Retailers Speak: All I Want for Toy Fair Is...
Specialty retailers dish on what they want from the 2015 American International Toy Fair
It's Toy Fair season, and who knows better what to look for at the show than experienced retailers?
TDmonthly interviewed specialty stores around the country to find out which companies and products they are excited about seeing this year. Take a look below, and don't forget to check out our 2015 Toy Fair Booths to Visit article for a sneak peek at products and ordering specials from the show.
One thing is for sure - a lot of people are excited about new offerings from LEGO.
Stan Giliberto, owner of Over the Rainbow Toys LLC in Glastonbury, Conn. (a LEGO Gold Standard store), gave some insight into their 2015 offerings. "They're putting out 110 new items in January, which will be backed by another new set of releases in March," he told TDmonthly. He estimates he makes 25% of his sales through LEGO.
"Legos are very important in our business," Taka Andrews, owner of Miller's in Mamoroneck, N.Y., agreed.
Conversely, Phyllis Stroud, owner of Rocking Horse Toy Store in Natchitoches, La., is excited to see LEGO not because they've been a huge success already, but because 2015 will be the first year she carries their products in her store.
A regular on TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted lists, many retailers told us they're excited to check out Playmobil.
"We are always excited to check out the Playmobil booth to see what adventures they have in store for us," Dean Smith, owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told us.
David Stelzer, owner of Shananigans Toy Store in Baltimore, Md., isn't as excited, though he acknowledges he still likes their products. "At Toy Fair, personally I like Playmobil, but I know everything that they have, so it's not a surprise," he told us.
SCIENCE AND ROBOTICS
Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va. told TDmonthly that she'll be on the look out for "Robotics, and more preschool science items."
Mark Rosenblun from Hobbytown in Fairfield, Conn., noted that "Girls' science and building toys are growing in popularity," so he'll be on the look out for those, as well as "robotics and other kits that make science easy for kids."
2015 is slated to be a big year for kids movies, and licensed toys are proving more and more popular with each passing year. That's why Matt Peel, manager of Toys & Co. in Greensboro, N.C., will be on the lookout for "Action figures, movie tie-ins from Star Wars and Despicable Me, or whatever superhero movie is coming out."
Of course, there are plenty of toys that don't fit into a specific category, but long time retailers have an eye for picking out the cream of the crop at Toy Fair.
Smith from JaZams told us, "It would be great to see something that would get people excited about imaginative play. We hear far too often from customers 'What does it do?' when presenting them with imaginative play toys for their children."
Stelzer from Shananigans Toy Store wants to be surprised. "What I'm looking forward to being surprised by is Mattel - they always have some things that they're secretive about, and actually Crayola really surprised me last year too."
Though he won't be attending himself, Peel from Toys & Co. told us that the store owners will be looking at the big specialty companies like Alex, Melissa and Doug, Schylling, Toysmith, and Bruder, as well as seeing what else is new.
Taka from Miller's is "Looking forward to Stieff because they've been out of the country for 5 or 6 years, and are finally back. I'm looking forward to seeing the quaility of their new stuff."
Whether you're looking for science toys or games, construction sets or dolls, we've got you covered. Check out our 2015 Toy Fair Booths to Visit article to get a sneak peek at what manufacturers will be demonstrating at the show, as well as special ordering information and promotions for specialty retailers.
And, as usual, we will have LIVE coverage from the show, from our Retailer Reporters and videographer - so stay tuned!
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Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine
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