Power Kid Podcast

By Phil Albritton

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Toy industry veteran Phil Albritton interviews amazing people making amazing things for kids. Toys, games, books, media - we cover it all here in the only podcast dedicated to the modern children's entertainment industry.

Episode Date
Power Kid Podcast + Adventure Media & Events - BIG NEWS!

BIG NEWS! The Power Kid Podcast is now a part of the Adventure Media and Events Podcast Network Family! For 2 years it has been my great pleasure to interview my friends in the industry and to meet many amazing new friends along the way - and it just keeps getting better! Tune in for James Zahn's Toy Report the Pop Insider Podcast and much more coming soon. Subscribe to the new feed now!


I have a favor to ask - If you left a good review for the Power Kid Podcast would you do the same over at the Adventure Media & Events network page? Thank you for helping us grow and keeping you up to date with toy news, reviews and interviews!

Oct 08, 2019
Creative Kids with Daniel Delapa
It is my honor this week to interview Daniel Delapa the CMO at Creative Kids. Creative Kids was founded in 1997 and quickly took the arts and craft category by storm. Since then their line has expanded into 12 categories with distribution in 70 countries!
Daniel and I discuss his experience growing up in the industry. He shares with us what sets Creative Kids apart by being a "brand incubator”. We discuss how they stay closely connect to their customers by listening and acting based on their feedback. I ask him what retailers expect from him to ensure a mutually beneficial and growing relationship.
As always thank you for listening
Sep 24, 2019
Comic writing with Mike Gagnon
My guest today Mike Gagnon is a best selling author and graphic novelist who works as a freelance writer, illustrator and colorist for publishers like Marvel, Dark Horse Comics, Jack Lake Productions and many more. He began working professionally in comics at the age of 17. He has taught art, design and writing at several animation schools and develops his own comics and media. Currently he is a writer on the creative development and promotion team for the Marvel Create Your Own Comics app!
Join our conversation today as we discuss his origin in the comics business (it involves Silly Putty!). I ask his how he keeps his stories fresh when writing for characters that have decades of backstory. We discuss his experience writing for the Marvel Handbook which tells the story of individual Marvel characters. We end with a conversation about the shift of putting the content into the hands of the consumer and Mike shares his experience of working on Marvels Create Your Own Comic app.
Sep 10, 2019
From Yo-yos to Carseats with Kenn Morton
My guest this week Kenn Morton has won the Industrial Design Excellence Gold Award, Business Week Product of the Year Award, and participated in many others during his 31 years with Fisher-Price. He has a tremendous passion for children and parents in need and has worked with a collaboration between Save the Children, Mattel and the Ministry of Education in Indonesia to create teaching play kits.
In this episode we dive into the unique design challenges that the children’s market presents - from yo-yos to car seats! I ask him how design practices have changed throughout his years in the industry. We discuss how to balance education and fun in a learning toy which leads into a very powerful discussion about Kenn’s work with children in Indonesia.
Enjoy this insightful episode and thank you for listening!
Aug 27, 2019
Toy Stories with Stefanie Eskander
It is such a joy to have Stefanie Eskander on the show today! She has been drawing, illustrating and designing toys for over 35 years! Her resume includes Hasbro, Mattel, Fisher-Price, Spin Master and she was the Design Manager at Toys R Us. She has a passion for girls and preschool product and has been instrumental in developing brands like Cabbage Patch, Sky Dancers, Polly Pocket and Jem and the Holograms. She is here today to share her experience and talk about her new book Toy Stories: The Secret Life of a Toy Designer.
Her book is a fantastic overview of her career and the history of the wonderful brands she has been a part of!
Aug 20, 2019
Create great kids content with Tanya Visano
What does it take to connect with kids today? Listen in as Tanya Visano and I discuss this question and more! Tanya is the VP of International Strategy and Partnership Development and the Head of Canada and Mexico Consumer Products for Viacom. She has been been at the forefront of many new kids properties including Paw Patrol, Dora, JoJo Siwa and Ryan’s Mystery Playdate.
We discuss the shift we are seeing from content creation to a content discovery model. She shares 3 key insights in developing great kids content. I ask her specifically about the Canadian and Mexican market and how kids respond to content uniquely in those countries. Along the way we touch on the fresh changes to both Dora and Blue’s Clues!
Thank you for tuning in and enjoy!
Aug 13, 2019
Mojo Nation with Billy Langsworthy
So great this week to catch back up with my friend Billy Langsworthy and have a chat. Billy is a vigorous supporter of the toy design and invention community. He co-founded Mojo Nation to accelerate talent, opportunity and ideas for all levels of inventors.
Tune in today--- to learn all about what Mojo Nation offers including Play Innovation Summit, Licensed Design Challenges, Mojo Nations Summer Party, Play Creators Festival, Mojo Student Conference, and Brands Untapped. Billy unpacks each fantastic opportunity for us.
“The best idea is to have lots of ideas.”  
Find out more here: mojo-nation.com
Thank you for the recent 5-star reviews!
Aug 06, 2019
Interactive Toys and Games with Scott Traylor - Part 2

Thank you for the great feedback on part one of my conversation with founder and CEO of 360KID Scott Traylor! In part two of our discussion Scott shares his development process called the 7 D’s. I ask him about the particulars regarding the development of children’s app and how this has changed in their short history. We discuss the rise and fall of virtual worlds like NeoPets, Webkins, and Club Penguin. Finally I ask him to peer into the future and tell us what he sees in the future for toys and tech.

Follow along and download a copy of Scott’s excellent breakdown of the 2019 Toy Fair tech toys that caught his eye:
Thank you always for subscribing and listening!
Jul 30, 2019
Interactive Toys and Games with Scott Traylor - Part 1

My guest today is Scott Traylor the founder and CEO of 360KID. His company combines detailed child research with the latest technology trends to create successful interactive products for kids. In his career he has earned almost 60 awards and he and his team were nominated for 3 Emmy’s ands winning a collective Emmy with Sesame Workshop.

In part one of this two part episode we dive deep into tech in toys and discuss early and classic "battery and button" toys. He shares with us his experience with Sesame Workshop and how their child research continues to keep them relevant. I ask him about the challenges of creating educational content based around a mega-brand like Pokemon. He also tells us about his Emmy nominations and win and what made those projects stand out.
Join us next week for a future-looking discussion about tech and toys!
Thank you for tuning in!
Jul 23, 2019
Inside Marvin Glass's Toy Vault with Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton has spent his life in toy invention. From Bates to Lund and Co. to Big Monster he has been a staple in the toy inventor community. Bill has just completed a biography about the enigmatic and secretive King of Toys Marvin Glass! His Book, “A World Without Reality: Inside Marvin Glass’s Toy Vault”, is truly fantastic! When this 600 page book arrived on my desk it blew my mind! It took Bill almost 10 years to research and write this amazing book and I am so glad to have him on the show to talk about it today!

We discuss Bill’s origin and history in the toy biz. We discuss why Marvin Glass was worthy of a biography and his indelible mark on the industry. Bill lays out the historical factors that went into creating the first toy invention studio. Marvin Glass was notoriously secretive and we discuss the challenges Bill had to overcome to unearth the stories and fact for the book. Finally Bill discusses how Marvin leveraged early television to market home run products.
If you are a fan of toy history and great biographies you will not want to miss this book! Pre-Order now at: https://marvinglassbook.com/
Thank you for subscribing and sharing the show!
Jul 15, 2019
Dan Klitsner on Inventing, Licensing and Bop It™
Can a pizza shaped TV remote become a smash toy sensation? We answer that question and more in this week's episode with Dan Klitsner! Dan is the founder and creative director of the toy inventing and licensing firm KID Group. He and his team have invented some of today’s most successful electronic games and interactive toys!
In our discussion we cover his early career and the formation of KID Group. I ask him to take us back to the early days of his invention Bop It™ and walk us through that experience. We discuss his focus on creating items that get the player up and moving and why that is important. I ask him to unpack his invention philosophy “R.I.T.E" ( Relationship, Idea, Timing, Execution) which helps him know when his concepts are ready for prime time!
Dan thank you for the thoughtful discussion and providing immense value to all the Power Kids!
Everyone enjoy the show and as always thank you for the good reviews!
Jul 02, 2019
Shane Hartley Art Director at Ravensburger

My guest today Shane Hartley is an extremely talented art director, designer and artist wrangler. Previously he was the Art Director at Wiz Kids and a Media Designer for Microsoft. Today he serves as the Art Director for Ravenburger North America which also puts him over the Brio, ThinkFun and Wonder Forge brands. His love of fandom and pop culture shines through his work!

