Toy Fair: Postcards from the Big Top
By Pennie Hoover
December 1, 2002
to Victoria Alden of Birdcage Books, attending Toy Fair means being
on 100% of the time, because you never know whom you’ll meet.
During her first Toy Fair attendance last year, she treated herself
to a shared limousine ride and soon found herself chatting with
the Vice President of Buyers for Toys R Us. “I was even able
to convince him to come by our booth the next day!”
Rick Davis of Lights, Camera, Interaction, Inc, confesses, “We
do 29 shows a year, and they are all trials leading up to the Toy
Fair.” Last year they built a kitchen for their booth to display
a wooden food-toy collection, which inspired many creative last
minute improvements. “People were quite impressed when they
found it was held together by duct tape!” chuckled Davis.
“It’s exciting and a lot of work and you’re exhausted
when you’re finished. The energy that goes into the preparations
and the presentation creates great anticipation for us in seeing
the reception we will get.”
Tom Wallace of Susan Wakeen, Inc., a doll manufacturer, says Toy
Fair is his favorite show of the year. “Our customers know
where we are. They can’t miss us. Almost everything we do
is pink,” he says, referring to the signature pink curtains
his company employs to attract attention.
For Tangle Toys, 2002 was their most memorable Toy Fair experience.
“We wanted to do something for the policemen and firemen of
New York City, and their families,” explained Tangle founder
Richard Zawitz. Tangle produced a limited edition Tangle Toy specifically
for emergency services men and women. “Actually, many of them
were there, walking the show, and we were able to give away almost
all of our limited edition tangles directly to them at the show.
It was very special to us.”
Advice for Newcomers?
“Get there early and leave late,” says Davis. He recommends
pre-planning and prioritizing your daily schedule to make sure you
achieve your goals. Try a Google search online and see what you
can find out about what's new and hot, from special pricing and
minimum order amounts, to product previews on items to be featured
at Toy Fair.
Tom Wallace tells buyers at this year’s Fair to go in with
confidence. “In this economic environment manufacturers are
hungry. Everybody is serious and will do their best to satisfy needs.”
Tangle Toys’ Richard Zawitz, says a representative has two
objectives at Toy Fair: captivate clients and generate leads. For
buyers, he advises, “Look for new things that are different,
exciting, creative, educational, clever, that hit you at the gut
level, not the tried and true corporate stuff.”
For More Tips on how to Maximize your Time at Toy Fair,
Special Event: Celebrating
100 Years Of Making Toys
Side Bar: Tips on how to Maximize
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