by Bruce Maguire (Freeman Public Relations) | 23 Sep 2021
The Bloom Report
A makeshift backyard birthday party favor accidentally launched Texas-based entrepreneur and current VP of Sales and Marketing at Zing, Beaver Raymond, into the toy business!
In 2003, Raymond was running a successful clothing manufacturing company. The night before his son’s 9th birthday party, his wife Kim frantically announced to him that they needed 25 party favors for the guests! Raymond headed out to Home Depot, bought some PVC pipe and rigged a craft novelty to build what would be the first Marshmallow Shooter that shoots real marshmallows. Kids AND adults at the party loved it! So much so that that’s how, quite literally, the Marshmallow Fun Company was launched.
Fast forward to 2019. Zing, the maker and innovator of high-performance active playthings, was poised to expand its line of blasters. They had their sights set on Marshmallow Fun Company and Raymond. They knew his whimsical, yet innovative, products seamlessly fit into Zing’s award-winning line of blasters and bow and arrows. The deal was made, Raymond came on board and a sweet relationship began.
Raymond, now the VP of Sales and Marketing at Zing, is still a product development guy at heart. He continues to strive to bring more ingenious toys and novelty playthings to market. “My favorite part of working in this business is coming up with something that people didn’t know they needed -- like the Marshmallow Blasters!”
Under his creative direction and innovative guidance, Zing has continued to “bring the fun” and imagination! Not only have they added marshmallow blasters to their portfolio, but they’ve also re-energized and expanded their popular Stikbot line and soared into new toy aisles with the launch of their hit RC Go Go Bird.
Zing’s foothold in the outdoor category is undeniably strong, thanks in large part to its award-winning Air Storm, Firetek and HyperStrike Bow & Arrows lines. Raymond’s Marshmallow Blasters expanded that footprint, but he strived to broaden it further with the clever addition of the new Air Hunterz Wrist Bow, a “wearable bow & arrow” that launches soft, suction cup arrows directly from the wearer’s wrist!
And then there’s Zing’s Go Go Bird. At the 2020 Hong Kong Toy Fair, Raymond and other Zing sales team members were walking the show floor when they saw an RC flying bird, they knew then and there that Zing had to have it. Quickly, quietly and oh so aggressively, they sat down and made the deal. With only weeks before New York Toy Fair, Raymond worked with his team to rapidly redesign their booth, now focusing on the main attraction: a 10-foot-high bird cage to house the new Zing Go Go Bird. The never-before-seen, high-flying remote-control bird was the star of the show. Raymond knew they struck gold. New SKUs will be added to the line this year when the Zing Go Go Bird Dragon and the Zing Go Go Bird Butterfly become available on Amazon this October. The Zing Go Go Bird line has allowed Zing to continue to expand their footprint in the outdoor category.
“Most RC toys are essentially designed for boys,” said Raymond, “so we wanted to be sure we developed something that resonated with girls.” After tooling and research, the Zing Go Go Bird Butterfly was born, recreating the equally iconic and popular Monarch Butterfly.
Stepping inside from the great outdoors, Raymond also turned his attention to Zing’s hit stop-motion animation line of Stikbots. “Stikbot is certainly one of Zing’s legacy lines,” said Raymond, “so we want to continue to add new figure styles to sell and new storylines for the Stikbot YouTube channel.” In store for 2022: Dinos and Mega Monsters that will glow-in-the-dark and Stikbot Monsters in transparent colors.
On top of masterminding toys, Zing has also set their sights on developing eco-friendly compact packaging beginning in 2022, with a mandate to help save both the environment and their customers’ money at the same time. “We’re going to cut down on single-use plastics, making our packaging 100% biodegradable for all of Zing’s available SKUs.” Zing’s original packaging as well as the eco-friendly packaging (no single-use plastic blisters, pull ties, inserts, etc.) will be available for retailers, with an eye towards having 100% biodegradable packaging in 2022.
With 2022 just a few months away, Zing is poised for a great year with new and exciting products up their sleeves. “We want to continue to craft and create products that have that ultimate WOW-factor for both kids and adults.”