has 24 total nominations, second only to HBO’s other powerhouse show, Succession, which has 27. The third-most nominated series ...


The 15th annual Kidscreen Awards officially accepting entries for 2024. Heading into its 15th year of celebrating children’s content excellence in television and digital entertainment, Kidscreen Awards 2024 is officially open for entries. Programming entries are being accepted for Preschool (0 to 5), Kids (6 to 10) and Tweens/Teens (11 to 15). Then there are the Broadcasting categories. 

NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2023 TOY & GAME INTERNATIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS ARE OPEN! People of Play (POP) is Accepting TAGIE Award Nominations NOW Through August 4th. Now entering its 16th year, the TAGIE Awards, presented by People of Play (POP), will once again honor the best and brightest innovators, designers, retailers, suppliers, PR and marketers in the toy and game industry. Each year, the TAGIEs bring together the many communities that make up the larger industry of play, including professionals and fans from all over the world. The TAGIEs are part of POP Week. This important recognition, honoring contribution, innovation, and spirit of community is the very heart of POP.

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed

If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our readers. Archives can be found HERE

Jesse Horowitz - toy inventor loved by many. We are creating a POP profile page to show his wide impact on the toy industry. The following is what Howard Tarnoff posted on Linkedin: Jesse Horowitz passed away this past week while vacationing with family. He will be deeply missed by the many friends and family he impacted. To name just a few of his toy industry accomplishments, Jesse was the creator and designer of the JOHNNY EAGLE line, JOHNNY SPEED line, SILLY SAFARI game and SUZY CUTE doll. He conceived of the idea and helped in the development of STRETCH ARMSTRONG. He and his group were directly responsible for the creation of STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE and CARE BEARS.


John Cook - passed away on June 28th 2023.  A model maker and toy inventor, he worked at Mattel, Kenner and Playskool. He worked on Hot Wheels playsets, Star Wars, Strawberry Shortcake, Play Doh, Carci doll and much more. 

Simon Hedge - former managing director of Flair Leisure Products, lost his short battle with cancer on 20th June 2023.
Simon Hedge: 26th August 1966 – 20th June 2023

According to his family, friends and colleagues, who provided Toy World with the following memories, Simon will be best known for his long and hugely successful career at the company he started with Peter Brown 24 years ago – Flair Leisure Products PLC.

Simon made his debut in the toy industry when he joined Hasbro  in the early ‘90s. A few years later, K’Nex opened its UK business in 1994, headed up by Peter Brown and Russ Ward. Simon joined them in 1995 to manage the supply chain and operations. When the K’Nex International business transferred to Hasbro at the end of 1998, Simon moved back to Hasbro for a brief period before joining forces with Peter and fellow K’Nex employee Carl Moran, putting their redundancy payments and life savings into starting Flair Leisure Products PLC – a decision Simon’s wife Tina says caused him concern early on, having only just started a family: their first child, Ellie, was barely a year old.

Flair started trading on 1st March 1999 with Simon in the role of commercial director overseeing Marketing and Operations.The company forged vital and enduring partnerships that continued right through Simon’s career, most notably with Generation Media and Evolution PR.

In 2003, just four years after the company was created, Flair became a ‘Sunday Times Fast Track 100’ company, vindicating Simon’s decision to invest everything in the business. That same year, Flair was named Company of the Year at the 2004 Toy Fair industry awards.

In 2008 Peter, Simon and Carl decided to sell the business to Italian toy giant Giochi Preziosi, staying on to run the business with many of the original team.

Flair progressed rapidly up the NPD industry charts. In 2009, the company was awarded not only Supplier of the Year but also Girls’ Toy of the Year for Sylvanian Families. 2011 saw the company achieve what Simon referred to as the ‘champions league’ spot when it became the No 4 toy company in the UK.

In 2013, when Peter decided to take more of a back seat and became company chairman, Simon took on the role of managing director of Flair, a position he held for further eight years. He eventually decided to leave the business in July 2021, starting a new chapter in his life and career by working on various projects with Marc Sivner and David Greenberg at Singleton Trading.

