August 25, 2011

Laser Pegs

TIA to Host Webinar on CPSIA Key Provisions on August 25

As part of its ongoing series of legislative and safety updates, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) will host a webinar on Thursday, August 25, at 1 p.m. EDT, to address changes to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) following President Obama’s recent signing of the amendment (H.R. 2715) into law. TIA invites safety professionals, compliance officers, government affairs representatives, and other interested staff from toy, youth, and entertainment companies and retailers to attend the webinar. The webinar will focus on the amendment’s key provisions, including lead limits, third party testing, phthalates, tracking labels, and the public database at
Registration is free for TIA members and $49 for non-members. To register, click on the “Education” tab at Questions from members and industry stakeholders may be submitted in advance to If possible, answers to the question will be worked into the presentation.

TRU to Open 21 New Locations with Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us Under One Roof
Toys r UsToys “R” Us, Inc. has announced that by the end of the year it will have opened 21 new stores in 2011, including 11 “R” Superstores and 10 side-by-side locations. These new stores, across 13 states, are representative of the company’s strategy to bring Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us together under one roof in an integrated store format, providing customers with a streamlined shopping environment. The remodeling of 23 existing locations to the side-by-side format is also underway and will be completed by the end of the year. In adding 21 new stores and renovating 23 existing locations, the company will create more than 1,100 jobs across the country.
Toys “R” Us, Inc. embarked on its integrated store strategy in 2006, and since then has converted more than 100 traditional stores in the U.S. to the side-by-side format. In 2007, the company opened the first of its “R” Superstores, which feature full-size Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores built under one roof, which are approximately 60,000 square feet. By the end of this year, the company will operate 43 “R” Superstores nationwide.

Code 3 Collectibles to Cease Production

Code 3Matrix Holdings Limited has announced that this year will be the last year of production of Code 3 Collectibles die-cast vehicles. Code 3 Collectibles will continue to operate its online business in an effort to sell all remaining inventory until further notice.
Arnie Rubin, founder of Funrise Toy Corporation, launched Code 3 Collectibles in 1997 with a focus on producing high-quality, limited-edition die-cast replicas of emergency and firefighting vehicles. It also held licenses to create collectibles for Smithsonian Air and Space Products, Star Wars licensed products, and a line of 3-D movie posters under the brand Legendary Casts.
“We have been passionate about the Code 3 Collectibles brand since we launched in 1997,” says Rubin. “Unfortunately, the recent economic downturn has made it extremely difficult to continue the high standards of manufacturing that has made Code 3 Collectibles who we are.”
Funrise Toy Corporation and Code 3 Collectibles are headquartered in Van Nuys, Calif., and are wholly owned subsidiaries of Matrix Holdings Limited. Arnie Rubin is both CEO of Funrise and Code 3 Collectibles, and vice chairman of Matrix.

Gund Signs on for Curious George Plush

Curious GeorgeGund has signed a licensing deal with Universal Partnerships & Licensing for the classic book property Curious George, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The deal comes in time for Gund, a division of Enesco, LLC, to introduce new Curious George plush in a variety of sizes for the 2011 holiday season. The initial Gund collection will be available this fall at toy and gift shops nationwide.






ABC Kids Expo to Host Open Casting Calls for New Reality Show

All Baby & Child, Inc. and the ABC Kids Expo have announced that a new and upcoming reality television show, Born by Moms, will hold its first open casting calls at this year’s ABC Kids Expo, to be held September 23-26 in Louisville, Ky., in association with veteran TV producer Mark Koops (creator and executive producer of The Biggest Loser) will hold the casting calls at the trade show.
Born by Moms, to be hosted by Ali Landry,focuses on products invented by mom entrepreneurs, also known as “mompreneurs.” Unlike other shows that discover new products, Born by Moms will focus on the vision and story of the mom behind the product. The show is the brainchild of Landry and Anthony Samadani, founders of, a new website launching in early October that will provide product reviews and will help moms make better informed choices when buying baby and child products.
One “mompreneur” will win a $5,000 investment simply for auditioning for the series at the Expo. To sign up to audition, visit and “Like” the page. Then, post your product and background information and the producers will follow up individually.

ASTRA Launches Neighborhood Toy Store Day Website

NTSDThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has launched a new website,, that features details about ASTRA’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day (this year on Saturday, November 12) for moms, dads, grandparents, and other toy buyers. The website also features a search tool for locating ASTRA stores and information about the benefits of shopping local. Members of the specialty toy industry—including manufacturers, retailers, and sales representatives—are also invited to visit the website and download a Neighborhood Toy Store Day logo to use on their own websites and in their promotional materials. The HTML code can be found in the lower right-hand corner on the website.



Discovery Teams Up for Technology Program for Kids

PuterbugsThis back-to-school season, Discovery Communications, Inc. is launching Discovery Kids Puterbugs, a technology-based program that teaches kids age 8 and under to use technology to solve problems and build important skills. Discovery Kids Puterbugs ( is presented by Discovery Kids and Imagine Tomorrow, a provider of computer classes for young children.
Guided by Mr. Scott, a live-action teacher, kids take on the role of computer detectives to solve interactive online missions that promote respect for technology while teaching the top 100 computer and Internet skills. The program helps kids master skills that range from basic file navigation, Internet, and keyboarding skills to an understanding of the latest in cutting-edge technology, such as mobile apps and cloud computing. Each 30-minute animated mission adapts to a child’s skill level as the adventure moves along.
The deal was brokered on behalf of Discovery Communications by Big Tent Entertainment, the North American licensing agent for the Discovery Kids brand.

