the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is August 6 - 13, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Welcome to your Weekly News Brief . . . 

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Happy Friday! ​

You can't win if you don't enter! TAGIE Awards nominations are closing this week! The portal will remain open until Monday evening. Nominate yourself and your colleagues - it is free and easy - in these categories: 

  • Toy Innovator of the Year

  • Game Innovator of the Year

  • Rising Star Innovator of the Year

  • Young Innovator of the Year (under 18 years of age)

  • Innovative PR and Marketing Team of the Year

  • Innovative Art and Design Visuals of the Year 

  • Innovative Retailer of the Year

  • Innovative Supplier of the Year

  • Innovative License of the Year - NEW!!!

  • Game Changer of the Year - NEW!!!

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

​​

Mary

tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Answers:  

Can’t call the year? Don’t sweat it. No one can.

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If you perused the recent public companies’ headlines, you would have read superlatives straight out of a comic book: Crushed! Spiked! Soared! These were the words click-bait-minded journalists used to describe these companies’ second quarter earnings results. And to be fair, the outcomes were, well, stellar. Any time a company in our normally slow-growth industry puts up +40% quarters, it’s newsworthy. Of course, the fact that these companies were lapping the most tumultuous quarter in modern times (lockdown, anyone?) has to be accounted for – but still, the results were impressive. Historic. Legendary. (Easy to get carried away, isn’t it?).

 

And, as we face the rest of the year, none of it means anything. Surely, we can assume that consumer demand for iconic, multi-generational brands like Barbie and Play-Doh will continue to grow. Well, we can assume that, but we should probably check those +40% expectations at the door. 

 

I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a few dozen colleagues from around the industry – business leaders, consultants, researchers, analysts – over the past few weeks about what the months ahead hold for the toy industry. And the only consensus is…that there’s no consensus. Mid-single digit growth? Maybe. Flat? Perhaps. Down single digits? Possibly. Taken abstractly, that range of potential outcomes doesn’t sound crazy. But with U.S. toy retail sales well over $30 billion, that kind of swing represents billions of dollars gained or lost. Read More . . . 

tBR Company of the Week: Meet the Founders of Learning Journey, J.B. and Debbie Frere

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A look into the inspiration behind the award-winning, educational product line . . . 

Names, Past & Current Titles, Where from?

J.B. Frere – President and Owner. JB worked 10 years at General Electric in the Appliance Division

Debbie Frere – CFO and Owner. Debbie was a small business lending officer at First National Bank of Maryland. We are both from Maryland.

How did they meet each other?

We met on a blind date. Debbie’s sister was dating JB’s college roommate (best friend). That’s how they were introduced.

Best parts of being husband and wife business partners?

As married business partners you have someone who you know and trust giving you solid and honest feedback about the decisions you both make on a daily basis. Sometimes, you just get tired of talking about work though!

What inspired you to create The Learning Journey?

Back in 1994, we had the opportunity to join World Book International’s UK division. They were looking for a new way to expand their UK and worldwide markets and recruit more salespeople to sell encyclopedias. At the time party plan was all the rage. We started a new sales force for them selling low-cost educational toys in a party plan format. We rolled out the program in six countries and had nearly 5000 sales consultants world-wide. Seeing the writing on the wall, we approached World Book with an offer to buy The Learning Journey.  Read More . . . 

tBR Person of the Week: Guillermo Martínez, Ayúdame3D: Changing the World with 3D Printing

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Guillermo Martínez is the Founder of Ayúdame3D, a Spanish organization, that promotes social equity through 3D Printing. They create "Trésdesis" which are 3D Printed Prosthetic arms that Ayúdam3D gives to people in need for free.

 

How did Guillermo get involved with 3D Printing? -- To Make His Own Toys

It was 2016 and I bought a 3D printer as a Christmas gift. I started printing Pokemon, toys, and home decorations... Then I found some arm designs on internet and I printed them. Suddenly, I had some arms printed and didn't know what to do with them. I was going on a trip to Kenya and got the idea to ask there if someone would want a 3D printed prosthetic arm. The coordinators from the orphanage found 5 people but they needed something that didn't exist until the moment. A 3D arm that works for people with no elbow. A full arm. I had time so I started designing and trying a new prototype creating the first 3D printed arm for people with no elbow.

Please describe the different prosthetics you offer and how they were designed. The 3D printed arms are made by materials that are accessible and easy to find and change. We want our 3D-arms to be functional and easy to use. We also use biocompatible material for the parts of the arms that are in touch with the skin. In the beginning, thanks to collective knowledge and designs from Enabling The Future, we started using some models that were already online and ready to use. Read More . . . 

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Financial & Legal News . . .

FYE, Everest Toys Owner Set to Purchase Toys 'R' Us, Babies 'R' Us Canada.  Putman Investments, a family-owned, Canadian company, has entered into a deal to purchase Toys "R" Us (TRU) and Babies "R" Us Canada from affiliates of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. In 2018, Fairfax took TRU Canada private as a standalone company following the collapse of TRU in the U.S. and abroad. 

Toys “R” Us to open shops inside 400 Macy’s locations in 2022. Macy's is giving Toys "R" Us new life, again. The department store says it is partnering with the toy store chain to sell toys online. Toys "R" Us shop-in-shops will also be opening at 400 department stores next year. This is the second attempt to revitalize the Toys "R" Us brand since it closed all of its U.S. stores in 2018. 

Walmart and Target optimistic about holiday, but with concerns. Judging by comments from Walmart and Target as they reported quarterly earnings, there’s optimism about the upcoming holiday season mixed with caution about potential supply chain and cost issues. And, of course, there’s the uncertainty about the course of the pandemic, and its effect on consumers. 