I ask him about his time with WizKids and HeroClix and what made those products unique. We discuss the challenges of managing an $800K sculpting budget! How did his publishing efforts compare to pure toy and game development? We discuss the tremendous success of the TOTY Award winning game Villainous! Finally we discuss the power of fandom and how toy and game developers can tap into IP deep details to create unique products.
Thank you for sharing the show and leaving good reviews!
Jun 25, 2019
Protecting IP with Howard Fine

My guest today has over 25 years experience as an intellectual property attorney and has worked with virtually every major licensor in the entertainment and merchandise industries. Howard Fine spent 10 years as the Senior VP/ General Counsel for Tiger Electronics and then Hasbro. Today he serves clients worldwide as one of the top IP and licensing attorneys in the industry.

Today we discuss his early experience with electronic toys including Tiger's classic handheld games and Furby. In the wake of the Furby phenomenon I ask him what steps were taken to protect that quick growth powerful IP. We discuss several high profile legal battles in the toy industry. When should you show an invention and how can you help to keep the idea protected? What are the basic elements needed in any inventors licensing agreement?
You will want to take notes! Enjoy the show!
Jun 18, 2019
Moose Toys President & General Manager Glenn Abell

Shopkins, Mighty Beans, Beados, AquaSand, Treasure X, Trash Pack, Lil’ Live Pets - you won’t want to miss this one! Today I talk to Glenn Abell, President & General Manager of Moose Toys. He brings tremendous experience into the role having spent over 16 years with LEGO group.

We discuss the changes and growth he saw in his years at LEGO. Glenn is very focused on employee engagement and development and he gives us some insight on how he manages his teams. We talk about his decision to be a part of Moose and his personal “why” in his new role. He tells us his perspective on the Shopkins phenomenon and how he plans to keep momentum rolling! Finally I ask him what he thinks are the greatest challenges facing the toy industry today. Join us for this great conversation!
We also discuss and I am happy to promote this amazing charity Glenn is involved in. Check it out here: www.k9youthalliance.org
Thank you for the recent 5-star reviews!
Jun 11, 2019
The Amazing Fuggler with Christine Trageser
From Mattel, MGA, Jakks Pacific, Funrise and Spin Master Christine Trageser has run the gamut of great product launches! Now a Senior Brand Manager at Spin Master, she is instrumental in developing and promoting that funny ugly monster line you know as Fuggler! Her roots in sculpting give her a very unique perspective on product development and brand management.
I ask her about her education in sculpting and how it supports her work in the toy industry. We talk about her brand management efforts and how we keep brands fresh. I ask her how she approaches new brands that have no market precedent. She tells the fantastic story behind Fugglers and her work on those adorable little weirdos : )  Finally we discuss the importance of storytelling and how Monster Jam is finding new customers by telling great stories.
Join us for this super fun conversation!


Like the shows? Leave a good review!
Jun 04, 2019
Toy Tariff with Lutz Muller

Today we have a very timely tariff conversation with industry expert Lutz Muller. Lutz is a graduate of the Harvard Advanced Management Program and has an MA and MBA in Business Administrations. He has been active in the toy industry since 1984 and has followed and reported on the toys from that time. He now operates Klosters Trading where he provides business intelligence to the toy industry worldwide. His network of retailers, buyers, third-party manufacturers and distributors keeps him on the cutting edge.

I ask him about his early days in the industry and the changes he has seen along the way. We quickly dive into the topic of tariffs and I ask him how toy manufactures can lessen the impact of a 25% tariff on our China goods. We discuss what companies and brands may not be affected by the tariffs and why. Could the toy industry be “devastated” and what does that look like in reality? Are there categories that will be more or less affected? Finally I ask him what steps toy manufactures can take now to navigate the tariffs.
I would encourage you to also educate yourself and sign the petition here: https://donttaxtoys.com/
Thank you Lutz for the conversation and thanks to all the listeners!
May 28, 2019
Getta1Games with Tim Walsh
Tri-Bond, Piggy Pile Up, Balancing Bees, Mad Gab, Blurrt - My honored guest this week has been involved in the development of hundreds of games selling over 7 million copies in over 15 countries!  A game guy to his core, Tim Walsh is also the co-producer of the documentary Operation: Operation which uncovers the story of Operation inventor John Spinello. He partnered with Reyn Guyer to write Right Brain Red: 7 Ideas for Creative Success and authored Timeless Toys which chronicles the experiences of over 70 toy inventors and their inventions.
Join us today as I ask him about his early experiences launching Tri-Bond. We discuss his passion and efforts in promoting the toy inventor community. Tim contrasts his experiences in toys and publishing. We talk about how great toys typically break a rule and we share stories of how successful toy and game ideas can come from anywhere.
Join us for this fun and insightful conversation!
May 21, 2019
Animation and Toy Tech with Michele Martell
What do you get when you mix a media/technology attorney with decades of marketing experience? - my guest today, the brilliant Michele Martell! She provides business, legal, marketing and brand strategy services to clients across the media and technology spectrum. She is also involved in content creation, production, financing, distribution and licensing for all platforms (live action and animation). She has served in VP role for both The Jim Henson Company and WWE. Currently she is the Board of Directors/Programming Chair for Women In Toys.

Today we discuss her experience at the Jim Henson Company and WWE and the different lessons she learned in these environments. She takes us inside the animation studio as we discuss how popular brand strive to keep their characters and content relevant. Michele has deep knowledge and experience with YouTube marketing and influencers so I ask her about the future of this outlet and what regulations may be coming down the pipe. What can we learn from the Children’s Television Act that we might apply to the future of YouTube ads? Finally we discuss the growing market of connected toys and how toy companies need to navigate the concerns that have arisen in this category.

Tune in to this valuable episode and subscribe!
May 14, 2019
Super Impulse President Alan Dorfman
You will not want to miss Alan Dorfman talking about the industry he loves. For 21 years Alan founded and developed Basic Fun into a well respected impulse toy company. Under his leadership Basic Fun gained worldwide distribution and became a category leader in licensed and novelty products. Now serving as the President of Super Impulse - a division of Topcat World Wide - he has launched well know brands like World’s Smallest, World’s Coolest, Tiny Arcade, the Original Wizzzer and many more.  His experience and insight in the toy industry is tremendous and it is an honor to have him on the show.

In our conversation he recounts the story of his early career and we discuss the birth and fantastic success of the Super Soaker keychain. We breakdown the marketing shift in toys and games and how social media is giving new life to the the Rubik's brand. As toy company marketing budgets are now split between TV, digital and social spend we discuss this reality and speculate on the future of toy marketing. I ask him about his experience with mergers and acquisitions in the industry. Finally we discuss his non-traditional experience in licensing toys from toy companies to create great new items.

If this is your first time checking out the Power Kid Podcast this is an excellent place to start! Thanks for joining us!
May 07, 2019
Animation for toy with Rusty Tracy of Wind Dancer Films
My honored guest this week is Rusty Tracy the VP of Wind Dancer Films. They have generated over 4 billion dollars in revenue from film and television properties that the company has created and produced. Rusty spent 10 years at Nickelodeon Animation Studios and his animation work includes the 2012 Ninja Turtles series, Ready Jet Go on PBS, Not a Box for Universal Kids and many more.
In this episode we dive into Rusty’s experience with Nickelodeon Studios and TMNT - from unpaid intern to Creative Director! He gives us an inside look at the conversations between animators and toy makers to ensure brand integrity. What are the important considerations when developing animation for children of all ages? What are the challenges of creating animation that is both fun and educational.
Enjoy this fun and insightful episode. Thank you for listening!
Apr 23, 2019
Michael Keaton CEO of Toysmith
Micheal Keaton spent 16 years with LEGO in various capacities and locations around the globe including Denmark, Australia and Connecticut where he oversaw 460 people in 8 countries as the VP of Shopper Marketing Agency. For the next 3 years he served as the president of Schleich North America. Currently he is the CEO of Toysmith.
We discuss his calling into the toy industry and how he and the LEGO team overcame several challenges together. I ask him about his worldwide experiences and the cultural differences in the global industry. We discuss the steps Schleich took to expand their product offerings and how important it is to listen to your customer.
On a personal note Micheal shares with us his concept of "A-Game" which can help us connect with our families through play, even in the midst of our demanding jobs. Finally as he steps into his role at Toysmith I ask him about his goals and vision for the future.
Apr 16, 2019
Toy Brand Marketing with Michael Wilde
This week I sit down for an excellent conversation with Michael Wilde. Michael was Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing and Business Development for Spin Master. Previously he was the VP of Global CPG Strategy, Licensing and North American Retail Development for WWE and VP of Global Brand Marketing and Business Development at Jakks Pacific. He now leverages his skills helping his clients execute winning marketing strategies.
Michael share the story of how he followed his passions into the toy industry. What strategies does he use to keep his product development and marketing teams aligned? How does the unboxing phenomenon affect his marketing plans? What are the challenges of growing classic brands like WWE? We also discuss the origin and challenges of the Big Figs line from Jakks.
Apr 09, 2019
The Art of Doll Design with Stephen Sumner

Quiz time - What one toy can teach social skills, empathy, responsibly, imagination and compassion? Dolls are simply one of the most powerful play tools we can offer a child.  My guest today has been designing dolls for over 20 years. Stephen Sumner has worked on the most recognizable doll brands including Barbie and My Little Pony Equestria Girls. He has also developed dolls under licenses like Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and Dreamworks.

