Toys for Today and Tomorrow

FROM A RETAIL, DESIGN, MARKETING AND BRANDING PERSPECTIVE, what do toys need to do to in order to survive? Change with the times. Today, the toy game is different. There are fewer companies, fewer retail spots on the shelf, fewer toys and everything is specialized.

THE ECONOMY, TECHNOLOGY AND THE INTERNET, AS WELL AS PEOPLE'S LIVES ARE HAVING A GREAT INFLUENCE OVER TOYS. I like to think of it like the stock market: It fluctuates, has its ups and downs and if you stay the course, most of the time you come out ahead.
     Toys are a "starter kit for life" and to help teach our children how and what to face ahead of them in life, and to thrive with creativity. When making or designing toys we need to re-think what, when, why, where and who toys are made for, as well as how and where they are sold - in stores, online, direct mail, on TV, etc. - and how they are played with to stay in the game.
     My Dad told me when I was young "there is always someone bigger, stronger and faster than you." I thought about this and said, "Yes, but not all at the same time." Meaning, there may be someone that is bigger than you, but not as fast, or is stronger than you, but not as big. The same philosophy can work for the toy industry.

     Today, toys are conceived, designed, manufactured and distributed within a period of six months. There are so many different factors that must be taken into account when creating today's toys: safety, style and play value, as well as manufacturing, retail distribution and cost; and then there is also brand awareness. Toy companies also need to think like kids, parents, designers, marketers, retailers and educators all at the same time.
     What makes a toy popular? Price, play value and the special niche that it fills are part of it. Then there is also the nostalgia that we can relate to. The toys of the future will survive with some key ingredients.    

If you take all, or at least most, of the "ingredients" listed in the box, mix them all together, put into a toy design and process, what should come out is a successful, long-lasting, memorable toy for today and tomorrow.



     • Fun to Use
     • Interesting to the child
     • Safe and durable
     • Stimulates creativity and imagination
     • Encourages inquisitiveness and resourcefulness
     • A tool for learning
     • Challenging yet not frustrating
     • Invites repeated use and longevity
     • Involves child interaction
     • Addresses developing needs,as well as nostalgia, that "Magic Ingredient"  
     • Cost effective


Peter Wachtel (aka) "KID Toyology" is an award-winning creative toy and entertainment designer, inventor and teacher. Peter was recently the Chair/ Academic Director & Design Instructor at Ai Hollywood for Graphic & Industrial Design, and has taught Toy Design at Pratt Institute, Parsons School of Design and Otis College of Art & Design. He has designed more than 500 products, many of which can be found at Follow KID Toyology on Facebook and LinkedIn.

GDA Staff | News & Commentary

Lenise Willis, editor in chief; Anne-Marie Earl, managing editor; Alex Herring, senior editor; and Cammie Collier, art director; love reviewing new products for Gifts and Decorative Accessories. The team stays on top of the latest trends in bath and body, candles, gourmet items, stationery, home décor, fashion and more, and love chatting about their latest finds. Check in each week for more of their latest picks on GiftRap, and see more of the team on their new bi-weekly video series, Thoughts That Count.

Research Store

Buyers Guide Search
Search for Products/Companies

Featured Video

Subscribe to
Gifts & Dec Direct
Receive the news you need to know about the trends in the industry delivered right to your inbox.

AmericasMart ICON Honorees

ICON videos of honorees

Excellence and superior achievement in the home and gift industry were recognized in July at AmericasMart's eighth annual ICON Honors. Enjoy these video stories celebrating the 2017 award recipients: Spicher and Company, Bloomingville, Wolf Gourmet, Her Majesty's English Tea Room, Kurt S. Adler, Inc., and Chris Rosse, Rosse and Associates. See the videos!


GDA Cover September 2017

See the September 2017 issue of Gifts & Dec.  We look at how Millennials are changing the tabletop industry, plus what retailers can do to reduce theft. Get details!