Comcast & ViacomCBS launching joint streamer in Europe  Rolling out in more than 20 markets in 2022, SkyShowtime will offer programming from NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, Peacock and Paramount+ all on one SVOD platform. The new SVOD is scheduled to roll out next year in Spain, Portugal, the Nordics, Netherlands, and Central and Eastern Europe. It will offer more than 10,000 hours of programming from around the world, including brand-new original shows and movies, library classics, and kids and family content.

Chinese government announces measures to combat shipping crisis  A broadcast on Chinese State television network CCTV suggests state-owned enterprises have been instructed to increase the number of ships and routes, as well as build new containers. Finally, there may be some welcome good news on the shipping front. 

Ubisoft Singapore probed by national watchdog after toxic workplace allegations. Ubisoft Singapore, the lead studio on Skull & Bones and co-developer of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, is being investigated by a national employment watchdog over allegations of misconduct at the studio. Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times reports that the country’s Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment...

California regulators to Riot Games: 'let your employees know they can speak to us'. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed a request asking a court to compel Riot Games to inform employees they are legally able to discuss their experiences with state regulators. 

Judge orders ROM site to permanently destroy its pirated Nintendo Games. Nintendo has won an injunction against the operator of ROM site RomUniverse, and now a judge is ordering the site operator to “permanently destroy” all of its pirated games. This order is the latest chapter in Nintendo’s lawsuit against RomUniverse that previously won it $2.1 million in damages back in June of 2021.

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Visit the York-Jersey Underwriters website at www.toy-insurance.com

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Stories, Comments & Advice . . .

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 1990s. Were you a ‘90s kid? Then you’ll probably probably remember some of these iconic Barbie dolls from the decade. 10. Bead Blast Barbie. Released in 1997, the Bead Blast line featured a new hair gimmick: colorful beads that could be threaded onto Barbie’s hair with the use of a special tool.

How a Board Game About Birds Became a Surprise Blockbuster.  Elizabeth Hargrave’s Wingspan is transforming an $11 billion industry. And it’ll transform the way you think about games. In her newfound fandom, Hargrave was like thousands of adults who’ve rediscovered the joy of board games, especially as a new kind of game took over the market.

PLAYING WITH HASBRO’S ULTIMATE TOY, THE $750 SELF-TRANSFORMING OPTIMUS PRIME. Growing up, I thought my generation had the best toys: Nerf blasters, laser tag, Game Boy, Legos in their prime, genuinely powerful Super Soakers, and of course, transforming action figures of all kinds. But I never did get into Transformers proper, because the slow-to-convert toys felt tedious compared to the show. But...

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Vintage Tin Toy and Robot Museum. The Vintage Tin Toy and Robot Museum is an online collection of vintage tin artifacts. The Vintage Tin Toy and Robot Museum preserves the history of tin toy characters including science fiction, superheroes, and fantasy. Manufacturers represented in the collection include Bullmark, Osaka Tin Toy, Billiken, Popy, Bandai, Toply, Tada, Schylling, and others. 

Junior Chef See-It-Bake Oven from Argo Industries Corp. (1971). The popularity of Kenner’s Easy-Bake Oven toy line inspired some competing toy ovens in the late 1960s and 1970s. In 1971, Argo Industries launched a line of Junior Chef “See-It” toys that included the See-It-Bake Oven. Powered by a single 100-watt incandescent light bulb, the See-It-Bake 

Put and Take from Schaper (1956). Released in 1956 by Schaper, the family-friendly Put and Take game allows players to spin and win. Based on a classic game of chance played as far back as the 1920s, Schaper’s rendition honours the game’s simple play pattern and objective. Players ante chips into a kitty and take turns spinning a multi-sided top. 

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Jakks Pacific Launches Disney ily 4EVER Fashion Doll Line. Disney is bringing its most iconic characters into the modern age. Jakks Pacific launched the Disney ily 4EVER fashion doll line, featuring 18-inch dolls inspired by iconic Disney stories and characters. This is the first in a series of character releases and accessories packs, with additional characters such as Ariel, Belle, Tiana, and Snow White to follow in future waves.

Hasbro Takes on Xenomorphs with NERF x Aliens Blaster.  To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the movie Aliens, Hasbro Pulse revealed an epic new NERF blaster, modeled after the equipment used by the Colonial Marine Corps in the movie. Part of the premium NERF LMTD line, which recreates items from entertainment and video game franchises, this blaster features the look of the iconic M41-A Pulse Blaster ...

Jazwares and GM Partner for New Micro Machines Corvette Raceway Transforming Playset.  The Micro Machines Corvette Raceway Transforming Playset is inspired by the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8. It quickly and easily transitions from a Corvette into a fully-equipped raceway, complete with a competition track, drag strip, mechanic’s station, micro-sized 2019 Corvette C8R, and more.

WowWee and Nickelodeon Digital Studios team to launch animated brand based on My Squishy Little Dumplings  WowWee, the intl toy maker and team behind Fingerlings and the Got2Glow Fairy Finder has struck up a new partnership with Nickelodeon Digital Studios to turn its My Squishy Little Dumplings characters into an animated brand. The project will see the characters from the My Squishy Little Dumplings...

HERSHEY CO. INKS SWEET LICENSING DEALS WITH KELLYTOY, ZURU, SPIN MASTER, MORE. Under the new agreements, famous candy brands, including Hershey’s, Reese’s, Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher, and Hershey’s Kisses will come to toy departments over the next year while some are already hitting the market. Get out the garden hose because Wham-O is ready to slip and slide onto shelves with a host of new consumer products. 

Inside Wham-O’s plan to slide into success.  The toyco behind Slip N' Slide and Hula Hoop is expanding with new licensing deals and shows to create 360-degree properties. Get out the garden hose because Wham-O is ready to slip and slide onto shelves with a host of new consumer products. 

(the above posted after August 13th)

Squishmallows, Jazwares‘ popular brand of soft plush toys, has signed with ent. and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). By representing Squishmallows, CAA will identify and create opportunities for the brand across a variety of categories, including — but not limited to — film, television, video games, publishing, and live touring.