In todays show we discuss the importance of dolls in all cultures. We discuss how to make your doll line unique (but not so unique it is unreliable to your customers). We discuss the biggest mistakes that companies make when releasing a new doll line. Finally he gives us some insight into his work with Hasbro's Equestria Girls and explains what makes them great
Apr 02, 2019
Novel Effect with Matthew Hammersley

My guest today Matthew Hammersley has created a new way for you and your children to enjoy reading together! Matthew co-founded Novel Effect with his wife in 2015 to use voice recognition and sound effects to enhance story time for parents and children. The technology supports over 150 children's stories and they are working on other applications for language learning and entertainment. Together they have been on Shark Tank, completed a 3MM funding round, closed deals with major publishers and expanded the application!  

We discuss the origin story of this great concept (it all started at a baby shower!). It cannot be overstated the importance of reading to your child but in order to gain those benefits the child must be engaged in the story. Matthew shares with us how Novel Effect helps to keep kids engaged in the story. I ask him about the challenges of building a startup  team to develop a complex tech product. He also tells us about the content creation studio they are developing to allow you to create sound effects for your own books!
Stay tuned after the show to hear a demonstration of Novel Effect!
Story time will never be the same!
Mar 26, 2019
Highlights for Kids with CEO Kent Johnson

If you are like me you have vivid memories of Highlights magazines in the waiting rooms of every doctors office you ever visited. As a kid having access to a bright fun issue with puzzles and word games could help ease my nerves no matter why I was seeing the doctor. Today my family gets to have Highlights delivered every month to our door. It is a great dose of nostalgia to see them enjoying the magazine like I did.

This week it is my honor to speak with the CEO of Highlights for Kids Kent Johnson. Founded in 1946 by his great grandparents, Kent is only the third CEO to hold the position. Educated at Amherst College and earning a Doctorate in Physics from Harvard, Kent has a tremendous passion for science and finds himself inspired everyday by Highlight's mission to help children become their best selves.
In this episode Kent takes us back to the origin of Highlights. We discuss what we think it means for a child to be their “best self”. I ask him how he and team consistently balance between fun and educational value. I also have him recount the story and marketing effort that lead to millions of Highlights magazines showing up in waiting rooms around the country! You will also be interested to hear how the Highlights brand in leveraging technology to grow in new and exciting ways!
Enjoy the show and thank you for subscribing, commenting, reviewing and listening!
Mar 19, 2019
Wicked Cool Toys with Jeremy Padawer
Welcome to this week's Wicked and Cool podcast! It is my honor to have Jeremy Padawer as my guest. As Co-President and Partner of Wicked Cool Toys Jeremy and his team have brought some amazing products to market including Pokemon, Cabbage Patch Kids, Teddy Ruxpin and many more. If you enjoy Jeremy's LinkedIn posts you will love this episode!
In this show learn his toy industry origin story. We do a deep dive into the collectibles market and what drives collectibility. I ask him about his involvement with the 200X re-launch of Masters of the Universe. Wicked Cool holds the master toy license for Pokemon and we discuss how they are developing toys to capture the excitement surrounding the new movie. Finally we discuss the recent news of the Toys R Us return and what it could mean for the industry!
Subscribe so you never miss an episode. If you haven’t already leave us a 5-star review in iTunes so we can attract more great listeners!
Mar 12, 2019
The Toys That Time Forgot with Blake Wright

Blake Wright is the Indiana Jones of the toy world. His book series “The Toys That Time Forgot” successfully launched on Kickstarter and volume 2 is available now! It is the culmination of years of intense research and travel to track down the stories and artifacts behind toy lines that made it to the prototype stage but were never released to the public. Volume 1 chronicles over 20 instances of these types of projects and includes Hasbro’s Dark Crystal line from the 80’s and unreleased Krull, Bucky O’Hare, Osmosis Jones, Star Wars and many more!

Join us today as we discuss what it took to track down these hidden toy stories.  He tells us why some of these lines never came to fruition. He also gives us a glimpse into Volume 2 and the popular lines featured there.
Mar 05, 2019
Toy Fair 2019!
New York Toy Fair 2019 is behind us and I am excited for the coming year! I enjoyed catching up with many friends and had the opportunity to record some great conversations as I walked the aisles. Several of you stopped me to chat about the podcast and although it might have been the first time meeting you it was amazing to experience that immediate connection and friendship!
In this episode you will hear from Billy Langsworthy as we discuss our love of toy design. I reach out to 3 new attendees in the Launchpad and we discuss their unique products. Finally Steve Reece and I cap it off with a review of the fair and the year to come.
I invite you to check out these new brands that caught my eye!
Dejan Mitrovic with Densters - https://kidesign.org/
Sam Lacasse and Wrap N Snaps - https://wrapnsnaps.com/
Jake Minor and his customizable action figure line Character Creator - http://umakeitcc.com/
Thank you for joining me on my Toy Fair adventures!
Feb 26, 2019
Strong Museum of Play with Christopher Bensch

It is so good to connect with many friends and colleges in NY again this year! I look forward to sharing some great conversations from this years Toy Fair!

Given everyone's intense schedules and focus on the future I wanted to offer up a fun show that lets us look back through time at the roots of our great industry. The Strong Museum in Rochester New York is an interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It is one of the largest history museums in the US and one of the leading museums serving families. It is my privilege this week to speak to Christopher Bensch a 29 year veteran of the museum who serves as the VP of collections.
We dive into all the museum has to offer and we discuss one of their most prized possessions the original Monopoly board!  http://www.business-opportunities.biz/2011/02/27/original-monopoly-game-sold-for-150k/
Enjoy the episode - recoup, refresh and I'll see you soon!
Feb 19, 2019
Pixl Play and Amazon with JP Stoop
I am honored to speak with JP Stoops today on the Power Kid Podcast! JP has spent 16 years in consumer products with a focus on toys. He managed licensed retail business development for Discovery Communications. He directed all aspects of DiscoveryKids.com including site management, e-commerce, marketing, operations, social media, branding, and creative. Today he is focused on building his company Pixl Toys which focuses on creating tech toys that utilize smart phones and encourage active and creative play.
I like JP’s way of describing his skills -  think like a consumer, act like a retailer and deliver valuable products - and I ask him to break this down for us. We discuss in depth how he sees online retail changing the way we find and buy products. How did his years as a buyer affect his decision to create and market Pixl Play?
Check it out here: https://pixltoys.com/
Thank you for joining us!
Feb 12, 2019
Tech and Toys with Valerie Vacante

Valerie Vacante is recently back from CES and the Alexa Expo and she has tons to share on this episode of the Power Kid Podcast! Valerie stays on the edge of technology and consumer goods in several industries including toys and games. Today she shares with us some emerging technologies and how they are being re-imagined and used on playful products. She provides helpful tips for manufacturers looking to integrate new tech. I ask her what companies are having success leveraging new technologies. Check her company out here: www.collabsco.com

With so many options available - IOT, AI, Robotics, AR/VR, Data Over Sound, Voice, Wearable, NFC/RFID, Social, EdTech - which technology aspects should you be focused on? We break it down for you on this show!
We also discuss how these great companied are innovating play:
X2 Games - https://x2.games
Tech up and enjoy!
Feb 05, 2019
Marketing Pop Culture Products with Mike Horn

Mike Horn is responsible for some of the most accurate and detailed licensed collectibles of all time. His career has included early comic conventions to buying for Diamond Distributors to forming Palisades Toys and beyond. He has manufactured and distributed 100’s of original and IP products including action figures, statues and printed items. He is also a proud inductee to the Pop Culture Hall of Fame!

