New York Toy Fair 2011 was good but where were the Rockettes?

Richardblogheader (3) 
This year’s New York Toy Fair was a good one. 
It was well managed with a TOTY Awards evening and trade show that moved smoothly and quickly when it needed to be.  Congratulations to Carter Keithley, Marian Bossard, Stacy Leistner and the rest of the TIA staff.  Well done!

What was missing, at least for me, was a sense that this was a show taking place in New York.  Once in Javits, I felt that I could have been in any large venue anywhere in the country.  New York is a tremendous asset for Toy Fair so where were the "Rockettes", where were the FAO Schwarz Royal Guards, where was the cast of “Jersey Boys?”  In other words, where were the elements that make a New York show memorable for being…well…in New York.

That concern aside, the TIA is to also to be commended for increased international attendance this year thanks to its efforts with the U.S. Commerce Department.  In addition, attendance overall was up as was attendance by mainstream press.

I stand by my earlier statement that the animal spirits on the floor were not as high as they were in Nuremberg or Hong Kong.  In fact, some of the exhibitors I spoke with felt that foreign buyers at the show were more aggressive in their purchasing than their North American brothers and sisters.  This more aggressive outlook seems to be a carryover from what I saw at the Nuremberg show.

As I was leaving Toy Fair on the final day it suddenly struck me how much I loved this industry and the people in it.  The folks I saw at the various parties I attended; in the aisles I walked; in the audiences to which I spoke as well as in the coffee lines, dining tables and the restaurants I visited; were hopeful, creative, warm and robust.  Thank you to each and everyone of you because ultimately you are the ones who make Toy Fair and this industry what it is.   


5 thoughts

  1. For all you folks who made the show (as an all category consultant, i had to stay on the West Coast and cover MAGIC) did you see any great trends, or new concepts that are worthy of mention?

  2. Nice post, Richard. You articulated what seems obvious (after you articulated it) but something I didn’t think of. How can Toy Fair better capitalize on the advantages—even the romance of NYC? Maybe that’s why I was drawn away from Javits to the old Toy Fair building for a killer pizza. That aside, I did enjoy being greeted in the aisles, at parties and in coffee lines by new and old friends who have a passion for the business and a true generosity of spirit. Thanks for your perspective.

  3. A great summary of the show – it’s nice to know that my observations, while not informed by the same valuable years of experience, are in line with the big picture.
    I managed to add some New York flavor to the event personally by participating in their Play Happens mobile game, which encouraged attendees to check-in to venues all over the city with a smartphone and FourSquare. I also made sure to check out the ‘real Ken dolls’ in Times Square – conveniently next to our hotel – which was a real sight to behold!
    Already, as always, looking forward to next year, and to a 2011 filled with the valuable relationships that were formed this week.

  4. Richard, I agree – and this is all the more reason that I (and my small company) continue to feel that a move away from New York is overdue. Between the “take your chances” February weather, the dismal state of Javits and the exorbitant costs, there are many cities (Orlando? Las Vegas?) that would be a suitable alternative. Gone is the Toy Building (which I did enjoy selling in) and any real connection to New York. Let’s move on and get a new perspective.

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