Deadline for free tickets to Istanbul Toy Fair fast approaching

Attendees can secure their free tickets until 6th December for the Istanbul Toy Fair, one of the largest toys and games fairs in Eurasia. 

Istanbul International Toy Fair is just around the corner, opening its doors from March 6th-9th 2024. Those who wish to attend are advised to secure their free ticker to the event now, as the deadline for applications is 6th December.

Istanbul International Toy Fair is one of the largest toy fairs in Eurasia and offers a great opportunity to see the latest innovations in the industry. Next year’s fair will feature over 100 exhibitors, showcasing a wide range of toys for all ages.

A free online ticket will allow visitors to access to all four days of the fair, from 6th-9th March, 2024. They will also be able to take advantage of exclusive discounts and promotions from exhibitors.

To ensure you don’t miss out, secure your free ticket here.

50th Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair all set for January

To mark its 50th anniversary, new zones will be debuted at the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair to focus on areas of prominence in the current toy market.

Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the 50th edition of Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair will be held from 8th-11th January 2024 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The fairs will return in Exhibition+ hybrid model, complemented by Click2Match, an online smart business matching platform which will operate from 1st-18th January, providing an extended platform for traders to connect beyond geographical limits.

To mark its 50th anniversary, new zones will be debuted at the fair, including a new Collectible Toys zone this year at Kidult World, and to promote Hong Kong’s creative industries and branded toys to the world, Hong Kong Brand Toy Association (HKBTA) will set up a pavilion for the first time.

Sustainability takes centre stage as the new Green Toys zone showcases exhibitors with commitment to eco‑friendly innovations. The Smart-Tech Toys and Games zone will showcase a wide array of tech-based toys and games including those operated via mobile apps, or incorporated with the latest VR, AR and MR technologies.

Other highlighted product zones include the Brand Name Gallery, which will feature unique and innovative products by internationally renowned brands, including Eastcolight, Hape, Welly, Classic World, Rastar, Masterkkidz, Aurora and more.

This year, alongside the World of Toys pavilion which features mainly European exhibits, there will be a strong line-up from Asia, including group pavilions from Mainland China, Korea and Taiwan, as well as exhibitors from India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. The strong presence of Asian toy exhibitors in the fair provides an excellent and ideal avenue for those looking to expand their sourcing reach.

A series of events will be held for visitors to keep abreast of the latest industry development and strengthen their networks, including the inaugural Asian Toys & Games Forum, Children’s Research, a session on achieving sustainability goals and trending topics such as ‘phygital’ toys and AI.

The event will run alongside the 15th Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and the 22nd Hong Kong International Stationery & School Supplies Fair, also at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The three concurrent fairs are expected to welcome more than 2,200 global exhibitors.

Readers can register here for free admission.

Michelle Mendelovitz takes the helm at Mattel Television Studios

At Mattel Television Studios, Michelle will connect worldwide audiences with Mattel’s iconic brands, franchises and characters and expand the company’s content slate.

Mattel, Inc. has announced that Michelle Mendelovitz has been named head of Mattel Television Studios. In her new role, Michelle will oversee the development, production and distribution of Mattel’s robust slate of episodic content on broadcast and streaming globally. She reports to Josh Silverman, chief Franchise officer, Mattel.

Ynon Kreiz, chairman and CEO of Mattel, said: “Michelle is a powerful creative leader with a wealth of experience working with top studios and creators to make innovative, quality content across genres and platforms. We are excited for her to join at a time of such momentum for the company, and for the important role she will play in developing stories that resonate in culture and growing Mattel’s global fan base.”

He added: “The opportunity to connect worldwide audiences with Mattel’s iconic brands, franchises and characters through high-quality storytelling is greater than ever before. I look forward to the impact Michelle and Mattel Television Studios will have on expanding the content slate to the delight of our fans around the globe.”

Michelle brings with her significant expertise in content development and production gained from senior roles at Disney 20th Television Studios, Apple TV+, Sony Pictures Television, and CBS Television Network. She most recently served as executive producer at Hiddenlight Productions; Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s production company.

Michelle commented: “Mattel is a globally revered brand that I’ve always admired for its ability to empower and relate to its audience generation after generation. Taking that bold spirit to speak to themes that impact people’s worlds, while simultaneously entertaining audiences of all ages, is what we are focused on as we grow Mattel Television Studios into an inspiring storytelling home for best-in-class creators. I’m so thrilled and honoured to join the Mattel team as we take our brands and franchises to a whole new level.”

Mattel Television Studios is the television production and distribution division of Mattel, providing global audiences with innovative and engaging content based on the company’s iconic portfolio of franchises. Featuring best in class distribution partners, Mattel Television Studios content offers animated and live action series and specials based on leading IPs such as Barbie, Thomas & Friends, Hot Wheels, Fireman Sam, Polly Pocket, Barney, Masters of the Universe, Monster High, and Pictionary. In 2023 alone, Mattel Television Studios has premiered 12 series and specials.