Today we discuss his early involvement with a growing comic convention scene and the crossroads between comics and toys. He shares the stories behind Palisades' Muppet figures and play sets. I ask him about the experience of being inducted in the Pop Culture Hall of Fame. Finally he takes us inside his new venture Global Strategic Development.
Find out more about Golden Strategic Development - http://blog.gogsd.com/
Check out Mike and all the inductees at the Pop Culture Hall of Fame - https: -//www.popculturehall.com/
Thank you all for subscribing. Don’t miss an episode!
Jan 29, 2019
Exploring the Chinese Toy Market with Kirsten Ytterbo
The Chinese toy market is on the rise! With an average annual growth rate of almost 20% and the implementation of the two-child policy many in the industry are looking to develop hit toys for the over 236 million children under age 14 on the mainland.
Today I interview China market expert Kirsten Ytterbo to discuss the opportunities and challenges of selling to China. Previously she spent almost 5 years in Shanghai and Hong Kong as a Merchandising Manager for Toys R Us and she is the former Senior VP of King Bee Toys. She has immersed herself in the culture and has some great advice to share!
Listen in as we discuss what brands resonate with the Chinese market and what cultural faux pas to avoid. In contrast to the US adult collector market why is the China market comprised almost entirely of purchases for children? Learn why top brands in China are splitting into 2 pricing tiers. We also discuss the impact of Tmall.com and online shopping in China.
Listen, learn and enjoy the show!
Jan 22, 2019
Toy Pioneers Club with Ben Callicott

Ben Callicott is focused on helping the toy community create forward thinking, ground breaking and important toys. While serving as the Head of Product for Primo Toys and launching the coding robot Cubetto (2MM raised from 10K backers) he became passionate about toys that teach modern day skills. His current project, the Toy Pioneers Club, is designed to help innovative toy startups succeed and navigate the myriad of challenges they face.

Get involved and check it out here: www.toypioneers.club
Jan 15, 2019
Tips for Toy Sales with Les Friedland

Happy New Year! We start the year right with a conversation with one of the most experienced sales representatives I know, Les Friedland. He has worked in the toy industry for over 45 years and understands what will and won’t work at retail. He founded Les Friedland Associates in 1982 and has repped countless products to retail success. He and his award winning team are expert at sales, in-store positioning and analysis.

In our conversation Les shares his sales wisdom and we discuss the strategy differences between selling an item versus a category. What should the retailer expect from a manufacture and vice versa? How should you prepare to meet your buyer with a new concept? How can you work with your buyer to ensure sell through (or help them move inventory if it does not).
This episode is packed with valuable and thought provoking information that you will not want to miss!
Check them out here: https://www.lesfriedland.com
May your 2019 be blessed with much sales success!
Jan 08, 2019
Holiday Special! Nerf past, present and future with Reyn Guyer & Brain Vasquez

I want to take a moment to say thank you to all of the listeners and subscribers we have gained this year. Thank you for the emails and phone calls of encouragement! Thank you for your shares, comments and likes! It is my honor to bring you these conversations each week.

In this special holiday episode we explore Nerf past, present and future! Reyn Guyer the inventor of Twister and the first Nerf ball walks us through the birth and early days of the Nerf brand. Later in the show Nerf blaster reviewer Brain Vasquez brings us up to date with the current state of the Nerf brand and some great new developments on the horizon!
Enjoy! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Dec 19, 2018
Cortex Toys with John Cowan

John Cowan is the only person I know to hold both mantles of practicing neurosurgeon AND toy company executive! John has a BS in Physics from Davidson College and Doctorate of Medicine from Johns Hopkins. He completed his neurosurgery residency at the University of Michigan. Raised with an inventive spirit John heads operations at Cortex Toys. He is also no stranger to the US patent system holding a number of patents for implants and medical devices that are improving lives right now!

In today's show we talk about the joy of inventing and what he looks for when reviewing toy products. I ask him how his experience as a neurosurgoen has helped him develop toys. We also discuss his hopes and dreams for Cortex Toys long term.
Check out Cortex Toys here!    https://cortextoys.com/
Dec 12, 2018
Children's Audio Entertainment with Joe Loesch
Joe Loesch is an award winning spoken word producer, voice actor and coach. Joe has produced over five hundred hundred audiobooks, voiced dozens of national commercial ads, audiobooks, corporate narrations and cartoons for the Disney channel. He produces the Baby Looney Tunes sound-books. His first voice over student was Reece Witherspoon!
Today we chat about the challenge of working with kids in voice over. What are the important considerations when writing and producing a children’s audio product? What makes a great character voice?
Check him out here: http://www.joeloesch.com/
A big thank you to all the listeners!
Dec 05, 2018
Networking and International Sales with Thierry Bourret
It is my honor this week to speak with long-time toy industry veteran Thierry Bourret. Through Konomocha (HK) Ltd Thierry runs a vast international sales territory and has been involved in the toy industry for many years. He is an expert networker and is constantly growing his list of toy business contacts around the world.
Join us today as we discuss the challenges and opportunities of distributing toys internationally. I ask him about the origin and success of his Toy Thursday networking group that meets on the third Thursday of every month in TST. We also chat about the importance of Tsim Sha Tsui to the industry at large. He was the International Sales Manager for Marvin’s Magic and still holds them as a client so I take the opportunity to ask him about the attraction of magic themed toys and games.
Check out more about Toy Thursday here: http://konomocha.com/toy-thursday/
Thank you Thierry for sharing your insight and thank you Power Kids for joining us every week!
Nov 27, 2018
Interview with Moonlite Inventor Natalie Rebot
Anything that helps my kids get to bed has a BIG thumbs up from me! This week Natalie Rebot takes the mic and gives us an inside look at the history and ongoing success of her invention - Moonlite. The perfect parental peripheral : ) Moonlite uses the flash in your phone to make bedtime stories come to life with full HD images and in-app sound effects. Crushing it’s goals on Kickstarter in 2017, it quickly made many Top Toy lists, including Target's Top Toys of the Year, CNN, and Forbes.
In this episode we cover these questions and more: How was the idea born? What was the initial reaction of the first investors you approached? Why was Spin Master an attractive licensing partner? What are the challenges of getting publishers to partner with this new technology?
Also check out her new Kickstarter campaign with a *limited-edition Rose Gold Moonlite Pack*. For every pack sold, they will be donating 10 BOOKS to children living in poverty.
Thank you for listening!
Nov 13, 2018
iCoolKid.com with Jenk Oz
You will not want to miss today’s episode! The youngest CEO in the UK, Jenk Oz is a 13 year old entrepreneur, professional actor, singer, dancer, accomplished musician, presenter and public speaker. Though his creation icoolkid.com he has created a world wide “show and tell” for tweens and teens. He keeps a finger on the pulse of what kids think is cool and allows them to share events, fashion and trends.
What advice does he have for those of us trying to market to Generation Z? What does the toy industry need to do to appeal to this generation? How can we leverage social media to capture Gen Z’s attention? 
One of the unique aspects of Jenk’s site is its focus on encouraging young entrepreneurship. Listen in as Jenk gives us his 5 key elements for any young person who wants to start or grow a business. 
Check out: www.icoolkid.com
Also check out Jenk’s TEDx talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIGkTz089jU
Nov 06, 2018
Interview with Jenny Faw from Dibzy
Hello Power Kids! Join Jenny Faw and I today as we discuss the nuances of inventing for infants and young children. Working with Hallmark, Current, Mickey and Company and Summer Infant she has a 20 year track record of creating top-selling products for infants, children and the home. Today Jenny is the Chief Product Development Officer at Dibzy where she and her team connect inventors and designers with great manufacturers and help them get their concept to market.
What are the special considerations an inventor must think about when designing for infants? How important is it to consider the unboxing and surprise experience of a new product? How can inventors develop a better pitch?
Join us and thank you for listening!
Oct 30, 2018
The Rainbow Loom phenomenon with Choon Ng

This week it is my honor to present my conversation with Choon Ng. Choon’s invention Rainbow Loom created a huge toy craze in 2013 and 2014. Millions of looms where sold and wrists all over the county were decorated in his amazing creation! 

In this episode Choon tells us the story of the early years of his invention from inspiration to the first prototypes. We discuss some of the challenges he overcame in communicating the products use to his customers. We also do a deep dive into the importance of multi-level play as Rainbow Loom offers both a creative outlet and encourages social engagement. Listen, learn, and enjoy! 
Remember good reviews help us to reach more great listeners like you!
Oct 23, 2018
Kids and their own money with Michelle Salsberry of Fam-ess

Family First, Earn Always, Save Often, Spend Wisely! Michelle Salsberry started her company Fam-ess in 2014 to teach families and children the impact of their spending decisions. Having developed several levels of financial curriculum she is passionate about teaching children important money skills. She tracks consumer trends and has deep insights into what children spend their own money on.


Why is it important to teach young children about financial responsibility? Why is there an educational gap in this area? How does a buying decision change when the child’s own money is involved? What does it take for a child to be motivated to save for a high dollar item?

