What Advantages Does Specialty Have on Amazon? by Lisa Orman — TFE Magazine

What Advantages Does Specialty Have on Amazon? by Lisa Orman — TFE Magazine

INDUSTRY FORM—KidStuff PR, TFE Magazine, October 2017

This summer I had the honor of presenting at ASTRA Market­ place & Academy on the topic “How Toy & Game Companies Can Make It In An Amazon World.” And by companies, I mean both retailers and manufacturers. In preparation for the presentation, I studied best practices by ASTRA retailers who have successful bricks-and-mortar stores and Amazon storefronts, interviewed AS­ TRA manufacturers who have successfully navigated selling their wares either to Amazon or FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) or to third-party sellers, as well as learned about things to avoid. ASTRA retailers such as Toys & Co., Wonderworks, and OP Taylor say that selling toys and games on their Amazon storefronts adds significant revenue to their businesses which supplements what they’re doing in bricks and mortar, while letting them place much bigger orders from manufacturers because they can sell merchandise online that typically wouldn’t move at their physical stores because of local or tourists’ tastes.

Read the Article

But if ASTRA vendors are going to do business on Amazon, it only makes sense for them to select ASTRA stores with which to partner.

Both are members of an organization that sup­ ports and promotes the specialty business, and ASTRA is known for being an exceptionally friendly and sharing group even though in some ways these businesses are competitors. Most are dedicated to MSRP or MAPP to protect brands and prices, which is more than we can say for rogue sellers on Amazon.

These retailers say manufacturers will get bigger and more frequent orders from them if they let them order for their physical stores and Amazon storefronts. And when vendors permit Amazon sales, they are making a statement of support for specialty retailers which they appreciate. They noted that sometimes their stores have slow-moving merchandise that they can sell at full-price or more on Amazon rather than putting it on sale or clearance in the stores. Limited-edition, rare or retired toys are especially suited to sale online at a premium price.

Specialty stores have an advantage on Amazon when competing for the Buy Box (the default Buy button consumers click on for purchase) because a major criteria Amazon uses is customer service ratings.

Vendors I spoke with, however, still face spending an undue amount of time and effort tracking down the true identity of rogue sellers who sell far below MAPP and degrade their on­ line pricing when Amazon’s algorithm matches them. It can take weeks or months to repair a price drop and in the meantime, everyone suffers. Specialty retailers who are committed to MAPP are stuck with merchandise that won’t sell until the price is restored. During the holiday season, it’s especially damaging. Makers of specialty products versus mass are advantaged on Amazon because their products are more difficult to find online and in stores, and they’re selling to fewer third-party sellers so are more likely to know the identity of the sellers and have a better chance to protect their prices and brands.

Fat Brain Toys, a leading e-commerce site and catalog with a growing manufacturing arm, has decided enough is enough. This year, it will be much pickier about the vendors it showcases in its print catalog (it will print and mail 2 mil­ lion this year, half of last year’s amount), and on its site to combat the rampant pricing erosion it witnessed and suffered from last year. During the 2016 holiday season, Fat Brain says it’s investments in advertising in its catalog and online served to promote specific items and educate the public about these toys, only to have people buy them from Amazon directly or other storefronts. Fat Brain is now asking vendors what they are doing to protect pricing and brands, and about their online sales policies. Whenever possible, they prefer exclusivity of sales, which can serve as the ultimate defense online.

It’s clear that people in the toy industry feel passionately, sometimes with great anguish, about Amazon. There’s a lot of confusion about what’s happening on Amazon, which Amazon itself perpetuates with its constantly changing rules and policies. It behooves us all to educate ourselves about this ever-growing marketplace and take advantage of the ways specialty can thrive on it.

Download the PDF

Orman is president of KidStuff Public Relations, which specializes in promoting toys, games, and juvenile products and services, and Tech­ Stuff Public Relations, its two-year-old division which promotes tech toys for families. She can be reached at lisa@kidstuffpr.com.


Madison, WI (December 16, 2020) — KidStuff Public Relations, a boutique PR firm focused exclusively on helping toy and game manufacturers and retailers grow, has been named public relations agency of record for Hess Toy Truck, one of the best-selling and longest running toy brands in America.

