I am packing up to leave Hong Kong and as I do so I cannot escape the notion that the average age of the toy industry’s independent sales representatives is getting older. As I walked through the streets of Kowloon I could not escape the feeling that there are simply far fewer young people working in the businesses. Subsequent conversations with other industry professionals found others agreeing with my insight.
Is it important that there are fewer young sales reps? I think so; the toy industry’s independent sales force has always served a key role in moving the industry forward through its ability to convince buyers to take chances on new, innovative products and by its high spirits. That sales force has historically been a multi-generational, and in some cases, a family based enterprise. Older sales people mentored younger ones so that the “been there done that” of veterans was balanced by the “I don’t know any better” of newbie’s.
So where are those hard driving, hard playing people in their 20’s and early 30’s? It’s a puzzle because there are a lot of students graduating from college with big debts and no jobs. Shouldn’t a chance to sell products in the toy industry be seen by them as a great opportunity?
Why aren’t young people entering the toy industry; what negative effects might it have and what can be done? I will write about that in my next two postings.