Sesame Workshop named CAA-GBG Global Brand Mgmt Grp as the licensing agent for Sesame Street in South Korea and SE AsiaThe appointment comes shortly after Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, also named licensing agents for the brand in other parts of Asia — including Japan and the Greater China region. 

Playmobil is boldly going where it hasn’t gone before in a new collaboration with ViacomCBS and Star Trek. The German toy co. unveiled a new model Star Trek — U.S.S. Enterprise ship, launching Sept. 8. The vessel measures one meter long, with mounting included for display. It includes 7 figures of crew members from the original cast of the show (which premiered on Sept. 8, 1966). Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty...

Andrews McMeel Publishing Partners with Crossword Puzzle Legend Will Shortz  Andrews McMeel Publishing (AMP) revealed that they have partnered with Will Shortz and Robert Fuhrer of Nextoy LLC. to create a new games imprint, Will Shortz Games. Will Shortz is a legend among crossword puzzle enthusiasts. He was crossword editor for the New York Times, the founder and director of the American Crossword Puzzle... 

Disguise announces multi-year license renewal of long­time and beloved Sesame Street brandDisguise, Inc., a leading global costume company, and a division of toy and consumer products manufacturer JAKKS Pacific, Inc., today announced a renewal of its North American rights for the iconic series Sesame Street. 

Dr Seuss and British preschool favourite Clangers join the Tonies audio line up. Still fresh from its latest portfolio extension with Disney earlier this week, the children’s audio storytelling platform, Tonies, is continuing to roll out the classics, having welcomed the popular works of Dr Seuss as well as the British preschool sensation Clangers to its content library. 

Rubies strikes pan-European alliance with ZAG for new Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir dress up. The global costumes giant, Rubies has forged a pan-European alliance with the independent animation studio, ZAG, to develop, manufacture, and distribute a dress up and accessories range for Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. 

Hunter Price Hasbro distribution deal with Bildo kicks off with Peppa PigHunter Price International has announced a new strategic partnership with Bildo, one of Europe’s top toy manufacturers. Following the expansion of its EMEA licensing collaboration with Hasbro, which spans several evergreen Hasbro brands including Play-Doh, Peppa Pig, My Little Pony and Ricky Zoom, Bildo has granted Hunter Price...

Tonies expands its Disney portfolio with Winnie the Pooh, Bambi, Moana and Mulan. Winnie the Pooh, Bambi, Moana, and Mulan have each joined the Tonies family as the popular children’s audio storytelling platform extends upon its already successful partnership with Disney this season. The range has been bolstered following what has been a period of growth for the Tonies portfolio as the team behind the children’s...

Dan Dee’s Animal Adventure renews licensing partnership for Character Arts’ Rudolph. Dan Dee International and its affiliate, Animal Adventure, have renewed their global licensing agreement with Character Arts, licensor of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and other characters from the classic Rudolph television special. Dan Dee and Animal Adventure are known for offering plush, pet products, baby products...

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People . . . 

PLAYMONSTER TAPS BILL SINACORE TO LEAD WALMART SALES GROWTH. The Wisconsin-based toymaker hired Bill Sinacore to serve as its new associate vice president of national accounts serving the retail giant. Sinacore, a 30-year industry vet with experience at Leapfrog and The LEGO Group, will oversee PlayMonster’s relationship with Walmart across digital and physical retail while working to expand the company’s...

Jakks costume div Disguise brings industry veterans on board in UK  The sr appts at Disguise will spearhead the development of an EMEA team across sales, design and marketing. Disguise has announced the organization of its senior leadership team in EMEA. Industry veterans Tony Lewis and Lynda Morris have joined the company, heading up expansion and recruitment efforts to build an EMEA team of costume experts...

Funko expands EMEA sales team with appointment of Karen Athill  Funko (EMEA) has appointed the former MGA Entertainment sales director as regional channel director of sales. In her new role, she will lead the regional Sales teams as Funko continues its European expansion. Speaking of her new position, Karen said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Funko family. Its huge range of license partnerships offers...

(the above posted after August 13th)

The Learning Journey Welcomes New Talent & Familiar Faces.  TLJI is pleased to announce and welcome top talent to their highly skilled team to provide fresh and expert insights. Scott McCabe rejoins TLJI as Vice President of Sales and Meghan Ly joins as Social Media and Marketing Coordinator. 

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes award-winning producer, director, and composer, John Papa to the show. Papa is the co-founder and executive producer at Massimoto Media, a New England-based production outfit that creates commercials, films, and videos for clients including Hasbro, TOMY, Rollplay, and more. Papa was recruited by Hasbro to build and establish its in-house Hasbro Studios...

OTIS COLLEGE WELCOMES INDUSTRY VETERAN JENNIFER CAVEZA IN NEW ROLE. Jennifer Caveza has returned to Otis College as the new chair of the toy design program. Caveza, a consumer products executive specializing in the toy and licensing industries, previously served as assistant chair of the toy design program at Otis from 2001 to 2006. She was most recently the SVP toy licensing at ViacomCBS...

CRAZY AARON’S TAPS AHREN HOFFMAN TO LEAD MARKETING TEAM. When Crazy Aaron’s hit Minneapolis for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Assn (ASTRA)’s  Marketplace & Academy last weekend, the company behind Thinking Putty did so accompanied by a new team member: Ahren Hoffman. Hoffman, formerly of ASTRA and the Chicago Toy & Game Group, assumed the role of marketing team lead for the growing co.

Diamond Book Distributors has gone outside for new leadership, hiring Tony Lutkus from Penguin Random House as its new President.  Lutkus has 25 years of experience in the book business, including the last seven years at Penguin Random House and a long stretch in a variety of roles at Hachette.

