It’s not easy being a toy maker these days. With discounters Wal-Mart and Target controlling more than half the retail market, there are fewer traditional retailers around. That means less shelf space and, ultimately, less innovation. Wal-Mart may sell a lot of toys, but it carries a fraction of the selection found at Toys R Us. The focus is bestsellers, which is like a book store stocking up on Nora Roberts and Dan Brown and eschewing, say, Hunter Thompson.
Another problem facing the industry is “kagoy.” Translation: “Kids are getting older, younger.” As early as 8, they’re putting down traditional toys and turning to video games and the Internet. Maybe the answer is targeting a new audience — playful adults. As Heath previously mentioned, Happy Worker, a doll company in Toronto, makes “everyday superhero action figures” aimed at livening up office cubicles. Hopefully their GeekMan, BossMan and MoneyMan characters are just the beginning, soon to be followed by SalesWoman, LegalGal, and — indulge me here — WriterGuy.
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