Table of Contents
Trade Show News
Special Toy Fair Section
Classic Take on Play
Why Plsh is Never a Hard Sell
Just for the Fun of It
Plus and Toys at Caves and Caverns
Toys for Timeless Play
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November/December 2 0 1 3
T R A D E S H O W N E W S
The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® (Showrooms Tuesday, January 7 – Tuesday, January 14, 2014, Temporaries Thursday, January 9 – Monday, January 13, 2014) presents the world’s single-largest product collection in more than 45 merchandise categories including a full range of specialty collections for retailers in the souvenir, gift and novelty industry.
Complementing AmericasMart’s comprehensive product offering is its industry-leading buyer experience highlighted by free expert-led business development seminars, trend-making interactive demonstrations, celebrity appearances, networking opportunities, celebrations and its renowned hospitality and customer service.
The combination of top product offerings, the ultimate buyer experience and convenient accessibility makes The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® a not-to-miss event in the souvenir and gift industry.
In other AmericasMart Atlanta news, the mart is proud to announce the winners of its annual Best of Atlanta awards celebrating the top gourmet food products in its permanent and temporary collections.
Winners were designated based on taste, overall appeal and packaging/presentation as selected by industry experts. The winners included: The Orchards Gourmet’s Glazed Pecans; Stonewall Kitchen’s Mango Lime Salsa; Captain Rodney’s Jezebel Sauce; Grits Bits/Strawberry Patch’s Sweet Cream Butter Cookies; Fat Mama’s Tamales’ Fire & Ice Pickles; Robert Rothschild Farms’ Hot Pepper Peach Preserves and several others.
Asia America Trade Show
Because of the continual success of Miami’s number one wholesale market, the Asia America Trade Show will now have two shows a year. The show has hosted over 8,000 attendees from the Caribbean, South and Central America, and the United States, and is growing bigger with a wider variety of international and national attendees.
The Asia America Trade Show Spring will be on April 8, 9 and 10 at the Miami Beach Convention Center and the Asia America Trade Show Fall will be on September 8, 9 and 10 also at the Miami Beach Convention Center. If you are targeting seasonal buyers or yearly buyers or both, you now have a choice.
If you would like to exhibit in either one or both of the shows, contact show management for Special Booth Discounts good until December 15, and be the first to select prime booth positions. Check out the show’s floor plan by visiting www.asiaamericatradeshow.com or call 305-262-3200 for more information.
Retailers placing orders on the show floor at a Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show. The next edition of the event is scheduled for Jan. 16-18, 2014 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The 2014 Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show, taking place January 16-18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, is shaping up to be one of the largest shows in its eight year history. Both exhibitor booth sales and attendee pre-registration are showing strong demand, according to Emerald Expositions.
Attendees will have the chance to see more than 300 exhibiting companies, representing every possible product category. All of the professional leagues and collegiate teams will be represented. Also, more than 50 exhibitors are brand new to the show this year.
“The sports licensing business remains strong, and we’re thrilled at the progress of the upcoming show,” said Liz Crawford, show director. This event has always been a true ’buying’ show, and continues to be the top gathering for retailers, licensors and licensees in the world of sports licensed products.”
In other news, The Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show announced recently that the National Basketball Association (NBA) will return as an exhibitor at this year’s show.
The NBA’s exhibit will serve as a hub for its licensees, many of whom have already booked space at the trade-only event. Prior to the event, the NBA will also host its annual NBA Team Retail Product Expo with representatives from the majority of NBA team retailers in attendance.
“The NBA is looking forward to returning to the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show, which was a great success for the league and our partners last year,” said Brian Keegan, vice president of Retail Marketing and Development for the NBA’s Global Merchandising Group. “By combining the show with the NBA Team Retail Product Expo, we are able to create an environment for our licensees and retail partners to come together in a very efficient way.”
“We are very excited to have the NBA back again this year,” said Crawford. “The NBA, its licensees and team retailers make up an important part of the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show and we look forward to their collective presence helping to make the 2014 show a success.” For more information on exhibiting or attending, visit www.showproco.com.
Emerald Expositions has also announced additions to their senior management team. Karalynn Sprouse, SVP of the Merchandise Group at Emerald Expositions said of the new hires, “ASD Las Vegas has a great leading position in the market and our new acquisitions will help propel our growth exponentially over the next few years. We are looking forward to expanding our reach in the international arena and above all, providing our customers with a level of consultative sales service unparalleled by any other trade show company.”
Emerald welcomes the following team members to their organization: David Bertlesen, show director, Value & Variety Segment (ASD); David Pennes, senior consultant, Source Direct (ASD); Tomel Lora, senior account executive, Style & Beauty Segment (ASD); Renee Knight, senior account executive, Gift & Toy Segment (ASD); and Nadine Buccieri, senior acccount executive, Style & Beauty Segment (ASD).