Henson taps director of primetime development  Delany Shiokari joins the TV team, while Kait Boss takes on additional responsibilities as the prodco's new director of children's TV. Shiokari will focus on growing Henson’s primetime slate of acquired and internally developed projects, and is focused on older-skewing content that leans into the prodco’s mythological world building, storytelling and comedy past. 

Casdon Toys continues to expand its team with the recruitment of an Americas territory manager in a newly created role. Laura Bull has been appointed to the role and joins the team this month. Laura previously held the position of UK and Ireland sales manager at Magic Box, as well as working as marketing manager at both Posh Paws and Schleich UK. She brings with her a wealth of toy industry experience.

Guy Rooney joins Zapf Creation as sales director. MGA UK & Ireland has announced the appointment of Guy Rooney to the role of Zapf Creation sales director. Reporting to UK managing director Neil Bandtock, the newly created position will allow Guy to oversee the portfolio of Zapf’s award winning brands, including Baby Annabell, Baby born and Baby born surprise. 

Glu Mobile CEO and COO depart the company months after EA acquisition. Glu Mobile leaders Nick Earl and Eric Ludwig are stepping down just months after the mobile company was acquired by EA for $2.1 billion. Earl and Ludwig served as CEO and COO of Glu Mobile, respectively, and are departing the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Design Home publisher to pursue the "next phases in their careers and lives." 

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Companies, Brands . . .  

Japan toy company unveils AI doll to keep older people company. Takara Tomy has designed a doll with artificial intelligence to help tackle loneliness among older people isolated by the coronavirus pandemic. . .  inspiration for the doll came during the pandemic amid an increased demand for interactive products specifically designed for older people.

Dog toy maker SnugArooz introduces a new pet toy collection, adding 3 new shapes to its line: Ally the Alpaca, Tye the Unicorn, and Willow the Hedgehog. Sporting a cotton candy tie-dye design, each toy is made from durable plush and includes an internal squeaker and crinkle inside. Products are made from recycled water bottles. “The colorful tie-dye line is following fashion trends,” said SnugArooz VP of sales Adam Katz. 

Disney orders Pupstruction & 3 TV movies   The House of Mouse has locked in Travis Braun for an extended overall deal, picking up his show in the process, and is prepping From the Desk of Zoe Washington and two Mickey Mouse films. Set to premiere on Disney Junior and Disney+ in 2023, animated adventure Pupstruction is about an all-dog construction company created and executive produced by Braun.

PlayMonster and 9 Story Brands recently released a special edition Colorforms 70th Anniversary Set — now available on Amazon — to celebrate 70 years of the brand. The set includes 500 colorful repositionable and interchangeable geometric stick-ons to promote mess-free and screen-free play. Colorforms first launched in the 1950s by art students Harry and Patricia Kislevitz, after they bought rolls of flexible vinyl...

PAW Patrol Joins Forces with Waze.  In celebration of the upcoming PAW Patrol: The Movie release in theaters on August 20, Spin Master is teaming up with the GPS navigation app Waze.  Once the experience on Waze is activated, parents and their young passengers will be guided by Ryder, Marshall, Skye, and Chase whose voices will navigate their drive and alert them to anything happening nearby or on their route.

LEGO launches new online safety tools  LEGO’s Build & Talk series is designed to help parents and caregivers have meaningful conversations with children ages seven to 11 about difficult topics like cyberbullying and scams. The most recent activity pack focuses on privacy and safe sharing. As grown-ups read the story that’s included in the kit out loud, kids are encouraged to build along with their LEGO bricks.

Mattel introduces first female Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live Tour driver as US event returns  Mattel is marking its return to the live event sector with a series of firsts for its Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live tour, including its first female driver and its first ever collaboration with the Big Foot brand, as the tour prepares to roll out across ten US locations this autumn. Kicking off this September 

LEGO Education introduces ‘complete learning system’ to encourage kids into STEAM  LEGO Education has detailed the launch of a new collection under its LEGO Education SPIKE banner, developed to encourage primary school children into STEAM learning, while supporting literacy, maths, and social-emotional development. Called LEGO Education SPIKE Essential, the new launch joins the already established LEGO Education…

Konami reports huge Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG success as new products continue to launch  Players are gravitating to Konami’s innovative Remote Duel programme, while the cards continue to sell out ahead of a product-packed second half of the year. Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG has had a remarkable summer, according to the company.

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME WITH FUNKO GAMES’ THE ROCKETEER: FATE OF THE FUTURE.  Two players face off in The Rocketeer: Fate of the Future, a new board game from Funko Games. In the game, players each have to pick a side: The mysterious Rocketeer trying to stop a sinister plot or Neville Sinclair, who’s trying to fuel a dark future of warfare. Each player’s goal is to fulfill their own agenda while evading the other...

Disney bolsters its adaptive roleplay and wheelchair cover sets with Star Wars and Marvel lines  Disney has added a new line up of adaptive roleplay kids’ costumes and wheelchair cover set to a range it launched last year, bolstering its inclusive play lines with the addition of costumes inspired by Marvel Studio’s Black Panther, Star Wars: The Mandalorian and a The Mandalorian Wheelchair cover set. 

Dantoy Take Back launches, giving Danish toys a new lease of life  The next chapter in the Dantoy Take Back project will follow in autumn, when a major collaboration with local kindergartens will launch. In collaboration with Randers Municipality, Danish toy company Dantoy has set up a container into which parents and kids can drop off their pre-loved Dantoy toys... they will then be recycled and made into new toys at the...

Little Tikes unveils Tobi 2 line-up  The new Tobi 2 products introduce children to tech in a safe and engaging way by bringing play to life through product innovation and smart features. Packed with a host of interactive features to engage and excite adventurous minds, the Tobi 2 Robot Smartwatch features a playful personality and a variety of brain, arcade and fitness games. 