Moshi Monsters Video Game to Debut This Fall

Moshling ZooMind Candy’s Moshi Monsters are headed to the Nintendo DS this fall with the release of Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo. The new video game builds upon the popularity of the Moshlings, pets of the pet monsters, and offers fans a fresh take on the Moshi universe, including new content and a new way to interact with their favorite characters. The game also features new locations and an exclusive new Moshling, which has not been revealed. Additionally, kids can play new mini-games and educational-styled puzzles, plus win awards and trophies to take back to their zoo. Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo is the brand’s first move into the video game space. Activision Publishing, Inc. will distribute the game globally.


Nickelodeon Premieres in Sub-Saharan Africa

MTV Networks Africa and Multichoice Africa have signed a deal that brings Nickelodeon to new viewers in sub-Saharan Africa. As part of the new deal, which took effect August 23, Nickelodeon will be distributed 24 hours a day to an additional 36 countries in Central, East, and West Africa on DStv channel 305. The channel will be available on the DStv Premium, Compact Plus, Compact, Family, and Access bouquets.
Among the programs offered on the Nickelodeon channel will be SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Victorious, Big Time Rush, iCarly, and Bubble Guppies.
Nickelodeon was launched in July 2008 in southern Africa and now will be broadcast in 47 countries across the African continent.

Roger Shiffman Named Starlight Foundation’s Global Board Chairman

Starlight Children’s Foundation has named Roger Shiffman as its new global board chairman. A well-known figure in the toy industry, Shiffman is behind Tiger Electronics Toys, maker of Furby, and more recently, Zizzle, the company behind the Pirates of the Caribbean and High School Musical line of toys. Shiffman is the third board chairman in Starlight’s nearly 30-year history. Prior to his new role, he had been a member of Starlight’s board of directors, including once serving as vice chairman.

Out of the Box Founder to Represent Aurora World

Jack Morrow, founder of Out of the Box and former Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association (LIMA) president, has been retained as Aurora World Inc.’s new licensing agent. Effective immediately, Morrow will identify and pursue licensing agreements on behalf of Aurora.
After more than 20 years in the licensing industry, Morrow founded Out of the Box, a full-service company that specializes in the licensing of lifestyle properties, entertainment, and brands, as well as property development, placement, and representation of manufacturers and licensors. His licensing background includes plush and gift companies such as Applause and Dakin, and he was behind the successful licensing and merchandising programs of The California Raisins and Flintstones.

American Greetings Properties Announces New Promotions

Matt Schweitzer has been promoted to senior brand manager of American Greetings Properties (AGP) where he will serve as the ambassador for Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. He will work with both internal and external partners, domestically and internationally, to facilitate flow of information amongst all stakeholders, at the same time driving the business forward through these relationships, information sharing, and strategic planning. 
Additionally, Gabrielle Oliff has been promoted to vice president, brands and marketing, where she will take the lead role in developing AGP’s global branding, marketing, and public relations programs. She will oversee strategy creation and execution, business development, and strategic partnerships for the current portfolio as well as all future properties launched. 

Snap Global Solutions Announces New Executives

Snap Global Solutions, a product development, manufacturing, and global distribution resource, announced an executive change and a new addition to its team. Kevin Blanchard has been promoted from director of operations to COO and will assume all of the responsibilities of the overall Snap Global Solutions group’s day-to-day operations. Blanchard joined Snap in 2003. Prior to Snap, Blanchard was the vice president of corporate security & BSA officer of TotalBank.
Additionally, licensing veteran Mariella Calderon has joined the company to lead the licensing effort for Snap’s new, wholly owned my1Story intellectual property, a recently launched property based on renowned classic characters and stories. Calderon is a former Disney licensing executive and most recently headed her own licensing agency in Puerto Rico, where she represented Mattel properties, among other clients. 

New Joint Venture to Liquidate $52 Million in Inventory from The Russ Companies, Inc.
SB Capital Group, LLC; Worldwide Merchandise Resources Corporation; and Just Inventory Solutions, LLC have announced the formation of a joint venture to dispose of all remaining inventory of gift maker The Russ Companies, Inc. The joint venture was the successful bidder of the inventory sold as a result of Chapter 7 proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court.
Inventory valued at more than $52 million at suggested retail will be liquidated to the last piece. Sold worldwide, Russ has made gift products from teddy bears and other plush toys to gifts for special occasions. Licensed products include Barbie Pets, Curious George, Raggedy Ann & Andy, Scooby Doo, Corduroy, and The Simpsons.
For more information about the product, and to arrange inspection of the inventory, please contact Jerry Goldstein at (518) 464-1647.

Brainy Brands Announces Initial Closing of Private Placement

The Brainy Brands Company, Inc., a producer and marketer of the Brainy Baby line of children’s educational videos and products aimed at early development for preschoolers, has announced that the company has closed on $220,000 of initial financing through a private placement with existing institutional and accredited investors of promissory notes convertible into common stock, at a conversion price of $0.40 per share. In addition, a second and third closing for up to an aggregate of $2.4 million (including the $220,000 sold at the initial closing) may occur, subject to certain conditions including the consent of the original investors, within 45 days of the initial closing (with respect to the second closing) and 60 days of the second closing (with respect to the third closing).
The company has also reaffirmed its business outlook announced in a corporate update release on July 14, 2010, despite recent weakness in the price of its stock.
“We are pleased with the confidence that our investors continue to place in us, investing with us and in our ability to execute our marketing strategy and branding initiative. The volatility and weakness in our stock price as well as the overall market conditions will not deter our focus on the tasks and objectives at hand,” says John Benfield, CEO of The Brainy Brands Company. “We wish to assure our shareholders that there has been no change in the company’s strategy and that we will continue to update our shareholders and the investment community of any corporate developments.”

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