STCC is excited to welcome from The Toys That Made Us, the man who brought Star Wars from the big screen to toy aisles everywhere, Kenner Senior Toy Designer Jim Swearingen!
James (Jim) Swearingen was born and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. As a child he spent many Saturdays taking art lessons at the Cleveland Art Museum and later in high school the Cleveland Art Academy. At the suggestion of his high school art teacher with his interest in art and design he was led to the five-year professional practice program at the University Of Cincinnati. Over those five years he worked at General Motors, Phillips/Norelco and a small toy company, Rainbow Crafts where PlayDoh was invented.
He began his professional career in 1972 at Kenner Products located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over his tenure at Kenner he worked on many toy lines including Spirograph, Easy Bake Oven, PlayDoh and more. In the mid-1970's the Preliminary Design was formed under the direction of Dave Okada. The department was formed and charged with developing new product concepts and reviewing television and movie properties looking for great products. "The Six Million Dollar Man” television show was one of Jim’s entertainment based product design projects.
In early 1977 as a Senior Designer Jim was instrumental in Kenner's acquisition of the Lucas Film, Star Wars license and the development of the toy line. In July of 1979 he moved from the Preliminary Design Department to a position as Marketing Product Manager working on the pre-school line and then taking on the Strawberry Shortcake line, from American Greeting, for five years.
In 1985 Jim moved to Hasbro Toys in Rhode Island as Marketing Director working on the introduction of a number of girls toy lines including Jem, Moon Dreamers and a few more. In 1990 Jim returned to Kenner to work in both design and marketing positions before leaving to form his own design-consulting firm in 1992. S.O.E.D.A., Inc. provided conceptual design and development support for a variety of toy and consumer product manufacturers. In 2007 the firm was closed and Jim retired.
He now lends his experience and talents as a consultant on special projects. These included the launch of the Kimmie Cares™ doll, developed for moms to play with and talk to their children about cancer and chemo therapy. Another was to develop and launch Hooray! Toys™.
He is very proud to say, he was inducted by the Kentucky Bluegrass Garrison as an Honorary Member of the 505st Legion in 2018.
The Mandalorian Mercs is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wats fans and volunteers. We attend and participate in charity and non-charity events in armored costumes we built by hand.