News In Brief

KB tries its hand at manufacturing
August 1, 2003

KB tries its hand at manufacturing

KB Toys will be launching its first-ever proprietary line this year after signing a deal with L.A.’s 3 Muses for Zodiac Girlz, an Internet-driven tween property that celebrates diversity, individuality and self-confidence among girls.

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts-based toy chain will be the property’s exclusive U.S. toy licensee, producing and marketing an assortment of dolls, doll fashions, accessories, activity toys and electronic toys through in-store boutiques and on-line at

Hilary Duff struts her stuff in the doll aisle

Tween superstar Hilary Duff will be competing for shelf space with Barbie when Costa Mesa, California-based Playmates Toys launches a line of fashion dolls and accessories this fall based on the star of the Disney series Lizzie McGuire. Included with each doll will be a Pixi Stamp, which uses new technology to create a real photo stamp of Duff. All three dolls will be available State-side for under US$20 in the fall.

Arthur program to get a facelift with United Media

United Media has partnered with Arthur licensor Marc Brown Studios to represent the perennial preschool brand globally. The agent is currently seeking licensees in categories including toys & games, apparel & accessories, specialty publishing, BTS supplies and social expressions.

But whereas past Arthur programs have focused on two audiences – book-reading six- to eight-year-olds and the TV series’ dedicated preschool fans – United Media has chosen to focus its merch efforts exclusively on the two to five set. And the company will also move the property from its mid-tier/specialty positioning into the mass market.

The Sharpe Company takes a stroll with Franny’s Feet

L.A.-based licensing agency The Sharpe Company has signed on to represent Decode Entertainment’s animated preschool show Franny’s Feet worldwide. The first forays will be in publishing to capitalize on the property’s book-like animation style, followed by an interactive toy line set to launch in 2005. Each 2-D animated episode of the show sees Franny take a walk in another person’s shoes; in one ep, for example, Franny dons ballet slippers and ends up performing Swan Lake. The Sharpe Company also represents Decode preschool property The Save-Ums! outside North America.

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