Hindastry News - May 2013

Welcome to the latest issue of "Hindastry News" - Hinda's corporate newsletter.

"Hindastry News" brings you the latest on the happenings at Hinda.

This issue includes:

  • Meet Greg Whitacre, our new Senior VP of Sales & Marketing
  • Dave Peer talks about the importance of executive support of employee engagement
  • Learn about the Incentive Federation's "Right to Recognize" Initiative
  • Trends we saw at Toy Fair and the Home & Housewares Show

If you know someone who would benefit from receiving communications like this from Hinda, have them e-mail Alisa Schafer (aschafer@hinda.com) and ask to be added to the distribution list.

Also be sure to check out and subscribe to the Hinda Blog. 

Click here for the current issue of Hindastry News.

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Merchandise Monday: Trends from Toy Fair 2013


The 110th American International Toy Fair drew nearly 20,000 retailers, wholesalers, importers, buying groups and trade guests to scope out 150,000 innovative toys, games and youth entertainment products across a record-breaking 375,000 net square feet of exhibit space.

Toy Fair 2013 took place February 10-13 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, and Hinda merchandising director LeeAnn Schumacher hit the show floor to report back on the trends she sees taking place this year and as we move into the future.

To begin, we can expect to see games and gadgets that evoke a memory. Classic toys, nostalgic products and vintage items will be popping up on the toy shelves this year. For example, Power Rangers is celebrating its 20th anniversary, while the Cabbage Patch Kid® doll turns 30. Also, remember the Fisher-Price® record player? It’s back!

Reality TV seems to be influencing toys kids want to play with. Available at Toy Fair this year were “Project Runway” and “American Idol”-inspired items such as the Project Runway® Fashion Design Light-Box Set and the Kidz Bop Glammerati™ Mini Melody Microphone. These toys let kids tap into their creativity and individuality and keep them entertained when their favorite shows aren’t airing.

Toymakers are finding ways to leverage technology, as many physical toys now share an online component. For example, Skylanders™ is the combination of video games and figurines and lets players explore two worlds at the same time.

This will make parents happy:  teens and ‘tweens still want outdoor activities and board games - it’s not all about electronics and smartphones! Board games are now based on apps – such as “Words with Friends” and “Farmville,” – and branded with pop culture figures. It’s all about capturing young adult eyes and holding their attention long enough to keep them coming back.

Following this “offline fun” trend, 2012 saw a 20 percent uptick in the building set category. From classic building blocks to other types of building sets, expect new innovations and an increasing number of new licenses. Lego® has introduced several new lines, including Friends, Legends of Chima and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®, while Mega Bloks® is also is the forefront, launching Barbie™ Pool Party.

This is just a sampling of the trends and products emerging this year. Check back frequently for updates via our weekly “Merchandise Monday” column right here on Hinda Blog!

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Toy Fair 12: Play Happens

Last month, Hinda buyer Cindy Deeg attended the annual Toy Fair to get the scoop on the latest and greatest merchandise coming out of the toy industry this year. Here are some of the highlights from over 100,000 items and 1,000-plus exhibitors present at this year’s event.

Grow With Me

A popular category of toys at this year’s event include items that appeal to the pocketbooks by lasting through multiple stages in a child’s life. This was present in products as well as technology, as it tied in with the largest trend in tech toys. Many toys being introduced have features that allow the height to be adjusted so that the toys can grow with the children.


This was, by far, the largest trend, which started last year with a few apps designated for certain products. This year, there was plenty of integration between the iPhone®/iPad®/iPod® and toys, and this helps tie back into the “grow with me” trend which allows parents to download age appropriate apps and games to these products to keep their children engaged.

Old is New Again

Companies are bringing back some of their old-school toys but revamping them with added technology.  Traditional games have been updated to include modern marvels such as zapped branding, apps and avatars. Other old faves haven’t been given the tech treatment but are being re-introduced into the world of toys. 


This category features art-focused occupations from the stage to the showroom, with a focus on music stemming from the success of “American Idol,” “The Voice,” and “X Factor.” Products in this category range from microphones and karaoke machines to DJ-ing kits and fake stages. Most of these items are licensed by one of the above shows or by a variety of other companies, making these items appropriate for any age. Last year there was a similar showing of craft items, and while this year was no different, there was an emphasis on future careers. From architecture and interior design to fashion and jewelry, children are being prompted to use their imaginations to create something that they can wear and show off.

Keep your eye out in the coming months for announcements about the new products that Hinda will be adding to its ever-growing assortment!

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Merch Monday: Emerging Toy Trends

In February, leaders and innovators in the toy industry gathered in New York for the 2011 Toy Fair. This year, more than 10,000 buyers attended and surveyed more than 100,000 products – some of which had never been seen before.

After scouting the showroom floor for the latest and greatest, we came away with four emerging trends for the coming year. While many of these toys won’t be available until this fall, they’ve got us talking right now.

Smart Toys

These interactive toys are taking a cue from social media. Labeled as smart toys, they often communicate with social applications. One new example is the FIJIT Friend, an interactive robot for girls that recognizes and reacts to voice commands, music and embedded codes within external sound sources. Sure to be a big hit, they come in a variety of colors – each with their own personality. 

Active Toys

Not only intended to boost physical activity, but several toys showcased at this year’s Toy Fair were created to boost learning and creativity. These toys improve memory skills and camouflage learning. The LeapFrog®, although not new to the scene, is a frontrunner in this toy category. At this year’s show, LeapFrog announced the new LeapPad Explorer™,  a learning and entertainment tablet for kids.

Angry Birds

The popular mobile game has taken the toy industry by storm, as characters were featured on everything from lanyards to slippers at this year’s fair. There is a wide range of toys set to release later in the year, featuring both the birds and the pigs. Turning the game into reality, the Angry Birds Knock on Wood table-top board game allows users to catapult little birds across the room.


The influx of several family-friendly Blockbusters has spawned a steady stream of licensed products. While big-name movies and television shows are generating large fan bases, consumers are vying for licensed merchandise. Thus, a demand for Batman, Harry Potter, Green Lantern and Monster High merchandise has increased, among others.


Are there any other trends that you're aware of? Post them in the comments section and we'll keep our eyes open!

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