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Toy Fair Trade Show Checklist

Anyone planning to attend the upcoming Toy Fair should do a little preparation to make the most of the experience.

"Tradeshows can be an excellent resource, whether you are looking for something in particular or whether you just want to keep abreast of the latest in the industry," says Susan Friedmann, a certified speaking professional known as The Tradeshow Coach . “However, since tradeshows are getting more expensive due to increased travel costs, you want to make sure that you get the most of your time while you’re there. Your preparation should begin as soon as you commit to attending.”

You should start by creating a list of concrete things you want to accomplish during the show. That´s something Joanne Farrugia, president of the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association, does whenever she attends a show.

"My goal is always to find 10 to 15 new lines rather than new products," she says.

Once you´ve established your goals, review the exhibitor list on the show´s website to identify some companies that might help you achieve your goals.

"Because time is limited, it´s best to get as much information as you can before going," notes Friedmann. "Websites are often the best resource (ToyShow Preview). By doing the basic research beforehand, you can spend your time at a booth asking more in-depth questions. The more prepared you are, the more you are going to get out of it."

"I either start upstairs in the galleria and work aisle by aisle, or downstairs and go aisle by aisle," she advises. "I actually stop at the smaller booths and look at what´s new. I don´t spend as much time at the bigger booths because I know I´m going to see a rep."

For more information on new products, visit our ToyShow Preview link.

Related Article--published last year by TDmonthly:

Essential Planning Tips to Maximize your Time
By Tim Connolly

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.

  • Writer's Bio: Paul A. Paterson is a freelance writer living and working in Southern Ontario. He has worked for, among other publications, an Ontario based family magazine and a start-up online service. His household includes four children, three cats, a dog and one wife. Read more articles by this author


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