A Star is Born: Electronics for Infant and Preschool
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July 2003 | Vol. II - No. 7

July 2003 | Vol. II - No. 7 TDmonthly SEARCH


The Brass Ring

 
A Star is Born: Electronics for Infant and Preschool


Eric Toriumi
When it comes to toys, Eric Toriumi, general manager of Star Electronics, knows what he’s talking about. Besides being a father to three children, he has worked for Learning Curve, Learning Resources, and Tiger Electronics before founding Star Electronics. “It was a dream that some Hong Kong associates and I have had for a number of years,” Torumi says. “A feeling that we can do things differently.” Located in Arlington Heights, IL, the company specializes in creating toys for infant and preschool-age children that combine a home-made, huggable quality with today’s technology.

Star Electronics


Eric Toriumi and the KaraoKid Music Box

We introduced ourselves to the industry at Toy Fair 2001 with a belief that, "through diligence and infinite creativity, humor and total objectivity, Star Electronics will be devoted to creating innovative and fun toys that encourage developmental growth and awareness." As a smaller company, we have the ability to take some chances and expand on some proven styles of game play by adding creative twists and interesting themes. Our Animal Snackers feeding bowls "magically" make animal sounds every time a child takes the spoon out of the dish to eat. Our Karaokid Music Box includes an actual microphone and speaker so children can sing up to five pre-recorded nursery rhymes just like they are performing on stage. We try to include a little bit of our corporate philosophy into every toy we develop, which is to have fun, think like a kid, but also understand what helps a parent be successful.


Animal Snackers

Coming Soon…

At this time, we feel that our product line is best suited for the specialty independent and specialty chain market. With our vibrant colors and cute designs, I feel we are also a perfect fit for the catalog and online retail markets. As we continue to build brand awareness and develop exciting, innovative products, I believe other opportunities will present themselves.

How to Reach the Fans


Eco Park Sensory Mat

First, by understanding the market(s) you wish to reach. [This means] visiting stores and talking with the staff, as well as communicating with the buyers and the parents that support these markets. With this knowledge, you have a much better chance of producing a product, package and marketing approach that will not only appeal to your targeted markets, but also will make it easier for these retailers to be successful with your brand. Initial successes or failures should be reviewed and understood for future reference, but they should not move you from the course to which you are committed.


Tug a Bug Push Toy

Headliners

We have had a wonderful response to our Eco Park Sensory Mat. With its vibrant design, soothing sounds of nature and ecological theme, this item is very different from most products you will find in the market. We also feel that our prices are very competitive, which is a great advantage in our current economy. Our Tug a Bug Push Toy has also been very well received. The cute design and combination of soft plush and sturdy plastic make this product very appealing to kids. I also feel that the fun melodies (including “La Cucaracha”) are enjoyable and different, not only for the children but for the parents as well.

Next Act?

I feel there is currently a guarded optimism in the toy industry. Unfortunately, many of the forces that have the greatest effect on the industry are outside of our control. It is our responsibility to push ourselves to create the next great toy. Children in this country, as well as around the world, must have something, toys, dolls or even a favorite blanket, that brings them back to a more innocent time. It is especially important for Star Electronics, as a manufacturer of toys for young children, to continue to introduce products that encourage social awareness and parental involvement, as well as non-violence.

My greatest concern is the popular thought that "there's nothing new in the Toy industry" [will take hold]. We take that as a corporate challenge here at Star. Adding creativity and innovation to new product takes singular focus, a willingness to continually question all aspects of your products from concept through production, and the determination to stand up for what you believe in. Many manufacturers have created fresh, innovative toys recently, and though they are not always the most publicized or promoted products in the industry, I believe they will be successful based on their creativity and merit.



   




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