01 August 2019

ATLANTA, July 31, 2019 – Kids II™ and Hape® announced a Joint Venture after the success of its award-winning co-branded Baby Einstein™ and Hape® toy line that is disrupting the musical toy space with its harmony of traditional and modern materials with thoughtfully-integrated technology. The Joint Venture announced it is releasing additional Baby Einstein – Hape cobranded products for Fall 2019

The partnership began with an observation that available toy options forced parents to choose between either traditional wood toys or feature-driven plastic toys while market research showed that parents have an affinity for nostalgic toys, place a high value on music and creativity, and desire more toy choices. This led to a meeting of the minds between Kids II and Hape.

“With the rising consumer demand for natural wood products and the high-value parents place on music as a universally enriching part of play, Kids II and Hape saw an opportunity to blend those elements together, giving parents everywhere a reassuring and balanced play experience for their children,” said Dave Calhoun, President of Kids II.

In Fall 2018, the two toy companies launched a collection of nine co-designed, co-developed, and co-branded Baby Einstein- Hape baby toys that combine Kids II’s magic touch electronic capabilities with Hape’s expertise in wooden toys.

Resulting from the success of the initial product collection, which is on track to reach $20 million in 2019, the two companies entered into a Joint Venture and are launching the second collection.

“Hape is one of the world’s largest producers of wood toys, with products being sold all over the globe. They are well-respected for their focus on quality, design, and sustainability. This Joint Venture opens new channels and retailers for both Kids II and Hape, creating volume opportunities across our brands,” continued Calhoun.

“With Kids II’s application of cap touch technology and a similar approach to design, we knew it was the right partnership to pursue our shared goal to create an elevated yet accessible segment of high-quality toys that encourage curiosity through genuine open-ended play,” said Peter Handstein, founder and CEO of Hape Group.

Five new wooden musical toys to complete any baby band will be in stores this fall including the Magic Touch Mini Piano, Tiny Tambourine, Magic Touch Ukulele, Magic Touch Xylophone, and the Magic Touch Curiosity Tablet, which plays 150+ melodies.

Industry leaders, retailers, and consumers have shown great interest in the Joint Venture’s products, with high accolades for the Baby Einstein - Hape Magic Touch Piano™ and the Baby Einstein – Hape Magic Touch Drums™. The Magic Touch Piano was awarded top in musical toys in 2018 by Grand Prix du Jouet (in France), as well as the prestigious ToyAward, winning Toy of the Year for the baby and toddler category at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in January 2019. The Magic Touch Drum was named one of Parents Best Toys of 2018.

The toys are listed at competitive retail price points, making this high-quality line even more accessible for parents. Both companies are selling the Baby Einstein - Hape toys in their respective channels and territories through traditional and online retailers.

About Kids II

Kids II is a global company that designs solutions to help early-stage parents and families create tiny wins that build bright futures. The Kids II brand portfolio includes the leading infant, baby, and toddler brands Baby Einstein™, Bright Starts™, Ingenuity™. Headquartered in Atlanta, Kids II spans globally with 12 offices in four continents serving customers in more than 90 countries and has been inventing and reinventing baby products for nearly 50 years. Led by CEO Ryan Gunnigle, it operates with an agile start-up approach, which fosters the company’s growing success.

About Hape®

Hape, (“hah-pay”), is a leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality baby and children’s wooden toys made from sustainable materials. The eco-friendly company was formed in 1986 in Germany by Founder and CEO Peter Handstein. As well as its eponymous Hape® brand, the Hape Group also owns the 100-plus-year-old handmade German-doll brand Käthe Kruse®, the classic German building block maker PolyM, among others. Hape brands are sold through specialty retail, toy stores, museum gift shops, school supply stores as well as through select catalogues and internet accounts in over 60 countries. Hape has won numerous awards from prestigious associations for toy design and quality. Hape knows that the future starts with and belongs to children and that toys are the most important thing for children all over the world.

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