Read this as a PDF

For over 30 years families have heard the jingle, “The Hess Truck’s back and it’s better than ever!” signaling a new season of excitement around the arrival of a new great toy, and for nearly 60 years they’ve gotten to experience these incredible toys! With an unmatched reputation for outstanding quality at affordable pricing, each year’s release of a new Hess Toy Truck has become among the most beloved holiday gift giving traditions.

A new Hess Mini Collection is also released annually each summer as small-scale replicas of previously released Holiday toys. Now, even the youngest fans can get in on the Hess Toy Truck tradition, with the soft and cuddly My Plush Toy Truck series, first introduced in 2020.

KidStuff Public Relations will continue the tradition of unveiling each Hess Toy Truck released in 2021. Look for the next My Plush Hess Truck coming in early 2021!

Hess Toy Trucks are sold exclusively through its website at HessToyTruck.com, Since 1964, families have lovingly collected Hess Rescue, Tanker, Aircraft, Construction and even Bank vehicles, with built-in sound effects and flashing lights at the flick of a switch. The Hess Truck tradition has grown to become among the largest selling toys on the internet.

“We look forward to promoting one of the most anticipated and recognized toy brands across the country,” announced Lisa Orman, founder of KidStuff Public Relations.

Orman has been awarded many recognitions in her field and in the industry, notably one of the only people to receive two Women In Toys awards; for best Consultant, and for Online Social Networker. Orman is the only PR professional to serve as a Board Member of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) — the international not-for-profit trade organization that serves more than 1,800 independent retailers, manufacturers and sales representatives of the specialty toy industry. KidStuff PR is also a member of The Toy Association and The International Trade Council.

About KidStuff Public Relations
Founded in 1994, KidStuff PR is a public relations agency headquartered near Madison, WI. The firm represents toy manufacturers, services and retailers for children and families. As technology entered the toy world, KidStuff created its TechStuff PR division to serve toymakers and tech start-ups with a laser focused approach. In 2016 TechStuff was named a finalist for Best PR Campaign in the annual Business Intelligence Group’s PR & Marketing Excellence Awards. For more information or to contact KidStuff Public Relations, visit their website at www.kidstuffpr.com or call 608-767-1102.

Toy Times Magazine feature

Working Towards a More Inclusive and Diverse Toy Industry

I’m starting with our influencer database

Toy Times Magazine coverThe article “Working Towards a More Inclusive and Diverse Toy Industry” by Lisa Orman, President of KidStuff Public Relations, was featured in the latest issue of ASTRA Toy Times Magazine.

Read the Article

“During this time of social unrest and many of us becoming more aware of systemic racism in our society, I became aware that the group of vetter bloggers and influence my agency works with are mostly white.

I’m not OK with that.

This wasn’t by design or by intention, but was the result of basing our decision on whether to work with them largely on the number of Followers, Likes and Comments their channels and posts had. Eyeballs people!

Of course, we looked at content quality too, but really only after they met the metrics. I’ve heard from plenty of families of color with an lnstagram channel or blog, but we’ve turned most of them down because they fall way below our criteria. “
Read the complete article…

People of Play Week Summit Session “Toy Industry Awards: Important or Not?”

People of Play Week Summit Session “Toy Industry Awards: Important or Not?”

Have you ever wondered whether toy industry awards are “worth it” for your toy or game company? Are they all “pay to play?” (Answer: no, they are not.) What kinds of companies and products are they particularly helpful for? KidStuff PR President Lisa Orman and HABA USA President Lea Culliton talk US and German toy awards and chat about the pros and cons of each one, how each can help a company and things to consider for each one in this People of Play Week Summit Session “Industry Awards: Important or Not?”.

PR Pro Tips from Lisa Orman of KidStuff Public Relations

Lisa Orman of KidStuff PR took time to speak with Chris Byrne of The Playground Podcast where she offered these KidStuff PR Pro Tips! Listen to the short segments below. Lisa Orman is the President and Founder of KidStuff Public Relations.

Which media to pitch during the pandemic? August 27, 2020 (updated)

Working with Influencers and Bloggers August 12, 2020

Why tone is important during the pandemic? June 13, 2020

PR Budgets during the pandemic June 24, 2020

Does Play Matter during the pandemic? June 25, 2020

Learn more about KidStuff Public Relations or The Playground Podcast.

the Bloom Report Person of the Week Lisa Orman of KidStuff PR

The Bloom Report Person of the Week – Lisa Orman Founder and President of KidStuff Public Relations

the Bloom Report Person of the Week is Lisa Orman of KidStuff PRLisa Orman, President of KidStuff Public Relations, was selected as Person of the Week in the Bloom Report (June 26, 2020) by ChiTAG – Chicago Toy & Game Week.

