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Pressman strategy swaps mass for specialty

Most manufacturers lay awake at night dreaming about increasing their mass-market business, but Jim Pressman is fixated on a polar-opposite ideal. Best known for its top-selling games Rummikub and Mastermind, Pressman's Piscataway, New Jersey-based company currently does 60% of its business in the mass market.
April 1, 2008

Most manufacturers lay awake at night dreaming about increasing their mass-market business, but Jim Pressman is fixated on a polar-opposite ideal. Best known for its top-selling games Rummikub and Mastermind, Pressman’s Piscataway, New Jersey-based company currently does 60% of its business in the mass market.

But Pressman Toy plans to shake off its mass focus this year and build more presence in specialty retailers by 2009. Shifting its balance in this way will allow the R&D and production teams to take their time and nurture higher-quality products instead of churning SKUs out at the speed of light for mass.

Its biggest undertaking this year is a new line of Smithsonian-branded games destined for museum and gift shops in the fall. And the range of products really showcases Pressman’s A-game, with a Dig That Dinosaur concentration-type game where players use a little digging tool to turn over and match dinosaur fossil cards. And Pandamania, a counting and memory skills game, is souped up with a specially developed mechanism that lets the mother panda slide down a tall bamboo stalk. Retailing for US$15, these SKUs represent just the tip of a full specialty line of fun and educational games for kids five and up.

Coming down the pipe, the toyco has just started working on a licensing deal for Mr. Men puzzles, which will likely roll out in specialty for spring 2009. ‘The major retailers only have so much room,’ says Pressman. ‘We think there’s a real opportunity to reach people that we wouldn’t normally reach in a toy store or a toy department.’ Besides specialty toy outlets, he’s also targeting non-traditional channels such as Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters and Hot Topic to reach three- to eight-year-old consumers.

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