“The Toy Fair is closing… it’s time to start planning your next Toy Fair…”
2019 will be my 15th Toy Fair. Two as a buyer and 13 as a supplier. It has taken 15 years to go from corporate buyer attendance to company owner which, having written this down, I should actually acknowledge somehow.
As a buyer you start to think about Toy Fair when the first proactive supplier rings you up and asks about an appointment. Unfortunately, when you move across to the supply side, there is a ton of things to do that start ironically on the last day of the show in the previous year.
Standard questions are:
- Are we happy with the space?
- Would we change anything?
- What didn’t quite work right?
- Are we coming again?
Clearly if showing at Toy Fair didn’t work for buyers and suppliers then we wouldn’t have a Toy Fair and I can tell you that it does work. BUT you must list down what you are trying to get from the event:
- How many orders do we want?
- How many people do we need to see?
- Which companies must we get on to the stand?
These questions are pertinent to your business and they should not be from some standard check list. I can tell you from four different companies in my career that the objectives differ.
This year, our objective is to showcase the work we have done in the last year and make sure we show everyone how our business has developed. We are already thinking about how we communicate key messages. We committed to slightly larger space in the same location and we’re now trying to work out how we make the most of it.
All I can say from 13 years of doing it is: keep the messages simple and don’t think you need to blow the budget on a waterfall and mood lighting. If you know your product, your category, and your market you should be able to do it in two minutes. Practice the short tour, and the full tour.
Tailor it to the audience:
- If you are trying to persuade a licensor as to why they should work with you – take the time to build the picture.
- Corporate buyers will give you immediate feedback so zip round and make sure you follow up.
Remember though, the show is not all about the money – It can have a significant uplifting effect on your team. It’s all about being proud of what you do and telling people what it means to you! Enjoy it – it’s a toy industry event and our job is supposed to be fun!