New York International Toy Fair: What We Saw, and Why We Go

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NEW YORK, New York – Life-sized LEGO models of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens cast. A four-foot-tall PlushCraft owl. A live visit from a pair of Internet-famous mini pigs.

Everywhere you turn at the New York International Toy Fair, there’s something exciting to catch your eye. Each year, our store owners, managers and Home Office staff travel from around the country to the Big Apple to see what this major industry trade show has to offer.

Toy Fair 2016 had more than 1,000 vendors exhibiting products and tens of thousands of attendees. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at some of the fun things we found at Toy Fair

giant plushcraft owl orb factory toy fair 2016

A giant 3D PlushCraft Owl was on display at The Orb Factory’s booth at Toy Fair 2016.

LEGO Kylo Ren at New York International Toy Fair

LEGO Kylo Ren was on display at New York International Toy Fair in 2016.

Prissy and Pop the Mini Pigs Toy Fair 2016

Prissy and Pop, the Internet famous mini pigs, made a live appearance dressed for Valentine’s Day at the GUND booth at Toy Fair 2016.

Giant Kendama at Toy Fair 2016

Learning Express Toys Marketing Manager Becki Harrington-Davis poses with a giant Kendama at Toy Fair 2016.

What Happens At Toy Fair?

At Toy Fair, we visit the booths and make connections with vendors, we scout out new products to sell in our stores, and we meet with our fellow franchisees and talk about ways to make Learning Express Toys the best neighborhood toy store around.

By the time Toy Fair is over, our feet are tired, our bags are full of catalogs and samples, and we’re inspired to go home and bring our customers the very best selection in quality toys.

Learning Express Toys Dinner Toy Fair 2016

Learning Express Toys store owners gathered for dinner during Toy Fair 2016 to network, exchange ideas and celebrate success.

While in New York, we gathered with our store owners for meals and meetings. American Girl, The Orb Factory and Melissa & Doug each sponsored meals, and we got to hear from those vendors about their latest products and initiatives. In addition, the Learning Express Toys Home Office recognized outstanding store owners for top sales at an awards banquet.

This year, we also had the opportunity to visit Play Fair, a family fun event adjacent to the industry-only Toy Fair. With costumed characters galore, LEGO and Crayola activity stations, a photo booth, a NERF battle arena, a giant inflatable racetrack and much more, Play Fair gave us plenty of new ideas for in-store events and opportunities for activities with kids.

Play Fair 2016 LEGO

Play Fair was a well-attended family fun event held in conjunction with Toy Fair 2016 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Why Is Toy Fair Important?

Toy Fair is one of the two places Learning Express Toys store owners gather each year; the other is our annual Learning Express Toys Convention in June. These gatherings are key to our success as a franchise. They allow:

  • Newer store owners to learn from more experienced ones, and vice versa
  • Store owners to share best practices in marketing, inventory and customer service
  • Learning Express Toys to stay alert and aware of the latest trends and products
  • Vendors to demonstrate their products first-hand

In other words, they help us provide the very things our customers value: the best toy selection, expert staff and a WOW experience!

Teeny Tys Toy Fair 2016

A pyramid of Teeny Tys, the stackable, collectible plush from Ty, was on display at Toy Fair 2016.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at Toy Fair!

Thanks for reading,


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