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Toy Fair: Essential Planning Tips to Maximize your Time
By Tim Connolly
December 1, 2002

So, your bags are packed and you’re ready for four days of shmoozing at the 100th annual Toy Fair in NYC. Here’s a few do’s and don’ts to help make the trip worthwhile:

  • Plan Ahead. Make the most of online resources to research the products you’re looking for. Most companies advertise their booth numbers well in advance, and usually offer toll-free numbers to let you know, or at least hint at, any special offers that may be available at Toy Fair.
  • Make Appointments. Try to pre-arrange meetings with exhibitors who are of particular interest to you. Contact prior to Toy Fair can warm up a meeting fast, and give you a better shot at undivided attention.
  • Be Selective. You won’t have time to take in every seminar that sounds interesting, so choose only those that will benefit your business. Don’t worry about appearing rude if you’re halfway through a presentation and realize it’s not to your benefit to stick it out. Take the printed materials and find something that better suits your needs.
  • Set Goals. Stay flexible in your schedule, but know what you want to get out of Toy Fair. Is it a suitcase full of catalogs, or to put your business on the map by shaking as many hands as possible? Someone’s paying for this trip, after all.
  • Ask Questions. Let the Rep do his presentation, then ask questions specific to your business. You want to find out what products are out there, and expand your networking reach. The best way to do this is face-to-face with your professional peers, and by finding out who the players are in your market.
  • Be Generous with your Business Cards. Being stingy with your cards indicates that you’re either too clueless to have one, or you’re not interested in maintaining new contacts. Cards are easy to come by, a good first impression is not.
  • Remember to Follow up. Whether you’re a retailer or manufacturer, making new contacts is the reason you went to Toy Fair. Keeping in touch lets them know you’re still interested, and gives you an edge over those who don’t bother.


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