card games

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.

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.

Move over Mattel… we have made our first acquisition!

In the world of mergers and acquisitions, this certainly won’t make the newspapers.  BUT… it is our first acquisition… and I am excited!

Mattel acquires MEGA Brands

This is not breaking news.  Several weeks ago, Mattel announced that it had acquired MEGA Brands for $460 million.

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.

Toy store in the Munich airport

While en route to the Nuremberg International Toy Fair, I had some spare time to pass at the airport in Munich.  So, I decided to check out the airport’s toy store.

The love affair that Germans have with card games and board games is well known.  What first struck me on entering the store, was how true this is.  Beside the entrance on both sides of the doorway were racks of card games (there were a total of four large spinning racks).  And right in the centre of the store, in what would be considered the prime retail location, was a huge selection of board games.

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!

Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair

This past month, the Canadian Toy Association (CTA) hosted the 73rd annual Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair.  The show was held in Hall 4 of the International Centre, located very conveniently near Pearson International Airport.  While the show had relocated from downtown Toronto to the International Centre several years ago, Hall 4 was a new venue for the Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair.

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!

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