jigsaw puzzles

Retail is Dead

Over the last couple of years, there have been many articles written about how conventional retail is dead.  Some journalists claim it’s only a matter of time before bricks and mortar stores become redundant.  Pundits will point to the recent closing of all Sears locations in Canada as proof that this is indeed happening.

So retail is dead!  And everyone may as well start closing their stores.

Nuremberg Review

This was our fourth consecutive year exhibiting at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair.
 
Exhibiting in Nuremberg is an expensive endeavor.  Booth space is pricey - especially in a year where we increased our booth size.  Hotels become ridiculously expensive as thousands of international visitors flood into the city.  Plus, there are the logistical costs of exhibiting overseas and the time factor of being away from the office for an additional eight days during the prime tradeshow season.

Year in Review

The flight back from Hong Kong Toy Fair gave me plenty of time to contemplate this past year.  As the year progressed, there were signs of economic “challenges” in Canada.  Even with these challenges, it was a very positive year for Outset Media.

Here is a list of my top four highlights and two biggest concerns from this past year:

Highlight #1 - Revenue Growth

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

My apologies for the late blog posting regarding this year’s NY Toy Fair.  The tradeshow wrapped up exactly two weeks ago.  It is just sooooooo hard to find a spare moment to think – let alone write a blog posting – during the hectic post tradeshow craziness.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was a 1960s western starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach.  The movie follows three gunslingers competing to find a buried Confederate treasure.  The film is arguably the best and most iconic “Spaghetti Western” ever filmed.

Why we exhibit in Nuremberg

This was the second consecutive year we have exhibited at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair.  Between appointments and people meandering into our booth, I did have ample time to reflect on why we are exhibiting in Nuremberg.

Do Celebrity Endorsements Work?

A quick overview for those of you who are not too familiar with Outset Media.  Outset Media designs and produces its own board games, card games, and jigsaw puzzles, which are distributed worldwide.  However, we also act as the Canadian distributor for several toy companies.  One of these companies is MindWare – makers of the hugely popular and award-winning game Qwirkle.  I will get back to Qwirkle later in my blog.

Lessons from Lego

It would be difficult to find a child who is not familiar with the iconic Lego building toy.  Lego is one of those ubiquitous brands that transcends cultures around the world.

Lego was founded back in 1932, the brainchild of a Danish carpenter named Ole Kirk Christiansen.  At first, Lego only made wooden toys.  Quality was always important at Lego, even back in those early days – the company was named after the Danish phrase for "play well".  Fifteen years later, the company expanded into plastic toys.  Lego produced its first interlocking plastic bricks in 1949.  The rest is history!

Big-Box Stores Face Possible Death

A recent article in BC Business magazine caught my eye.  The headline boldly stated “BIG-BOX STORES FACE POSSIBLE DEATH”.

Chapter 11 for Fundex

One company I have admired for many years is Fundex.  What impressed me about this company was their consistent branding.  Whether it was their logo, their packaging design, their website, their tradeshow presence and other marketing materials, Fundex kept a consistently professional appearance and appeared to live their motto “Where fun comes first!

And with games like ‘Phase 10’, the second best selling card game next to Uno in their line, Fundex was indeed a company to watch!

ASTRA Marketplace & Academy 2012

Last week we exhibited at the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy in Baltimore.  It is remarkable how things have changed over the years.  Our first ASTRA was waaaaaay back in 2003, held that year in Broomfield, Colorado.  How time flies!

The floor space has sure increased since our first ASTRA.  Back then, exhibition space was limited to two hotel ballrooms, and I can’t recall anybody having more than an 8’ x 10’ booth.

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