“When KidStuff PR founder Lisa Orman started her PR agency 26 years ago, she was becoming a mother for the first time and was faced with educating herself about the many services and products available for children and families. She discovered that many of the most innovative and wonderful products were made by smaller companies, so she decided to dedicate herself to helping these smaller players in the toy & game industry build awareness among consumers via media. That’s still her passion and joy.” Read more…

Read the Article

ASTRA News NOW is the Time

ASTRA News NOW is the Time

ASTRA's TOY times magazineThe article “NOW is the Time” by Lisa Orman, President of KidStuff Public Relations, was featured in the latest issue of ASTRA Toy Times Magazine.

“Many in ASTRA may find themselves with a different schedule, and maybe even some open time. Perhaps they always intended to partake in ASTRA’s educational programs like the Certified Master Retailer, Certified Play Expert and Certified Master Sales Representative programs. Right now, ASTRA has discounted its pricing for these certifications to make them even more accessible to members when they have the time and the needs.” Read more…

View The Feature Article

Four Distinct Kidstuff PR Clients Wow Judges (Again)! Congratulations to Adventerra Games, Le Toy Van, Moosh-Moosh & Story Time Chess


Four Distinct Kidstuff PR Clients Wow Judges (Again)! Congratulations to Adventerra Games, Le Toy Van, Moosh-Moosh & Story Time Chess

Black Earth, WI (May 15, 2020) – What’s considered a toy these days? Look around a child’s bedroom and you might find an iconic doll house, a board game and a plush pillow-y character. Today a toy can teach kids about global warming or be simply silly or snuggly. The task of uncovering what’s new and what’s a “wow” is the work of toy industry judges like The National Parenting Center or Mom’s Choice Awards. Here at KidStuff Public Relations, we are always humbled that our clients garner an armload of honors every season! The Spring 2020 awards are no different, with kudos to our clients (in alphabetical order) Adventerra Games, Le Toy Van, Moosh-Moosh & Story Time Chess.

Read this as a PDF

Lisa Orman ASTRA article-Coping with Business Impacts of COVID-19

Coping with Business Impacts of COVID-19

The article “Coping with Business Impacts of COVID-19” by Lisa Orman, President of KidStuff Public Relations and ASTRA Board Member, was featured on the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) Blog.

Small businesses and locally-owned toy shops are extremely impacted by the coronavirus. If you need toys, games or puzzles for your kids who are stuck at home, please consider contacting your local toy store and supporting them. They are getting very creative to help meet their customers’ needs during this time. This article gives some examples of their creativity. Read more…

View The Feature Article


Helpful Hints To Conquer Two Weeks (Or More) Of Social Distancing, The New Normal For Kids And The Grownups Who Love Them

(March 16, 2020) – In every generation, kids have gravitated to a stuffed animal, a security blanket, a favorite story in times of stress. These welcomed childhood passions gave comfort once the lights turned off or when feeling sad. Never has there been a better time for kids to maintain their childhood innocence and peace of mind with toys or stories than now. KidStuff PR, play experts for over 25 years, have some tips for ordering toys & games, podcasts and crafts online to keep fear, sadness and yes, boredom at bay.

Read this as a PDF

Parents and grandparents have been watching the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, across the globe and in their states. The new normal in many neighborhoods is to stay home for days or weeks avoiding school, religious services, movie theatres or Spring Break vacations.

Almost everyone has experienced a Snow Day or Hurricane Day when things briefly shut down. Kids even look forward to a day off or two! Today’s news is different. But coping as a kid is not. Let’s keep the child in childhood as long as we can with these playthings and past-times that spark play and imagination.

Media and mom bloggers have been asking KidStuff PR President Lisa Orman to recommend some boredom busters to their readers. Orman is also a Board Member of ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, giving her an extra layer of knowledge in the toy market. Her initial reaction was “stay calm and hug a Moosh-Moosh,” one of a series of plush pals that won a national award as a Top Sensory Toy from Autism Live. Kids on the spectrum found the plush profoundly calming. We could all use a little playful lift and calming toy right about now.

View The Press Release


Photo by PxHere