On with the show…it’s John Baulch’s Friday Blog!

Each week, .we are pleased to share British toy industry commentator, John Baulch’s “Friday Blog.” John Baulch, the Publisher of Toy World, is an outstanding source of knowledge and wit about the British toy industry.

John has worked in the toy industry on several trade magazines over the past 40 years, culminating in the launch of his own publication – Toy World – 11 years ago. John writes the popular Friday Blog, which is posted on the Toy World website every Friday, and he is also a member of the Spielwarenmesse Trend Committee.

Toy World is the leading B2B magazine and website for the UK toy community. The print issue of Toy World is published every month, while the website is updated daily – both the magazine and the website feature the latest news, views, analysis and opinion from across the toy market.

We’re in the depths of summer, a time when hot news stories tend to be relatively few and far between. Things will hopefully kick up a gear – or preferably several gears – in a few weeks’ time. In the meantime, there have been some quite interesting developments around trade shows this week, so I’ll run through a few of those and attempt to provide some context.

First up, the Toy Association has announced the dates of the 2023 New York Toy Fair. As had been broadly anticipated, the show will run from Saturday 30th September through to Tuesday 3rd October. Assuming the dates of the LA event remain similar to this year, it would appear that the New York show will start around one week after the LA preview finishes.

The timing of the New York event also has ramifications here in the UK: Brand Licensing Europe has taken the decision to move its dates back 24 hours to avoid overlapping with the New York Toy Fair. As a result, BLE 2023 will take place from 4th-6th October.

On the plus side, none of the three events run concurrently. Nevertheless, we have somehow managed to swap a congested January / February period for a congested September / October period. Some companies could potentially find themselves attending three trade shows in consecutive weeks. It will be interesting to see how that pans out…

If you’re the sort of person who is super-organised, the 2024 date for BLE will be 24th-26th September. While I understand this timeline avoids a clash with the New York Toy Fair again, it may potentially overlap with the dates of LA, as indeed BLE does this year. I truly sympathise with the BLE organiser, which has to find a date that works for a multitude of disparate industries, while avoiding religious holidays in the process. Regrettably though, it does mean that there will be a few toy people forced to miss BLE this year, although I am sure it is still going to be a fantastic event.


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