If you’re unfamiliar with KidScreen Magazine, they’re the folks with their finger on the pulse of the kids’ entertainment industry. No, they don’t deal in things like stage moms and little girls in fake eyelashes (ewww), but they do cover all manner of what kids are into and where those kids’ parents will spend their dollars to support those interests. They’re the folks in the know, is my point.
Well, it’s time for the KidScreen Best of the Year Awards:
We polled industry players to get a read on who made waves in 2007 that would likely resonate for years to come, and the result of that fieldwork is the following shortlist of candidates competing in six categories – Producer, Distributor, Broadcaster, Licensor, Licensee and Licensing Agent…of the Year.
Guess who’s up for Licensee of the Year? Go on, guess! That’s right. Ty’s Toy Box is in the running for this auspicious recognition. KidScreen didn’t hold back with the admiration, either, to which we said, “Don’t. Stop. No, really—don’t stop!” In describing Ty’s, KidScreen said:
Since launching three years ago with a dedicated boutique housing all products Wiggles-related, the e-tailer has expanded at a rapid clip and now features products based on roughly 80 licenses. But what’s put Ty’s Toy Box in the running this year is the unique approach it has taken to helping properties kick-start their consumer products sales in a retail climate that’s, er, less-than-hospitable to brand-new IP. Acting as both retailer and licensee, Ty’s broke ground with The Doodlebops, producing quick-turnaround soft goods such as t-shirts for the preschool band’s online storefront in 2006. From there, licensor Cookie Jar Entertainment was able to take sales results of the Ty-produced goods to existing and potential partners, and build out a larger mass retail program.
To keep momentum going this year, Ty’s opened up TTB Marketplace to service licensors. The key to TTBM is its relationship with drop-ship software service CommerceHub, which enables Ty’s to expand the retail reach of its licensor partners and improve its own product development capabilities. Through the system, suppliers ship directly to online customers, cutting down on inventory investment for Ty’s. The e-tailer then takes the savings and plows them into developing product and retail programs for properties with fanbases clamoring for product that isn’t yet available.
Ty’s is one of only two retailers nominated in the Licensee category, and is in excellent company amongst the other nominees—Character Options, Jakks Pacific, Mattel, and Steve & Barry’s.
Who will win the title? Well, that’s up the public. The voting is currently open and winners will be announced in January. The prize is a Doodlebops guitar! Oh, I kid. The prize is the satisfaction of a job well done. And also bragging rights.
But this is certainly one of those situations where (as corny as it may sound), it truly is an honor just to be nominated. Who would thunk a little company in Kentucky would one day be rubbing elbows with an industry giant like Mattel, vying for a “Best of” award? It’s pretty exciting. Thanks, KidScreen!