LOS ANGELES, Feb. 25, 2020 -- Anna Mowbray, the youngest female running a massive, fast-growing global toy company, was named 2020 Wonder Woman in Manufacturing at the Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT) annual gala held during Toy Fair New York. The revered recognition by industry peers offers insight into Mowbray's drive to change the way toys are made, and her pledge to leave a long-lasting global impact on the industry and the planet itself.
Destined to disrupt the status quo, the 36-year-old is COO of New Zealand-owned ZURU, the 15th largest toy company in the United States and the outfit behind some of today's hottest brands including 2019's Boppi the Booty Shakin' Llama, the massive pop-culture mega-hit 5 Surprise Mini Brands™, two-time Toy of the Year winner Bunch O Balloons™ and the Toy of the Year-winning X-SHOT™ dart/water blaster brand, among many others.
"I'm incredibly honored to be named a Wonder Woman by this amazing industry," said Mowbray. "Our manufacturing and vertical supply chain are truly unique and one of the reasons ZURU is so disruptive. This award really celebrates the creativity and work of our engineering, factory and supply chain teams and I'm truly blessed to have such incredibly driven and smart talent at ZURU."
At the helm of operations, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, sales, product development, investments, legal and finance, Mowbray has a fierce determination to harness her family company's immense platform for good.
When it comes to manufacturing she is focused on automation, integrating the supply chain and executing ZURU's industry-leading ten-year sustainability program; in short, rethinking how ZURU designs new and existing products, reducing the use of plastics and their products carbon footprint, offering consumers easy avenues to recycle, all while still delivering a top-quality experience. ZURU manufactures toys every day across ZURU's exclusive partner factories and distributes its award-winning products to 121+ countries.
For 13 years, ZURU has been making progressive operating changes. Ms. Mowbray led the acquisition and set-up of new manufacturing facilities which multiplied the company's owned factory space to 54 acres in 2019. Through this integration, ZURU now produces its Bunch O Balloons, X-SHOT dart and water blasters, MAX Build More construction bricks and 5 Surprise capsules through proprietary automated machinery.
ZURU's sustainability agenda is also driving change in their manufacturing and operations. Reducing and eliminating unnecessary tissue, packaging and virgin plastic have been among the sustainable business and product development practices ZURU has adopted. ZURU's long-term strategic alliance with the recycling giant TerraCycle encourages consumers to think 'green' and recycle 100% of their used Bunch O Balloons products and packaging in the USA, Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand, where they will then be processed and recycled into new materials. In Fall 2020 ZURU will move towards converting all Bunch O Balloons stems to be made from traceable certified recycled plastic. In addition, the company is replacing the plastic blind bags found in many surprise toy ranges to paper and other sustainable materials, and moving to recyclable PET over PP.
Mowbray's do-good modus operandi also centers around women's advancement and philanthropic endeavors around the globe. ZURU is a leading partner of Captivating International, which provides resources and education to women across Asia. Anna has established graduate programs with Universities in California, China, Hong Kong and New Zealand and personally mentors the next generation of leaders.
Philanthropically, in 2019 ZURU made over $4 million in donations totaling 1% of the total revenue. Recipients include My First Job Program and Vocational School Scholarships, supporting over 300 young women through education; the Boys & Girls Club of America; Starship Children's Hospital; and the Kiwi-based Crohn's Foundation, to increase support and education, and improve the quality of life of thousands of children and adults affected by this disease.
The 16th Annual Wonder Women Awards, held on Sunday, February 23, coinciding with Toy Fair New York, honored top female executives, thought leaders, entrepreneurs and other changemakers for their extraordinary accomplishments and impact within the toy, licensing and the entertainment industries.
ZURU is a disruptive and award-winning company that designs, manufactures and markets innovative toys and consumer products. Inspired by kids and imaginative play, ZURU is one of the fastest-growing toy companies in the world and is known for their agility, creativity and new-age manufacturing techniques. The company that started in New Zealand and is now headquartered in Hong Kong, now directly or indirectly employs more than 5,000 staff across 10 countries and distributes to most major retailers in over 120 countries. ZURU has delighted millions of families all over the world with brands such as Bunch O Balloons™, X-Shot™, Rainbocorns™, Robo Alive™, Smashers™, 5 Surprise™, Pets Alive™ and Metal Machines™ as well as through partnerships with entertainment properties, including Nickelodeon, Disney, Universal Studios and DreamWorks. With a strong commitment to the community, ZURU supports Captivating International, local China orphanages and also student development programs in Asia and in New Zealand. ZURU will continue to pave new ways for kids to play and focuses on reimagining what this looks like every day. For more info, visit www.zuru.com, and follow on Facebook @ZURUToys, Twitter @ZURUToys and Instagram @ZURU.toys.