Toys R Us to open flagship store at Mall of America

The second US flagship Toys R Us store will have a footprint of over 11,000 square feet plus Geoffrey’s Café and ice cream parlour from 2024.

WHP Global, parent company of Toys R Us, has announced the location of its second US flagship store at Mall of America, the largest shopping and entertainment destination in North America. Set to open just before Thanksgiving, this marks the first flagship store in partnership with Go! Retail Group with additional flagship locations opening next year.

Toys R Us already has a global flagship store at American Dream, and through a landmark partnership with Macy’s, over 452 Toys R Us shop-in-shops are open inside every Macy’s store nationwide.

“After the success we’ve experienced with our first flagship at American Dream and shops inside Macy’s, bringing Toys R Us to Mall of America was a must. There is the perfect mix of entertainment and retail that makes it a highly trafficked go-to-destination for families year-round,” said Jamie Uitdenhowen, executive vice president of Toys R Us at WHP Global. “I’m thrilled to open our first flagship with our new partners at Go! Retail Group as we continue to expand the Toys R Us brand through new concepts and to new locations around the world.”

The new Toys R Us flagship store at Mall of America spans over 11,000 square feet and offers a wide assortment of toys and games for all ages. Families can shop for their favourite toys, take a photo with Geoffrey the Giraffe and rediscover their love of play. Beginning in 2024, the Toys R Us flagship will introduce new branded elements like Geoffrey’s Café and ice cream parlour as well as interactive experiences and product demonstrations.

“Toys R Us has played a role in creating special memories for so many of us,” said Heather Brechbill-Swilley, senior vice president of Leasing at Mall of America. “We are excited to bring this playful and iconic brand to life at Mall of America for the next generation to enjoy.”

“It is incredibly exciting to be a part of the return of Toys R Us and we are fortunate to have the backing of WHP Global and Mall of America as we bring this flagship store to life for families just in time for the holidays, ” commented Gideon Schlessinger, CEO of Go! Retail Group.

Toys R Us at Mall of America will be located on Level 1, East.

Pre-registration now open for the Australian Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair

Visitors can register for their ticket and secure accommodation in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair’s return in February 2024.

The largest and most significant event in the Australian Toy, Hobby, Nursery and Licensing industry, known as the Australian Toy Hobby and Licensing Fair, is scheduled to take place from Sunday February 11th to Wednesday February 14th, 2024. This event is proudly organised by the Australian Toy Association (ATA), the industry’s representative body, and serves as a valuable platform for industry representatives from both Australia and around the world to exhibit and discover new products for the upcoming buying season.

Over the course of the four days, attendees can expect to discover exciting new products not only from Australian brands but also from sources worldwide, all conveniently located under one roof in Melbourne. The 2023 edition of the fair was a resounding success, with approximately 4,000 retailers in attendance. Feedback from the show included comments such as: “The event was incredible; we wish we had stayed longer”; “Thank you for orchestrating such a professionally run and enjoyable event”; and “I thoroughly enjoyed the show and eagerly await my next visit to Australia.”

The fair’s operating hours will be 9am to 5pm on the first day, extending to 6pm on the Monday and Tuesday before concluding at 1pm on the final day, February 14th. The fair occupies an impressive 13,500 square metres of space at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and has been a cornerstone of the industry for over five decades.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the fair transitioned to a digital format. 2023 marked its return to a face-to-face format. The vibrant atmosphere, a result of opportunity on offer for industry professionals to come together and physically interact with products, underscored the event’s irreplaceable value.

Attendees traveling from overseas or other states can secure accommodation through the organiser’s partners at Ozaccom. More details can be found here.

In addition to an array of top-quality products, the fair will once again feature the ATA Learning Hub and its informative sessions. In 2023, this included presentations by industry luminaries such as The Retailer Doctor, Circana and Mumpower. The industry party night will also return, taking place on Sunday evening. This is an opportunity to gather and celebrate the licences, products and individuals that set the industry standard. Those considering attending in 2024 should be sure to save the date now: further information will be forthcoming.

To avoid missing out on the Australian toy industry event of the year, click on the QR code or visit the website ( to pre-register for a ticket.

Kansas supports The Toy Foundation with new merch

The world famous rock band Kansas is donating 100% of the profits from its new special-edition t-shirts and hoodies to The Toy Association. 

This festive season, legendary American rock band Kansas hopes to spread some joy to underprivileged children through limited time, special edition Dust in the Wind and Carry On, Wayward Son t-shirts and hoodies.

Available online only at, the apparel is available now until November 10th.

The band will be donating all profits to The Toy Foundation, the US organisation that is a uniting force for the collective philanthropy of the toy industry for the benefit of all children in need.