George Little Management (GLM)
Patti Stracher, vice president of the White Plains, N.Y.-based GLM, and show director of GLM’s National Stationery Show (NSS), was appointed to the board of directors of the Greeting Card Association (GCA) at its recently concluded 72nd Annual Convention in Savannah, Ga.
Stracher joined GLM in 1989 and, prior to assuming her current role at the company in 2012, was the longtime show manager for the NSS, an annual trade show held each May in New York City. She also concurrently served as the Greeting Card Association’s executive vice president from January 2012, through July 2013, at which time the GCA’s management transitioned from GLM to the Washington, D.C.-based Bostrom. Stracher has long been active with the GCA; in fact, before joining GLM, she was director of communications at the GCA from 1986 to 1989.
“Working together to keep the greeting card industry healthy and thriving with other business leaders as a GCA board member is a true privilege,” said Stracher. “This appointment greatly complements my role as NSS show director, where delivering value to the industry is central.”
The United States’ government may have shut down in October, but one thing that can never be shut down in October is global enthusiasm for Halloween. In only 10 years, Halloween sales have increased by 130 percent in the U.S. alone, with the holiday gaining traction around the globe. And with haunted attractions and thrill-themed television shows and movies working their way into the fabric of pop culture, Halloween shows no signs of stopping.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), American Halloween sales (costumes, candy, party favors and other related seasonal items) are expected to reach nearly $7 billion in 2013, with more than 158 million Americans participating.
“One reason Halloween is growing is that smart specialty retailers are …showing their customers that the holiday is much more than just trick-or-treating with kids," said Jonathan Erwin of the Halloween & Party Expo. “It’s an adult event, a teen event, a family event.” And with adult costume spending hitting $1.2 billion over $1 billion for children’s costumes, it shows.
But it’s not just consumer products seeing an increase in business: Haunted attractions are one of the fastest-growing segments of the industry, with more than 2,500 located worldwide in 2013. More than 20 percent of those surveyed by the NRF say they’ll visit at least one haunted attraction this year, resulting in an industry bringing in more than $300 million. “It’s a legitimate industry now,” said Patrick Konopelski, president of the Haunted Attractions Association. “Now we’re a season.”
The scaring season, however, is fast becoming a year-long state of mind. With popular television shows such as Making Monsters, Face Off, True Blood and The Walking Dead infiltrating pop culture, ghosts, goblins and ghouls are becoming an everyday part of life. “If you really want to be in the Halloween business, you need to do so in a comprehensive way,” Erwin said. “Halloween is everywhere these days, so adding a few decorations for a couple weeks just won’t cut it. The consumer won’t think of you for their Halloween purchases unless you make a statement.”
One sure-fire way to help make that statement is by attending the Halloween & Party Expo, the largest global expo of its kind, in Houston, Texas, January 25-28, 2014. The Expo showcases more than 350 exhibitors of Halloween, party and fantasy products across 600,000 square feet of exhibition space, and in 2014, the Haunted Attractions National Tradeshow and Conference (HAuNTcon) will co-locate in the George R. Brown Convention Center, offering two incredible shows side-by-side. Join thousands of attendees from more than 63 nations and territories worldwide for four action packed days at the Halloween & Party Expo.
The Las Vegas Market will continue to change, grow and redefine the market experience for participants this winter, January 26-30, 2014, at World Market Center Las Vegas. Winter market highlights will include a new Sunday-Thursday date pattern, increased breadth and depth of permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits, exponentially increased buyer attendance and unparalleled market amenities, educational programming and networking events.
“The Las Vegas Market is experiencing growth that is unparalleled in today’s industry, and no other U.S. market offers access to such a broad range of furniture, home décor and gift resources that allows for such dynamic, cross-category shopping,” said Bob Maricich, chief executive officer, International Market Centers. “This winter, we will build upon our success over the last six months, focusing not only on adding depth where we have delivered breadth of resources and attendance, but also increasing the aesthetics and market experience for all participants.”
Resource growth is projected in virtually every category of Las Vegas Market’s furniture, home décor and gift offerings to supplement the existing strong base of home furnishing offerings, with specific targets for expansion this winter of specialty tabletop and better home décor within the c-ONE cross-category showcase, better home décor and furnishings showrooms on B3, C3 and C4; and lifestyle and gift resources on C10.
Temporary exhibit offerings also will expand once again for the winter Las Vegas Market, with the addition of three new categories – VERANDA, which spotlights outdoor and casual home furnishings, GALLERY, a showcase of better home textiles resources, on C5; and FASHION, an assemblage of lifestyle-oriented merchandise on C11. With this addition, the Las Vegas Market home décor and gift temporaries now will offer retailers access to 13 sections in total.
