High Five” to Products Discovered at Licensing Expo and ASTRA

Warren Buffett

We first met in '73. I saw a more animated Warren at Licensing Expo.
July’s “High Five” column counts down a handful of products that Editorial Director David Gaunt discovered at the Licensing Expo and ASTRA trade shows. His personal shout outs include an animated “reunion” with Warren Buffet, Peruvian smiles, a recommended store appearance by a famous silhouette artist and author, card-caring creators of family games, and an original new entry in the silicone bandz craze that stands up to any competitor.

Warren Buffett is a Character!

Warren Buffett

"Secret Millionaires Club"
In 1973, I was hired as an editor/photographer/personnel assistant at a trading stamp company. Warren Buffett was an offsite owner of the company, which also purchased See’s Candies. Mr. Buffett visited the offices several times each year, although he was not then known as the “world’s greatest investor.” I knew him as a quiet, humble gentleman that earned great respect. Of course, I remember him, but he has no idea that he is a part of the trivia in the résumé of memories of my career.

So, I was surprised to see a cartoon character of the Berkshire Hathaway icon at this year’s Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. Warren Buffett is set to star in an animated series, “Secret Millionaires Club,” in which he teaches children about the basics of business. The series is scheduled to air this fall on the cable channel Hub. I was amazed to see this man that I would see at work so many decades ago as a cartoon character standing larger than life at the Licensing Expo! I was impressed how he continues to “give back” and help young children learn character-building and investment habits that can influence their financial futures and good reputation. (I also found it interesting that at the same A Squared Entertainment booth was an illustrated version of a 10-year old Martha Stewart, who also stars in an animated show to engage kids in craft projects!) Just when I think I’ve about seen it all… I just have to return to the Licensing Expo once again to see something surprising!

For “Secret Millionaires Club” episodes, games and financial tips for children, go to www.smckids.com. For licensing opportunities contact A Squared Entertainment at 310-273-4222, www.a2entertain.com

Ñañaritos are All Smiles!


This trio put their smiles on MY face!
I like to smile and, of course, giggle and laugh. I met the business team of Ñañaritos at The Licensing Expo and did all three, even before I learned that Ñañaritos are all about happiness! The bright and joyful illustrated trio includes characters JOS that got and passed on the first smile; OCIS, a red-petaled grin generator; and YUYU, a bee who bumbles about carrying smiles to far away places.

Ñañaritos are smiles hidden in colors, textures and shapes. The fanciful characters proclaim, “We are beautiful emotions that feed on the joy of those who see us. When someone smiles, our energy gets replenished and somewhere in the world another Ñañarito is born!” Sounds like a wonderful life!

Licensed products include books (to learn Spanish/English), backpacks, apparel, and unlimited smiles of creativity to come. Ñañaritos sure put a smile on my face!

For more information about this licensing opportunity from Puerto Rico, email Yasmîn Rodrîquez from C-Mar Corp. at , 787-378-1781. Get happy at www.nanaritos.com

Silhouette Artist Clay Rice Knows Shadows!

"The Lonely Shadow" by Clay Rice
One would think that Clay Rice was a shadow himself, since he has such a loyal following that appreciates his silhouette art as well as his book, The Lonely Shadow. I met Clay at the recent ASTRA show and was fascinated by his story and his talent. His charming book celebrates shadows and nature, and is a beautifully illustrated tale of discovery and friendship.

Since I always remind retail store owners that they have to be event planners in order to get customers to visit more often, I was especially interested that Clay visits stores, schools and museums throughout the country, autographing his books and creating shadow silhouettes of children. It’s an art form he learned from his grandfather over 30 years ago.

Retailers schedule his personal appearance and make at least 60 appointments for a child’s original silhouette profile. Clay told me that no store has ever not been able to meet this goal. Check out Clay’s schedule and see if and when he can include your location on his appearance route. Contact Clay Rice for in-store events at 800-348-7270. See more at www.ricegalleries.com. To order books, write to

Fun Q Games Puts Family Fun on Deck


I was asked to Think Quick, Act Faster!
I met the Fun Q couple, Jeanine and Daniel Calkin at ASTRA. Hearing their backstory as a hard-working married couple who loves creating wildly entertaining family card games was as much fun as test-slapping their frenzied new game, Befuzzled. Which is usually what I am when asked to “think quick, act faster!” I enjoyed hearing their passion and enthusiasm for their award-winning Fun Q Games, Inc. business, how these two brainstorm ideas, appreciate each other’s different talents and teamwork together to create a family business based on family fun.

My own family of three children grew up playing games with Mom and me. Today, even as adults, we still get together to play new games as well as old favorites. I highly recommend that families play more card, board and imaginative games together. It builds a lifetime of fun memories. (However, no one will play classic Password with us any more, because my wife and I have mind-melding powers and cannot be beat!)

Deal Fun Q Games into your store’s activities. Maybe plan a night for families to come to your store to play a selection of new games! Fun Q Games offers several ways to get started. Contact www.funqgames.com, email or call 401-345-7850.

Kids Will Go Hog Wild Over PiggyBack Bandz

PiggyBack Bandz

LOL is a stand-alone innovation!
The silicone bandz craze, which is over populated with non-patented brands, has been a phenomenon of fun, mixed with a bit of non-intended controversy and unfortunate “hidden meanings” in schools. Having first seen the multi-colored silly wristbands in NYC, I was amazed that it took nearly a year for them to appear in Southern California. Since my oldest son is a middle school English teacher, I asked him ages ago if his students were wearing bandz. Since he never heard of them before, I gave him a few samples. Just as they finally did catch on in his classroom, there is a NEW innovative patent-pending brand, PiggyBack Bandz, that I discovered at the ASTRA show that really stood out as a winner!

Having been on the bandz wagon already, I thought they were yesterday’s news. I was wrong because PiggyBack Bandz have added a new twist to the collectable accessories by making the images of the bandz literally stand up on the wrist, so the outlined stencil-like images can be seen while wearing. In “old school” versions, the icons could only be seen when off the wrist. The PiggyBack Bandz are available in 8 theme packs from alphabet letters and sports through glam and groovy.

So, retailers, time to refresh the power of impulse buys at your cash registers with the newest and most creatively versatile wrist accessory since the rubber band!

Fungrins, LLC in Thomasville, Georgia manufactures and markets the PiggyBack Bandz. For more information, visit www.piggybackbandz.com or email

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