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Articles by Vanessa VanderZanden


Liberty Puzzles Fought for Freedom (10/1/2006)
Christopher Wirth had what many would consider a great job making good money as a corporate attorney for a financial firm. But after eight years ...

How to Revive Collectible Trading Cards (10/1/2006)
In the '50s/'60s/'70s, there were baseball cards.

Don’t Throw Out Those Baseball Cards (9/1/2006)
David Brown, president of Serious U.S.A. Inc., believes sports trading cards can still be profitable; he just thinks manufacturers “need to demand innovation to keep their product relevant.”

Retailer Spotlight: Fantasma (9/1/2006)
What began as a means to educate retailers on how to display Fantasma Toys magic products has become a retail venture in and of itself.

Smart Aids Head Back to School (9/1/2006)
How are manufacturers keeping up with current demands from educators and parents for the 2006 to 2007 school year?

Specialty Items Boost Back-to-School Sales (9/1/2006)
Though most toy retailers that TDmonthly Magazine speaks with run heavy on educational products, few said they make a special push

Back-to-School Products That Sell (9/1/2006)
Retailers across the country that spoke with TDmonthly Magazine said workbooks and activity books were among their top-selling back-to-school products...

Education is a Child's Game (9/1/2006)
Retailers and manufacturers TDmonthly spoke with agreed: Games make great back to school products.

TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Animal Figurines (8/1/2006)
This month, TDmonthly Magazine polled 24 retailers to discover what were among their best selling animal figures.

Personalizing the Shopping Experience (8/1/2006)
It shouldn’t take a new study claiming social isolation to be at an all-time high to remind us that people appreciate a little one-on-one.

August Peeks (8/1/2006)
The following new toys caught the attention of TDmonthly staffers.

iParenting Media Awards Innovation (8/1/2006)
We at TDmonthly Magazine would like to congratulate the following innovative toy manufacturers.

Awards Bring Kudos to Deserving Toys: Part II (8/1/2006)
TDmonthly Magazine congratulates iParenting Media award winners.

Peculiar Puppets on Hand (8/1/2006)
When it comes to being the master of puppets, these manufacturers aren’t pulling your strings.

Bears and Penguins on the Catwalk (8/1/2006)
This month, TDmonthly Magazine spoke with retailers across the country to determine what’s selling in the squeezable land of plush and why.

Mulberry Turns Cedar but Keeps Spirit Intact (8/1/2006)
When Phil Hueber purchased the Mulberry Tree toy store this past March and renamed it Cedar Chest Kids, he did so with a strong sense of community spirit.

New and Eye-Catching Toys (8/1/2006)
This August, new and unusual toys explode onto toy store shelves.

TDmonthly’s Top 10 Most Wanted Travel Toys (7/1/2006)
Think magnets, crafts and games when thinking of what to stock up on for customers ready to hit the road.

Plush: Fashionable Fake Fur (7/1/2006)
Plush pets in purses continue to dangle from young fashionistas' arms while shopping for other animal companions.

This Issue's Highlights (7/1/2006)
Have a look for yourself at this issue's top stories.

New and Noteworthy Toys (7/1/2006)
Be sure to peruse this selection of new and unique toys.

Can Candy Kits Fight Obesity Fears? (7/1/2006)
While America struggles to fight obesity, candy- and food-related products are getting the cold shoulder at toy stores across the country.

July Peeks (7/1/2006)
With summer in full swing, manufacturers are enjoying the heat while preparing for the end of year sales season.

ToyDirectory’s 10-Year Anniversary: Staff Matters (7/1/2006)
This month, as part of our ongoing coverage of ToyDirectory’s 10-year anniversary, we thought it would be nice to let you get to know us a little better.

Wal-Mart Goes Niche (7/1/2006)
In a June 2 press release, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott pledged to “build more experimental stores to help the company broaden its appeal to Hispanic customers, rural customers and Baby Boomers.”

Toy Retailers Don’t Mix Candy and Fun (7/1/2006)
Toys, candy, kids. The three seem a natural fit.

June Peeks (6/1/2006)
School's out for the summer and it's time to get down to play!

