President’s Letter – January 14, 2014: Ask … and TIA Will Deliver 

2014 is off to a fantastic start. Opening in just a few short weeks, Toy Fair has already broken a significant record: it will go down in history as the largest toy trade show ever held in North America. For the first time, more than 400,000 net square feet of exhibit space has been sold … and we have the early buyer registration numbers to match. It pleases me to see New York Toy Fair begin to reclaim its position as the toy industry’s international “centre of gravity,” and I look forward to watching this positive momentum carry us through the rest of the year. 

But before we hit the ground running with Toy Fair, I wanted to share a couple of updates since I last wrote:

I am pleased to announce that after several years of hard work, TIA has truly achieved a level of credibility and visibility among legislators and regulators that our industry has never enjoyed before. In 2013, we helped lead the formation of a bipartisan Congressional Toy Caucus on Capitol Hill, with a goal toward engaging lawmakers in constructive dialogue about issues currently facing the U.S. toy industry. We also spearheaded efforts to have the U.S. Senate pass a resolution designating the last week of December as National Toy Week, in recognition of the valuable role that toys play in the well-being and development of children. And government agencies now consider TIA to be a reliable, year-round partner at the ports, calling upon us if any questions should arise about the safety of imported toys before they reach the hands of children.

Looking ahead to 2014, many of our members have been telling us that they are considering launching or expanding their sales operations in overseas markets. This January, we are publishing our first two commissioned research reports to help small and mid-sized companies weigh the pros and cons of exporting their products to China and Brazil. An overview of these findings will be presented in a webinar this Thursday, January 16th, as well as on the second day of Toy Fair (consult the Toy Fair Events Calendar for specific details).  We plan to conduct similar global studies in the coming months and will keep you apprised as these projects get underway.

In direct response to what our members were telling us about the challenges they face related to the hectic pace of business, we have launched a free e-commerce platform called “ShopToyFair365.” I encourage you all to learn more about this online tool, which allows companies to do business from the comfort of their home, plane or hotel – virtually anywhere on earth.

In 1916, toymakers such as yourselves joined together to create TIA and since that time, we have been channeling every single one of our efforts to meet your needs and interests. We remain solely focused on supporting you all and delivering great value … and look forward to your continued participation and feedback as we prepare to embark on the next 100 years.

Warm Regards,