Zizzle is one of those companies where the product are instantly recognizable, even if the general public never knew the company’s name. Whether you liked it or not, their cartoonish alien look-alike iZ toy immediately captured the attention of holiday gift buyers a few Christmas seasons ago, and several of it’s follow on products, including major license based products (Pirates of the Caribbean and Hannah Montana) sold extremely well.
Unfortunately, like so many other small companies in the toy and hobby market, Zizzle’s been done in by the current economic depression. For toy makers the annual gift season, from roughly late September through December 24th at midnight, can account for up to 90% of their yearly revenue. It’s a make or break period where once a year companies bet the farm.
To make matters even worse, they are forced by circumstances and the calendar to commit huge sums of money in advance to insure that product will be on major retailer’s shelves (and available to online channels like Amazon). When something unexpected occurs, like the global economy tanking just before Christmas, they are stuck holding the bag of debt. And, they typically have to keep a smile on their face as the retailers dump mountains of unsold products back on them and their balance sheets.
Zizzle was forced into that position this time around. The company is up for sale and will be auctioning off its remaining assets the middle of this month. The good news is that several of the key founders, including Roger Shiffman, Marc Rosenberg, and Patty Jackson (all alumni of Tiger Electronics) are very likely to pop up again soon in a new, and highly creative, toy startup.
Now, more than ever, the world needs toys to cheer us up and give us hope. Zizzle as a company and financial entity may be passing away, but we believe that it’s spirit and energy, along with the delight its toys brought to customers worldwide, will live on and blossom through other companies.
Related link: Playthings.com