Interested in what kids ages 5-16 want to spend their own money on? Click the link below to receive a discount on the excellent 3 year report we mention in the show:



Oct 16, 2018
Stefanie Botelho and Fitzroy Toys

Stefanie Botelho's background in investment banking and venture capital management is serving her well in the toy industry! She is the founder of Fitzroy Toys which provides a new spin on B to B wholesale buying and selling. Fitzroy is adept at bringing new distribution opportunities to brands that have built a customer base either through crowdsourcing or other means. She asks and answers the question: Once you have a funded project and manufacture has started, what then?

In this episode we discuss the pain points and solutions for inventory management, packing, freight and reaching new buyers. We discuss her continuing success with Marissa Louie's Animoodles and Stefanie answers questions about her team of Merchandising Editors that help pick the right retailers for Fitzroy’s represented products.

Learn how Fitzroy utilizes data to connect great products with interested buyers!


Oct 09, 2018
Introducing Gridopolis with Dave Schultze

My friend Dave Schultze has created an exciting new game called Gridopolis. As an industrial designer, he has developed products for Microsoft, LG, Umbra, and Hasbro. He has won multiple industrial design awards and his work has been recognized in media coverage worldwide. In 2001 he began teaching in the Toy Design department at Otis College of Art and Design focusing on 3D visualization. His Bachelors in Architecture and Masters in Industrial Design contribute to giving his game a unique look, gameplay and expandability.


In this discussion we cover the similarities between architecture and industrial design. He shares with us his experience as a toy design teacher and we discuss the origin of Gridopolis - both the game design and the rule set development. Dave gives us the play-by-play breakdown of how he took his game concept from a sketch to a finished product and how he is prepping for a successful Kickstarter! We also discuss the importance of building great relationships along any product development journey.

BONUS: 1. Leave a good review, 2. email me at design@philalbritton.com and 3. WIN a FREE Gridopolis Starter Set!

Thank you for joining us and enjoy the show!


Oct 02, 2018
Inside Toy Industry Publications with Jackie Breyer

I had so much fun recording this podcast with Jackie Breyer! Between her work with The Pop Insider, The Toy Insider and The ToyBook she is immersed in the toy industry daily. She oversees all print and web content for these great publications and loves to be on the front lines of toy industry news and trends.

Today she shares with us the history of The Toy Book and we get the inside scoop on how she tracks trends. She walks us through each of her publications and shares what makes each one unique. We also discuss our love of nostalgic toys and brands! Don’t miss this episode and check out all of these valuable publications!




Sep 25, 2018
Selma's Dolls with Valerie Alva-Ruiz and Courtney Stillwagon

Valerie Alva-Ruiz and Courtney Stillwagon are on a mission to promote diversity and cultural understanding. Together they have created an adorable new doll line called Selma’s Dolls. Each doll represents an opportunity to broaden a child’s horizon and respectfully expose them to new cultures. The doll line includes Lola a Mexican-American, Ameena a Muslim, and Annie a child with Down Syndrome.

In this conversation they give us tips for using their creation to start these important conversations. They share with us the challenges of developing plush line and book from the ground up. They also share some time management tips they have learned as they developed this line while raising young children and holding full time jobs. Join us for this important conversation!


Sep 18, 2018
Interview with Tom Dusenberry of Dusenberry Entertainment

Tom Dusenberry has been at the forefront of some of the most exciting ventures in the history of the toy industry. As CEO of Hasbro Interactive he brought Hasbro into the digital games market and grew the games publishing business to 200MM in six years. Tom introduced the first Monopoly/ McDonalds promotional partnership and took the Nerf brand outdoors for the first time. He continues to have a tremendous career in toys now operating Dusenberry Entertainment, staying on the technological cutting edge for his toy, game and digital content clients.


Today we discuss his storied career and he gives the inside scoop on inventor relations, marketing new concepts, pivoting huge brands, and the power of gamification!

It is my pleasure to bring you this conversation. Subscribe now to never miss an episode!

Sep 11, 2018
Families and Influencers with Justin Moore

Families continue to rely on influencer content to make many of their shopping decisions. Today on the Power Kid Podcast I interview Justin Moore CEO and founder of Trending Family. His company specializes in connecting brands with the top family-friendly, video-focused social media influencers. After growing an audience of over 1,000,000 subscribers and working with 100’s of brands Justin and his family now share their formula for successful brand-influencer partnerships.


How are video influencers affecting how families buy toys? How do we define the type of relationship that develops between an influencer and a viewer? What are the key characteristics of toys that attract all members of a family? And a very interesting phenomenon - what happens when the influencer becomes the brand?! Looking at you Ryan’s World!


Sep 04, 2018
Step2 and Shopper Insights with Bridget Roche

From Campbell’s Soup to Kimberly Clark and now at Step2, Bridget Roche has been tracking parent shoppers her entire career. She has worked directly with every major retailer to provide shopper trends and insight. Want to know how your customers shop? Listen in!

Today we pull back the curtain on her work with the wonderful people at Step2. They are the makers of some of the most imaginative, playful and durable products in the industry and they do it all in Ohio!

In addition you have the opportunity to win a Step2 My First Christmas Tree! All you have to do is leave a good review on iTunes and email me at design@philalbritton.com telling me you did so. Your name will go in a drawing to have this great product mailed straight to your door at no cost! Deadline is September 14th so do not delay!

Join us for this excellent conversation! Listen, Like, subscribe, review and WIN!

Aug 28, 2018
Invention and Licensing with Matt Nuccio

The owner of Design Edge Matt Nuccio has toys in his blood. A 2nd generation toy guy, he grew up in the business and has massive experience at all levels of the industry. He is a member of the Creative Factor Advisory Board for the Toy Association and a member of the board for ChiTAG.

I bring Matt to the mic today to discuss his efforts to more closely include designers, inventors and sales reps into the Toy Association.

He has also worked closely with the United Inventors Association and we discuss current weaknesses of US patent law. Do you always need a patent for your toy invention? How do we show an invention and get feedback while also protecting our ideas?

Later in the show we get pragmatic and discuss how to learn from having your concept rejected and use it to adjust your course and fuel your fire. This conversation is a great balance of entertainment and education. Enjoy!

Aug 21, 2018
Inside Learning Express with Richard Derr

“Kids are so much more educated today…they already know from their friends and YouTube what they are looking for…"

Richard Derr has spent 22 years on the front lines of the toy industry. As the owner of the Learning Express in Lake Zurich, Illinois he is interacting with and learning from our customers everyday. His previous 20 years as an executive at AC Neilson gives Richard a unique perspective on what it takes to capture and hold his customers attention.

Today he unpacks his philosophy for running a successful toys store -  TPW: "Team, Product, Wow”. Richard’s explanation of this between time codes 9:55 and 14:16 is tremendously valuable to anyone in the toy industry.

What is it like to own a Learning Express franchise? How do you get in and out of a retail trend successfully? What does the next 5 years look like for Learning Express?

So much value here, thank you Richard!



Check it out and thank you for listening!

https://lnkd.in/dzKJtsf - iTunes

https://lnkd.in/d7aB-Kr - Stitcher

Aug 14, 2018
Race 2 the Bling with Tana Gilmore and Kelli Fisher

Tana Gilmore and Kelli Fisher are the Matchmaking DUO! After helping thousands of busy singles find love and publishing a book to rave reviews they are now ready to take on the game market. They have created a very unique and fun game called "Race 2 the Bling”

In this show we discuss the challenges and inspirations for creating a new game. They share their story of how their professional counseling experience gave birth to this brand new game idea.

It has been a blast getting to know Kelli and Tana and helping them develop the look and feel of their game!

The Kickstarter is live right now so go check it out!


As always thank you for joining us!


Aug 07, 2018
The future of play with Yesim Kunter

A veteran of Lego, Hasbro and Toys R Us - Yesim Kunter is a futurist, play expert and creative strategist. As a Futurist at Hasbro she studied anthropology and cultural shifts to predict potential future play trends. Through her play workshops she can help make you and your organization more creative and productive!

Being raised by the sea in Turkey and creating her own toys as a youth has given her a unique perspective on play and creativity. Great toys offer surprise and magic and help children unravel the world around them and today we discuss the importance of unguided free play and how play encourages relationship and allows experimentation.

• When does a child begin to play?

• Why it can be difficult for adults to re-enter “play mode”?

• What are some new play developments that are on the horizon?

• What can companies be doing now to prepare for shifting play patterns?

Join us for this fascinating conversation!

Jul 31, 2018
Mego is back! Interview with Marty Abrams

Mego is back! Tune in now for the inside scoop with Marty Abrams!