“We believe in a world where every child has the opportunity to experience comfort, joy, and the extraordinary physical, emotional, and educational benefits of play,” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director at The Toy Foundation. “Year-round and especially during the holiday gifting and giving season, our Toy Bank spreads joy and creates smiles with the gift of new toys to deserving families throughout the United States and around the world. Support of The Toy Foundation gives the gift of play to a child in need.”

Kansas is currently touring across North America to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary, with 20 new dates recently added. Another Fork in the Road concerts dates, tickets and VIP packages can be found here.

The charity t-shirts will be on sale for a limited time only and will ship in mid-November, arriving in time for Christmas.

Eolo celebrates opening of permanent Hong Kong showroom

Eolo Toys, with more than 40 years of experience in the toy industry, has announced the reopening of its permanent showroom in Hong Kong. 


Eolo Toys spared no effort in making the reopening event of its showroom a night to remember. With more than 60 international guests in attendance, the Opening Party was a celebration of all the work that has led the company to where it is now.

In parallel with the grand reopening, Eolo Toys organised a series of meetings with international customers, bringing together 17 suppliers and 38 international partners. The enthusiasm and passion in these discussions emphasised the wealth of the opportunities ahead. These dialogues further reinforced the company’s commitment to continue creating innovative toys which resonate with customers worldwide.

The company highly encourages all its customers and partners who have not yet visited the new showroom to take the opportunity to book a meeting during the January Hong Kong trip and get an exclusive look at Eolo’s latest collections and brands.

Jose Díaz, Eolo Toys’ head of Sales, said: “No doubt that Hong Kong is coming back. Nobody wanted to hear about HK during the first half of this year, then during LA Toy Preview in September, we realised that more people than expected would be travelling there. After almost two weeks there and over 60 meetings, we confirm that it’s a reality that HK is back. All the customers who stopped by the showroom confirmed their attendance for January and many more are confirming now. Also, other well-known toy companies are preparing their showrooms for January. The reality is that HK is more efficient for vendors and customers as everything is nearby. Merchandisers involved in the meetings make everything much smoother for both sides.”

For more information or to book a meeting with the Eolo Toys sales team, contact:

Toy Business Forum to present expertise at Spielwarenmesse

The Toy Business Forum will offer presentations and speakers from a diverse range of fields including kidults – a major focus for the 2024 show.

Spielwarenmesse takes place from 30th January to 3rd February 2024, with a presentation area in Hall 3A of the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre. In the Toy Business Forum, speakers from a diverse range of fields will discuss trends in toys and retail. Key topics include digitalisation, influencer marketing and artificial intelligence, and the audience can also expect to hear presentations on the highlight topic: Life’s a Playground – Toys for Kidsters, Kidults & Co.

Under the new schedule for the Spielwarenmesse, the programme will run from Tuesday to Saturday between 1pm and 4pm. Following this, a series of Live on Stage sessions will see exhibitors presenting their product portfolios and new introductions in 20-minute slots.

Adults who play games are a target group with real purchasing power. The new highlight Special: Life’s a Playground – Toys for Kidsters, Kidults & Co. in Hall 3A, right next to the Toy Business Forum, covers this world and will be displaying examples of relevant products. Six of the presentations in the Toy Business Forum tackle this theme; in the keynote speech on Wednesday, Toan Nguyen, founder of Jung von Matt Nerd in Hamburg, will speak about the Kidults target group and offer an introduction to the pop culture of a new generation. On Friday, Axel Dammler, MD of iconkids & youth in Munich, highlights the target group in the German toy market and Christian Braun, from Superior (USA), deals with collecting.

On Tuesday, Stefan Nilsson from Stockholm will give a presentation ‘Happy is the new black – trends for 2024/2025’, and internationally renowned American toy expert Reyne Rice will be inspiring audiences on Tuesday and Friday with the latest trends and technologies for the forthcoming season. On Wednesday, Nick Sohnemann, founder of innovation agency Future Candy, ventures a glimpse into the future of the toy trade.

The topics of digitalisation and online marketing provide further focal points with a quick tour of Google Business Profile on Wednesday by Beatrice Köhler, MD of Kampagnenreiter GmbH. On Thursday, meanwhile, Benjamin Brüser explores multi-channel opportunities and the benefits of digital tools. Influencer marketing in the toy sector is on the programme, too, in a presentation by Philipp Hagl, MD of InfluenceME GmbH.

On Thursday, Marilyn Repp of Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Handel (Digital SME Retail Centre) in Berlin presents various examples of AI applications from the retail SME sector, while Christian Krömer, CEO of Toysino GmbH and MD of Spielwaren Krömer GmbH & Co. KG, offers insights into how AI relates to his daily business. On Friday, trade visitors can dive into the world of AI marketing with Hamburg-based digital architect Patrick Klingberg.

