Monthly Archives: February 2015

9 Tips to help you survive the New York Toy Fair


The 112th American International Toy Fair is less than a week away. This will be my 14th Toy fair and I thought I’d share some tips on how to survive it.

Where and When:

Toy Fair 2015 will take place February 14-17, 2015 (Sunday-Wednesday) at the Jacob K. Javits ConventionCenter and showroom locations. The show hours are 10:00am-6:00pm on Saturday, 9:00am-6:00pm Sunday & Monday and 9:00am-4:00pm on Tuesday.

The Javits Center is located at 11th Avenue between 34th and 38th Streets, New York, NY 10001.


  1. You can’t have it all – With over 1000 exhibitors at the Javits Center plus showrooms across midtown there is no way you can see everything. The show is open for 33 hours so plan things out. I make a list of exhibitors that I want to see and prioritize them as either A, B, or C. A is for must see. This year I have 31 A’s. B is for really want to see and C is for would be nice to see.
  2. There’s an App for this – The folks that run the Toy Fair have a really neat app. If you have an IPhone, IPad, IPod Touch or Android device you need to get the app.
  3. The Agony of “Da Feet” – Javits Center concrete might just be the hardest substance known to modern science. Walking up and down those aisles can be murder on your feet. Wear the most comfortable shoes you have. Don’t worry, if you are buying they won’t care what your footwear looks like as long as your check doesn’t bounce.
  4. Do you have a reservation? – Most exhibitors love walk up traffic. However, some require an appointment to get in. The bigger the company the more likely you will need an appointment. The folks at Griddly Games and Playroom Entertainment won’t turn you away but you aren’t getting into Lego, Hasbro, Mattel or Spin Master without an appointment. If you didn’t make any appointment for the big guys ahead of time make sure to stop at their booth first thing and try and book one.
  5. Can you sent that to me? Those might be the most important words you’ll use at the show, especially, if you want to avoid neck and shoulder problems. Vendors will offer you catalogs, samples and all sorts of other stuff. The weight adds up. If it is heavy I try and get them to send it to me after the show. If that doesn’t work then ask if you can return at the end of the day to get it.
  6. Let is snow, let it snow, let it snow NOT – Global warming aside, Toy Fair is known for snow. It has snowed during eight of the 14 shows that I’ve been to and five of those were blizzards. Now you have been officially notified.
  7. The lines for the bus go round the block, round the block, round the block – If you will be taking the shuttle bus back after the show make sure you get to the bus a few minutes before the show closes. The minute the show closes all the exhibitors race to the buses and the lines seem like they never end. If you must be on the show floor at closing try and plan to be near the exits so you can beat the rush. And one more thing, if you checked your coat, get that at least 30 minutes before closing otherwise that line might make you wish you were on the bus line instead.
  8. Sock it to me – Back in 2005 one of the press giveaways was a pair of green organic socks. It might have been the best giveaway in the history of Javits. At first I thought it was a lame giveaway until someone mentioned that they would retire to the restroom and change their socks at about 3pm. It is a truly wonderful thing for the feet to be able to put on a fresh pair of socks after all that pounding on Javits Concrete ( please scroll up to tip number three). The math is simple 4 days times 2 pair per day equals 8 pairs of socks.
  9. It’s all about the fun – Yes, toy fair is big business for the exhibitors, but it’s still an industry that revolves around fun and games. Make sure you let yourself enjoy the fun. Be silly, clown around with the costume characters, try out the toys and imagine you were a kid again.
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