The Father of Action Figures joins us today to discuss one of the most important action figure lines in history and its return to the mass market. Since he served as the president of Mego beginning in 1971 Marty has shaped and reshaped the landscape of the action figure mega category and he is positioned to do it again. He has big plans for the brand and he lays it out for us today on the Power Kid Podcast!

Listen in as we discuss the origin of the Mego brand, the history of Marvel and DC licensing and his story of sitting down with Joe Namath in 1969 to license the legends likeness.

Of course Marty has been instrumental in inventing and launching products that we all know and love including the Magna Doodle, Sky Dancers, Micronauts, Visionaries, the Power Glove and many more. Later in the show I ask him what he sees coming for the future of the industry.

"The (toy) industry will never go away in terms of product because the one thing we know is that kids have a great need to learn and experience and to change”

Thank you for listening! Subscribe now! Comment and ENJOY!

Jul 24, 2018
Polyblox with Laresa Tapia & Carolyn Izzo

I come from a family full of wonderful teachers and education professionals and I find that they are some of the most creative and passionate people on the planet. My guests this week are no exception.  Laresa Tapia and Carolyn Izzo are on a mission to bring inclusiveness and fun together with a simple and elegant new product - PolyBlox. Patented, researched, certified and available worldwide, Polyblox are "ABC blocks, reimagined.

Join us as we discuss the origin of the idea, the challenges of marketing and manufacture and why it is important to find a balance of talents when working on a team. We also dive into their experience of getting picked up by TRU and uncover some of the misconceptions surrounding mass distribution. You will enjoy hearing their story and the heart behind this product!




Jul 17, 2018
Fandom and Pop Culture with Anita Castellar

Calling all fans! Anita Castellar of FanGirl Consulting & Brand Management joins us today to discuss fan focused toys. She has covered all areas of product creation for some of the biggest names in the business - Hasbro, Disney, and Lucasfilm. Anita has been instrumental in bringing you some of the most popular Star Wars brand experiences including the Build Your Own Lightsaber station at Disney!

Today we discuss the importance of story when building a brand, some of the key criteria when developing collectibles and the challenges of connecting brands with innovative products. Don’t miss it!

Once again thank you for listening, subscribing, sharing and commenting!

Jul 09, 2018
Women in Toys (WIT) with Mary Kay Russell, Deb de Sherbinin & Maggie Lynn Held

You won’t have to look long to find someone who has been helped and guided by the group I interview today. In fact many of them have been excellent guests on the Power Kid Podcast! WIT (Women in Toys, Licensing and Entertainment) is constantly helping women world-wide succeed in the toy industry.

Today I am joined by 3 wonderful guests - Mary Kay Russell, Deb de Sherbinin and Maggie Lynn Held! Join us as we discuss the history and importance of this organization. You will be impressed by the amount of resources, networking opportunities, that exists within this group. I would encourage you to find out more about the value packed WIT Empowerment Day!

Thank you all for the great conversation and a big thanks to all the listeners for tuning in!



Jul 03, 2018
Introducing Storyball with Meir Biton

You have probably heard the buzz! Storyball is a revolutionary and award-winning smart toy for children that uses screen-free technology. Once a child takes a Storyball in their hand, they enter a world of active, imaginative play where they can complete cool challenges, take fun quizzes, and go on adventures featuring their favorite characters. They can even code new adventures for themselves!

Join me today as I interview Storyball creator Meir Biton about this ground-breaking toy. Why was it important for him to help get kids away from screens? What makes Storyball unique? What is the future of this technology?


Check out more at their live Kickstarter now!


Jun 26, 2018
Digital Marketing and PR with Harold Chizick of Chizcomm

‘Understanding people and how to relate to people - that’s the science behind marketing”

You will not want to miss this value packed episode! Harold Chizick drops by today to pull back the curtain on his company Chizcomm. Previously he was the VP of Marketing at Mega Brands and VP of Global Communications and Promotions at Spin Master. Today he brings this tremendous experience to bear for his clients and partners as the CEO of Chizcomm. Chizcomm offers innovative and creative PR and digital marketing solutions to companies worldwide.

Join us as he shares his advice on building great teams that execute great results. He also shares his strategies for moving products forward into the marketplace and getting your potential customers to buy in.


Jun 19, 2018
Introducing Alter Nation action figures with Ryan Magnon

After successful ventures in digital gaming and real estate Ryan Magnon has a new vision for the action figure aisle! Today he and his team are at ASTRA launching their new creation - Alter Nation!

Join us today as we discuss the origin of this new brand. Listen in as he discusses the rigorous focus testing he did on the line and the interesting directions the kids sent him. What classic brands inspire him? What are the important touchstones when creating a new boys brand? How do we create compelling characters and stories?

Check out the figures here:


If you are at ASTRA reach out to Ryan and see the line in person!

Thank you all for listening, commenting and subscribing! Remember good reviews on iTune help us tremendously! Thanks!

Jun 12, 2018
Keeping online safe with Ryan Lexer of Kidoz

It is my pleasure this week to bring you my discussion with the Head of Sales and Business Development at Kidoz Ryan Lexer. Ryan has spent his career training and protecting kids.

He was previously a professional basketball player turned youth coach and now finds himself helping kids and brands navigate their way through the digital landscape. The digital world is one part playground and one part wild west and in this show we discuss the dangers and opportunities that exist there.

Ryan lays out the history and impact of Elsagate. We discuss the importance of COPPA compliance and he shares with us his view of the future of technology as it relates to children. If you are trying to grab the attention of kids online with your product or brand this is the episode for you. Joining us for this important show!


Jun 05, 2018
The Rock Father James Zahn - Pop culture promotions and media

Ever since I began seeing James Zahn’s articles and posts on LinkedIn I wanted to reach out to him and understand more. He brings a very unique combination of experiences and skills to the toy industry. He has written for Sprout AND Fangoria which puts him in a category all his own!

On his website therockfather.com he provides open and honest reviews of products from the parents perspective.

In todays show I ask him about his career and how he got involved with toy promotions and reviews. We talk about his media channel and why it is important to provide a parents perspective. We also dive into his research on the ever-evolving Toys R Us bankruptcy saga.

May 29, 2018
Dive into SeaBelievers with Brien Arone

I met Brien Arone at NY Toy Fair 2017. His booth was filled with beautiful animation, unique character designs and prototype toys. Earlier in the day I had seen these costumed characters making a splash throughout the show. I had to know more!

Today Brien shares with us his very human and heartfelt story that led to the creation of the SeaBelievers. Listen in as he takes us on his childhood journey and discusses some of the hurdles he has had to overcome to make SeaBelievers a reality. How does one make the leap from being a top salesman for Ritz-Carlton to launching his own character brand? What makes SeaBelievers unique?

May 22, 2018
Toy World Magazine with John Baulch

John Baulch has spent 30 years working in toy trade press. He has applied his experience and love for the toy industry to his publication Toy World Magazine. He has vast knowledge of toy industry history and what it takes to succeed on the media side!

In this open and honest conversation we discuss his philosophy in journalism and his reporting during several historical shifts in the toy industry. He shares with us his unique perspective from the crossroads of 3 rapidly changing industries - toys, retail, and media.

Once again thank you for listening, subscribing, sharing and commenting!


May 15, 2018
Global Toy Industry analysis with Matthew Hudak

A big thank you to Mathew Hudak who breaks it down for us today in this fun rapid-fire episode! Matthew is the Senior Industry Analyst at Euromonitor International. He is laser focused on the toy and game industry and gives his customers cutting edge market data. In fact his sole responsibility is to develop the toy and game system for Euromonitor.

The toy industry is always on the move (quicker than ever) and it is his job to keep us informed of global toy sales data and trends.

In the episode we discuss the continuing impact of video games on traditional play and I ask him about the present and future of AR and VR in the industry.

We also discuss the impact of several very popular licenses that have perpetuated toy sales for many years.

May 08, 2018
Promoting your toy product - Interview with Lisa Orman

Super mom and two-time Women in Toys awards winner Lisa Orman joins us today! Previously she was a writer for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Newsweek. Today she runs KidStuff PR to promote toys and games worldwide.


In this episode we discuss an article she recently wrote about specialty retail vs. Amazon. I ask the questions:  What are some of the most coveted awards in our industry? How important are Mommy Bloggers and what should we expect from the bloggers and media outlets who review our products? Join us!

Speaking of reviews, if you are enjoying the show please reach out and leave a good review on iTunes! Thank you to all the listeners! 

