Show Offers Opportunities to Connect — and Have Fun

Toy Fair Dallas (Oct. 2-4) is the place to scout what’s coming down the pipeline in the toy and youth entertainment product industry. Along with a new Wednesday-to-Friday date pattern, The Toy Association’s fall marketplace will include initiatives to elevate the trend-scouting, toy-shopping, and networking experiences for exhibitors, buyers, and all other trade guests at the show.

“Toy Fair Dallas is a unique experience in the toy world, giving global retailers both large and small a sneak peek at what’s expected to be hot for Q4 the following year,” says Marian Bossard, executive vice president of global market events at The Toy Association. “… This year will feature great opportunities for product and brand exposure in front of buyers, influencers, and the media.”

Meet the Trends Team

Do you have an exciting toy prototype, a new or developing product line, or a unique trend for next year? Book an appointment with The Toy Association’s trends team, which meets with hundreds of exhibitors each fall — in Dallas and Los Angeles — to see what’s new and cutting edge in the world of toys and play. The information they gather is used to map next year’s hottest trends and promote products and brands to media worldwide.

“Meeting with us gives you the opportunity to have your toys and games promoted in broadcast TV segments, print and online publications, and on social media, where we showcase our industry’s amazing new playthings in front of millions of consumers,” says Adrienne Appell, the Association’s senior director of strategic communications.

You can book appointments for Dallas with Angela Stanton-Weekes (aweekes@toyassociation.org) or for LA with Adrienne Appell (aappell@toyassociation.org). Attendees should note that LA appointments will be taken during the week of Sept. 16.

Heightened Brand Exposure

In the toy business, fall is all about futurecasting, which is why the Dallas Market Center’s 13th floor will be playing host to the first-ever FutureCast Gallery, a convergence of art, commerce, toys, and business. Created in partnership with Steve Starobinsky, founder of lifestyle brand Kid@Heart and an expert in product discovery, the retailer-driven, experiential gallery will showcase the future of toys across 10 categories. Following a rigorous review and selection process, the fall marketplace’s top 50 toys will be highlighted in the gallery.

The gallery will also serve as the meeting point for the Influencer Tour, to be held in the morning on Thursday, Oct. 3. The tour will take about 20 hand-picked digital and toy influencers to exhibitor booths, giving select brands an opportunity for heightened exposure. Companies interested in having their booths included in the tour can contact Laura Mangiaracina (lmangiaracina@toyassociation.org).

Hot Topics: China & STEM/STEAM

Expand your horizons — and your business — by attending educational sessions on the 13th floor that will cover critical industry topics.

“Safely and Successfully Selling Your Toys in China,” hosted in conjunction with Global Toy Experts and Messe Frankfurt, will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. Speakers from China and the U.S. will provide valuable information on how to secure enforceable intellectual property protections and how to successfully sell to retailers, as well as offer information on demographics, price points, profit centers, packaging, and consumer data and insights.

“STEM/STEAM Formula for Success” will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. The session will reveal 14 unifying characteristics of STEM/STEAM toys and engage participants in a variety of interactive exercises.

Network & Have Fun

More than just a business show, Toy Fair Dallas is where the toy industry comes together to forge new connections — and have a bit of fun, too. Need to cool off after a busy day of meetings? Attend the Ice Cream Social on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 3 p.m. in the FutureCast Gallery. The latest addition to Toy Fair Dallas’ networking and social activities, the ice cream social joins events, such as the Opening Night Party, geared toward young professionals and those new to the industry, and more.

First & Focused

Toy Fair Dallas draws mass and specialty retail buyers from around the globe, with hundreds of companies converging to unveil their latest lines and prototypes in closed, open, and combination booths.

Visit toyfairdallas.com for more info.

As The Toy Association’s senior communications specialist, Kristin Morency Goldman leads the development of content for the Association’s print and online communications. Her articles on toy trends, toy safety, and industry news can be found in trade and consumer publications around the world. She holds a master’s degree in media, culture, and communications from NYU.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of the Toy Book.