Simon kept his business and personal lives very separate. A passionate football fan, he was a season ticket holder with his beloved Fulham FC for many years. The matches were a way for him to relax away from the busy world of toys.

A family man, Simon had two daughters with his wife Tina, and would have celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve this year. Ellie was born just before he started Flair, and Ruby was born in the early Flair years. Sadly, Simon lost his father, Peter, in 2019. His mother, Phyllis, says his father was incredibly proud of Simon’s achievements.

Friends have remembered Simon as ‘a big man with an enormous sense of humour’, who was both cheeky and quick witted. Those who knew him well enjoyed the way he rocked in his chair while holding his belly, laughing uncontrollably at something amusing; colleagues say there was a lot of laughter in the Flair years. Simon worked hard, but he also laughed a lot and loved what he did.

Always with an abundance of new ideas backed by sound commercial acumen, Simon was driven and passionate and could reliably spot an opportunity and how to make it work profitably.

His loss will be felt by a great many people, not least his family: Phyliss, Tina, Ellie and Ruby, and his sister Helen. Simon will also be missed by many friends and colleagues within the industry who knew or worked with him during his career.

Simon will be remembered as a respected and successful business leader, who didn’t seek the limelight and didn’t like too much formality. His numerous acquaintances say they will treasure their many fond memories of their time with this ‘unforgettable man – our boss, our friend, and all the silly jokes, fun and laughter we shared with him’.

Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

Added Friday Morning Chicago Time. Check Back for Complete Lists.


Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

​posts Friday morning

aNb Media (US) 

​​posts Friday morning

Toyworld (UK)

  1. Barbie premiere sees London turn pink

  2. HoloToyz announces KAP Toys as UK and Ireland distributor

  3. Giochi Preziosi signs exclusive Hamleys deal for Italy

  4. Amazon disputes EU categorisation as a Very Large Online Platform

  5. Moose unveils Magic Mixies Magic Lamp and Pixlings

  6. Exclusive: Taking a look at Tech Toys

  7. Exclusive: spotlight on Construction

  8. Exclusive: Generation Media on TV advertising

  9. Exclusive: Circana talks summer toys

  10. Hornby acquires minority interest in Warlord Games Powered by Toyworld

  1. Sambro launches new licensed TMNT range

  2. Barbie premiere sees London turn pink

  3. Submissions open for Kelvyn Gardner’s License This! competition

  4. Redan unveils art-focused kids’ magazine, Skoodle

  5. Hunter Price to introduce first Crayola collections next month

  6. Dr. Seuss Enterprises welcomes Ellie Terveen

  7. Blippi collaborates with LFC for new content and retail range

  8. Topps launches new F1 Turbo Attax 2023 collection

  9. Cider fashion brand teams up with Bratz to release Pretty ‘N’ Punk

  10. Yu-Gi-Oh! celebrates 25th anniversary with new licensing deals

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US) 

UPS – Teamsters Talks Break Down
WizKids Unveils 'Dungeons & Dragons: 3-inch Plush Charms' Wave 3
Ultra PRO Announces 'Dungeons & Dragons: Premium Dungeon Master Screen'
CMON Unveils New 'A Song of Ice & Fire' Starter Set for Retail

Run to the Hills! Iron Maiden Invades 'Zombicide 2E'
Legend Story Studios Announces 'Flesh and Blood TCG' Attendance Record
Rolling for Initiative -- Jobs, Jobs, Jobsv
'Magic: The Gathering's' 'Tales of Middle-earth' Rules Them All; What Happens Beyond This Point?
FanRoll Unveils 'Shadow Light: Liquid Core Dice' and 'Dice Tray'
The Next 'Everdell' Game is Now on Preorder

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)

​​posts Friday morning

The Bugg Report (Australia)

​​​posts Friday morning

Casual Game Revolution

​​posts Friday morning

Video of the Week 

Toy Hub Trivia - Don Ullman



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Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

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Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

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