by The Bloom Report | 01 May 2023
Biographies and Interviews
Hi Adam, thank you for taking a bit of time with me today. You are involved in many different aspects of our industry. How would you boil it down to once sentence?
I try to be both a curator and a matchmaker for products, people, factories and brands into manufacturers in the toy industry.
What is it about the Toy Industry that you love?
Mostly it’s about the people and the products. The mechanics around the operations and distribution are the same within any industry centered around CP but I find the the people and the products to be more exciting in our industry than others.
(Adam at Sideshow Collectibles)
What is your claim to fame?
I think my reputation in the industry and the friendships I’ve built are what’s most important to me, not sure if that’s a claim to fame but it’s the foundation for the opportunities that exist within my company.
What was your biggest failure?
Oh God there have been so many….the majority of which are centered around falling in love with a product or a brand and not digging deeper into who or what’s behind it. It took me way, way too long to learn this lesson. It’s always the people in the end that will make or break it!
Why and how did you get into the Toy industry?
Like so many others, I came into the family business, 3rd generation in fact. My grandfather was a west coast sales rep, my father Henry took over his business and I spent 10 great years working for him in sales as well as import and licensing consulting. And we’ve been working and traveling together ever since.
(Adam's father Henry and his sister Joan with grandma Sylvia and grandpa Jules coming off the plane to NYTF 1952. Jules was the west coast rep for Empire Plastics, Spectoyculars, Detro Mfg, and Toy Enterprises of America.)
What are your favorite early memories of being in the toy business?
Of course NY Toy Fair was the most exciting, traveling with my dad, staying in cool hotels, hammering through the snow and crazy February weather, hustling through the Toy Building with a bad suit and a packed appointment schedule and the amazing dinners we had. Those were great times. I also started traveling to HK and China with my Dad, my first trip I was still in college in ’88, it was eye opening and I loved it. And I was back almost every year for nearly 30 years, all of it with my Dad and staying in his amazing suites across the many hotels he stayed in.
(Adam Unger and his dad, Henry Unger, on a Hong Kong boat trip to Macau. The profile photo was an American Club dinner on the same trip in 1988.)
What and/or who inspires you?
I’m inspired by the talent in our industry, the ability to develop great products, produce them across the world, bring them to market and drive them off the shelves is incredibly difficult and not getting any easier. It takes so much work and efficiencies across an entire organization to do it and do it well time and time again. I’m constantly impressed by what’s being accomplished out there.
How do you define creativity?
Creativity in the toy business to me is the ability to develop something exciting within the confines of retail. It needs to be a great product of course, but it also needs to be on trend or culturally relevant, it needs to fit on the shelf, It needs to provide margin, it needs to have great packaging and value and just getting it on the shelf isn’t enough. You have to drive it off the shelf with marketing and by creating demand, it’s just a load of work that takes creativity across every facet to be successful. If one of these pieces to the puzzle is off, the whole program could go down in flames.
Where did you grow up and how did that influence the work you do today?
I grew in in Los Angeles and was always close to Hollywood talent. I have lot of friends in the entertainment and music space I grew up with. I have close friends in every major studio both on the creative side as well as in licensing and consumer products. It certainly helps in my ability to deliver for my clients to cut through the fray and get things done.
(Adam's dad, Henry, in Hong Kong circa late 70s.)
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