A Taste of Toy Fair

I’ve written a great deal in past posts about buying dolls for the store, and the process we have to go through to get them.

And I’ve written quite a few times about Toy Fair – the annual industry wide gathering held in New York City where all the toy manufacturers, and store owners (From the very largest like Toys R Us and Walmart to the ‘little guys’ like me) meet to see the new toys.

But it’s hard to explain exactly what it’s like to walk up and down the aisles of booths, looking for the perfect products to carry in our store.

So this year, I took pictures. Here’s one of my favorite booths: Madame Alexander.

Madame Alexander Booth Toy Fair 2015

The booth for the Madame Alexander Doll Company at Toy Fair 2015

Like most manufacturers, Madame Alexander shows all their current, and especially all their new dolls.

One new doll is the 18″  ‘I’m a Pretty Black Girl’, coming out later this year. Here you can see the new doll displayed next to the book she is based on.

The new Madame Alexander 18 inch doll I'm A Pretty Little Black Girl based on the book.

The new Madame Alexander 18 inch doll I’m A Pretty Little Black Girl based on the book.

Fortunately I missed the day when Betty was in the booth signing her books. (Unfortunately I was not as lucky at the GUND booth, as the one and only ‘Grumpy Cat’ was there for a day and there was a line to ‘meet and greet’ him? Her? a mile long!)

Also interesting – at least to me:  My first morning at this year’s Toy Fair, I was down on the lower level looking for the ASTRA hospitality Suite. As a member of ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailers Association) I can hang up my coat on the coat racks in the suite for free.

It’s not that I think the regular coat racks are too expensive at $2.00 mind you, it’s that the lines to check it in in the AM, and especially at the end of the day waiting in line to pick it back up when you’re feet already hurt like the dickens can be horrendous!

So I’m walking towards the suite and I see about 200 young men and women in a line in the middle of the hall. And as I get closer I see the sign that tells me why all these young people are lined up there. It’s to get their costumes!

Like this young lady, who was at the Aurora Booth. She was dressed as a ‘Cutie Curls’ doll. In this picture she’s holding her mnamesake Cutie Curl doll (ethnic version).

Notice the polka dot top, the tulle pink dress and of course the bows in her hair. Isn’t she cute? (The doll of course!) ☺

Aurora Model and her namesake doll

I don’t know how much these people make over the four days, but I really feel sorry for them if they have to wear a costume with bad shoes. Can you imagine standing and smiling for 9 hours a day for four days straight?

Of course without actually attending it’s impossible to ever really feel like you’ve been to toy fair, but I hope you’ve gotten a bit of a feel for it from this posting.

Where do babies (dolls) come from?

I wonder how many children ever ask where dolls come from. I’m pretty sure that they almost all get curious about where babies come from, do they never wonder where baby dolls come from? Maybe because they’ve all seen them in stores they’ve already figured it out for themselves.

Maybe they think that the mailman makes them? Seeing how more and more people shop online and such.

But I know for a fact that most adults have no clue where dolls come from. I know because The Pattycake Doll Company get lots of calls and emails from folks who want to start their own doll stores; they’re thinking they can get their dolls from us.

So then we explain that we neither wholesale nor export dolls. Invariably they then ask the next question: “Can you tell us how we can set up a store just like yours so that we can compete with you and maybe steal all your customers and put you out of business?” Of course they don’t word it exactly that way, but that really is what they’re asking.

But Addie and I are nice people who don’t believe that the customer pie is a finite resource, so we tell them where to get dolls:Toy Fair Logo

Actually, if you want to open any kind of toy store, Toy Fair is the best place to go. Because this is where dolls come from. From approximately 1500 Toy Companies, and the 400,000 square feet of the Javitz center, and the 30,000 people in the Toy Industry who all come to Toy Fair. This is where our ‘babies’ come from.

Javitz Convention Center, where Toy Fair is held

Javitz Convention Center, where Toy Fair is held

PS: For those of you who want to know where our babies are made… mostly in China, but a lot in Spain.