Tag Archives: toy trade show

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.

5 Tips For Successful Toy Fair Events Management

5 Tips For Successful Toy Fair Events Management

With toy fair season just around the corner (sort of!), toy companies traditionally begin to move their focus from this year on to the next year around this time. Shipments (on all bar the hottest items) have mostly been delivered, any last minute product issues tend to have been resolved, and the marketing budget is committed/media bought.

Toy fair season 2016 comes with no small number of challenges this time around, as the BTHA UK toy fair finishes on Tuesday 26th January, with the Nuremberg show starting the following day on the 27th. This unusual clash of dates will leave many exhibitors with a somewhat nightmarish events management schedule.

Here’s 5 top tips to help you manage this year’s even more challenging toy fair events cycle:

1. Draw Up A Proper Event Plan – writing out a formal event plan will allow all stakeholders to know what’s going on, to pre-empt any issues and stop vital things falling through the gaps. An events plan should include timings and clear responsibilities so that somebody is both responsible and accountable for delivering all elements, whether it’s stand build, refreshments, ‘owning’ the meeting calendar or ensuring the right products arrive in the right place at the right time!

2. The Devil Is In The Detail – events are a massive collection of details. Therefore, to deliver successful events which allow your sales people to present the product range in the best light and give the best chance of maximising listings and sales, your toy fair events should be managed by detail conscious people. Pie in the sky dreamers or senior management bigwigs need not apply! From ensuring the right cables are present to ensuring graphics actually fit the space, taking the ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ approach will not deliver the right impression!

3. Presumption Is The Mother Of All Screw Ups – you can’t afford to take anything for granted with events. Don’t presume that supplier will do as they say/that they fully understand the brief, make them talk you through it. Don’t presume the sales guys will correctly update the meeting schedule straight after booking in an important meeting without a nagging kick up the behind.

4. Take A Visitors Eye View – for most companies, by the time toy fair comes around, the team are usually so immersed in the product and the process of delivering toy fair that they often lose sight of what it’s like to look at the products and the stand for the first time as an outsider. That stack of coats may be necessary, but it isn’t necessary for it to look like a jumble sale at the village hall! You may not want to sit down for meetings, but your visitors most probably will – we’ve never received as many compliments at toy fairs for products as we have for having comfortable seats – walking round toy fair stands viewing thousands of products if gruelling, so the more you can do to make your buyers visit comfortable and pleasant the better!

5. Outsource Events Management – the primary purpose of toy trade shows (for most companies) is to facilitate selling more than would have been the case without exhibiting, while managing ongoing business. One of the most effective ways to focus on selling is to out source much of the events management work. Companies don’t need to get hung up on all the small minor details themselves where they can be effectively outsourced. Why should your MD or Sales Director be spending his time before the show arguing about the height of plinths or the type of drinks available on the stand? If your team enters toy fair season exhausted due to the onerous nature of preparation, do you need to be asking whether that’s really the right way to go? Will that really help set you up to get more listings/to best manage often tricky negotiations with customers?

An effective outsourced events management solution can really pay dividends in terms of freeing up time/reducing stress and focus on the wrong things. More’s the point, specialist events management professionals can use their technical knowledge to suggest cheaper, better and more impactful ways of doing things – in fact often an outsourced events management resource pays for itself within the existing budget while delivering a better more effective show with considerably less headaches and wasted management time.

Our in house events management team have managed dozens of toy trade exhibitions, as well as working on other events with major global companies including Cocoa-Cola, JCB, The Imperial War Museum, The National Trust, Jaguar/Land Rover etc.

We’re currently looking to help toy companies who need events management help managing the next round of back to back toy fairs. To find out more about how we can help, please drop us a line via the ‘Contact Us’ page or find out more via our Toy Industry Consultancy business Kids Brand Insight: www.KidsBrandInsight.com