puzzles

New York Toy Fair Review

It was our 17th consecutive year exhibiting at NY Toy Fair.  I couldn’t actually recall how many times we had exhibited at the show, but fortunately show management provides ribbons that indicate how many years each company has been exhibiting.  Quite handy little ribbons!

Nuremberg Toy Fair Review

This was our 6th consecutive year exhibiting at the Nuremberg Toy Fair.  It finally feels like we are making some significant progress on the international side of our business.

We exhibit at 8 tradeshows in Canada and 21 tradeshows in the United States.  At these tradeshows, the goal is to meet with retailers, and show them our board games and puzzles.  But Nuremberg Toy Fair is different for us.  At this tradeshow, we are only interested in meeting with distributors (rather than retailers) as it isn’t economically feasible to ship to individual retailers outside North America.

Mission Statement

Proofing our catalogue doesn’t rank near the top of my fun list, but is something we need to do every year.  While we have a team of excellent people working on the catalogue, I still feel the need to give it a thorough proofing before sending it to press.  This year, something I saw really got me thinking.

Hong Kong Toy Fair Review

We just returned from our annual pilgrimage to the Hong Kong Toy Fair.  There must be something about me and travelling to Hong Kong, as once again the flight to Hong Kong was delayed, this time for 4 hours in Vancouver.  But I think it builds up the anticipation and excitement!  Plus, after reading toy expert Richard Gottlieb’s blog and his delay at JFK airport for 18 hours, my delay doesn’t sound so bad (even though there was another 3 hour delay on the return trip).

2016 Year in Review

Just returned from our annual trip to the toy fair in Hong Kong.  On my way to Hong Kong, with a 4 hour layover in Vancouver followed by an 8 hour maintenance delay, I had plenty of time to contemplate this past year.  Here is a list of my top four highlights from 2016:

Highlight #1 - Warehouse & Showroom Grand Opening

An Unbelievable 35 Months

Back in June of 2013, we began an exhilarating streak of 35 consecutive monthly sales records… and let me say, it was one interesting journey!  There were some months where the record wasn’t broken until the last day.  It made for some nail-biting times.

As month after month of record sales began to accumulate, I often wondered how I would feel when the streak did come to an end.  We always knew it would happen some day - to expect record sales every month is simply not realistic in the long term.

TaG Central Review

Approximately two weeks ago, suppliers and retailers got together in a hotel near Pearson International Airport for a three-day mini tradeshow.  It was the third running of TaG Central, a biannual event held in Toronto.

TaG Central is a non-profit association of toy and game manufacturers and distributors. Established in the wake of the cancellation of the Canadian Toy Fair, TaG Central borrows its model from the highly successful Drummondville Toy Show.

New York Toy Fair Review

This was our 15th consecutive year exhibiting at NY Toy Fair!

Time has gone by so fast - it sure doesn’t seem like 15 years ago that we wheeled our portable booth into the Javits Center.  I can remember feeling excited of course, but also a little nervous too!  We had already been selling into the Canadian market for five years, and this was the start of our expansion into the United States.

NPD data for 2015, toy sales are up

Earlier this year, I blogged about the revenue growth at Outset.  My exact words were, “we know that the market for board games and puzzles didn’t grow by 30%”.  While that statement is true - thanks to the NPD Group we now know exactly how the industry performed in 2015.

My New Year's Resolution

It has been a long time since I last blogged.  A very long time!  It was over 20 months ago, or 628 days to be more precise.  The topic was our first acquisition, which was a board game called Telepaths.

Our sales grew over 30% last year.  Managing that size of growth is challenging.  And not only did we grow, we introduced a robust selection of new games and puzzles, we began planning our move to a new larger warehouse, and we grew our staff too.  In other words, we were busy!

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