Celebrating 1 Million Games Sold, Anomia Press Launches New Website.  Since 2009, Anomia press has sold over 1 million games and to date, millions of adults, teens, tweens and children have played the company's Anomia branded games over and over again, making incredible memories. To celebrate the 1 million milestone, Andrew Innes, Inventor and Anomia Press owner, is launching a very special website.

Cartoonito Pre-K Block Debuts Sept. 13 no HBO Max & Cartoon Network. Just in time for the school year, WarnerMedia Kids & Family will launch the Cartoonito preschool block Monday, September 13 on HBO Max and Cartoon Network. The new block offers a modern approach to preschool programming with its proprietary educational framework, Humancentric Learning. 

Toikido inks deal with Boneloaf and Gang Beasts  The partnership makes Gang Beasts the second major gaming IP for Toikido, following global success for the Among Us property. Darran Garnham, founder of Toikido said: “We are huge fans of the Boneloaf team and have been playing Gang Beasts together and with our families for ages, so to bring it into the Toikido stable is amazing news”.

Neo Magic partners with The Fantastic Factory  The partnership will see Neo Magic and The Fantastic Factory develop a range of new products that Vinny Sagoo says will deliver a 'multifaceted experience'. David Snow, co-founder of The Fantastic Factory, said: “We are always looking for new opportunities to explore within toys and games. We are big fans of magic, so after lots of research we decided to venture into this area...

(the above was posted after August 13th)

Mattel Earns Great Place to Work CertificationAt Mattel, our purpose is to empower the next generation to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential. We know this incredible work wouldn’t be possible without our people, which is why we are thrilled to share that Mattel is now Certified™ by Great Place to Work®, the global authority on workplace culture. 

Jakks Pacific is updating its baby doll line with a variety of new outfits and revised sculpts reflecting the character traits of each ethnicity. The Perfectly Cute collection from Jakks Pacific is known for its diversity. The dolls, which are available in 8- and 14-inch scales, are offered in various ethnicities and skin tones including African-American, Asian, Latinx, and Caucasian. 

Here’s some fantastic news from Hasbro Pulse: There’s a new wave of Fantastic Four Marvel Legends figures. As revealed in a Fan First Monday livestream yesterday, this wave includes six 6-inch-scale Fantastic Four characters, all in retro packaging and featuring classic comics-inspired designs. The lineup includes Mr. Fantastic, Marvel’s Invisible Woman, Human Torch, Marvel’s Thing, Psycho Man...

FULL EPISODE OF SPIN MASTER’S ‘BAKUGAN: GEOGAN RISING’ SET TO PREMIERE ON ROBLOX, Kids are obsessed with Roblox, the multiplayer video game that allows users to program games that others can experience and enjoy. Recently, the Roblox platform has been giving thanks to its fans by hosting a lineup of digital experiences, including online performances by Lil Nas X and KSI...

ZURU recently launched Angel High, a new line of six dolls with swappable fashion accessories and wings. Each doll includes 10 surprises that are unique to their personality and comes packaged inside a clear capsule with peek-a-boo window that transforms into a display. Surprises range from hairstyles, outfits, mini wings, fashion, jewelry, eyewear, hair accessories (brush, color-changing clip, and extension), and...

Google's Stadia launches kids section  With a focus on reaching families playing together, the soon-to-launch section will include six titles from Outright Games. Launching August 13, the new category signals Stadia’s growing commitment to reaching younger demos and the increasing number of families who game together, according to a release from Stadia.

ACTF & Stan put out call for kids features  Beginning today, eligible writers, producers and creators can submit original Australian live-action concepts targeting youth and family audiences. Applications are now open for original live-action feature ideas that are at least 80 minutes in length. The projects have to have a G or PG rating, and should be aimed at either children aged six to 12 and their families, or tweens...

Melissa & Doug announces sustainability initiative  New initiative, Project Restore, cements the company's commitment to "making timeless, sustainable toys for a thriving and inclusive world." The initiative, called Project Restore, will guide the company in its existing work on environmental responsibility, social equity and inclusion, as well as its ambitious new plan to make the world a better place.

Lalaloopsy is back by popular demand thanks to MGA  The release, which will reintroduce 25 Lalaloopsy dolls with a focus on DIY crafting and traditional doll play, marks the brand's 10th anniversary. Lalaloopsy offers a whimsical world of characters with unique personalities derived from the fabric used to sew them, inspiring kids to develop their own creativity.

Nacelle pivots to launch its own toy brand The company behind Netflix's The Toys That Made Us is shifting from documenting toys to reviving Robo Force with new products and a series. Now, Nacelle is gearing up to jumpstart the ’80s IP again with a new show and consumer products push. 

Cartoon Network Studios, WBA expand into anime  Adult Swim exec Jason DeMarco will oversee the studios' growth into long-form anime and action series for all ages. In this newly created role DeMarco started on August 1, he reports to Sam Register, president of both Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, and Michael Ouweleen, president of Adult Swim.

Funko eyes international growth after record second quarter and major executive moves.  Funko’s president, Andrew Perlmutter is to be appointed the firm’s new CEO as Brian Mariotti transitions to the newly created role of chief creative officer, detailing the top level moves the same week the firm delivered ‘its largest topline quarter in company history.’ Last week, the pop culture specialist revealed that second quarter net sales 

Rubies hails inclusivity with new Adaptive Costumes  Rubies' range of Adaptive Costumes has been designed for children with limited mobility, letting every child join in roleplay and dress-up. Specialised design features include back openings in the trousers and skirts, which allow wheelchair users to dress in bed or in a laying down position.

Hasbro hosts camps for children battling life-threatening illnesses.  Hasbro Children’s Hospital is back to hosting two very special camps for children battling serious illnesses, after pausing for a year during the height of the pandemic. The hospital hosted Camp Grace last week and is hosting Camp Dotty this week.

