Hunter Products has announced the Australian Toy Fair the most successful in 40 years, with the company winning three major toy categories: Doll of the Year, Craft Toy of the Year and Game of the Year. This is just after winning Toy of the Year at the American Toy Fair in New York.
“It’s rewarding to be able to predict the next big toy and sports craze,” Managing Director Jeff Hunter said. “I love that more and more Aussies are making a name for themselves internationally.
Known as the “Oscars” of the toy industry, the awards are cause for celebration. More than 200 toys and games were submitted for consideration with Hunter products selected by play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists who sit on the Toy of the Year judging committee.
Adding to the celebrations, Madeleine Hunter was declared the Australian Toy Association’s Rising Star Award. Since joining the family business almost seven years ago, Madeleine has become an internationally recognised player on the toys’ world stage.
Doll of the Year
The Wiggles Emma Dancing Ballerina
The Wiggles franchise continues to be huge around the world and the Emma Dancing Ballerina will be the must-have for anyone who loves ballet and Emma! Little ballerinas worldwide will love Emma Dancing Ballerina’s special features. Press down on her tiara and the inbuilt music prompts her to pirouette on her toes. She can raise her leg and spin. Her head “spots” while spinning, just like a real ballerina! She can do the splits and kick her legs both forward and backward. She moves gracefully on the tips of her toes too, perfectly on pointe!
Craft Toy of the Year
Super Slimy Studio
Slime is STILL huge with kids! There is no shortage of recipes on line to make buckets of the gooey stuff. We’ve taken it to the next level! Super Slime Studio makes homemade slime super fun – minus the mess! Add your ingredients, turn the handle and watch as the slime magically starts to form. Add glitter, add paint, add any of your slimy favourites. The best part is the studio includes everything you need to get slimy! This is the next exciting trend in homemade slime-making and, better still, no batteries are required.
Game of the Year
“The trend can’t be denied; retro gaming is on the rise,” Mr Hunter said. “More and more fans are reverting to classic consoles for their gaming fix.”
But why has retro gaming become so popular?
“One of the main reasons is the nostalgia factor. Just like a favourite food that reminds you of home, there’s nothing quite like that warm fuzzy feeling of familiarity,” Mr Hunter said. “The majority of those who played on retro consoles when they were originally launched will now be in their 30s and 40s now. Playing Mortal Kombat II or Asteroids on a life size replica arcade game takes us all back to a simpler, more carefree time.”
“We predict they will be hugely popular in Australian man caves.”
Each machine contains five pre-loaded games which have the same configuration of joystick and button layout. Games include: Asteroids, Pong, Breakout, Tempest, Q*bert, Mortal Combat II, Centipede, Millipede, Missile Command, Street Fighter II, Joust, Rampage and Defender.
Toy of the Year (US)
Fingerlings are the cutest toys to hit the shelves for a long time. This interactive robotic toy monkey moves and reacts to sight, sound and touch. They love to hang onto your finger, blink their eyes, turn their heads, blow kisses, swing by their tails and talk in silly monkey babble! Sloths and unicorns have been added to the unique range with Dinolings coming at the end of March. Priced at just $20, Fingerlings have already become the latest toy collection craze!
Rising Star Award
Madeleine Hunter is the winner of the Australian Toy Association’s Rising Star Award. The Award recognises one person under the age of 35 who has made a significant contribution to a business over the past year. Madeleine has transitioned the business from imported merchandise to more in house product development, overseeing toy line production from initial concept through to launching her products at international toy fairs.
Madeleine’s greatest achievement to date has been her Shibajuku Doll, inspired by her many trips to Japan and her love of the culture, developed over years of studying the language at university. More than 1 million Shibajuku Dolls have been sold in 22 countries. Since then, Madeleine has developed and launched Shibajuku’s little sister range, Shib-Cuties, and a variety of accessories. She has also launched Tiny Tutus Dancing Ballerina and is currently working on a line called Pawjama Pets, recognising the trend in owners who like to dress their canine companions.
Madeleine is an inspiring young woman who manages the entire toy design, from concept to hand sample to retail shelf and has represented Hunter Products at toy fairs all over the world.