Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Toy Fair is coming...t-minus 19 days and counting. The 2008 American International Toy Fair is the largest gathering of toy manufacturers and sellers in the US.
I can assure you what the big topic at Toy Fair will be - toy safety. Clearly, 2007 was a year like no other in toy history and, despite the thinking of some in the toy industry, I don't think toy safety is an issue that will pass quickly from the minds of consumers. I get the impression from the 2008 catalogs that are slowly arriving that toy manufacturers are jumping into the topic of toy safety. (The HaPe catalog arrived today with two children on the cover with "HaPe celebrates" and "being eco-friendly" signs.) I am sure that we will see many manufacturers introducing hundreds of products that are certifiably safe, or eco-friendly or guaranteed to be lead-free. I can tell you that products that will instill confidence in my customers as far as their safely is one of the big things I will be looking for at Toy Fair. Quality matters today more than ever before. People want to make sure that the toys they buy will be safe for their children to play with.
An interesting aside about Toy Fair is that it is an industry trade show. Every kid I've ever told about Toy Fair is shocked (shocked!) to hear that you have to be 18 to get in. My son's opinion is "well, that's stupid." I'm sure they imagine a vast array of toys waiting to be played with. While it is fun, it's a lot of work and a lot of walking. I think I read somewhere that walking the floor of Toy Fair is akin to walking something like three miles. Plus, there's tons of vendors that have products you have no interest in.
Also, my internet radio side project, YoYoRadio, will again attempt to do a live broadcast from Toy Fair on Monday night, February 18th at 9:30 pm - East Coast time. It will be the third year we have attempted to do a live broadcast from Toy Fair and, if successful, the first to actually go live. Worst case scenario, we tape the show for future broadcast. The show will be broadcast from the location (as yet T.B.D) of the annual YoYoNation Toy Fair party. It's always a blast, so if you're in the area, you should try to make it.

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