Seven years after Tiger Electronics sold to Hasbro for some $335 million, co-founder Roger Shiffman and at least six of his lieutenants have set up Zizzle. The company, to be unveiled at Toy Fair this week, will focus on electronic toys but will also offer action figures, games and collectibles. It plans to roll out 50 items over a dozen product lines annually, most of which will target 6-to-12-year-old boys and girls.
Mr. Shiffman is Zizzle's president-CEO. His new company will focus on technology innovations as well as retrofitting dusty products for today's kids market. The Zizzle CEO says he aims to create an innovative marketer that's more agile than the more well-established toy competitors.
"We have the skills and the knowledge to create great products at the right price," Mr. Shiffman says. His past best sellers included virtual buddies like Giga Pets and Furby, and the robotic dog Poo-Chi; prices ranged from $4 for an electronic key chain to $100 for a robotic dog.
Zizzle's chief marketing officer is Marc Rosenberg, who was senior VP-marketing at Tiger and is folding his PR and promotions company into the new toy marketer. Exec VP-product development at Zizzle is Patricia Jackson, once Tiger's senior VP-marketing and product development.
"There are so many good products and so many great products that aren't being made," Mr. Rosenberg says, adding that too few toy companies understand what kids want-research he conducts at pizza parties with his son and daughter and their friends.
"So many people want to hide behind focus groups and not actually talk to kids," he says. "And sometimes you have to sit on the floor with kids in the family room and ask them what they like."