Breaking Games Launches Multiple Highly Anticipated Games in Top Retailers Across the Nation.  Some new games include the ubiquitous Cards Against Humanity with their latest Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition Glow in the Dark edition; Café Chaos by TheOdd1sOut, which has a wildly popular YouTube channel with more than 17 million followers; and a brand-new IP called PANDO, which helps people...

The Best Nickelodeon Character Bracket. As Nicktoons’ 30th anniversary approaches, it’s time to celebrate the heroes, villains, sponges and starfish, and cats and dogs who redefined children’s programming in the 1990s and beyond. Nick can mean many different things to many different people depending on when, exactly, they were between the ages of 6 and 16. The generational divide is most cleanly drawn...

MGA unveils new Glitter Babyz nurturing doll range.  The Glitter Babyz dolls feature large eyes filled with distinctive nature imagery, plus accessories that promote imaginative, nurturing play. MGA Entertainment‘s new range Glitter Babyz introduces Dreamia Stardust, January Snowflake, Lila Wildbloom and Solana Sunburst to nurture doll lovers aged three and above. 

The Toy Book chats with Ross Hyman, director of product development and marketing at Alex Global Products, about the company’s legacy, evolution, and future plans. Toy Book: Alex Global Products emerged during a tumultuous year. What are the key differences between the former Alex Brands and the new Alex Global Products?

Mattel launches Lucille Ball Barbie doll for 70th anniversary of I Love Lucy.  There is no greater female icon in the world of comedy than Lucille Ball and her legacy will continue to inspire others for many years to come. In celebration of the star’s 110th birthday (Ball was born Aug 6th, 1911) and the upcoming 70th anniversary of her sitcom I Love Lucy, Mattel is launching its new Tribute Collection with a Barbie doll modeled...

Moose Toys announces newest products for Bluey. The latest toys include interactive plush, figures, vehicles and card games, all based on the hugely popular animated pre-school series. Bluey, the hit animated children’s TV series consistently ranked No.1 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior, is welcoming new toys from Moose.

Mattel, Authentic Brands collaborate for Elvis Presley Barbie, Fisher-Price Little People. The King of Rock and Roll is headed back to the toy box. In celebration of Elvis Week, August 11-17, Mattel inked a deal with Authentic Brands for a pair of new toys that celebrate the legacy of Elvis Presley. Fisher-Price Little People, Elvis joins the lineup in a three-piece set that is inspired by 50s-era Elvis with guitar; 60s-era Elvis in black...

New McFarlane Toys Mortal Kombat figures: Joker, Kotal Khan, and moreMcFarlane Toys has opened up pre-orders for a new wave of 7-inch figures inspired by Mortal Kombat 11, and fans will want to jump all over them. For one thing, there's another Joker to collect, which may or may not be exciting to you given how many Jokers are in the McFarlane line. 

Feed the 'Yummy Yummy Monster Tummy'. Lucky Duck Games and HYBR announced Yummy Yummy Monster Tummy, a new cooperative digital hybrid game, for release in Q4. In Yummy Yummy Monster Tummy, there are monsters in the attic, and players must feed them whatever they can find. 

Foxes battle snakes for control of the 'Great Plains'. Asmodee Group will release Great Plains, an area control game by Lookout Games, on September 10. In Great Plains, players assume control of either the clever foxes or the wise snakes to attempt to gain control of their opponents' territory. 

The Op unveils a 'Harry Potter'-themed 'Talisman' board gameThe Op Games unveiled Talisman: Harry Potter Edition, a new version of Games Workshop's Talisman board game, for release on September 28, 2021. In Talisman: Harry Potter Edition, players assume the daring roles of members of either the Order of the Phoenix or Death Eaters. 

Playmobil brings the A-Team back into the toy departmentBack in the ’80s, fueled by the success of a hit series on NBC, Galoob Toys first brought the crack commando unit known as The A-Team into toy departments around the world. Then, in 2010, Jazwares did the same when The A-Team was rebooted for the big screen. Now, Playmobil is bringing Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, Sergeant B.A. Baracus...

Asmodee will release 'Dixit (Refresh)'. Asmodee Group will release Dixit (Refresh), an updated version of the classic party game by Libellud, on September 10. This refreshed version of the Dixit base game features new front and back cover art for the box. It also has a new scoreboard as well as new voting dials. 

Unboxing Logan: the first American Girl boy doll. Nostalgia for the American Girl Doll brand is no joke. Everyone has their favorite: from Molly loyalists to Samantha stans, their stories and styles have inspired young women and girls the world over with no sign of slowing down. There are several signature store locations across the US, a print magazine that lasted more than 20 years, and an extremely popular online fandom.

Big G Creative revitalizes classic game play through Corner Crush, Cluckle. Big G Creative is injecting some new life into four-in-a-row, word-scramble gameplay. Corner Crush and Cluckle are two new games that take inspiration from the classics, introducing new strategies, competitive edges, and interactive elements for kids ages 7 and up. 

Trio of titles announced by Rio Grande. Rio Grande Games has announced three new titles slated for release later this year, including Tom Lehmann’s Dice Realms and a pair of Friedemann Friese designs:  Faiyum and Free Ride. From the designer of Race for the Galaxy comes Dice Realms, which uses dice with removable faces that players can customize during the game. 

Little Tikes hits the right notes with music fans through My Real Jam launch. Little Tikes is striking a chord with young music lovers this season with the launch of its new musical range of toys, My Real Jam; a new line designed to combine the interactive features of musical and role play. The line up features a whole host of musical instruments, including the My Real Jam DJ Table, Electric Guitar, Keyboard...

Players can hone their slap shot skills in 'Hero Hockey'. Asmodee Group will release Hero Hockey, a new magnetic dexterity game by Finnish company Oy Marektoy, on September 17. In Hero Hockey, players manipulate hero pawns to attempt to score goals. Each pawn can be moved via a magnetic connection created between a steering magnet and the base of the hero pawn.