“Our aggressive buyer outreach program to expand our buyer base beyond home furnishings retailers and designers, launched last April, resulted in incredible gift and home décor attendance growth of 73 percent at the 2013 Summer Market, and this exponential growth in buyer traffic validates our strategy to reposition Las Vegas Market as the leading furniture, home décor and gift market in western U.S.,” said Maricich. “We are expecting even more attendance gains this winter with our 15-person team of Retail Relations specialists expected to contact and connect with new buyers at a rate of 600 calls per day, or 3,000 calls per week.” According to Maricich, more than 15,000 calls have been completed to date resulting in an early surge in buyer registrations.
Beyond product resources, the Las Vegas Market also hosts a dynamic series of complimentary educational programming that addresses topics such as in-store marketing, display and merchandising, social media and mobile marketing. Design-related offerings include presentation of the annual “Design Icon” Award and popular “First Look” product and trend presentations. “A key value of attending market on a regular basis is learning best business practices and keeping up on trends, so retailers can remain relevant for today’s consumer,” Maricich said.
A highlight of the Las Vegas Market’s winter slate is the second annual Las Vegas Market CEO Summit, scheduled for January 29-30, which features a combination of executive-directed keynote addresses, discussions and presentations covering topics such as the changing consumer marketplace, information technologies, entrepreneurship, business transformation, the global economic outlook and other issues impacting the U.S. gift and home furnishings marketplace. Information and registration for the CEO Summit, which is co-produced by International Market Centers (IMC) and Eller Enterprises, is available online at http://www.lasvegasmarket.com/ceosummit.
Attendees also enjoy an array of market amenities including free Wi-Fi on campus, complimentary shuttle to/from host hotels, free parking in an onsite parking garage, fully-equipped Internet lounges and convenient café and food kiosks. Early bird hotel reservations, with very low rates for both nearby downtown hotels and Las Vegas Strip properties, can be made online at www.LasVegasMarket.com/hotels, or through Connections Housing at 855-255-4462 or 702-476-6976.
Beginning this winter, the Las Vegas Market will shift to a Sunday-Thursday date pattern, better serving retailers’ needs for a weekend shopping day and accommodating Friday travel plans. Las Vegas Market permanent showrooms are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, January 26, through Wednesday, January 29; and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 30. Temporary exhibits are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, January 26, through Wednesday, January 29; and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 30. To register, visit www.lasvegasmarket.com, or call 866-229-3574.
for Home + Lifestyle
(formerly NYIGF® )
NY NOW™, the Market for Home + Lifestyle (formerly NYIGF® ) will present its newly re-organized exhibit floor and related re-branding to tens of thousands of retailers attending the New York market’s winter edition, Saturday, February 1, through Thursday, February 6, 2014, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Passenger Ship Terminal Pier 94. Four comprehensive product collections –HOME, LIFESTYLE, HANDMADE and NEW! – will anchor the market, which was extended by an extra weekday for the winter edition.
As an added benefit for winter market participants, two major airlines – Delta and American Airlines – will offer special pricing for market week travel into New York City. Delta Airlines will offer up to 10 percent fare reductions and American Airlines will offer up to 5 percent fare reductions for all flights arriving at three New York City airports from Janaury 31 through February 5. NY NOW’s official travel agency, Travel Planners, also is offering guaranteed lowest rates and price protection, with no pre-pay, no advanced deposits and no restrictions. Complete details about hotel and travel offers are available online at www.nynow.com.
“Whether buyers are experiencing the new NY NOW for the first time this winter, or returning to the market following our successful summer debut, they will be amazed,” said Christian Falkenberg, NY NOW director and GLM senior vice president. “The winter market will feature a wide depth and breadth of product offerings, as well as exclusive hotel and travel opportunities to better facilitate shopping and sourcing schedules this February.”
NY NOW will feature 100,000 products in 400-plus categories across four collections.
To complement market activities, a five-day slate of educational seminars and special events will be offered for NY NOW participants. More than 40 seminars will cover a range of topics, including color and design trends, importing, visual merchandising, online commerce and social media, sustainability, marketing and other retail strategies.
Special events held in conjunction with the winter market will include Gift For Life’s 22nd Anniversary “Party for Life” Fundraiser on Monday, February 3; the Housewares Design Awards Gala & Ceremony on Tuesday, February 4; as well as NY NOW’s popular “Night on Broadway,” featuring specially-priced tickets for the Tuesday, February 4 performance of Motown: The Musical.
NY NOW will also recognize product innovation with awards in several categories, including the Accent on Design® Awards and Accent on Design Bloggers’ Choice Awards; and market participants will vote online for their favorite “green” products in the Eco Choice Awards. NY NOW’s Best New Product Awards also will recognize design excellence in four categories – Baby + Child, Gourmet Housewares, Home Textiles and Personal Care + Wellness – with popular voting determining overall “Best of LIFESTYLE” and “Best of HOME” Awards. In addition, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) NY Metro Chapter will present their “Best of the Best NY NOW Winter 2014 Awards” to select exhibitors in NY NOW’s HOME Collection.
