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Podcast about the toy & games business, hosted by leading toy business expert Steve Reece of www.KidsBrandInsight.com. Steve takes a look at different trends in the toy & game biz, and speaks to interesting people from across the business. © 2018 RG Marketing Ltd. All rights reserved.
 
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The Playground Podcast

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The Playground Podcast

Chris Byrne & Richard Gottlieb

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Join Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy® and Richard Gottlieb, president Global Toy Experts on their new podcast Two industry experts will tackle the topics of the toys, culture, toy history and talk with some of the leading people in the business of toys and children’s entertainment. Designed for anyone interested in toys, play and great stories, each weekly episode will feature engaging, entertaining conversation, useful information, insights, tales of the toys that we’ll never forget and so much mo ...
 
We are busy mamas who love our kids and would do anything for them. We are the home-based businesses that make this country move. We support our clients, our families, and our communities while working hard every day to remember to also care for ourselves. We crave knowledge to create a better business. We may have support or we may not, but we always get the work done. Our businesses may technically be small but our ambitions, actions, and attitude are huge. We never show fear, even if it s ...
 
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show series
 
Richard and Chris talk with Aaron Muderick, executive chairman of the Toy Association, about Toy Fair in New York in 2023, Dallas in 2022, and related issues. They also talk about the Association's efforts on lobbying and challenges and opportunities for the industry as it moves into a new era. Muderick's thoughtful and insightful comments make thi…
 
Creative Play toys have been around for a long time, but this isn't an easy space with so many generic stationery products and 'Me too' generic kits for sale straight from the factory gate in China. In Episode 75, we take a look at the key success factors, and how companies can build brands in this space & win over the long term.…
 
With soaring container shipping prices, Covid lockdowns and rising costs in China, many toy companies have begun to look at 'Nearshore' option for manufacturing. We run through the pros, cons and realities of Nearshoring in this episode of the Playing At Business podcast.By Steve Reece on behalf of RG Marketing Ltd.
 
CEO of Star Stable Entertainment Johan Sjöberg calls his game "World of Warcraft...for girls." The hugely successful game is now making its move into toys under a licensing agreement with Just Play. In this episode, Richard and Chris talk with Sjöberg about the development of the brand, how they engage with kids and the expansion onto iOS and Andro…
 
Not that many people know that the video game business was considered to be part of the broader toy business for quite some time before it eventually became clear that the Video Games business was a bigger beast than its parent! In this episode of the Playing At Business podcast we talk through the differences between the Toy and the Video games bu…
 
Richard and Chris talk to Barry Schwartz of Schwartz PR about his incredible career. From his start as a kid in vaudeville, Barry moved into PR (another kind of showbiz, he notes) and was the creative and PR force behind many hits of the mid-20th Century. From introducing LEGO and the Othello game to the United States, to launching Hello Kitty in A…
 
Toy companies (both big & small) rely heavily on the factories they work with. Every time they produce a toy your reputation and potentially your business rest on the factory & their complying with safety, ethical and quality standards. Competitive pricing is also a concern of course, manufacturing spend is the biggest cost for toy & game companies…
 
The toy business is moving from a single hub (China) sourcing model to a multi-hub model. India is the only other country with comparable population size, with abundant cheap production line labour and existing industrial capacity and domain expertise in plastics. There are many more reasons though why India's rise in toy manufacturing is an inevit…
 
Richard and Chris talk to Choon Ng, inventor of the Rainbow Loom and new CEO Chris Tidwell about the history of this phenomenon, how the company has grown, strategies for keeping kids engaged and the always-present challenge of fighting infringements and knock-offs. It's a great story, and Choon's management philosophy: "I want to have fun." is an …
 
Sometimes toy companies get so lost in their own internal processes and stakeholder conversations that they forget to think about what their end consumer i.e. children will want out of a product. We run through how to make toys that kids will want in this episode of the Playing At Business podcast.By Steve Reece on behalf of RG Marketing Ltd
 
In this important and insightful episode, Richard and Chris talk with Eric Pliner, CEO of YSC Consulting about what today's managers can learn from the current political, employee and public image crisis at Disney. Pliner's insights on the changing nature of ethics and employment are essential for anyone who wants to function effectively in the con…
 
Richard and Chris talk to Andrew Yanofsky and Syndey Wiseman of WowWee, both second generation toy people. More than just a legacy, however, these dynamic professionals are at the forefront of product development, research, consumer knowledge and leveraging new media platforms to develop enthusiastic communities of consumers. Their great perspectiv…
 
France is one of Europe's 'BIG 3' toy & game markets. In this episode we speak to Yann Fresnel (of Toy Influence), who has extensive commercial experience in the French toy market. We discuss his career in toys, what companies need to understand about the market in France and also look at how his company helps with market entry in 'La Republique fr…
 
Selling your products into Retail is rarely easy, but getting into those accounts in the first place is one of the hardest elements of starting a toy or game business. Even for established companies persuading new customers to come on board can be tough. In this episode of PLAYING AT BUSINESS podcast we take a look at this topic and look at some fu…
 
