Toy Fair Season – completed it mate…. 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.

As I am now back at my desk after a whirlwind couple of weeks, the Blog returns to its traditional Friday slot. Toy Fair Season is now officially over – or at least, the Q1 part of it is. What was once four shows in six or seven weeks has become two shows back to back, with a quick trip to Birmingham Spring Fair to round it off for a few of us (more on that later).

I’ve covered London and Nuremberg individually in my previous two Blogs, but collectively, I felt that Toy Fair Season was a success. I get the impression that most people saw who they wanted to see, and the majority came away with renewed enthusiasm and plenty to follow up on. I am not sure you can ask much more of the season than that.

On a personal level, we were delighted with the response we received – for every meeting that didn’t quite go according to plan (there will always be a few of those), there were dozens more that were extremely encouraging. Suppliers are quick to use the tongue-in-cheek ‘promises are up’ aphorism, and I always say that if half of what we are promised at an event materializes, it’s been a successful show – but it does feel like most companies have plenty of good things coming through that they want to shout about, and surely no-one is in any doubt now about where the best place to do that is…

All of the print copies we took to Toy Fair were snapped up by the morning of the last day, despite our concerns that our January issue would be too heavy for some to carry. Quite the contrary, it turns out – so many people told us that they loved how comprehensive it was, and how they would be keeping it as a reference for the year ahead. The person in charge of magazine distribution at Olympia told me that he hadn’t seen a single copy discarded in a bin – and he admitted that was almost never the case at other trade shows. That was certainly the fate of a huge percentage of daily papers that used to be given out at the show – a good decision by the BTHA to dispense with a relic that belongs to a bygone age, long before email newsflashes were a thing. Other exhibition organisers might like to take note…

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