The 2023 Toy Fair was shaping up as reasonably normal. Floor traffic seemed lighter than in past years, and a few significant companies were missing, but the show looked great, and exhibitors and attendees generally seemed satisfied.
Then, The Toy Association made its big announcement. Toy Fair would not take place next year; it would reoccur for one year in March 2025 in New York, and then it would move to New Orleans.
The aftermath of that statement rolled over Toy Fair like an emotional tsunami of anger and bewilderment.
This is an existential crisis for Toy Fair. Going to the Toy Fair was never a decision. You just went. You don’t have to decide whether Summer follows Spring, you don’t have to choose when birds fly south, and you don’t have to decide whether to attend America’s most important toy trade show. You didn’t have to decide because our toy industry ancestors made that decision for us generations ago.
Now, after missing three Toy Fairs due to COVID-19, and another one in 2024, and then moving to New Orleans, the question must be asked and answered. Do I need to go? Is it worth my investment in time and money?
The moment people begin asking that question is when Toy Fair turns from an embedded piece of toy culture into a business question.
The Toy Association has a great deal of work to do. Not in selling the industry on its current plan, but why it should be in charge of any plan. The Toy Association can begin the healing through transparency and full disclosure. Here are some recommendations:
Steve Pasierb, The Toy Association President, stated that the Association gathered “opinions from key retailers, exhibitors and members of the Toy Association.” What were the names of the people surveyed regarding this decision, what format was used, and what were their responses?
Why is The Toy Association unable to re-secure the abandoned February dates?
Why is there no Toy Fair in 2024?
What are the agreement terms between The Toy Association and the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center?
Let’s get some answers.