Complete information and registration is available online at www.nynow.compPrograms.
The Winter 2014 OASIS show is scheduled for January 30 - February 1, 2014, in Phoenix, Ariz., and the OASIS Albuquerque Gift Show will be held April 4 - 5, 2014, in Albuquerque, N.M.
The September 2013 OASIS Gift Show offered a newly redesigned show floor, placing the Cash & Carry, Gifts 2 Go section in the Main Hall, alongside our order-writing-only Main Floor and the exclusive Artisans’ Showcase. Buyers from across the country, as well as Canada, were upbeat and excited to see, touch, and feel the latest trends in Southwest - inspired souvenir and gift products. Feedback from exhibitors has been overwhelmingly positive, with many reporting their best summer/fall OASIS Gift Show in years.
Debuting as a two-day show now in September, OASIS and KKT Event Management, LLC are excited to report an increase of about 6 percent in buyer attendance in comparison to the July 2012 OASIS Gift Show.
As the show wound down on Saturday afternoon, exhibitors were looking for contracts for the Winter 2014 OASIS Gift Show, and buyers were making plans to attend, as well. Show management hopes to see many new and returning faces at the 2014 OASIS Shows. Join OASIS for the Winter 2014 show, January 30 - February 1, 2014, in Phoenix, Ariz., and the OASIS Albuquerque Gift Show, April 4 - 5, 2014, in Albuquerque, N.M.
Toy Fest West
A booth at Toy Fest West.
WTHRA will be holding its annual West Coast Toy Trade Show for its second year at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, Nev., a locale with extensive offerings. With room rates well below East Coast and Southern California locations, onsite world class restaurants, shuttles to the strip, and numerous amenities, everybody wins. Sweetening the deal, attendees receive Monday night free when they book to stay Saturday and Sunday night, 3/8 and 3/9. This lucky offer is limited to the first 300 rooms booked.
WTHRA’s 2014 ToyFest West Show, the largest toy show in the West, will feature over 600 manufacturers, serving as the West Coast premiere for their new 2014 products. In addition to toys, other represented categories include infant and toddler, gift, educational, museum, hobby and costume. Traditionally a manufacturers’ representative show, the move to Las Vegas saw an increase in vendor attendance, which will continue in 2014. Retailers who play their cards right by attending, cash in on numerous first quarter specials, unique industry events all in the laid back, friendly environment for which the WTHRA show is known.
ToyFest West offers an environment where the best products are presented with a personal touch.
Newly appointed WTHRA Chairman of the Board of Directors, Blake Goldenberg, said it is all about the camaraderie. “Those of you that have joined us at our annual trade show know exactly what I’m referring to, a sense of family. At ToyFest West you’re treated as a real person, not just a number; almost as if you’ve just come home. The show is set up in an open environment with open booths, welcoming buyers to browse. The manufacturers and sales representatives are there to help and spend time with you. You won’t feel rushed; instead you’ll feel relaxed and more productive than other trade shows. Since 1961, WTHRA has been producing an outstanding show; isn’t it about time you come see what all the buzz is about? I look forward to seeing you there!”
For more information on ToyFest West, the manufacturers and representatives who will be present, the special room rate and the 2014 program, please visit www.toyfestwest.com or call (909) 899-3753.
The Halloween & Attraction Show opens for business March 20-23, 2014 at the America’s Center in downtown St. Louis. TransWorld’s Halloween & Attraction Show is the only industry trade show of its kind in the world. For the last 19 years, TransWorld’s annual Halloween & Attractions Show has created the marketplace for the Haunted House Industry. Each year the industry gathers to network, get new ideas and purchase products. This is a must-attend event if you are thinking about opening or currently operate a haunted house, corn maze, pumpkin patch, paintball field, family fun center, amusement park, zoo, aquarium, Halloween retail store or anything Halloween related. The show offers everything needed to make the attendees’ Halloween season a huge success. Each year, the show continues to grow with new exhibitors, new products, more networking and more seminars. Exhibitors will see over 8,000 buyers on the show floor. The Halloween & Attractions Show combines the products and knowledge of over 300 exhibitors who you will see this March.
Registration is now open for TransWorld’s Halloween and Attractions Show. For details, please visit www.haashow.com or email Jennifer Braverman at Jen@haashow.com.
The seminar series offered at TransWorld’s Halloween and Attractions Show is without a doubt second to none. The program is spearheaded by the collective efforts of the owners of two of the world’s premier Haunted Attractions, Ben Armstrong of “Netherworld Haunted House” and Ann Marie and Tim Gavinski of the “Wisconsin Fear Grounds.”