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Distoy 2018 Review


Another Distoy has been and gone. The frenetic & furtive running between hotel rooms is done for now.

This show just keeps getting bigger and bigger. The first Distoy I can remember attending was around 2009 – and since then I think I could comfortably say the show has quadrupled in size. For those who haven’t been to Distoy, the main premise of it is to allow toy manufacturers to connect with an international distribution network covering pretty much as many countries as there are in the world. In theory, the show is not for retailers, the idea being that companies can safely focus on their international business and their FOB distributor pricing vs direct to retail pricing without the complications of having retail customers at the same show – this is ‘in theory’ as there are some retailers who infiltrate the show, like a bunch of James Bond villains (joking!).

The other major opportunity though is for the toy companies and the professional toy and game inventing community to meet and review new concepts. Of all the renowned product originators I would normally see at toyfairs, I would say I saw at least half of them if not more last week at Distoy. The nature of this show makes it a better more peaceful place to pitch concepts versus the hurly burly and noise of toyfair!

This year I had the pleasure of exhibiting at Distoy for the first time. Having spent a decade running between separate meetings, this time round I got to save my feet to some degree by being partly based in a showroom. Aside from the physical challenges of trying to run two presentations at once in a small hotel with a table in the middle of a room, Distoy is a highly effective selling platform. Without the footfall of a toyfair stand and the random interruptions by various pot & pan peddlers trying to sell the irrelevant and ridiculous, Distoy is mostly pure focused opportunity.

There has been ongoing speculation for a couple of years about whether the existing venues are still upto hosting an event so far beyond the original scope. Aside from the greater number of people using the facilities, the hotels have perhaps become more faded over the time Distoy has been there. So I was (for once!) delighted to get lost and to find myself wandering down the furthest reaches of one of the floors of the main hotel, and found myself in a newly rennovated section – the paint smell was still in effect, the carpets were more modern, the lighting much better and the general decor more like what would be expected for a major events venue. Hopefully this refurbishment and upgrading will be rolled out throughout the hotel and we can all look forward to more aesthetically inspiring surroundings next time round!

by Steve Reece, CEO of Kids Brand Insight www.KidsBrandInsight.com,  a leading toy expert consultancy to toy companies around the world. Services include Sourcing/factory finding especially in India & other ‘new’ manufacturing economies, toy business consultancy and product representation.