President’s Letter: Toy Fair Dallas and Toy Fair New York Postponed
August 28, 2020 | While the trajectory of this October’s Toy Fair Dallas has long been known to our exhibitors and the buying community given ongoing pandemic developments in Texas, the postponement of that show to 2021 now meets the news that The Toy Association has elected to also postpone Toy Fair New York 2021.
Due to the current state of the pandemic and restrictive guidelines in place both in Texas and in states where our guests originate, our partners at the Dallas Market Center (DMC), site of the annual Toy Fair Dallas, have told us that they are unable to meet the unique needs of our fall marketplace, with its preview showrooms and crowds moving from floor to floor. The Association remains committed to the next Toy Fair Dallas show at the DMC in October of 2021.
Also, by closely gauging exhibitor and retail buying community feedback together with the latest facts related to the pandemic and the state of business travel, The Toy Association has made the decision to postpone Toy Fair New York. At the same time, we are developing with our members a Toy Fair offering in the spring of 2021 and of course the always anticipated Toy Fair New York in the expanded Javits Center in February 2022. The Toy of The Year awards (TOTY) and Hall of Fame induction will go virtual for 2021.
We know that our exhibitors rely upon these shows for the essential business, financial, and media value they provide. And simply that the toy community looks forward to Toy Fair NY each year – and this year it would have been especially meaningful for us all to come together in February and resume business as usual. But protecting our members’, exhibitors’ and attendees’ investments, health, and safety must come first.
It is not news to say that uncertainty surrounds each of us as individuals – whether as parents, as business owners, as employees, and so on. But one thing we can say with absolute certainty is that Toy Fair New York will still happen. The market opportunity will be there. Stay tuned for an official announcement of specific show dates for both spring 2021 and February 2022, coming later this September.
As we continue to be responsive to these uncertain times, we are always seeking opportunities to help you sell more products, more often, and in more markets, generate media impact, and protect your rights to do business. The world may look different right now but our commitment to you is always the same.
Since the onset of the pandemic, we have found new ways to do our job to serve you:
- We leveraged our technology assets and partners to build Toy Fair Everywhere into a successful series of virtual market weeks for attendees in over 60 countries.
- The Toy Association will be hosting a special preview day in October to connect innovative toymakers with Target buyers. Similar preview opportunities with key retailers may be in the future.
- We continue to push back on a range of new restrictions and threats to the toy community in over a dozen states around our nation.
- Our relentless advocacy efforts to stop counterfeit toy and play products from being sold by third parties on e-commerce sites has resulted in three influential pieces of legislation now moving through Congress, as well as a virtual Capitol Hill Fly-In set for this September to carry our message directly into key offices.
- Our team is addressing critical issues to the business of toys, barriers to trade, and unnecessary restrictions in India, China, across Southeast Asia, and in South America.
- The work we do with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Administration, and other key agencies continues to demonstrate the importance and productivity of our External Affairs team’s operations.
- We have leveraged the public’s mounting interest in toys and play amid the pandemic to promote upwards of 150 members’ products in broadcast and print media over the last few months alone.
- The Toy Foundation is pivoting under the leadership of its trustees to fully embrace and advance philanthropy across the toy industry, promoting the philanthropic and volunteer good works that every company does for society.
So, with just those few bulleted examples among countless others demanding daily attention, we are beyond anxious to reconvene at trade shows in 2021 once it is safe to do so. We have no doubt that as we continue to evolve The Toy Association’s marketplace offerings and material sources of member value – whether virtual or in person – the entire toy and play community will find value in coming together and pushing forward, with the ultimate goal of bringing their creative toys to children everywhere.
Our team brings their passion to work every day to help your businesses prosper. We are looking forward to sharing with you the roll out of new activities and resources in the weeks and months ahead as you plan for a successful 2021.
Every day that we each keep pushing, positive and focused on what can be, is one day farther from the start of this pandemic and one day closer to the end.
All good wishes for your continued health, safety, and prosperity.
President & CEO