President’s Letter – March 6, 2012: TIA: A Big
TIA has begun to seriously transform itself as a result of the Bylaw
amendments last year allowing retailers, licensors, reps and inventors
to be full voting members of the association. With the addition of
Julia Fitzgerald to our Board of Directors representing Sears/K-mart and
Jeffrey Kennis representing Enchanted Moments (a sales rep
organization), a broader scope of toy industry interests will be heard
at Board meetings, and our decisions and initiatives will begin to
reflect those perspectives.
We already have four big new retail members, and are optimistic about
gaining more. We think the need for major toy retailers to stay
current with important developments affecting their business is a huge
reason for them to join TIA, and the new relationships and unexpected
opportunities that emerge from networking within TIA can help a company
survive in the tough retail environment.
Sales reps are hugely important in the toy business, and Jeffrey
Kennis has already reached out to have personal conversations with the
TIA sales rep members whom he represents. Jeffrey has made a very
successful business out of repping small vendors to independent
retailers, and it will be a tremendous addition to our Board discussions
to have the rep perspective represented.
We on the staff will have to “learn some new dance
steps” to be sure we are hearing these new perspectives and
providing membership value to these different types of companies.
But in my experience, trade associations that represent the widest scope
of interests in an industry are more robust and successful in
accomplishing good ends for their members.
Without any question, the conversation around the Board table will
change. Retail, rep and manufacturer interests do not always
coincide, and it will be trickier to navigate the differences and craft
consensus positions on issues. But also without question, the
resulting policy initiatives will have a broader base of support and
more gravitas and momentum with which to confront ambitious legislators
If you are a retailer or rep or licensor or inventor, we offer a warm
invitation to come into our big tent.
Warm regards to all,