by TOMY | 12 May 2022
Biographies and Interviews
Hi Morgan! Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself with us today. What drew you to the toy industry?
Cartoons, specifically Japanese Animés, toys, games, and video games were all a critical part of my childhood. I think I just didn’t want to grow out of that phase!
I’m a kid at heart and genuinely love toys and content. I work for a Japanese toy company… it’s just a dream come true.
What do the best days at work look like?
I’m not sure I’ve had my best days yet: it keeps getting better. What fuels me is going through the day, from one time zone to another, seeing the same passion and enthusiasm from our teams, retailers, and consumers for one of our global brands like Club Mocchi- Mocchi-, TOOMIES or Lamaze.
You've spent most of your career at TOMY in licensing. Why this segment?
I have been extremely lucky to work for TOMY for more than 20 years and serve this amazing company across functions and territories. In my very first role at TOMY, I was part of a team expanding Gacha Toy Vending Machine business outside of Japan. This was 100% licensed base and I loved it from day one. For a 23-year-old grown man, working every day with Nintendo, Pokémon, Disney, Warner Bros… come on!!!
New content is coming every day and searching for the best match for our company to bring to life in TOMY toys is a fantastic treasure hunt. I feel like a kid in a candy store.
Tell us about your current favorite projects and what's ahead?
I work in the toy and licensing industry! Everything becomes a favorite for me.
We have a strong portfolio of brands and platforms we try to strategically expand.
Our toddler preschool brand TOOMIES has been around for decades and finding new ways to engage with today’s kids is always a fun challenge. Developing our successful line of Peppa Pig bath toys as well as toddler’s very first dinosaur with Jurassic World and first superhero with DC Comics have been great experiences for the team. Additional AAA licensing collaborations will be making their way to retail this fall. We’ll bring E.T. to our Pop-Up family of games, amazing Transformers to our branded Monster Treads vehicles and further expand our Club Mocchi- Mocchi- collector plush beyond Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Kirby, Naruto and My Hero Academia. More to come.
TAKARA TOMY will be 100 years in 2024? How do you see the brand evolving in the years to come?
This is obviously an exciting milestone, for any company. The beauty is that we kept our founder’s DNA intact, always putting surprise, creativity and design at the forefront of our thinking. While we’ll celebrate 100 years of TOMY creations, we’ll also be setting the foundation of what TOMY will be for the next 100 years. We’re very intentional about persevering the heritage we want to hand over to children around the world. We are closely working with our board and chairman, Pete Henseler, as we look at further globalizing the company and having a more cohesive approach to all toy markets in which we operate.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m extremely lucky. I grew up and still live in one of the most beautiful places in the world (Annecy in the French Alps, home of the World’s Animation Festival), and am still able to enjoy it with my wonderful family and long lasting group of friends. I have an astonishing playground on my doorstep. From snowboarding to trekking, swimming to mountain biking, there is always something to do, regardless of the season!
When we stay at home, I love spending time with my wife and sons playing traditional games, video games, watching movies, reading French “Bandes Dessinées” and Japanese Mangas.
It's summer and we are all thinking about traveling again. Where are you planning to go this summer?
I’m actually not planning to go too far this year. South of France, by the Mediterranean Sea will be the destination. Trekking in Esterel Massif, paddling in the bay, enjoying sandcastle building, family time, local food, and wine is on the agenda.
You're headed to Licensing Show in Las Vegas? What do you most look forward to at the licensing show? Have you ever seen a Vegas show while in town?
I am so looking forward to being back in Vegas. London BLE was one of my 2021 highlights after spending so much time behind a screen. Seeing my colleagues and all our friends from the licensing industry again will be fantastic. We found new ways to communicate and work together since the last edition, but it’ not the same. It will be a celebration of all that was achieved and everything ahead of us. With consumption and consumer behaviors changing at rapid pace, I’m looking forward to hearing and sharing ideas on how we can collectively evolve our licensing model to better answer retail, supply chain, environmental challenges.
As far as getting to enjoy the Vegas entertainment surrounding the show, I’ve been able to see various “Cirque du Soleil” shows through the years. Each show is always different and inspiring-- demonstrating creativity and project management at its best!
How do you personally keep your thinking fresh?
A combination of different things. I don’t take everything for granted, challenge the status quo, and look at the world through the eyes of my children. I’m surrounded by amazing talents at TOMY and that definitely help inspire my thinking.
What are the three best things a manager can do for their team?
A company’s most important assets are its people!
-Demonstrating empathy is critical. It will drive effective, open communication and trust, fostering strong and long-term bonds between team members.
-Listen, listen listen! Whilst setting overarching goals and expectations is important, be opened to new ideas and approaches. Give each of your team member the opportunity to voice their thoughts. After all, they are in the thick of it each day so will have genuine great ideas on how to better answer the goals you set.
-Delegate, give your team responsibilities. Your team is a critical part of the solution, and you always win together. Acknowledge it is OK to make mistakes… Afterall, they are an important part of what made us managers. We gain critical knowledge from our mistakes if we are willing to learn from them.
Favorite childhood toy?
I’m not kidding, it’s from TOMY… Racing Turbo and Space Turbo! But my He-Man Grayskull Castle, my GI-Joe and Saint Seiya Figures will hate me for saying that!
Favorite business book?
Any retailer Christmas toy catalogue.
One thing few people know about you?
Ouch, that’s a difficult one… I’m an open book and speak too much so…
Staying with work, I received the call for my initial TOMY job interview as I was trekking. The phone network came back live just as I reached the mountain’s top. My phone rang as we were contemplating the Mont Blanc. It turned out to be a monumental day to say the least.