Rio Grande Games goes 'Art Decko'. Rio Grande Games unveiled Art Decko, a new deck-building game by Ta-Te Wu, which will release into retail in October. In Art Decko, players attempt to build the most valuable collection of fine art. Players use their in-game fortunes to accumulate paintings from five different art genres: Art Nouveau, Pop Art, Renaissance, Surrealism, and Impressionism. 

Mattel reveals ‘Beetlejuice’ Monster High dolls. In a collection inspired by the film “Beetlejuice,” Mattel Creations, Mattel’s e-commerce and content platform, has revealed new Monster High Skullector Dolls, launching in August on Friday the 13th. The limited-edition dolls, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, reimagine characters Lydia and Beetlejuice, following the previous Skullector drop of Pennywise...

Hama Beads celebrates 50th anniversary with new range50 years ago, the innovative owner of the Hama Beads factory, Malte Haaning, began making beads and pegboards at his production facility in Nykøbing Mors. Today, Hama is renowned globally in the children’s products market and continues to develop and extend its ranges with the aim of producing fun and unique arts & crafts options.

Pegasus returns to 'Micromacro: Crime City', heads for Stone Ages. Hot off its Spiel des Jahres win, Pegasus Spiele has announced a new MicroMacro:  Crime City game called MicroMacro:  Crime City – Full House, releasing on September 3.  The company also announced Klaus-Jurgen Wrede's Stone Age exploration game Fire & Stone, launching September 17. 

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Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .

Warhammer’s new subscription streaming service is coming to iOS, Android, and smart TVs. Games Workshop is preparing to launch Warhammer Plus, a niche subscription streaming service for fans of the sprawling, lore-dense Warhammer universe (or rather, universes: the sci-fi world of Warhammer 40,000, and fantasy setting of Warhammer Age of Sigmar). 

British Esports Association launches Parent and Carer guide. Today the British esports association has launched a Parent's Guide in partnership with the NSPCC. The goal of the guide is to help educate caretakers about online safety guidelines and esports. The company said that parents will be able to learn about the industry as well as how skills developed from competitive gaming can be transferable to other career fields. 

Activision Blizzard 

Diablo 4 director among three employees ousted at Blizzard. Kotaku is reporting that Diablo 4 game director Luis Barriga, lead level designer Jesse McCree, and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft were let go from Blizzard. The announcement follows weeks of fallout at Activision Blizzard over a CA lawsuit filed by the Dept of Equal Employment and Housing alleging a toxic culture of sexual harassment...

Activision Blizzard shareholder calls cultural reform plans 'deficient' and 'inadequate'. Activision Blizzard shareholder SOC Investment claims the company's plans to reform its culture in the wake of widespread misconduct allegations are "deficient" and "inadequate." As reported by Axios, a letter penned by SOC executive director Dieter Waizenegger suggests the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft maker...

Apex Legends lead game designer fired amid controversy over sexist and racist comments. Klein confirmed via Twitter that he had been dismissed on Friday, with his comments suggesting the decision was based primarily around comments he made in a blog post back in 2007. The post, entitled "I am Daniel's Angry Rant," contains sexist remarks, such as implying that no women has ever behaved rationally...

Blizzard employees weigh costs and benefits of advocating boycott. Activision Blizzard employees have spent the last few weeks rallying to action in the wake of the company’s combative response to a lawsuit filed by the State of California alleging that the company allowed a toxic culture of harassment and discrimination to fester, particularly at Blizzard Entertainment. 

Report: Morhaime, other Blizzard execs were informed of rampant misconduct. Multiple new reports today provided another look into the allegedly toxic studio culture within Activision Blizzard, as Bloomberg and The Washington Post both published pieces incorporating interviews with former and current employees of the company's Blizzard division.

Overwatch League sponsors reevaluate support following Activision Blizzard lawsuit. Overwatch League sponsors Coca-Cola and State Farm are re-evaluating their support of the competition after the game’s publisher Activision Blizzard was sued by regulators over a culture of ‘constant sexual harassment,’ The Washington Post reports. The companies’ statements come as another sponsor, T-Mobile, appeared to pull...

 

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

24% of chemicals in plastic products are toxic, study showsOut of the 10,500 chemicals used in plastics, about a quarter—2,480—are potentially hazardous. A further 39% - 4,100 - of the chemicals, could not be categorized because there is no data on their safety or toxicity. The findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology, mark the first comprehensive database to date. Researchers spent two and a half years combing through 190 publicly available data sources and identified more than …

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards, Events & Festivals . . . 

IIM-Kashipur invites entries for toy design competition.  The competition covers several themes like environment, fitness and sport , artificial intelligence and machine learning, Indian heritage, culture, mythology, history, ethos, technology, and ethnicity catering to different age groups. The Ministry of Education and DIC, IIM Kashipur invites applications for a toy design competition — Toy Tales 2021. 

COVID Vax Required to Attend NYCC  C2E2 and Emerald City participants and attendees must show proof that either they have been fully vaccinated or that they have recently tested negative for COVID-19. The protocols for the four shows vary according to the regulations of the states in which they are held. All attendees at Florida Supercon will be required to wear a face covering, whether or not they are vaccinated.

The Toy Retailers Association confirms date of DreamToys 2021 grand unveiling  The 2021 DreamToys list of predicted top toys for Christmas will be unveiled in full on Wednesday, November 3rd, the Toy Retailers Association confirmed last week. Just as was adopted last year, in the face of the government restrictions and safety measures taken amid the pandemic, the TRA will continue with the format change...

(the above was posted after August 13th)

Back to business at Autumn Fair  For toy retailers looking forward to an opportunity to see new ranges in person, Autumn Fair will take place from 5th to 8th September. All attendees to this year’s show will have to show proof of their Covid-19 status, organisers Hyve Group have announced. This means either having two vaccinations, a negative lateral flow test, or evidence of natural immunity.

