Pete Laudin and, his wife Adrienne, are the founders of one of America’s oldest ‘Doll Only’ e-commerce stores: The Pattycake Doll Co., currently located at https://BestDollsForKids.com. Peter shares 10 lessons he has learned after attending numerous Toy Fairs.
1: How big: If you took 3 football fields and laid them side by side, and then did it again on a 2nd floor, that’s how big toy fair is.
2: How long: It takes a while to look at everything. There are over 1000 exhibitors on those two floors. If you spent two minutes per booth ,that’s 33 hours. I walk by a lot of booths. You will too.
3: How painful: Don’t wear shoes for how they look. Wear shoes for how they fit.
4: How tired: At the end of the day be careful not to step on the toes of the women who have slipped off their heels.
5: How unorganizedly organized: You really do need to walk the whole show to see everything. For example. We only sell dolls, and although there is an area where doll vendors are concentrated, dolls can also be found in the educational suppliers section, the book publishers section ,and the first time exhibitors are on another floor altogether!
5: How lucky:Yes! There are shuttle buses back to most hotels!
6: How friendly: People will stop and hug old friends at the drop of the hat and in the middle of the aisle. Or in the middle of your conversation. I admit to being one of those huggers.
7: How expensive: I have yet to find an app that let’s me know that I have gone over my ‘open to buy.’ Fortunately ,a lot of what I buy won’t be billed until it ships… in August.
8: How valuable. Every year, I have found something at Toy Fair that I hadn’t seen before – that turned out to be a ‘winner’ in my store, and ended up making enough profits to pay the entire expense of going to Toy Fair.
9: How humbling: Don’t let exuberance override your common sense. You are not buying for ‘you,’ you are buying for ‘them,’ – your customers. I’ve never seen a toy I didn’t like, but plenty of my customers didn’t like.
10: How fattening: You would think that with all that walking ,you would lose weight ,right? There are cakes, candies, cookies, and other sweets EVERYWHERE! at Toy Fair. Teeny Tiny servings by the thousands. And all that walking makes you HUNGRY!