Producer Brian Volk-Weiss joins Richard and Chris for a second time. This time to talk about the launch of his new toy company--Nacelle Toys. Brian is the producer of the successful Netflix series The Toys that Made Us and A Toy Store Near You, now entering its fourth season. In this lively conversation, Brian talks about the decision to roll out t…
 
The only constant is change! The toy & game business is ever evolving. Over time we have observed many fundamental changes in the business itself but also in the world around us which also affects the world of toys. In this episode we run through the 10 biggest changes we have observed over time, and how that helps us predict & prepare for the futu…
 
This not a podcast episode, instead it is an advertorial in which host Steve Reece talks at length about his own experience in the toy & game business and how our Consultancy business came about. We wanted to put this recording up to explain how we work and what we do in more detail for anyone who is interested. We talk through each of our Consulta…
 
Licensed products are a major feature of the toy & games business. In this episode we take a look at the key elements of licensed toys & games in terms of standard deal terms to acquire licenses, the do's and dont's of licensing and we take a look at what a healthy approach to licensing looks like for toy & games companies.…
 
In this special episode, Richard and Chris largely turn over the mic to Jay Foreman, chairman of the Toy Association Trade Show Committee. He lays out the case for the September Toy Fair in New York in light of the changing dynamics of the industry, the needs of manufacturers, buyers, and more, and the historic shift in the show that this move repr…
 
Europe remains a major region for the toy business, but it is a very fragmented region with more than 40 countries/territories, along with many languages, cultures and peoples. In this episode we discuss how to approach this potentially lucrative but highly fragmented market.
 
Richard and Chris speak with Christian Braun of HobbyDB, the global hobby and collectibles database about collecting, what creates value, and best practices for companies that want to be in the collectible or limited edition business. They talk about what makes this sector different from traditional toy development and marketing, and such issues as…
 
The Collectables toy category has been a major pillar of the toy business for a long time now. But the costs and risks of trying to enter this category can be high, while product launches tend to be very hit or miss. In this episode of The PLAYING AT BUSINESS podcast we look at the key success factors for Colelctable toy product lines.…
 
Toy & Game packaging is often more important than the product within in terms of motivating someone to buy the product in the first place. There are some fundamentals of effective toy packaging, as well some very common mistakes. We run through all of this in Episode 62 of The PLAYING AT BUSINESS podcast.…
 
This conversation about the recently announced move of New York Toy Fair to September 2023 looks at the challenges, opportunities and the industry-wide implications of this move. Richard and Chris talk about what it might mean for companies of all sizes and how the move reflects the dynamic toy business. The Playground Podcast is supported by Globa…
 
Richard and Chris talk with Thomas Kaeppeler, president of Ravensburger North America about the puzzle business and hot it all fits together in this dynamic environment. From puzzler personas to the hit (non-puzzle) toy Gravitrax, Thomas provides insight, perspective and thoughts for the toy industry on the company's success. In the Endcap, Chris a…
 
Inventors are critically important to the toy & games business. On this episode we talk to Azhelle Wade - The Toy Coach - about her work helping Inventors to get their toys & games to market. Azhelle's positive energy shines through in this episode. We discuss the top tips she shares with Inventors and her Toy Creators Academy which helps inventors…
 
Richard and Chris talk to Steve Markey, newly named VP Sales and Marketing for Hog Wild Toys about the return of a Toy Fair in London, and what it means for the business, the emergence of alternative channels of retail, and the challenges and opportunities ahead in 2022. In The Endcap, Chris and Richard talk about the ongoing issue of the fate of N…
 
The board games category has increasingly low barriers of entry. Whereas toys may require significant tooling investment, cardboard games basically require a great gameplay mechanism & some eye catching graphic design...but surely there is more to it than that? In this latest episode of the PLAYING AT BUSINESS podcast we take a look at the key fact…
 
For most people working in the toy business, the day to day focus is on the nuts and bolts of their role in the company they work for. Few take the time to consider just how much good the toy & game business does in the world at large. That's what we discuss in this episode of the PLAYING AT BUSINESS podcast - coming straight from the heart we take…
 
In the second of their conversations recorded last November at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochesters, NY, Richard and Chris talk with games curator Nicolas Ricketts. Listen in as they talk about the histories of some of the games in the collection. From great stories about how the games were acquired to their impact on the culture, this lively co…
 
For any company who has been in business for a while, entering into new product categories becomes an obvious but not entirely risk free move. In this episode of the PLAYING AT BUSINESS podcast we take a look at why companies choose to enter into new product areas, how self-awareness is one of the most important things to consider and how successfu…
 
Richard and Chris talk with Sarah Baskin, Vice President of Marketing Communications for Far Out Toys. She talks about the evolution of this "new type of toy company," their major investment in content and music, and has great tips fo companies looking to implement a content strategy in the current marketplace. Her insights and advice are invaluabl…
 