As well as the Internationale Spieleerfindermesse – Game Inventors Convention, which takes place on Friday, qualified games designer and AI enthusiast Markus Utomo demonstrates practice-based revolutionary opportunities for developing toys and products using AI.

The complete Toy Business Forum programme and comprehensive information on the speakers is available here.

People of Play crowns winners of TAGIE Awards

Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s TAGIE Awards, who were honoured with a ceremony and evening of entertainment last week.

Almost 350 attendees from 20 countries gathered to honour the winners of People of Play (POP)’s Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIEs). Sponsors included Disney, Oxford Games, Mattel, The Michael Kohner Corporation, Hasbro, Longshore, Spin Master, ASTRA, Nextoy, Super Impulse,, Baby Paper, Jazwares, Peggy Brown Creative and Barry & Jason Entertainment.

Jill Barad, former CEO and chairman of Mattel, and Rouben Terzian, co-founder of BMT, were honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards, presented by Jeffrey Breslow, co-founder Big Monster Toy. “The evening was celebratory, entertaining, emotional and full of surprises.” said Mary Couzin, president of People of Play.

The evening opened with the Anima Children’s Choir dressed in Spider-Kids costume, singing a parody, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Play in Perfect Harmony”, interspersed with The Toys that Didn’t Make It and other entertaining interstitials.

The winners of this year’s awards are

  • Toy Innovator – Sara Farber, Bryan Wilson and Will Sakran for Burstin’ Bubble Clouds with Funrise and Rescue Tales Tickle Pup with MGA/Little Tikes.
  • Game Innovator -Scott Brady for Boop with Smirk & Dagger.
  • Rising Star Innovator – Disney’s John “Cody” Hampton for Limited Edition Cal Kestis Legacy Lightsaber.
  • Most Innovative PR and Marketing Team – Mattel and Barbie PR and Marketing Team for Barbie Movie Promotion & Painting the World Pink.
  • Most innovative Art & Design Visuals – Design Edge and Spin Master for Rubiks Influencer Box.
  • Most Innovative Supplier – Grant Lyon for Grant’s Game Recs.
  • Most Innovative – Hilary Key for the Toy Chest in Nashville.
  • Most Innovative Licence – Mattel & Barbie Licensing, Consumer Products and Product Teams for Barbie the Movie.
  • Young Innovator (under 18 years old) – Zoe Oli for Beautiful Curly Me.

Alongside the winners, POP honoured the following with Games Changers: Unsung Heroes awards:

  • Michael Gramelspacher, Jon Harter, & SG Labs for Club Organizers for St. Clare School Innovator Club
  • Tara McGrath. Creative Director, Inventor Relations and Innovations, Mattel.

Entertainment throughout the evening was provided by Barry and Jason Entertainment, Magician Mark Setteducati and Skip Town and the Greyhounds.

Toys R Us Asia collaborates with Craig & Karl to reimagine holiday traditions

The partnership sees Toys R Us decorate its stores with unique geometric Craig & Karl artwork that blends toys with fashion, which shoppers can enjoy while picking up their Christmas gifts.

Craig & KarlToys R Us Asia has announced it is going in a new direction this holiday season with a never-before-seen collaboration with artist duo Craig & Karl.

“Toys aren’t only for play anymore, especially among kidults,” said Leo Tsoi, CEO of Toys R Us Asia. “Gen Z’s interpretation of Animations, Comics, Movies and Gaming across Asia blurs the line between, toys, fashion and lifestyle. Toys R Us is evolving to adapt to this trend while still keeping its core brand promise of fuelling imagination of kids.”

Toys R Us’ collaboration with Craig & Karl has sprinkled stores with bright and bold geometric art pieces, forming a festive collage which merges toys and fashion and inviting shoppers to walk into a fashion magazine.

Toys R Us is also bringing to life the traditional advent calendar this year. A far cry from the usual offerings, Toys R Us has put a twist on the festive countdown by creating a life-size Instagrammable advent calendar with play-to-win surprises.

“This is only the beginning of Toys R Us’ transformation,” added Leo. “We will continue to push the boundaries, breathing new life into the traditional toy industry, fuelling the ‘impossible’ imagination of generations and creating a new form of self-expression that brings out their true self.”

Leo took over the helm of Toys R Us Asia in April 2023, bringing to the role more than 27 years of consumer retail experience and business leadership in large multi-national brands across Asia. Most recently, Leo served as CEO of Starbucks China where he also served as a member of the Starbucks Global Executive leadership team. Prior to that, Leo held a series of senior roles at Starbucks China including president of Retail, COO, CMO and VP of Store Development & Design, where he played a crucial role in the company’s growth and transformation. Prior to joining Starbucks, he held senior positions in international companies Pepsico and Procter & Gamble, in Greater China.