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Mattel Partners With Quirky To Find Next Big Hit After Barbie

Toy maker Mattel, which is synonymous with iconic brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price, has teamed up with New York-based invention company Quirky to work on the next big thing after Barbie.

On Thursday, April 16, Mattel and Quirky announced their partnership, which the former hopes will aid it in getting out of the sales slump Barbie is facing. Mattel is also hoping that Quirky's team at its disposal, the company will be able to reimagine its "core brands" such as Barbie.

"This marks a new era for Mattel. Leveraging Quirky's platform allows us to discover new ideas for our toys and unique solutions for our baby products. Just as importantly, this new partnership will enable us to accelerate the speed and scope of invention by tapping into Quirky's dynamic community," revealed Richard Dickson, President and COO of Mattel.

Mattel is struggling to keep pace with new gadgets and tablets that are consuming the attention of children. Vying with tech-oriented products is a challenge for the U.S. toy maker and many others like it. Therefore, to get out of the sales slump — Mattel's sales saw a dip for the sixth consecutive quarter — the toy maker is looking for ways to increase its products' appeal to children.

The popularity of 56-year-old Barbie is also waning, and global sales of the iconic doll saw a fall of 14 percent in Q1 2015. In the same period, Mattel's net loss was over four-fold at $58.2 million.

Barbie is also competing for kids' attention thanks to a gamut of new electronic toys and merchandise from Disney's popular Frozen film franchise. Moreover, competitors such as Lego and Hasbro have been eating into Mattel's market share and are instrumental in the slide in sales of Barbie.

Barbie accounts for nearly a quarter of Mattel's sales, and, therefore, the sales decline of the doll has left the company notably shaken. To revive Barbie's appeal and popularity, Mattel replaced CEO Bryan Stockton with Christopher Sinclair in January this year.

Sinclair seems optimistic of Mattel's core brands' future and is gung-ho to make alterations that will give an impetus to the company.

"We're starting to see progress with our core brands like Barbie and Fisher-Price, and I am confident we are making the changes necessary to perform better in the future," said Sinclair in a statement.

The fact that Quirky takes public ideas into consideration and selects the best proposal from amateur inventors to create a mass product means that Mattel will have a pulse on what the consumers want and, therefore, the reimagining of its core brands would possibly be easier.

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart | Flickr

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