We lost. But we won…. And, then, we really won.
We’re just back from our third year at New York Toy Fair, which is billed as “the Western Hemisphere’s largest and most important toy show.” As expected, at its TOTY (Toy of the Year) Awards, IAmElemental lost Action Figure of the Year to Mattel’s DC Super Hero Girls.
But, here’s the thing.
When I wrote the script for our Kickstarter video back in 2014, I opened with a question: Where are the action figures for girls?
I argued that:
1) the female action figures on the market at the time were hyper-sexualized and designed for an adult consumer, and that
2) despite the toy industry’s belief to the contrary, people would, in fact, buy female action figures designed for kids.
So, we created a figure with a healthier breast-to-hip ratio, reinvented the superhero myth, and tested the hypothesis on Kickstarter. Backers in all fifty states and six continents helped to prove that we were right; there is a market for female action figures for girls.
We had such a remarkable response, in fact, that TIME Magazine named us one of the 25 Best Inventions of the Year and one of the Top Ten Toys of the Year.
As a result, when DC Superheroes won, they won a category that IAmElemental – in partnership with our Kickstarter Backers – helped to create.
Every time Mattel/DC Entertainment wins an award, or succeeds in selling the DC Superhero Girls, they validate the hypothesis we tested via Kickstarter way back in May of 2014.
We are absolutely thrilled to have been nominated for Action Figure of the Year & Rookie of the Year. The industry recognition means so much to us. And we are grateful to the Toy Industry Association for helping to spread the word about our small, self-funded startup.
Even though we lost, we truly feel like we won.
And, then, two days later, we actually did win. I was named a Rising Star along with five other up-and-coming toy industry Superheroes at the annual Women in Toys (WIT) Awards Gala.
It was an honor to have been included among this dynamic group, and I am incredibly grateful to WIT for including me and recognizing our accomplishments.
As nice as the industry recognition is, Veenita and I actually feel like we win every day, because we have the best customers on the planet. Thank you so much to those of you who stopped by our Toy Fair booth to share IAmElemental stories, play with our Courage and Wisdom action figures, pick your favorite Superpower, and pose with the animatronic Exploration wings fabricated for us by the amazing Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. We are grateful for your support, and we know you’ll love what’s next for us: Wisdom Core Power and Series 3/Justice. And maybe a few other surprises… stay tuned.
I want to close with an update on our Buy One/Donate One program, which celebrates IAmElemental Superhero Anna Bosma. In her memory, we are putting Courage into the hands of close to 1,000 children with cancer at treatment centers including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, where Anna was treated. Anna embodied Courage and Wisdom, and she continues to inspire us, every day.
Thank you, as always, for your continued support and generosity.