in New York City in late January and mid-February, respectively. I've attended both over the past few years, and always have a great time learning and looking at the latest products from toy, gift, and lifestyle manufacturers around the world.
Weather got in the way for me this year, however, and I unfortunately could not make it into the city for the NY NOW show :( I really did try to make it work, but we've been hit by loads and loads of stubborn snow, ice, rain -- you name it -- and there was no way I could go. There is the summer show in August to attend, though!
SO. I was intent on getting to the Toy Fair. As you may know, these events are enormous...hundreds of vendors, aisles and aisles of booths, and crowds of people. I've developed a bit of a system over the years that works pretty well for me.
First, I attend as press, so I am able to strategize on my visit in the press center, with access to the show catalogue and a place to sit and store my coat and extraneous stuff (very important -- you don't want to be carrying lots of stuff around).
Then, I look through the catalogue to determine which vendors I want to see. I know many in advance, but then there are always new ones to discover. The vendors are organized by "Product Zones"
(Action Figures, Board Games, Dolls, Youth Electronics, etc) and are grouped according to these categories. The row numbers range from 100 to 6400, and increase by 100 from row to row. That is A LOT to see. To focus my visit, I create a written list of vendors and numbers and then put them in numerical order. Sometimes I make appointments in advance, but this time I did not.
Then, I head on my way and usually spend 4-5 hours total going to my planned booths and others that I see by browsing . This year, I brought my camera, which worked much better than my phone!
Here are the highlights!
makes very high-quality and realistic plastic replicas and it was great to see some new pieces from the Good Luck Minis
|For a Southwest-inspired interior, perhaps??|
I am in love with the American President busts!
I did not make it in to the Playmobil
booth last year, but managed to visit it this time around and it was great. The booth is organized by month and displays new products appearing in those given months. One of the showcase pieces was a shopping mall, with a variety of stores and innovative accessories and people. Did you know that three years ago, the company decided to make the bodies more realistic? You can see this especially in the head and feet.
|A wedding cake!|
|Look at the boxed mini Playmobil!|
|Check out the mini house!|
|Cool tents and accessories|
All in all, some really terrific stuff coming this year.
booth was fun. I've used Maisto products in the past -- they are a die-cast toy company that makes extremely high-quality cars, bikes, and other vehicles in a variety of scales, including 1:12.
They were showing a new line of Harley Davidson and "Sons of Anarchy"
1:12 scale motorcycles. Fabulously detailed. Very cool.
I had to stop in at one of my favorite booths -- the very creative bunch over at AREAWARE
. They were showing some new Cubebots
: Ninjas! I saw Owner Noel Wiggins, and he commented that they really needed the bots in black and white, and Ninjas seemed the most appropriate nomenclature. I agree! They come in sizes Micro
Noel also showed me a new product, Blockitecture
, which was designed by the student winner of Rochester Institute of Technology's annual design competition
. You create constructions by balancing the colorful blocks at challenging, cantilevered angles. Clever!
Alyson Beaton, the whiz behind the paperboard dollhouses of Lille Huset
, was showing for the first time at Toy Fair. It was great to see her there with some new offerings, including a graphically awesome barn and some new furniture and people, part of the new "Brooklyn" set.
I look forward to seeing what's next for her!
I popped over to Urban Canvas
next, a relatively new company started by interior designer Maria Chee that aims to encourage creative, expressive play with paperboard dollhouses and structures. It was nice to see a few new pieces in her collection, namely a modular set of shops and a bistro.
The walls can be configured and colored according to one's imagination, and then be packed away!
, started by
two female engineers with a Kickstarter campaign, was developed to encourage young girls in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). The dollhouse sets are modular and wired, so you can build a range of structures that are powered by motion or light.
The product has experienced a great deal of success in a short time, and is continuing to expand its offerings.
are simply awesome. They are very detailed glass figurines that come in a variety of designs. I use them in my scenes a lot, and luckily my local toy store carries them. The collection
just expanded with a new Paul Frank line, as well as some very yummy looking desserts.
Their packaging is changing, for the better I think. Currently, the pieces come in small plastic boxes that can be tricky to open (see above picture); the new packaging is a snap sealed plastic shell that stacks. A definite improvement!
MiWorld by JAKKS Pacific
The last stop of the day was at the JAKKS Pacific
room, where I wanted to have a quick look at the MiWorld
play sets (see my review here
I was told that a new set is forthcoming -- cannot say which one, but definitely a high-profile brand. Look forward to that.
Whew! That does it for this year's review. Hope you managed to stick with me through this lengthy post. I'll leave you with a final few pictures from a sweet line of cloth dolls called Pocketopia
. The creator, Rita Ross, has put together a lovely collection with personality and care and was showing for the first time at Toy Fair.
Keep creating, people!