May 01, 2018
Meet the Animoodles with Marissa Louie

Since childhood Marissa Louie has dreamed of creating amazing plush toys. After 2 years in development and 11 hours on Kickstarter her dream is now a reality! Animoodles, the amazing magnetic mix and match plush creation, is shipping to her backers all over the world and is now finding it’s way into brick and mortar retail.

Join us today as we discuss her journey to make her plush dream a reality. From invention to team building to play testing we discuss the details of her experience and she shares some tips that have help her along the way. Enjoy!


Apr 24, 2018
The Power of Toy Demonstrations with Clayton Hodges

"Show me”. Stay in the toy industry long enough and you will hear these 2 words thousands of times. Whether at a trade show or sales meeting - never underestimate the power of a looks-like works-like prototype….and a great presenter!

Clayton Hodges previously served as the Manager of Global Toy Demonstration at Hasbro and is now the Manager/ CEO at FerventlyFunConcepts. He KNOWS how to present your product! His organization casts, trains and provides logistics for live toy demonstrations for companies and events worldwide. Clayton is a highly trained actor and gives us insight today on his organization and power of a good toy demonstration.

Great presentation skills can directly increase your sales. If you would like to brush up on your sales presentation skills and learn a new trick or two I would highly encourage you to reach out to Clayton and become a part of his training series!

Thank you as always for the downloads, comments and subscriptions. We are having a blast bringing you free toy industry discussion from EVERY aspect of the industry!

Apr 17, 2018
Inside Eolo Toys with the Director of Fun Alex Prieto

Alex Prieto has worked in the toy industry since his childhood - assembling kites and wind-ups on his fathers factory line!

He is now the Director of Fun at Eolo Toys. Their great brands include Aqua Gear, Heli Flyerz, Sandtastic, and Funtrix among many others. They have license contracts with Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Minions.  Alex is a true professional and loves what he does! 


Tune in to this candid conversation as we discuss the importance of outdoor play, solving problems for your customers and international distribution. Thank you Alex for sharing your story and amazing experience!

As always a BIG thank you to all the listeners!

Apr 10, 2018
Animating for Kid's Brands - Interview with Pat Giles

Creating characters, drawing, animating - it’s all Pat Giles ever wanted to do. His laser focus on animation and character design has led him to create content for some of the best known brands and characters on the market. 


Join Pat and I as we discuss his career - building and animating characters for children be it for toys, games or food. We discuss the impact and future of YouTube animation and Netflix. We also dive into the history of the Trix Rabbit, Thundercats and Power Lords! We have a ton of fun in this episode!

Who else has experienced Sonny the Cuckoo Bird fight Lion-O?

Thank you for listening! Thank you for subscribing! Thank you for reviewing!

Apr 03, 2018
Maximum Buzz for your Brand - Interview with Deb De Sherbinin

Monopoly, Clue, Sorry, RISK, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit - what do these household brands have in common?

Not only have they each brought thousands of hours of joy to families but they have also been guided and expanded by our guest today Deb De Sherbinin!

Deb has 25 years experience in the consumer goods and toy industry - first with Parker Brothers and now with Perk Consulting. She can help you evaluate your brand, create a brand strategy and keep your brand on top.


Listen in as we discuss her experience and ask and answer some important branding questions - 

How do we research the market? How can we compare our product idea with the competition? What is a SWOT analysis and how can we use it to gain clarity about our brand?

Mar 27, 2018
The Power of Direct to Consumer Marketing - Interview with Robert Yusim

The ultimate fate of Toys R Us in the balance and the previous model has dissolved.

Direct to consumer strategies - pushing to Amazon, Walmart.com,Target.com, Jet.com & your own microsites -  are now even more critically important.

No one is better suited to help you navigate those waters than Robert Yusim at Product Council. Robert has a passion for helping inventors and companies launch their new consumer products. His experience stretches 25 years and he has helped launch household names like Rocket Fishing Rod, Moon Sand, Pixos, Seat Pets, Wubble Bubble Ball and Zippysack. His method allows your product to gain a strong POS on Walmart.com and Target.com to prove itself for brick and mortar.

Join us today as we dive into Robert's rich history in the toy industry. We discuss the great opportunities that exist by using a direct consumer model.

As always thank you for joining us and subscribing!

Mar 20, 2018
Toys R Us insight with Leila Nosrati

“If there is no Toys “R” Us, I don’t think there is a toy business.”   Isaac Larian

14 year veteran Toys “R" Us buyer Leila Nosrati shares with us her inside experience working with Toys “R" Us and sheds light on the current state of the business. What does a re-launched &  re-configured Toys R US look like?

Her message - we are family!

1. Tune in to this very important conversation. Click either link below.

2. Educate yourself on what Isaac Larian is doing to help: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-14/toymaker-trying-to-rally-industry-to-bid-on-toys-r-us-canada

3. Stand with Toys R Us and never give up.

Toys"R"Us Toys"R"Us Canada #Savetoysrus #WeWILLsavetoysrus

Mar 16, 2018
Toyup - Interview with Chandler Levine and Chris Oosthuisen

Chandler Levine and Chris Oosthuisen have a vision for the next generation of toys. Inspired by the future of learning and fueled by their technology background in Silicon Valley they are working on LINK, a tech toy that can teach language and encourage children to explore the world around them.

Listen in as we discuss the future of play and address the concerns that come along with cutting edge tech toys. Thank you guys for sharing your story!


Mar 13, 2018
IAmElemental - Interview with Julie Kerwin

Julie Kerwin has taken a leap of courage and creativity to compete in the 1.4B action figure market. Her unprecedented action figure line was fully funded on Kickstarter in 2 days. IAmElemental was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 best inventions and top 10 toys of 2014. In 2017 the line was a finalist for Toy of the Year and Julie brought home the WIT Rising Star award.

She and her team focused on super powers rather than super heroes.

Join us today as she recounts her experiences in bringing this groundbreaking line to life. Hear the challenges she overcame and the many inspirations she credits in making the line a success!


Mar 06, 2018
Launching Squaredy Cats - Interview with Kurt Marquart & Elaine de la Mata

Never be squared to pursue your dreams!

Husband and wife creative duo Kurt Marquart and Elaine de la Mata join me today to discuss the relaunch of their Squaredy Cats brand! Licensed to Gund in 2011 the plush line had a great run in both specialty and mass markets and gained a large fan base. Today they are getting back to the roots of the concept and relaunching Squaredy Cats on Kickstarter.


Join us as we go back in time and discuss their previous licensing deals. I also ask them what their hopes are for the brand in the future.


Feb 27, 2018
Special Episode - NY Toy Fair 2018

I had a great time at New York Toy Fair 2018. While there I was able to catch up with old friends and interview new ones. I have several episodes in the works that are a result of introductions made at this years show - so stay tuned!

This bonus episode contains several conversations I had on the Launchpad with first time exhibitors and recent creators.

• Letitia Fox with Play Date in a Box - http://www.artfulplaydate.com/

• Sean Gordon with InfiniFan - https://infinifan.com/

• Kevin Gatlin with Playtime Bedsheets - http://playtimeedventures.com/

Stay tuned to the end for an update conversation with Steve Reece!


Feb 23, 2018
Interview with Don Moffett - Inside toy safety

As #NYTF winds down I want to say how great it has been to meet many of our listeners face to face. Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement!

Truly the best part about doing these interviews is meeting gracious and creative people that share the same passion.

At the heart of the toy industry is safety. We are challenged at every level to not only create and market fun and innovative items but also products that are reasonably safe, tested and durable. Safety failings have been the downfall of many otherwise strong products.

It is my honor this week to bring you an in depth conversation with Don Moffett. During his career Don has held positions focused on safety, quality, and compliance in several industries.

He is an expert in toy safety.

• Is meeting the safety requirement enough?

• How can you ensure your product is as safe as possible?

• How can you avoid hazard and risk pitfalls?

Listen in as we discuss this very important aspect of toy creation.


Feb 20, 2018
Interview with Paul Dixon - Inside the mind of a toy buyer & book creator

Buyers are some of my favorite people in the industry. They act as counselors, gatekeepers, risk-takers and partners.

They have the difficult task of maximizing returns on their particular section or category. The better we understand this the more successfully we can partner with them to launch hit products.

In this episode I sit down with Paul Dixon who has gained a tremendous amount of experience on both sides of the table as a toy buyer at Target and a sales rep for Disney Consumer Products. His latest endeavor is a fantastic book series, Papa Lemon’s Little Wanderers, which is taking him into the depths of children’s book publishing:


Thank you Paul for the great discussion and insight into the mind of a buyer.

Feb 13, 2018
Terence Burke - Tracking trends with KidSay

If you haven’t jump on board yet I would encourage you to check out this valuable episode.

