February 4, 2019 | From seminars designed to help toy professionals grow their businesses to information on youth trends, licensing, safety compliance, entrepreneurship, and more, this year’s exciting line-up of enhanced educational programming at the 116th North American International Toy Fair will augment the show experience for tens of thousands of global attendees.
“On top of being the place to spot the latest trends in toys and play and to make lucrative deals, Toy Fair’s educational seminars aim to ensure that toymakers, retailers, licensors, inventors, and other professionals have an enriching experience while at the show,” said Marian Bossard, executive vice president of global market events at The Toy Association. “This year we have nearly three dozen sessions under our ‘Knowledge Network’ programming where attendees will be privy to information to help them stay current on industry happenings and learn about compelling topics to help them succeed.”
Here’s a look at a selection of seminars that are planned for this year’s show.
Licensing Content Connection
Sessions on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday
Toy Fair’s popular educational series provides attendees with insight into the growing world of toy licensing, which accounts for approximately 30 percent of U.S. toy sales each year. Programming takes place over three days, and will include seminars such as “Licensing 101,” “Videogames - The Hottest Entertainment License for Toys,” “Are You Ready for Licensing?,” “Licensing & Retail Trends,” and “Toying with Social Media: New Names in the Toy Space.”
Sessions will be presented by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA), UBM (publisher of License Global! and producer of worldwide Licensing Expo shows), Ira Mayer, former publisher and executive editor of The Licensing Letter and Youth Market Alerts, and Karen Raugust, writer, editor and researcher at Raugust Communications. (Hall 1E, 1E09 & 1E11)
Sessions taking place Saturday through Tuesday
To celebrate the 16th anniversary of the Creative Factor educational series at Toy Fair and guided by a new Advisory Board, show organizers have enhanced the programming specifically tailored to the toy inventor, designer, and artist community. From a play innovation panel to the gig economy of toys to learning about sourcing products and manufacturing overseas, Toy Fair registrants are invited to participate in a full schedule of roundtables, presentations, workshops, and panels focused on helping the creative community succeed. In addition, toy manufacturers are invited to hear product pitches from select inventors and designers during The Toy Association’s inaugural “CF@TF Inventor Day,” taking place on Friday, February 15. Creative Factor Theater (Hall 1D Lobby)
Sessions on Saturday through Tuesday
Neighborhood toy store and specialty shop owners will learn how to attract shoppers and expand their business in an ultra-competitive retail landscape. “ShopToys365.com for Retailers” sessions will be held throughout the four days of the show to introduce retailers to ShopToys365.com, The Toy Association’s digital marketplace virtually connecting buyers and sellers. In these sessions, buyers will learn how to use the platform's product discovery features to quickly find unique products and suppliers for their stores. ShopToys365.com is free for all qualified, registered Toy Fair buyers. (Buyers’ Lounge, Room 1B03)
Business Development & Special Sessions
Sessions taking place Saturday through Tuesday
The Toy Association’s Toy Trends Briefing
Sunday, February 17, 4 p.m.
Toy Fair attendees will get a glimpse at this year’s hottest toy and game trends from The Toy Association’s in-house trend experts. The team will present each trend and the latest developments in play with demos and product examples directly from the show floor. This session is always well attended and highly recommended for media and buyers. (Hall 1E, Room 1E09)
Toy Safety & Compliance Update
Monday, February 18, 9:30 a.m.
The popular safety seminar will provide manufacturers, retailers, toy inventors, testing labs, and others within the toy industry with news and developments related to toy safety laws and regulations in the U.S. and abroad. The presentation will be delivered by Toy Association staff and government officials, who will address: an overview of The Toy Association’s intellectual property white paper, “The Real Threat of Fake Toys;” privacy concerns and connected products; tariffs and an update to federal issues; international trade issues impacting toys; and 2019 state legislative and regulatory activity. The session is open to all Toy Fair attendees.
Session sponsors include Bureau Veritas Consumer Products Services, Intertek, QIMA (formerly AsiaInspection), SGS North America, STC, and Unitec Technical Services & Certification (Canada) Inc. (Hall 1E, Room 1E09)
The Smart Packaging Tool - What It Is and What It Does
Saturday, February 16, 3:30 p.m.
The Smart Packaging Tool is an exciting new benefit available to members of The Toy Association which them to easily evaluate the environmental impacts of their packaging designs, as well as to see how they stack up against those of other manufacturers of the same product category. During the session, presenters Christian Del Maestro, corporate citizenship manager at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, and Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs at The Toy Association, will demonstrate how the new tool works and answer questions. (Hall 1E, Room 1E11) Session is open to all Toy Fair attendees.
Global Trade and Market Expansion
Sunday, February 17, 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Gain insights into key findings from Toy Association-commissioned research on China and Brazil. Seminar presentations will include demographics, social, economic, and geographic trends; toy industry growth and product category demand; as well as trends in consumer behavior in each country. Separate seminars exploring each country will take place on Sunday. The sessions will be presented by Philippe Guinaudeau, CEO of Kidz Global, and Anne McConnell, senior director of market research and data strategy at The Toy Association. This session is free for Toy Association members and $99 for non-members who wish to attend. (Hall 1E, Room 1E11)
12th Annual Blue Plate Media Lounge
Monday, February 18, 9 a.m.
Join Blue Plate Media Lounge for a Meet & Greet over coffee from 9 to 10 a.m. followed by a one-hour presentation, “The Business of Marketing to Kids: 7 Tips and Truths That Will Ensure a More Effective Media Plan When Targeting Kids.” Attendees are invited to sign up for one-on-one dialogue sessions with Blue Plate’s media experts from 12 to 3 p.m. For complete details and to register, visit Blue Plate Media Services’ events site. (Hall 1E, Room 1E05)
What Makes a Toy a STEM/STEAM Toy?
Sunday, February 17, 1:30 p.m.
A STEM/STEAM toy is more than just a label on a box. Does the toy get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and math and does it fuel a child's imagination, curiosity, and creativity? Does the toy support the skills needed in these areas? During this interactive panel discussion, attendees will learn how to create and promote a toy as STEM/STEAM. Both toy manufacturers and retailers will benefit from this session, which will feature experts from a cross-section of fields including toys, play, education, and STEAM. (Hall 1E, Room 1E09)
With more events and happenings being added to the schedule each day, visit www.ToyFairNY.com for up-to-the minute details on exhibitor listings, educational sessions, and more, or download the free Toy Fair Mobile app on iTunes or Google Play.