Toy Fair New York is right around the corner, and attendees have a lot to look forward to at The Toy Association’s Creative Factor, a series of events in which inventors, designers, and entrepreneurs come together to share ideas, experiences, and skills. Co-founders Brett Klisch, creative director at Peru Meridian Studios, and Marian Bossard, executive vice president of global market events at The Toy Association started Creative Factor 16 years ago. The program has evolved greatly over the years.

In the past, the events were spread all over the Javits Center, with “classes in the back of the show rooms, panels in a break out room, demos somewhere else,” Klisch says. Now, all events are held in one place (Creative Factor Theater, Hall 1D), designed for guests to make the most out of their Toy Fair experience with educational seminars, roundtables, presentations, workshops, and panels. All of the Creative Factor events and experiences are included with atendee’s Toy Fair registration.

Especially new for this year is the CF@TF Inventor Day, taking place a day before the show starts on Friday, Feb. 15. Select inventors/designers will get to pitch their ideas and products to influential toy and youth entertainment professionals and potential manufacturing partners during two three-hour blocks in the morning and again in the afternoon.

“We are expanding past the developmental end of product and having more events and classes that deal with distribution and retail,” Klisch says. “We are looking to help companies with the full spectrum of the life of a product, from concept to design and manufacturing, to distribution and sales.”

Noteworthy sessions include Billy Langsworthy of Mojo Nation speaking on new and emerging ways to sell product, Valerie Vacante of Collabsco speaking about new technology in creative play, while experts in influencer marketing will share how to get the best ROI for this growing marketing strategy.

Klisch will be there on behalf of his company, talking about the newest technology in product development. Peru Meridian Studios will teach newcomers and experienced manufacturers new techniques in the workflow of a modern product design studio.

In addition to sessions focused on retail, patents, IP and influencer marketing, this year’s lineup will have an emphasis on toy design, product engineering, 3-D modeling, and 3-D printing. Zbrush will display its 3-D modeling software; The Looking Glass Factory will demonstrate its 3-D holographic display; and Formlabs will show the new materials on its desktop 3-D printers.

Attendees can expect VR stations featuring Oculus, which will bring rift headsets in addition to running the Medium software, a sculpting software used for character design. “Instead of doing 3-D modeling on a flat screen monitor, the Medium software allows you to move around your sculpture in 360 degrees and see it from all angles,” Klisch explains. “It is redefining what it means to sculpt in 3D.”

Other highlights to look forward to include classes from Charles Berzon of Pro Source Global on how to navigate the deep waters of international sourcing and Richard Levy on his experiences inventing and licensing in his over 50 year career.

Click here to see the full schedule of events.

Visit or download the free Toy Fair mobile app for up-to-the minute information on additional sessions, special events, and more.

About the author

Jackie Cucco

Jackie Cucco

Jackie Cucco was a Senior Editor of The Toy Book, The Toy Insider, and The Pop Insider. She covered toy trends, pop culture, and entertainment news, and made appearances on national and regional outlets, including CBS, WPIX, News 12, and more. Jackie spends her time watching horror movies and working her way through every Stephen King novel out there.