Chief Operating Officer
Lance Kushner spent the first 12 years of his career in sales at the Applause Toy & Gift Company, a behemoth in the American plush toys and novelty industry. Working his way up the ranks to National Sales Manager, he honed expert skills in Sales, Licensing and Creative Marketing in working with the likes of The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. and Sesame Street (CTW) . It was at Applause that Lance learned the insides and outs of Big Box merchandisers and the science behind brand awareness and the power of Licensed Products.
In the mid-1990s his creative spirit and penchant for taking risks lead him to branch out and founded The Idea Factory – a product development and manufacturing agency that quickly became home to some of the most talented toy designers in New York. Bringing over 2000 toy and novelty sku’s to market in a short span of time, the Idea Factory became a force to be reckoned with, Designing and manufacturing unforgettable items for such clients as Disney on Ice, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure and Pioneering 7-Eleven Brain Freeze Brain freeze campaign. But perhaps Lance’s most daring and recognizable escapade was a controversial line of politically incorrect plush dolls parodying the biggest collectibles of the time, The Beanie Babies, aptly called The Meanies. Co-created by Kushner, the Meanies were among the first products to go “viral” and attain international fandom on the burgeoning online social networks. Indeed, the Meanies may go down in history as the edgiest yet cutest characters to hit market. Launching a massive grassroots PR campaign, Lance personally shared their story through appearances on CNN, CNBC, Access Hollywood, Howard Stern Show and others. Culminating in a Full page Story about the Meanies and the sensation in People Magazine, This led Brandweek to name him “Guerrilla Marketer of the Year”
The early 2000’s saw Lance developing another mega-hit trend item called the Glo-Gear Necklace. An illuminated necklace and pendant line that became the darling of Hollywood, Glo-Gear was seen around Kid Rock’s neck on the cover of USA Today. Licensing deals with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys and Disney’s Monsters Inc. soon followed. Glo-Gear sold in over 70 countries and over 30,000,000 units worldwide.
In 2003 Lance teamed up with Sales Guru/ Entrepreneur, Marc Portney, to create Chelsea Home Imports. Chelsea Home Imports is the ultimate private-label, one-stop shop where makers and retailers see their projects shepherded from concept to manufacturing to Store Shelves. The alchemy of Lance’s experience in Marketing, Product Development, Asia Know-how, combined with Portney’s, effective, No Nonsense approach in sales and merchandising, make for a formidable organization well suited to take on the best and the brightest of the day.