• Sebastian Von Cuervo

Top 3 Things to Consider Before Bringing Your Product to Toy Fair

My experience in the toy business has taught me what you need to catch someone’s eye when it comes to a new product. Consider these three things before unveiling to your potential retailers and consumers at Toy Fair.

New York City’s annual Toy Fair will feature a mash up of both the hottest trending toys and toys that will probably never make their way to retail. Planning on exhibiting at Toy Fair and expecting to sit beside today’s toy brand giants? Better dress the part! And, no, I don’t mean a tux!

There are a few things you must consider before shining the spotlight on your next big idea. Those who have been to Toy Fair are keenly aware that the competition is fierce and consumers are not as easily sold as they once were. Thankfully, there are a few things that can help you float to the top in a sea of products.

Materials and Quality

While there are, of course, always exceptions to the rule, cutting corners in the quality of your product is almost never a good idea. People base whether they’ll invest in your product on how much they’ve seen you invest in it. Poor quality in materials and construction sends a clear message that you haven’t invested much time or money into the product. So, why should they?

You want to be sure you are using the highest quality products and technology, so you can boast about the edge you have over the competition. Today’s consumer is highly educated about the advantages of eco-friendly and organic products – and often base buying decisions on a product’s eco-friendliness level. Be sure you know your footprint like the back of your hand and use environmentally friendly materials wherever possible. Over all, know your product, explain the advantages, highlight the qualities, and demonstrate the value.


Unique packaging serves a double purpose. First, it sells the product when you’re not standing in front of the potential buyer to pitch your toy. But, beyond that, it dictates the first experience someone will have with your product at retail. You want to be sure your packaging compliments your product well and is easy to read (literally and visually). Whether your product requires extensive or minimal packaging, the key is to remain purposeful in the depiction of the product. Consumers should be able to tell exact what they’re getting by looking at your packaging.

In today’s day and age, our consumers expect that we be conscious and responsible when using material and hold packing designers to a standard of minimal waste creation. A mindful manufacturer utilizes recycled products to create as minimal waste as possible.

Another factor to consider is the cost of shipping. The bigger your package, the more you pay for shipping from factories. Good rule of thumb? Don’t ship air!

To sum it up, generate as minimal waste as possible, illustrate your product and its features, and make sure your art is easy to read, and be unique in presentation.

The Message

While your product may be unique and useful, that’s not enough to sell people anymore. Consumers need a message that resonates with them and forms a connection between them and your product.

If you’ve ever purchased an Apple product you know that the company is selling more than electronics; they’re selling seamless simplicity. Or, if you’ve bought a Melissa and Doug toy, you know the importance of open ended play and extension activities. Or, perhaps you drive a Subaru and, like myself, feel safe putting your child in the back because of the company’s messaging of safety.

What I’m trying to say is that, for the most part, we like to purchase an experience. This experience - or promise - to the consumer is established through your brand and messaging. To do this you need to really know your consumer. The more you niche down your category the more likely you will be to find a group to really stand behind your message. You can’t be afraid to not be broad enough with your message. Remember that if you don’t stand for anything you fall for anything.

To sum it up...

Now, there are other things that go without saying. These include the basics like brilliant design, an active online presence, and a strong social media presence. But, at the end of the day, without the three essentials that we just talked about, it is hard to have something you can stand behind.

Follow these and you will be on your way to building something great and have an opportunity to stand out. And when you get to the show, be professional, know your product and message. Be ready to engage and sell them dead!

Oh and it doesn’t hurt to have giveaways

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