President’s Letter – July 24, 2012: Enlarging the Conversation

We were pleased to report last week that Wal-Mart and Toys R Us have become full Regular members of TIA, eligible to serve on our Technical, Trade Show and other committees as well as our Board of Directors.  WM and TRU join Sears/K-mart, Barnes & Noble, Learning Express and others as the first “class” of retailers to become TIA members under our amended Bylaws.

The involvement of these major toy retailers in TIA will significantly enhance the conversations at our meetings.  Toy retailers, large and small, are integral players in the toy industry, and I anticipate that the scope and value of TIA’s programs and activities will be that much greater as a result of their input.

For example, retailers have been serving to some degree as the watchdogs assuring that toys meet safety and quality standards.  Under the CPSIA, the federal government assumed a supplementary role in that responsibility, but retailers remain on the front line because their business is at the very place where toys and children come together.  As TIA members, retailers will have expanded opportunities to participate in conversations with safety engineers that develop toy safety standards.   Toy manufacturers have, over the past seven decades, created solid standards that have protected children from harm, and the front-line perspective of the retailers will help assure that our standards will be even more robust.

Additionally, having retail voices involved in the debate over the timing, location and formats of our trade shows and other events will help assure that those events have optimum convenience, efficiency and utility for buyers and sellers alike. 

Our new Licensor, Inventor and Sales Rep members also are beginning to participate in our planning conversations.  I see a great new beginning for TIA as a result of these expansions, and I am excited to be a part of it. 

Warm regards to all,

Carter Keithley