Manga's Blog

TaG Central Review

Approximately two weeks ago, suppliers and retailers got together in a hotel near Pearson International Airport for a three-day mini tradeshow.  It was the third running of TaG Central, a biannual event held in Toronto.

TaG Central is a non-profit association of toy and game manufacturers and distributors. Established in the wake of the cancellation of the Canadian Toy Fair, TaG Central borrows its model from the highly successful Drummondville Toy Show.

Patch Products rebrands to PlayMonster

For those of you who missed NY Toy Fair this year, there was some interesting news from Patch Products.  The company has rebranded.  Henceforth, the company will be named PlayMonster.

A Brief History of Patch Products

New York Toy Fair Review

This was our 15th consecutive year exhibiting at NY Toy Fair!

Time has gone by so fast - it sure doesn’t seem like 15 years ago that we wheeled our portable booth into the Javits Center.  I can remember feeling excited of course, but also a little nervous too!  We had already been selling into the Canadian market for five years, and this was the start of our expansion into the United States.

NPD data for 2015, toy sales are up

Earlier this year, I blogged about the revenue growth at Outset.  My exact words were, “we know that the market for board games and puzzles didn’t grow by 30%”.  While that statement is true - thanks to the NPD Group we now know exactly how the industry performed in 2015.

V-Tech to acquire LeapFrog

On Friday, VTech announced that it had entered into an agreement to purchase all outstanding stock of LeapFrog (NYSE: LF).  The combined new company would keep the LeapFrog name.  Here is what I found interesting - the purchase price was $72 million.

LeapFrog was founded back in 1995 by Michael Wood and Robert Lally.  The company traces its roots back to Michael Wood and his quest to find a toy that could help his 3-year-old son learn phonics.

Nuremberg Review

This was our fourth consecutive year exhibiting at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair.
 
Exhibiting in Nuremberg is an expensive endeavor.  Booth space is pricey - especially in a year where we increased our booth size.  Hotels become ridiculously expensive as thousands of international visitors flood into the city.  Plus, there are the logistical costs of exhibiting overseas and the time factor of being away from the office for an additional eight days during the prime tradeshow season.

Year in Review

The flight back from Hong Kong Toy Fair gave me plenty of time to contemplate this past year.  As the year progressed, there were signs of economic “challenges” in Canada.  Even with these challenges, it was a very positive year for Outset Media.

Here is a list of my top four highlights and two biggest concerns from this past year:

Highlight #1 - Revenue Growth

My New Year's Resolution

It has been a long time since I last blogged.  A very long time!  It was over 20 months ago, or 628 days to be more precise.  The topic was our first acquisition, which was a board game called Telepaths.

Our sales grew over 30% last year.  Managing that size of growth is challenging.  And not only did we grow, we introduced a robust selection of new games and puzzles, we began planning our move to a new larger warehouse, and we grew our staff too.  In other words, we were busy!

Move over Mattel… we have made our first acquisition!

In the world of mergers and acquisitions, this certainly won’t make the newspapers.  BUT… it is our first acquisition… and I am excited!

Mattel acquires MEGA Brands

This is not breaking news.  Several weeks ago, Mattel announced that it had acquired MEGA Brands for $460 million.

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