New and Exceptional Toys (6/1/2006)
Toy manufacturers pull out all the stops this month as they begin gearing up for holiday season 2006.

TDmonthly’s Top 10 Most Wanted Boy Toys for Ages 4 to 8 (6/1/2006)
This month, familiar faces and a few surprises rear their heads in this wide-reaching top-10 grouping.

i-RIDE, You Ride, We All Rock Out (Safely) (6/1/2006)
Mick Kless had a dream: To rock out while safely pedaling through traffic.

Children Don Clothes of the Future (6/1/2006)
Let’s face it: Kids are just a bunch of wanna-be grown-ups.

Full Time Mom Takes Time Out for DVD (6/1/2006)
Ann Brazil, a working mother of three and president of Pausitive Programs, LLC., made the final round of auditions for the ABC television show, “American Inventor” with her children’s DVD, “TimeOut Tot.”

Reaching a New Generation of Educators (6/1/2006)
How do educational product manufacturers keep kids interested?

Wooden Toys Need to Stay Fresh (6/1/2006)
Wooden toy makers know they can’t just reproduce the same products year in and year out and still keep customers coming back for more.

Quality Kid Films on Shoe-String Budgets (6/1/2006)
How do manufacturers make a kids’ DVD that looks a cut above the competition despite a tight budget?

Is Silly Necessary to CD Success? (6/1/2006)
With so many kids' music albums to choose from, what should retailers look for when stocking their shelves?

Do Judge a Book by Its Cover (6/1/2006)
As holiday season 2006 nears, book publishers attempt to bring new products to market that will catch young readers’ eyes.

Coming in July: Holiday Preview Part II (6/1/2006)
Manufacturers talk shop about new products.

Sugar High in the Toy Store Aisle (6/1/2006)
Too sweet for your blood?

Toy Knights Kick Jedi Butt (6/1/2006)
Unlicensed figures prove big fish in the small pond of specialty toy stores.

This Issue’s Highlights (6/1/2006)
Take a look at a few of this month's most important stories.

Hand Stuffing Plush Is a Party Sensation (5/1/2006)
What you may not know is that hand stuffing is where it’s at, and parties are sustaining the market.

Big-Box Toys Wage Battle of the Sexes (5/1/2006)
TDmonthly turned to specialty retailers and manufacturers and asked, "Is it harder to buy toys for girls or boys?"

Children’s Media Outgrows Its Infancy (5/1/2006)
New companies entering the children's media arena are expanding well beyond teaching kids their ABCs and 123s.

TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most Wanted Marble Toys (4/1/2006)
Alluring on their own or within a construction set or game, marbles captivate old and young alike.

Corporate Consultant Goes Crackers (4/1/2006)
Mark Liebig has spent the last 23 years educating cherry-picked employees of multi-national corporations on global market operations. His latest challenge? Eight-year-olds.

Learning Express CEO Discusses E-Commerce (3/1/2006)
Sharon DiMinico recently shared details of her successful business model with TDmonthly Magazine.

TDmonthly’s Top 10 Most Wanted Playsets (3/1/2006)
Retailers pick what they think will be top selling playsets in 2006.

Preventing Kindergarten Dummies and Social Morons (2/1/2006)
According to Kathy Oxley, founder of Preschool Prep Company, research shows there is a direct correlation between kids falling behind in reading skills in the 2nd grade and dropping out of high school.

Learning Express CEO Knows Specialty Retail (2/1/2006)
Sharon DiMinico, CEO and founder of Learning Express, the largest specialty toy retailer in the country, recently shared details of her successful business model with TDmonthly Magazine.

TDmonthly’s Top 10 Most Wanted Card Games (2/1/2006)
Recently, retailers told TDmonthly Magazine that games of all kinds sold awesome over the holidays and through the month of January — more so, even, than in recent years.

Learning Express CEO Speaks About Franchises (1/1/2006)
Sharon DiMinico is the CEO and founder of Learning Express, the largest specialty toy retailer in the country.

Genius By Age 5, Heart Attack By Age 10? (1/1/2006)
What does preparing children for kindergarten really mean?

