The North American International Toy Fair takes place every year at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. If you are a toy industry professional or press representative you can enter for a fee and feast your eyes on all the latest and greatest toys in the world. I visited Toy Fair this year for the first time since I worked at Mattel. It was hugely fun, but buried not too deeply under all the play is the very serious business of the toy industry. Keep reading to get an idea of what it’s like to attend Toy Fair.
Toy Fair at Javits Center
Toy Fair is now held at the beautiful, enormous, Jacob K Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. Walls of glass surround the spacious entrance area. Huge banners celebrating the business of play hung from the soaring glass ceilings. The photos below were all taken in the foyer, which is the only area open to the general public.
Star Wars made an appearance in the form of life-sized Lego sculptures. Everyone had to take a photo in front of them.
Iron Man was there too.
Even the vehicles are fun. Pompoms covered every inch of this smart car.
The best place to meet was in front of the banana car.
Come In and Play
All the decorations, life-size Lego people and live music lent a party feeling to the event. Toy Fair is all about play, so it should be fun! It’s also big. Really big. When I was there I thought there were about two football fields of toys on display. In fact there are closer to five football fields full of toys.
The 110th annual Toy Fair, held February 10-13, 2013, attracted more than 1,500 manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sales agents from 30 countries in over 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) of exhibit space. Nearly 9,500 buyers from 5,000 retail outlets attended. Overall, there were an estimated 30,000 attendees from 92 countries. – Wikipedia
Toy Fair would be hugely fun for kids, but children are not allowed inside what is, essentially, the world’s biggest toy store. Only you can’t really buy anything, unless, of course, you’re ordering hundreds of units.
So let’s go inside…
You couldn’t miss the Ty booth, which was front and center and open to all attendees. This wasn’t the case for many of the vendors however. All the larger companies like Mattel, Spinmaster, MGA and Hasbro were appointment only. Their toys hid behind tall walls. This is pretty expected in the toy industry, which is very secretive.
Some companies did a great job decorating their walls. I liked LEGO’s the best.
Most of the toy companies at Toy Fair are open to all attendees. The event showcases all kinds of kids toy products from video games, educational toys, crafts, stuffed animals, building blocks, figurines, puzzles, train sets, doll houses, and dolls. Dolls are my favorite, and I was happy to see many of the companies that make the most beautiful dolls, like Madame Alexander and Tonner Doll Company. Tonner gave me permission to take some photos of their new line including the beautiful Miette LaFleur, below.
I also bumped into Stacey McBride of The One World Doll Project. I snapped a photo of her, of few of her new dolls, and doll hair stylist Denisa Medrano.
There were so many toys to see it was really overwhelming! I wanted to photograph everything, but unfortunately many companies were uneasy with cameras. I took only took photos with permission unless the products were obviously for public viewing, like the mermaids on display below.
I adored the Original Toy Company’s wood robots.
I was really hoping to see Mattel’s new Barbie bodies. Unfortunately Mattel is appointment only, so this is the closest I got to them!
Have you ever been to New York Toy Fair? What do you think of the toy industry? See any toys you like? Leave a comment and let me know!