Voting Opens for 2022 Toy Industry Hall of Fame InducteesThe Toy Association is gearing up to welcome a new class of inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Since 1984, the Toy Industry Hall of Fame has honored outstanding individuals who have made impactful contributions to the toy industry and The Toy Association.

Gen Con recently announced that would require people to wear masks at their upcoming 2021 convention in Indianapolis on Sept 16-19. Just under a month ago, Gen Con proudly announced that they wouldn't require attendees to wear masks if they could provide proof of vaccination at their on-site health check-in station. Since then, there has been a surge COVID-19 cases due to the B.1.617.2 (Delta)...

THE TOY ASSOCIATION FORMS AN INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE TO TACKLE GLOBAL INDUSTRY ISSUES. The Toy Association recently expanded its ability to tackle global regulations, threats, and opportunities on behalf of toy and play companies in key markets worldwide by forming a new International Committee.

Entries now open for Dads’ Choice Awards 2021. Now in its 9th year, there are 20 different categories manufacturers can enter, in the only awards where Dads test out toys with their kids. This year, the Dads Choice Awards 2021 is set to be bigger and better than ever. The organisers have spent the last few months recruiting even more super testers, who they say are raring to go, to put the latest toys, puzzles, games...

Riot moves League of Legends’ US championship from Prudential Center due to COVID-19. Riot Games announced Saturday that the final two matches of the League of Legends US Championship Series (LCS), which are slated for later this month, will no longer be held with fans at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, “due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the United States.” 

Anime NYC to require vaccinations, masks to attend. Anime NYC, planned for the Javits Center in New York in November, will require both proof of vaccination and masks to attend, organizer LeftField Media announced.  The policies follow the announcement by New York Mayor Bill deBlasio this week that proof of vaccination will be required to attend indoor events in the city.

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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 colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.

Bill Burke The licensing stalwart was known for his creative spark and love of sharing his extensive knowledge with interns. Bill Burke, a long-time licensing executive who joined Licensing International this year as SVP Marketing and Communications, passed away suddenly at his home on 9th August aged 55. Prior to joining Licensing International, Bill was SVP Marketing for CBS Consumer Products, where he led Global Marketing (including Retail), International Licensing, and Licensing Operations for such iconic brands as Star Trek. Before that, he held senior positions with such companies as HIT Entertainment, Sesame Workshop and Foot Locker. “Bill was already a beloved and admired person within the industry when he joined the Licensing International team in February,” said Maura Regan, president of Licensing international. “In his brief period with us, and for those who hadn’t the pleasure of working with him previously, he quickly became a friend, creative spark and trusted sounding board for everyone on staff. It’s a measure of the man that he particularly enjoyed mentoring our interns, making sure that they got as much out of us as we got out of them. We will miss him personally and professionally.”

He is survived by his wife Patty, daughter Erin and son Ryan.

Jack Hirsch, founding U.S. president of VTech Electronics North America. Hirsch began his career with Jewel Companies as a buyer and merchandiser in the 1950s and then with Mattel handling sales in the early 1970s. He also founded Waddingtons House of Games in the U.S. and worked as a representative of VTech toys before making the transition to the company’s founding president in the U.S. He served as president until 1991, when he moved into the role of Chairman of the Board. He remained actively involved in daily business activities for many years, before transitioning to an advisor role. “We were incredibly sad to learn of Jack Hirsch’s passing,” said Andy Keimach, president of VTech Electronics North America. “As VTech Electronics North America’s founding president in the U.S., Jack was a pioneer of electronic learning products with a lifetime of dedication to the toy industry. His contributions will never be forgotten as his legacy lives on through the company and resonates throughout the toy industry.”

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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Ship stirring…. it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Chinese container port closes after Covid-19 case found

  3. Guy Rooney joins Zapf Creation as sales director

  4. Rubies hails inclusivity with new Adaptive Costumes

  5. Playmobil releases Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise model

  6. Character Kidz Big Weekend hailed an outstanding success

  7. Melissa & Doug announces sustainability initiative

  8. Lalaloopsy is back by popular demand thanks to MGA

  9. Hunter Price Hasbro distribution deal with Bildo kicks off with Peppa Pig

  10. Spin Master’s Bakugan franchise enters the Roblox metaverse

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)

PSC Games announces 'Total War: Rome - The Board Game'
WizKids Launches 'D&D Frameworks'
WizKids Reveals Two 'Critical Role' Premium Figures
Wizards of the Coast Updates Timelines for Two Upcoming 'Magic' Sets
Attach Classic 'D&D' Monsters to Backpacks, a Bag of Holding, and More!
Rolling for Initiative -- The Fall of 'Innistrad' and the Future of Flying Buffalo
Wizards of the Coast Teases 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Innistrad: Midnight Hunt' Products
Gen Con Reverses Course on Maskless Attendance
The Op unveils a 'Harry Potter'-Themed 'Talisman' Board Game
Games and Puzzles Post Dramatic Growth in First Half

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

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)​​

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Audio Mystery Game Announced, More Horrified

Ravensburger has announced a new game line for mystery lovers and a brand new Horrified game, Buffalo Games has released Tetris Strategy Game, Pandasaurus Games has a new time-travel themed game available for pre-order, and Modiphius Entertainment has announced a James Bond 007 themed game.

Video of the Week! 

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After debuting on our POP Week Event Platform to over 13,700 viewers,  we have moved our panel discussions to YouTube and ar sharing them almost every week here on the Bloom Report! 

Panel: Activism and Inclusion in our Industry

Moderator: Jean Butler (Business Dev. Consultant, Prior: The Toy Association)

Panelists: Maura Regan (President, Licensing International), Eric Lang (Indie and Award Winning Game Inventor), Steve Starobinsky (Founder, Kid@Heart), Delanie West (Founding Creative Director, Product Development & Design Advisor, Be Super Creative)

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Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme

 

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

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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