This was an excellent Toy Fair in terms of attendance and spirit but it was challenging for many to get past the death of Elise Lachowyn. The toy industry is, despite its numbers and global reach, a pretty small family. The longer you stay in the business the more people you know. A lot of people knew Elise.
Elise was currently working at Tech4Kids but had made stops along the way at Wham-O and Spin Master. She was struck by a dump truck while crossing the street in front of the Javits Center; something all of us do and will never again take for granted. Only 48 years old, she is survived by her husband Drew and her 6-year-old daughter Skyler. There is a gofundme page set up in her memory with donations going to educate her daughter.
I had met her on a few occasions but was not close with her. Many others, however, were and it showed in their faces and sometimes in their tears. I spoke with someone who encouraged her to attend this year's Toy Fair; someone else who had once hired her for a position and another person who worked with her in bringing his creation to market. There was a moment of silence observed at the Women In Toys banquet where in 2006 she had won the “Woman to Watch” award. She was also remembered from the podium at the Spin Master party, the Toy of the Year awards and I am sure at other events.
I will express my thoughts on Toy Fair more fully in my next posting but for now, a moment of silence…