2019 was a whirlwind year for Jazwares. It announced master toy partnerships with YouTube stars Blippi and CKN Toys, as well as the upcoming animated Sony Pictures film, Vivo. In October, it acquired Wicked Cool Toys, a company with a roster of brands that includes Pokemon, Blinger, and Cabbage Patch Kids.
“This year, we expanded our brand portfolio significantly by acquiring Wicked Cool Toys and its standout roster,” said Laura Zebersky, Chief Commercial Officer of Jazwares. “With major gaming properties Fortnite, HALO, Roblox and Pokémon and popular YouTube creators Blippi, CKN Toys, and Cocomelon now all under the Jazwares umbrella, we are positioned to be leaders in both the gaming and preschool toy categories.”
CEO Judd Zebersky left his legal practice to found the company in 1997. His wife, Laura, joined in 2005.
Since its inception, Jazwares has had its finger on the pulse of entertainment and media. One of its first products were licensed Big Sipper cups based on pop culture figures, like WWE wrestlers, characters from The Simpsons, and various Pokemon. Since then, Jazwares has released numerous lines based on popular entertainment properties like Marvel Heroes, Star Wars, Disney Princesses, and Pixar films.
Jazwares’ more recent partnerships with Youtube entertainers like Blippi, CKN Toys, and Cocomelon, marks the company’s foray into the booming world of online children’s entertainment.
“We are constantly analyzing pop culture trends to stay ahead of the curve within the industry and to be ready to meet the demand around the hottest entertainment properties of today,” said Laura Zebersky. “Right now what we are seeing is that there’s a new crop of high quality kids’ entertainment emerging on YouTube that parents are enjoying alongside their kids in the same way as they have watched popular TV shows and movies together for decades. It’s not just about traditional tv anymore; parents and kids are also now logging on to watch Blippi, Cocomelon, and other child-friendly programming on YouTube.”
Obtaining a license for Sonic the Hedgehog in 2010 was a moment that boosted Jazwares’ reputation for manufacturing consumer products based on video games. In 2013, the company became the master toy licensee for Minecraft. In 2019, the company continued to build on that reputation with gaming properties like Fortnite, Halo, and Roblox.
Jazwares won the Toy Industry Awards’ Action Figure of the Year for Roblox and a 2019 International Licensing Award for Best Licensed Product for the Fortnite Llama Loot Piñata.
“We weren’t necessarily seeking out video game partners, rather looking at what is resonating with consumers and seeking partnerships with the brands that are the most admired, accessible, and important to today’s consumer. Many of those brands happen to be within the gaming space,” Laura Zebersky said.
Jazwares doesn’t stop at licensed products — the company has launched its own inventions as well. An early example is the Room By Room, a dollhouse that Judd Zebersky conceptualized for his daughter and patented.
“Since 1997, we’ve been pushing the boundaries of play through innovative toys that set the standard for the industry,” Laura Zebersky said. “In recent years, we’ve grown our company through notable acquisitions like Wicked Cool Toys, Zag Toys and First Act, creating a robust portfolio of brands that offer something for everyone to enjoy.”
As for the company’s outlook for the future? “Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond, we will continue to grow our business by adding new licenses and investing in the development of original IP,” Zebersky said.