"Hot Wheels" Amy

During her tenure with Mattel, Amy Boylan built its software division into a $140 million enterprise, re-organized the company's entertainment division and increased sales in its Hot Wheels adult division. Boylan oversaw the implementation of the Hot Wheels Collector Club, now a multi-million dollar collector business, and the installation of the Hot Wheels Hall of Fame at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Attendance at Hot Wheels collector conventions jumped from 1,500 to more than 5,000 participants annually.

Boylan developed synergistic marketing programs, expanded partnerships with Formula One and NHRA and built a multi-year partnership with eBay. Boylan also reinvigorated Mattel's partnerships with automotive legends John and Ashley Force, George Barris, Tom McEwen, and Don Prudhomme. [prnewswire.com, Sept. 8, 2005]

In an interview with CB's Die-Cast Museum in late 2001, she said:

"I was helping Mattel sell off the software company they bought called TLC (The Learning Company). I had expected when that was accomplished, I would be looking for a new job. But the president of Boys and the CFO asked if I would be interested in helping out on the licensing and technology side, since they didn't have anyone at the time in the Boys New Media group to manage it. I was intrigued, with all the different responsibilities - the Web, technology licensing, software licensing, E-commerce, etc. I said yes. After evaluating all the sites, I realized we could do so much more for the collectors and the kids. We then set about starting development on Planet Hot Wheels and the Collectors site. The first thing John [Ludwig] worked on was getting us a bulletin board to launch so we were "connected" to our collectors. We (the New Media group) think it's a way to get closer to the collector community; to learn what they want from us, to give them a forum to talk to us and to help new collectors starting out in the hobby. I think it's a good place to learn and experience the passion our product invokes."

Asked about the Rodger Dodger experience, she said:

"Looking back, I am not sure what [volume of traffic] we expected. We thought a car specifically made for the collector, from us, would be cool. It was also "our" first car as well. [Even] so, we were not ready for the onslaught of people. I have to say, it was one of our worst times since we started the site. I am not sure what we expected, but we were unprepared to say the least. We took for granted the Mattel processes, or lack of, in doing an online exclusive sale. For example, we didn't know that the fulfillment house had a $25 standard shipping fee to Canada and the rest of the world. We didn't realize they didn't understand the care needed to pack and mail a blister card. We have learned a great deal over the past few months - hopefully the collectors see more steps forward than back.

"[Overall,] we were very happy with the Rodger Dodger exclusive. We expect to do about twelve cars next year. We will be the only group offering cars online in 2002, as we have consolidated all the other programs and clubs. The choice of cars came from a post [on the HWC bulletin boards] "If you could bring back 5 old castings, what would they be." We also are choosing the packaging based on a questionnaire currently on the general forum called "Old Packaging Style, Your Opinion Please." Marketing and the design team have been very happy with all the suggestions we have passed along [from site members]. A lot of the 35th Anniversary suggestions will make it into the 2003 line.

"I am enjoying my relationship with the community right now. The truth is, I think John, Dave [Sanders] and the programming staff have done a great job on the site. I love the site and how well it is doing. I think the collectors are terrific and the bottom line is it doesn't seem like work when I am online posting. That's the best part! I am having more fun than I have had in a long time. Enjoying your job, feeling like you are accomplishing something, making people happy and playing with Hot Wheels - well, it just doesn't get better than that."

Four years later, "Hot Wheels Amy" Boylan was beginning to feel penned in. More of an entrepreneur than a corporate manager, she wanted something more challenging. And she found it, as the new President of Shelby Automobiles, Inc.

Posted to the hotwheelscollectors.com Discussions forum came the following message:

HWC Administrator

Location: El Segundo, CA
Registered: 04-20-05
Posted 06-02-05 10:03 AM

Hey Collectors,
Wanted to let all of our loyal Hot Wheels Collectors know that Amy Boylan (a.k.a. Hot Wheels Amy) has left Mattel. I know that you all join me in wishing her well as she drives off to explore new adventures. During her seven years at Mattel, she was a true advocate for the collector community and built many of the programs that hotwheelscollectors.com has in place, such as the Red Line Club, which will continue to be a big part of our collector site. A collector herself, Hot Wheels Amy embraced the true speed, power and performance of Hot Wheels in so many ways and we'll miss her. I want to assure all of you that Mattel remains completely committed to our dedicated and loyal fans, and we will continue our on-going dialogue with all of you. Your feedback on our product, events and programs is invaluable to us.

Matt Bousquette,
President, Mattel Brands

Amy had met Carroll Shelby in 2003 when he approached her to produce 1,000 Hot Wheels Cobras to give to guests at his 80th birthday party. Shelby was so impressed by the way she handled the request, that when she left Mattel in 2005, he immediately sought her out.

You see, Shelby Automobiles was in a bit of a mess. Even with Carroll's legendary name, there had been some problems with manufacturing and the Series 1 debacle had drained $38 million from the company coffers. Orders for 170 Cobras, even with their $10,000 deposits in hand, couldn't be filled because the company couldn't afford the necessary parts. Although Boylan thought the company was $3 million in debt, it turned out to be closer to $6 mil. The huge Las Vegas facility was practically at a standstill. Perhaps this was too big of a challenge. Well, to most people maybe. To Amy, she saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

Boylan was dedicated to ensuring the legacy of Carroll Shelby. She knew that she had been put in charge of keeping his good name preserved. She talked to the 170 customers and every single one of them said they would rather wait for their Cobras than get back their deposits. She knew there were good people at the factory and she wanted to keep them on to preserve morale as well. She recognized that production contracts were the key to saving jobs at Shelby's plant.

Shelby had been hired as a consultant on the Ford Shelby GT500, but they didn't get a contract to build the car. A month after taking over at Shelby, Boylan visited Ford Motor Co. and walked away with a contract to build Shelby Mustangs in Las Vegas. And it hasn't ended there. The Shelby Hertz GT-H Mustang, a 40th anniversary package for the GT500, and a contract to produce at least 6,000 more Shelby Mustang GTs were all accomplished under Amy's helm. And the best news yet is that all 170 customers have their Cobras, the debt has been almost wiped out thanks to licensing deals like the MacTools Shelby toolboxes, and the staff that had been cut from 52 to 21, is back up to 70 now. And they are busy and have the parts they need to do their jobs. [Automotive News, Dec. 18, 2006]

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