“The origins of The Pencil Grip, Inc., is attributed to the age-old premise that necessity is the mother of all invention. The roots of what we strive to do as a company (to make products that help people solve a common problem) can be traced to our origin. Dr. Lois Provda, the mother of Asher & Alex Provda, who are the current owners of the family company, was the creator of The Pencil Grip, and worked as an Educational Therapist who helped children with reading and writing difficulties. In her years of practice helping hundreds of children, she identified a need for a new and modern version of The Pencil Grip. Millions of units sold, and over 30 years later, it looks like she hit the nail right on the head.”
Toy packaging is the bridge between the product and the consumer. It’s the first interaction a potential buyer has with a toy, and as the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” An effective toy package has the power to:
1. Create Anticipation: Engaging packaging triggers a sense of curiosity and excitement, making children eager to unwrap and explore the toy.
2. Convey Brand Identity: Packaging is an extension of a brand’s personality. Consistent design elements help establish brand recognition and trust.
On April 18, 2023, Senator Chris Coons (D-Del), Chairman of the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee and Senator Tom Tillis (R-N.C.) convened a substantive bi-partisan hearing to discuss how to address “Foreign Competitive Threats to American Innovation and Economic Leadership.” Significantly, Chairman Coons asked Mark Cohen, Director and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Berkley Center for Law & Technology about the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision on eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388 (2006). Chairman Coons observed that the ruling, “…made it difficult to get injunction relief in terms of strengthening the fundamental rights of patent holders.”
I first met Peter at an ASTRA Marketplace & Academy in 2015. Later that year, he traveled from his homebase in Switzerland to our November Inventor Pitch and Conference events. Since that time, we’ve met up at our events and others around the world. Peter clearly loves our industry and always has a big smile when you see him. I was excited to find out he was the second of three generations in our industry – and they were all within and passionate about the game industry. I’m sure you will enjoy reading their story as much as I did!
If you were to search the internet for information on how to bring your product idea to reality, you are bound to find dozens upon dozens of companies, gurus, consultants and coaches offering pay-to-play courses on how to make millions as an inventor. While some of them may indeed offer sage advice, others will sell you “simple steps” and “guideline method” programs to “ensure success”. Others will tout the merits of licensing as the golden ticket. However, even with all this help, the reality is that there is no simple method to finding success as an inventor. According to an Edison Nation poll, 78% of inventors believe that their invention will earn them a minimum of $1 million dollars, and 54% of them believe it will earn them over $5 million. Yet, only less than 3% of them will even sign a licensing agreement, let alone make any money! These “gurus” often tend to peddle false realities through cults of personality, oversimplifications, and saccharine cheer-leading, all while playing up to the notion that your one idea will be life-changing.
There are not many multi-generation inventor families, but if there were, the Ullman family would still be at the top of the list. I’ve had the good fortune of getting to know Don and Anne over the years as well as their boys, Al and Jack. Don has great stories (to start, ask him about owning an Italian Ice Shop and an Auto Detailing Shop) and has a playful soul… if you look closely, you’ll see the twinkle in his eyes that matches his mischievous grin. Enjoy reading about the Ullmans!
Our feature story highlighting the Zawitz family came to fruition in an unusual way. I had met Nick and knew a bit about the Tangle story of course, but it was Isabelle Hodges, their new team member who also consults on our POP website, who suggested we feature the Zawitz family. Richard shared his thoughts on Tangle’s life-affirming three generation story, and I know you will enjoy reading them as much as I did.
My-my, how the world has changed since I came of age in the late ’80s, early ‘90s. Back then, I thought we had it all with 57 channels of cable television, a wireless phone in the kitchen, and my Walkman clipped on my hip. Cutting-edge technology was compact discs and the Nintendo NES. There were juggernaut toy brands like Cabbage Patch Kids, Transformers, Laser Tag, and Rubik’s. The toy retail landscape was represented by chains like Toys R Us, Kay-Bee Toys, Childs World, and Zany Brainy. It took hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch a toy brand and a large staff of salespeople around the nation to land the distribution channels. However, much like the cassette tape in my Walkman, it is all antiquated now.
I have very much enjoyed getting to know Wai Or over the years, and while I have not had the pleasure of getting to know his parents, I’m sure the apple did not fall far from the tree! Wai is a friend to many all over the world, and thinks out-of-the-box to bring a product to life with a high attention to detail. He’s a well-known collector, and if you’ve been to his Hong Kong offices, you’ve seen his impressive collection of old games displayed on the walls. Just beautiful! This interview was conducted with Wai’s father, Michael Or.