Kids II and Hape have entered into a joint venture after the success of its co-branded Baby Einstein and Hape wooden musical toy line, which featured a harmony of traditional and modern materials with thoughtfully-integrated technology.
Under the joint venture, a line of Baby Einstein/Hape co-branded products will be available this fall. In fall 2018, the two toy companies launched a collection of nine co-designed, co-developed, and co-branded Baby Einstein/Hape baby toys that combine Kids II’s magic touch electronic capabilities with Hape’s expertise in wooden toys. Resulting from the success of the initial product collection, which is on track to reach $20 million in 2019, comes this joint venture.
The partnership began with an observation that available toy options forced parents to choose between either traditional wood toys or feature-driven plastic toys while market research showed that parents have an affinity for nostalgic toys, place a high value on music and creativity, and desire more toy choices. This led to a meeting of the minds between Kids II and Hape.
“With the rising consumer demand for natural wood products and the high-value parents place on music as a universally enriching part of play, Kids II and Hape saw an opportunity to blend those elements together, giving parents everywhere a reassuring and balanced play experience for their children,” said Dave Calhoun, president of Kids II. “Hape is one of the world’s largest producers of wood toys, with products being sold all over the globe. They are well-respected for their focus on quality, design, and sustainability. This Joint Venture opens new channels and retailers for both Kids II and Hape, creating volume opportunities across our brands.”
“With Kids II’s application of cap touch technology and a similar approach to design, we knew it was the right partnership to pursue our shared goal to create an elevated yet accessible segment of high-quality toys that encourage curiosity through genuine open-ended play,” said Peter Handstein, founder and CEO of Hape.
Five new wooden musical toys will be in stores this fall including the Magic Touch Mini Piano, Tiny Tambourine, Magic Touch Ukulele, Magic Touch Xylophone, and the Magic Touch Curiosity Tablet, which plays more than 150 melodies.
Two items from the original collection have already garnered accolades. The Magic Touch Piano was awarded top in musical toys in 2018 by Grand Prix du Jouet (in France) as well as the ToyAward, winning Toy of the Year for the baby and toddler category at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in January 2019. The Magic Touch Drum was named one of Parents Best Toys of 2018.
Both companies are selling the Baby Einstein/Hape toys in their respective channels and territories through traditional and online retailers.