aNb Media News, July 7, 2015

Rubie’s Acquires Mask-arade

The UK’s ToyNews Online reported last week that Rubie’s Costume Company has acquired Mask-arade from its owners Ray Duff, Dean Walton, and Chris O’Nyan. ToyNews reported that Duffy will remain with the company as commercial director while Walton and O’Nyan will step down effective immediately.

Founded in 2008, Mask-arade is the creator of original celebrity and personalized masks. The company rose to fame after appearing on BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den.

Amazon Invests in Toymail

Toymail Co., creator of the internet-connected Mailmen toys and the Toymail app for iOS and Android, announced last week that it is one of the first companies to receive an investment by Amazon from the Alexa Fund and plans to integrate the Alexa Voice Service into its messaging platform for kids. Toymail will use the investment from the Alexa Fund for product research and to scale its SAS footprint.

Toymail’s Mailmen toys were released during the 2013 holiday season. The toys play back messages recorded from anywhere in the world using a mobile app and let kids send back replies directly from the toys. The Alexa Voice Service allows cloud-connected objects to be controlled by the user’s voice for hands-free convenience, funneling information, music, news, weather, and more into everyday objects, like Toymail’s Mailmen.

Crowdfunded in 2013 and created for the 400 million-plus children worldwide under the age of 10 who do not have their own phone or tablet, Toymail is a platform that allows families to send and receive unlimited voice messages wirelessly through toys from a mobile app without additional screen time.

American Girl Opens in Mexico

American Girl, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc., announced the grand opening of its first-ever American Girl shop-in-shop boutiques in Mexico with El Palacio de Hierro, the country’s largest and best-established high-end retailer, according to American Girl. Located at El Palacio de Hierro Interlomas and Perisur locations, the new boutiques, ranging in size from 1,500- to 2,000-square feet, opened on July 4. This marks the second international retail presence for American Girl, which is also in Canada.

ASTRA Announces its Best Toys for Kids List

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) unveiled its 2015 Best Toys for Kids award winners. The list includes 18 winning toys in 14 categories. The Best Toys for Kids program was created by ASTRA to help its retail members attract media coverage and customers to their stores during the fourth quarter.

The 2015 Best Toys for Kids award winners are:

Active Play
The Swurfer
The ROB Company

‘Choose Your Own’ Category
Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit
Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld

Classic Play 0–7 Years
Pretend and Play Teaching Cash Register
Learning Resources

Classic Play 8 and up
Fashion Plates Deluxe Kit

Mini Ogodisk
OgoSport, LLC

Constructive Play
Modarri Surf & Turf Combo
Modarri/Thoughtfull Toys, Inc.

Creative Arts Play
3D Plush Craft Puppy
The Orb Factory

Craft-tastic Yarn Tree Kit
Ann Williams Group

Early Play
Fat Brain Toy Co.

Game Play 3–5 Years
Super Genius—First Words
Blue Orange Games

Three Little Piggies
Smart Toys & Games

Game Play 6 and up
Laser Maze Jr.

Bugs in the Kitchen
Ravensburger USA, Inc.

Game Play 8 and up
Bellz Magnetic Game
Wiggles 3D

Pretend—Doll Play
Mon Premier Bebe Calin Ballerina
Corolle Dolls

Pretend—Fantasy Play
Folkmanis Winged Dragon Puppet
Folkmanis, Inc.

Kidoozie Pop-Up Theater Tent
International Playthings

Scientific Play
Snap Circuits Arcade

What’s New in Eco-Friendly Toys on TTPM

TTPM is showcasing the newest Eco-Friendly Toys. For the latest in toy reviews as well as what’s trending, visit