Those of us who work in the toy industry are migratory. Like birds, we fly annually to Dallas, Hong Kong, Nuremberg, Germany, and New York City. Depending upon the home base, the journey may also include London, Paris, Sao Paulo, Dubai, and other stops, some exotic and some not so much. I like to call it "The Toy Highway."
We have been making this journey for decades, but it appears that changes may be underway. There are two significant factors at work that are causing Los Angeles to emerge as an important stop for toy companies: Civic unrest in Hong Kong and the growth of Los Angeles as a toy center in the U.S.
Los Angeles has, of course, long been a stop for toy retailers who, each October, visit the Mattel headquarters in El Segundo, California. What is new, however, is the number of toy companies joining them.
Similar to Kowloon, toy companies are taking hotel suites and showroom space in the El Segundo area and meeting with retailers who are already there for their Mattel visit. It appears to be entirely self-forming with no organization promoting or organizing it.
Adding to the dynamic is the recent civic disruptions taking place in Hong Kong. Though the unrest in Hong Kong is temporary, it is creating concerns among some buyers who are feeling cautious and uncertain about their upcoming travels to that city. One unintended consequence of the unrest may be to funnel more toy business to Los Angeles.
I plan to study this situation in more detail. If you have opinions or some insights, please share them with us.