Teddy Bear Stuffers Stay Strong but Cuddly (12/1/2005)
Teddy Bear Stuffers, the brainchild of Stan and Annette Block, has enticed many an entrepreneur to join the highly lucrative stuffing machine business.

Learning Express CEO Educates on Franchise Model (12/1/2005)
Sharon DiMinico, CEO and founder of Learning Express, recently shared details of her successful business model with TDmonthly Magazine.

Top 10 Most Wanted Mystic Tween/Teen Products (11/1/2005)
This month, we take the metaphysical and occult realm to the toy store.

Tween Boys Have Riot (11/1/2005)
A new tween boy brand called Riot Media Inc. is set to rule tween boys' world.

A Slice of Manufacturing Life: Geospace International (11/1/2005)
Recently, Geospace International president Dennis Binkley shared with TDmonthly Magazine a few of his company’s sales techniques to which he owes much of Geospace’s success.

Hygloss: Pulp Non-Fiction (10/1/2005)
When Rose Engelsrath left her native land of Austria for the United States in 1950, she felt something was missing. Was it her Viennese students? The wienerschnitzel? The Tyrol? No, she realized, it was the high-gloss craft paper.

Geospace Jumps Onto the Map With AIR KICKS (10/1/2005)
Roughly three years ago, a Taiwanese inventor stepped into Geospace International’s New York showroom with a kind of anti-gravity boot that propelled its wearer high into the air. He’d come to the right place.

TDmonthly´s Top 10 Most Wanted Non-Plush Talking Toys (9/1/2005)
TDmonthly spoke with over a dozen retailers across the country who said the following talking toys sell well at their stores.

TDmonthly´s Top 10 Most Wanted Wooden Games and Puzzles (8/1/2005)
Many retailers have pointed out the appeal of wooden games and puzzles: Unlike cardboard games, wooden games won’t tear and can be passed down through generations.

Blowing Up Sales: Inflatable Party Equipment Goes Licensed (4/1/2005)
The inflatable equipment rental business is an ever-expanding market, as parents scramble to create memorable experiences for their children's birthdays.

Tween Girls Taking to the Collectible Trading Card Craze in Their Own Fashion (4/1/2005)
It has become a no-brainer that collectible trading cards have emerged as an enormously popular toy segment within the past 10 years. As the category expands, so too does the audience. Tween girls are next in line to share in the joy.

Outdoor Toys For All Seasons (4/1/2005)
This season, kids will have more reason than ever before to venture outdoors. Whether they head to the backyard, local pool or distant mountains, they’ll have good reason to run and play. Even adults can get in on the fun.

Go Long: Balls Go Hi-Tech (4/1/2005)
Old sports products get a makeover this season to attract new buyers. Manufacturers push the envelope by crafting balls that take on a slightly new form or texture, or that provide a unique 2-in-1 component.

Advanced Schedule of Articles (4/1/2005)
Next month look for coverage of video games, action figures, toy candy and travel toys.

Construction Toys: Building on Basics
This year, construction toys are going to be super hot.

Outdoor Fun Leads Kids On Adventure


Reading is Believing: Children´s Books
Children´s books this year are destined to lure in even more young readers.

What’s Hot: Fresh Manufacturers´ Picks for the Rapidly Evolving Toy Industry
At this minute, toy makers around the world are devising fresh, exciting products to wow the young and invigorate the old. Why wait until every retailer in town hears about them? Preview these hot items now before they become yesterday’s news.

Collectibles: Gotta Get Another Set


Educational Toys: Where Fun Gets Smart


Plush Keep it Fresh Yet Familiar


Games & Puzzles Move Beyond the Box


Novelties: Simply Uncommon Delights


Infant & Toddler Toys: Baby on Path to Early Genius


Holiday Toy Shopping Never Easier With TDmonthly Holiday Gift Guide (12/1/2004)
Out of gift-giving ideas this holiday season? Sick of braving throngs of shoppers at the same boring malls? Put down that stale fruitcake: The TDmonthly Holiday Gift Guide has arrived, displaying an array of fun and unique products for young and old alike.

Magic Sets Overview (12/1/2004)
No matter what the season, the mysteries of magic entice young and old alike from a variety of innovative and classic magic sets.

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