How do trends travel? How can we stay on the cutting edge of what is new and what is next for kids?

...Why is it important to have cookies on hand if you are market testing cookies with kids?

Terence Burke has spent a large part of his career gathering trend information directly from kids. The KidSay team have a long track record of accurately predicting trends in the kids market. They have helped Hasbro, Mattel, Spin Master, McDonalds, Nickelodeon, Disney, and many more stay ahead of the curve.

Listen in on this very fun and insightful conversation about the sometimes surprising and nebulous world of what kids want.

If you like the show subscribe and leave a good review on iTunes to help us continue to grow. Thank you!

Feb 06, 2018
Interview with Kerry Jackson - Creating a brand to heal

One of the missions of the Power Kid Podcast is to promote and discuss important topics that affect the educational, physical and emotional development of the children we serve and develop product for.

This week it is my honor to speak with Kerry Jackson the creator of Feel Better Bear. The goal of her brand is to provide grief support for children and begin a movement to promote accessible grief recovery worldwide.

In this show she shares with us some ways we can comfort grieving children and goes in depth about her plans and goals for her brand.

Jan 30, 2018
Interview with Perry Kaye - How to invent and present

“Only in the toy industry can you get instant and honest feedback”

Join me today as I speak with Perry Kaye of Perri Teri Toys. Perry is an award winning toy inventor and holds over 50 patents. He was chosen by Daymond John to be the winner of the Good Morning America Shark Tank Your Life competition. He has also appeared on ABC’s The Toy Box.

Perry has the heart of a teacher and in this conversation he gives us his step by step process on how to invent. He also gives tips on how to present your concept to potential buyers and customers.

Jan 23, 2018
Interview with Matt Knott - Digital and traditional game development

At age 14 Matt Knott took an aptitude and career test in school - his top result: Toy maker!

While at Hasbro Matt produced digital interactive media and games to help grow their excellent brands. Recently he and his business partner created and successfully funded their game -  Word Stacker.

We discuss the importance of merging media entertainment and traditional play and dive deep into his experience with Kickstarter. You can check out his advice article here: 


Matt lives at the crossroads of traditional and digital games and has a ton of value to share! You can find out more about him here:


Jan 16, 2018
Interview with Dave Yearick - Inventing what your customer needs.

What do you get when you cross the need to make the game of catch more fun with an Australian marsupial?

Find out in this valuable conversation with Dave Yearick - inventor of Wordy Word, Djubi, and co-inventor of the hit game TriBond (3 million copies sold). Along with 2 college friends Dave was inspired by the inventors of Trivial Pursuit and set off on his own journey of invention and creativity. We discuss the nuances of toy inventing and licensing and the importance of focusing on the customers need.

Jan 09, 2018
Interview with Louise White - Inventing to make lives better

Welcome to the New Year! We are kicking off 2018 with a month of in depth discussions with fellow toy and game inventors!

We start off the New Year right with the wonderful Louise White. She has been an industrial designer of toys for 18 years. She has created many great products that make parent’s and children’s lives easier and more fun -  earning her more than 20 awards.

She gives us insight into how to generate unique ideas and look for problems to solve with our inventions. We also discuss the balance of technology with traditional play.

We would love to be a part of your New Years resolution! Thank you for listening, leaving great reviews (100% 5-Star reviews) and subscribing!

Jan 02, 2018
Power Kid Christmas edition with the Glow Girls - Amazing kid voiceover talent!

Cassie and Sabrina Glow bring their amazing voice talents to the Power Kid Podcast for this special Christmas edition! These awesome girls have worked with Disney, Cartoon Network, Sesame Workshop, Sprout and many many more!


Join us now to hear them perform - "The Night Before the night before Christmas".

Dec 20, 2017
Interview with Jon Capriola - Learn about balancing play and the business of play

Many outside the toy industry do not realize the hard business realities that come with getting a toy to market. Join me this week as Jon Capriola and I discuss balancing "play" with the "business of play".

Jon is an extreme innovator who has developed and managed multi-million dollar brands. His latest endeavor is the open-ended building toy line Lite Poppers™

How do I know when I have a hit on my hands?

How does an invention become a brand?

Why is it so important to listen to your customers? (especially kids)

We cover it all and more in this episode!

Dec 19, 2017
Interview with Jenn Choi - Learn how to play again

Have we forgotten how to play?

Join Jenn Choi and I as we discuss how to engage in play with our kids and get the most out of the toys we give this holiday season.

Jenn is a regular contributor at Forbes, Quartz and ADDitude Magazine and has many years of experience researching toys and play. She writes thoughtful reviews on toys and educational products and has vast experience with using toys for education and therapy.

This episode is great for anyone who wants to understand play more fully and get the most out of time you spend with your kids and grandkids as you play.

Thank you for listening, leaving great reviews and subscribing!

Dec 12, 2017
Interview with Steve Starobinsky - Learn about retail trends

We are a trend and fashion driven industry.

Steve Starobinsky and the team at Diverse Marketing have a long history of tracking trends and working with the best brands in toy and gift. Tune in as Steve and I discuss how trends develop in mass and specialty markets. He also walks us the though this years fidget spinner craze. Steve is a trade show connoisseur and so I take the opportunity to ask him about all of the different shows he attends each year.

This interview of FULL of unique trend insights for you as you develop your next product.

Dec 05, 2017
Interview with Kim Vandenbroucke - Learn from a successful game inventor

Her mother taught her probability by playing Yahtzee!

This week you are invited to sit down at the game table with my excellent guest Kim Vandenbroucke and I as we discuss game design, pitching concepts and the rise in traditional game popularity. If you want a deep dive into the mind of a successful game inventor this episode is for you!

Follow her blog at www.thegameaisle.com where she plays and reviews all types of games.

Nov 28, 2017
Interview with Steve Reece - Learn about recent events in the toy industry

This week I speak to Steve Reece. Steve owns and operates the toy industry consultancy KidsBrandInsight.com. He is a wealth of knowledge from brand positioning to play testing to manufacturing. We discuss his work in the industry and the opportunities of sourcing and manufacturing in India.

••• In the second half of the show we discuss some important recent events - including his views on the Toys R Us bankruptcy and the potential Hasbro acquisition of Mattel. You won’t want to miss this one!

Nov 21, 2017
Interview with Gregg Witt - Learn about youth culture

In this important show youth culture specialist Gregg Whitt stops by to discuss the challenges of capturing the attention of tweens, teens and young adults. He has spent his career studying this segment and helping brands to engage with them. How does your brand speak to tweens and teens? What mistakes is your brand making trying to reach this elusive market? How can the toy and game industry better engage with and win them? We cover it all here!



Nov 14, 2017
Interview with Lynn Rosenblum - Learn from a toy industry educator

This week we welcome Lynn Rosenblum to the mic. Lynn is a 30 year veteran of the toy industry and is a recognized marketing and trend expert. She is an educator at the Otis College of Art and Design and is regularly called on to be an expert legal witness within the industry. Listen in as we discuss Kelly Clarkson, toy branding, boomerabilia and more!

Nov 07, 2017
Interview with Emile Kalis - Learn about game creation!

Today we welcome Emile Kalis to the show. Emile is the General Manager of award winning game manufacturer Identity Games. We go in depth about the creation and marketing of some of their great games including Escape Room, Who's the Dude and Mouthguard Challenge!

Oct 31, 2017
Interview with David Fitzgibbons - Learn what you need to succeed in the toy industry!

The owner of Toyrecruiter.com, David Fitzgibbons, stops by today and gives us powerful information about what you need to make it in the modern toy industry. He has spent his career placing top talent with great toy companies. Design, marketing, management, and sales we cover it all in this show. What does he look for when recruiting? Find out now!

Oct 23, 2017
Interview with Ashley Mady - Learn about branding and Kickstarter!

This week I interview Ashley Mady. Ashley is the owner of the brand creation and licensing agency Brandberry. She also serves as the President of Women In Toys, Licensing & Entertainment, a global non-profit. Listen in as she shares her amazing experience and tells us about her new Kickstarter project - Mad Moves!

Oct 17, 2017
Interview with Ryan Stewart - Learn about persistence in inventing

Ryan Stewart is a serial entrepreneur and inventor of Artsplash. Artsplash was the winner of ABC's The Toy Box and was immediately released to the market after the show finale. Listen in to hear Ryan tell where the idea came from and how his persistence paid off!

Oct 10, 2017
Interview with Stephen Key

Today we interview Stephen Key. Stephen was a key contributor to some of the best loved toys and games of the past including Teddy Ruxpin and Lazer Tag. Today he and his team help thousands of people realize their dreams of licensing their inventions to manufacturers.

Oct 04, 2017