TFE/TFE Licensing, October 2019

Page 30


: Going for High Note at Retail In August, Kids2 rebranded (formerly Kids II), launched a new e-commerce site, and announced its first fully-owned manufacturing facility, which is under construction in China. It’s also added new hires that reflect its increased investment on aligning its customer and consumer services, and partnerships that co-imagine and deliver new and unique products in the baby and toddler space. One such partnership is a collaboration with Hape that expands the companies’ co-branded Baby Einstein and Hape wooden musical toy line. TFE chatted with Karen Neblett, Kids2’s senior vice-president of customer and strategic partnerships, about this new joint venture. TFE: How did this collaboration first come about and how does it fit its Kids2’ forward-looking strategy? At Kids2, we look for strategic, like-minded partners that add unique value to what we are trying to accomplish—designing holistic solutions for early stage parents—and a defined value that we can provide to that partner. We reached out to Hape because its market leadership in the wooden toy space intrigued us. The idea was that by leveraging each of our strengths, Kids2 and Hape could co-create a premium collection that delivers a unique play experience for consumers at a great value. We call this “Magic Touch.” Collaborating with Hape to create something truly unique is an example of the strategic direction we are taking Kids2. At Kids2, we strive to deliver tiny wins and bright futures to kids and families across the globe. Having global partners like Hape makes this more achievable. Collaborations like this not only deliver disruptive innovation to traditional toys, but partnerships that drive incremental opportunities. As industries continue to change, this type of partnership allows us to not only survive but thrive. TFE: Why did you focus on the musical toy space? Our market research showed us that parents have an affinity for nostalgic toys, place a high value on music and creativity, and desire more toy choices. A review of the market showed available toy options forced parents to choose between either traditional wood toys or feature-driven plastic toys. With the knowledge of the importance music plays in child development, we narrowed in

30 tfe October 2019

Magic Touch Ukulele

on the musical toy space and noticed that much of the products are largely made of plastic. We saw an opportunity to make quality musical toys in a timeless design and include technology. TFE: We see more music educational properties popping up. Why does the Baby Einstein brand continue to resonate with parents and kids? Inspiring curiosity in children and their parents through creativity, exploration, and discovery is the core purpose of Baby Einstein. Parents relate because they recognize the importance of curiosity in the long-term development of children. Last year, in conjunction with Wakefield Research, we discovered fostering curiosity in babies and children is a role parents find very significant. Ninety-four percent of parents believe the more curious children are, they are more likely to be successful as adults. Nearly all parents (97 percent) agree that curious children excel beyond less curious children. Music is one of the ways curiosity is developed and expressed. Music has been a core part of the Baby Einstein brand from the very beginning when we brought classical music to a generation of infants. Today, with Magic Touch technology, curiosity leads another generation of children to discover how to create music in a new and surprising way, with no buttons or strings. TFE: We talk a lot about the thoughtful application of tech with classic play. How did you work to merge Hape’s classic wooden toys with Kids2’s Magic Touch electronic capabilities and find that balance? Kids2 and Hape take a similar approach to lasting quality and sophisticated design. Our focus is to keep wood as the predominate feature and maintain a streamlined classic style while subtly adding technology-based benefits. The Magic Touch approach allows a flat touch pad, with no buttons or keys, that blends seamlessly with the wood-based instrument. The result is a blend of classic wood with a touch of technology that excites but does not overwhelm. TFE: Where can consumers find the products at retail and what markets are you focusing on? The Magic Touch products can be found at most retailers: Walmart, Target, Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, and We are selling the line globally with a key focus on North America, Europe and China. Our newest product just hit the market for the holiday selling season. We will continue to grow our product portfolio. Our next product launch will premiere fall 2020.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.