PROFILE
  • Ellia Kassoff
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Ellia Kassoff

President/CEO Strategic Marks/Leaf Brands/KB Toys
We are the leader in rebuilding brands and selling to the Generations X and Y.
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  • Posted on: 06/25/2019

    Toys ‘R’ Us prepares its American comeback

    As you know, we (Kay Bee Toys) are also working on coming back. We should be announcing something shortly as well. Richard's reputation is very good within the toy industry, but the big problem is the others from TRU he's bringing in and the "open wounds" from the BK. We had a major head start when looking at bringing back KB Toys and our plan is much more thought out as that was our goal when we acquired the brand. The question we posed was, "How can we create a long-term, sustainable toy chain within this new retail environment?" We also have a clean slate since the original KB Toys went BK a while back and we won't have to deal with the bad press. Richard needs to start somewhere and I get that. There is a huge hole in the toy industry which needs to be filled. Both stores competed well for different customers and that's a good thing. Those of you who believe there are major issues with e-commerce or Target/Walmart taking the business, you're wrong. Toys are interactive and experiential by nature. You need a national chain to give the customer that experience. In addition, you also need to nurture the smaller toy companies as the "big guys" only focus on IRI data and not large toy selections. The hypothesis was proved this last holiday season as consumers were upset they couldn't find the toys they wanted. And you can't click a button on Amazon when you have a crying kid next to you begging for a toy.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2018

    Toys ‘R’ Us to rise from the ashes of bankruptcy, but should it?

    It will be interesting to see what happens. Still many scars from the BK and lots of bad memories for employees. I think they had to do something as the banks couldn't get sufficient revenue from the assets they were trying to sell. They had pushed the asset sale back too many times and it was getting obvious. We at Kay Bee Toys have a full marketing plan to bring fun back into the toy industry and we spent time listening to consumers. While both KB and TRU lived together for about 80 years, I don't think TRU can be considered a FUN place anymore. We still welcome them, as national toy retailers are needed for the industry — a place where small toy manufacturers and larger ones can showcase their products, place where kids can see, touch, play. The temp stores and national retailers are not in it for the long haul and will have little or no experiences for kids. Just remember one thing; toy retailing was very strong. It was private equity (Baine specifically) which killed both KB and TRU due to greed.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    We actually have quite a few planned. Experiences are the 'name of the game' in retail now and we have some amazing ones planned. Malls as a whole are not going away but their overall experiences have. This needs to be changed and many are finally getting it. They need to get people in the stores consistently and find multiple ways of doing it.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    No, but good value is!
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    The difference is we're working with people in the toy industry who know how to sell toys.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    I think the name WILL bring in tons of foot traffic initially, as moms and dads bring their kids in to share their experiences they has as kids. It's all about the experience and we will have great ways of delivering that to the customer.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    Thanks Peter, you have your facts straight.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    Kim, we have thousands of resumes sent to us from former KB and current/former Toys "R" Us employees with such passion to stay in the toy industry. We won't have any problems hiring the right people. Over 33,000 will come right from Toys "R" Us! We also plan to have one "toy nerd" per store to help collectors.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    Both companies had different experiences, which is why they were able to compete side by side for so long. For one, KB was a mall store, not a destination store so, kids/parents could walk-in and pass the time while other family members shopped. Second, KB was known for value and good deals, even though that was more of the stuff at the front of the store.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    Our core customers are the kids who grew up with KB and have a strong brand identification with it since there were only two real toy retailers in the U.S. They will bring their kids into the stores to share the experiences they had as a kid and, oh yeah, they have the money now. We've successfully replicated this model with all our other retro products and know our customers better than anyone in the U.S. Private equity and greed screwed Toys "R" Us, not e-commerce or larger competitors. Bain sucked all the money out of both companies (and many, many more).
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    Pop-ups will be used to get quick traction. Our plan is to work with the largest pop-up companies who have the methodology down and can replicate it. After the season, we then decide which locations will become permanent and shift the inventory. We already have every major toy manufacturing group asking to help to ensure our success.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    Yes! You get it, Charles!
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    We already have millions of people waiting for KB to come back. These are the people who were the KB kids and will now take their kids into KB to share the experience. We have proven this model over and over with our other projects.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    Someone who gets it!
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    Walmart and Target will expand their toy selection but will not become toy stores.
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