Effectively presenting products is one of the most critical skills for people in the commercial departments of the toy industry. In Episode 57 of the Playing At Business podcast we take a look at 5 key success elements of effectively presenting toy products. It isn't just a case of showing how the product works (although that's part of it). There i…
 
The Playground Podcast begins its fourth season with the first of a series of conversations with curators at the Strong Museum of Play, Richard and Chris talk with Michelle Parnett-Dwyer who oversees the doll collection. From the Edison talking doll to the newly inducted American Girl dolls, they discuss the history, significance and evolution of d…
 
Spider-Man has been around since first appearing in comic books back in the early 1960s. Today Spider-Man is a mighty movie and entertainment franchise - the 5th biggest grossing movie franchise of all time in fact, with the most recent instalment: Spider-Man No Way Home heading towards the Top 10 grossing movies of all time. Spider-Man has also be…
 
Richard and Chris are joined by John Baulch of Toy World UK and James Zahn of The Toy Book to talk about the major issues of 2021: supply chain, consumer buying, inflation, toy fairs, and much more. In this lively conversation, four of the toy industry's top thought leaders share their perspectives and insights on one of the most challenging years …
 
Once seen as a slightly strange thing to do, today toy collecting is very much a thing. Major companies like Hasbro and Mattel have extensive programs and platforms to nurture, grow and monetise fans and collectors of their brands and products. In this episode, we talk about all things toy collectors, and why they are of increasing financial import…
 
Learn how a notebook will help you sleep better at night. I'll share what I use mine for and how that has helped me sleep better at night. For a complete transcript check out our show notes for episode 80 on smallbizmama.com Topics: A notebook will help you sleep better at night Use your notebook to help you sleep better at night during your wind-d…
 
Richard and Chris talk with Dan Yaccarino, author, artist and creator of such shows as Oswald the Octopus and the Backyardigans. They talk about Dan's career, the state of kids' content and much more. In The Endcap, Chris and Richard talk about the new Toys "R" Us, its potential and what success could mean for the business and invite CEO Yehuda Shm…
 
Tens of thousands of visitors, thousands of exhibitors - toy trade shows represent the biggest opportunity to get face to face with the most people who can advance your toy & game business. In this episode we discuss trade shows and how to get the most out of them, as well as taking a look at the major toy trade shows coming up soon.…
 
How weekly planning gave me my life back. Learn what you need to take into account when doing your weekly planning. For a complete transcript check out our show notes for episode 79 on smallbizmama.com Topics: How weekly planning gave me my life back What is weekly planning? Questions for weekly planning: What's happening next week? What am I plann…
 
Toy sourcing has never been more challenging than it is at the time of publishing this episode. Shipping costs have soared. Factories which have been supplying toy & games companies for decades are shutting in China. Alternative toy hubs are lacking in capacity as demand soars for toy manufacturing away from China. China will still have a key role,…
 
Too many toys? Here are some alternatives for this holiday season that will help you, your family, and others. For a complete transcript check out our show notes for episode 78 on smallbizmama.com Topics: Too many toys? Here are some alternatives for this holiday Have a place for everything Rotate toys out Too many toys? Might be time to donate som…
 
Welcome to the Marvelicious Toys 12th Annual Holiday Gift Guide! In this issue Justin, Marjorie, and Arnie run down over 100 products that any Marvel fan would be proud to own. Action figures! Statues! Books! Toothbrushes? Games! Find the perfect gift for the Marvel fan in your life (even if it's yourself!) in this all new Marvelicious Toys podcast…
 
Welcome to the Marvelicious Toys 12th Annual Holiday Gift Guide! In this issue Justin, Marjorie, and Arnie run down over 100 products that any Marvel fan would be proud to own. Action figures! Statues! Books! Toothbrushes? Games! Find the perfect gift for the Marvel fan in your life (even if it's yourself!) in this all new Marvelicious Toys podcast…
 
Paul Dixon has had an amazing career, and amassed huge life wisdom. He talks us through his career and shares some deep insights into life on Episode 52 of the Playing At Business podcast. Paul worked as a Toy Buyer for major mass market retailer TARGET. He has run his own consumer products business, and also worked as a Toy salesman. He offers str…
 
Matteo Vezzosi is the Executive Director at the Asia Toy & Play Association. In this episode we discuss with him the toy markets of Asia, and how toy companies can access those markets. For anyone interested in distributing their toy products across Asia, this is a must listen episode.
 
The most important thing I learned from meditation is to begin again. Find out why this is so important. For a complete transcript check out our show notes for episode 77 on smallbizmama.com Topics: The most important thing I've learned from meditation Go back to your focal point Failure is an opportunity to learn Begin again For the complete show,…
 
Richard and Chris talk with Christian Ulrich, one of the directors of the Spielwarenmesse, aka The Nuremberg Toy Fair, about the fair, what's ahead, what's new, outlook for attendance and, of course, safety protocols. In the Endcap, Chris has another One-Minute Toy Story. He tells how the classic game Twister almost didn't happen. The Playground Po…
 
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