Don’t get too excited. Alas, I wasn’t able to afford a trip to New York City to attend the esteemed toy trade show that is New York Toy Fair. (I’ll be going to New York City later this year for Blogger Bash, though, which has a mini toy fair called the Sweet Suite!) The past week or so, I’ve been searching YouTube for videos from New York Toy Fair. Below are a few that might be interesting to you! (And I definitely plan on going to 2018’s NYTF. I feel like there should be more booths getting coverage than what is out there on the internet as of this writing. That, or it will be a pretty lackluster year for toys. Lottie, The Queen’s Treasures and A Girl for All Time were there, but I don’t see many videos from their booths on YouTube yet. Tonner was also there with Phyn & Aero, but seemed to have had a very small collection of items. He livestreamed from his booth.)
The best video that I found was a live stream from the Doll area. (The trade show floor is split into different themed areas.) It features Lottie, A Girl for All Time and Tonner. They go through the doll area and chat with vendors.
This video isn’t from New York’s event, but Hong Kong’s. It features Kurhn dolls! They don’t show at New York Toy Fair. That reminds me, I need to add a new Kurhn to my collection soon. It’s been too long!
Here’s a tour from Madame Alexander. No audio from the company, so your guess as to price, name and release are as good as mine on these dolls. I do see many things that were on display last year, though. I have an e-mail out to the company, so maybe we’ll be hearing more about them later!
Spin Master’s Luvabella will either win your heart or creep you out. Check out the video to see why! She’s a robot baby that has some pretty awesome head movements!
I love the Barbie hologram machine!!! It looks like it will be pretty cool. It doesn’t look like they have their new thingmaker, the 3d printer, on display this year. I wonder what’s going on with that?
My Ballerina Dolls was back (and still not in the doll area, it seems). From the looks of it, they didn’t have anything super new to show. It looks like they’re re-working Clara a bit so she can be more of an ‘anything’ character. (They mentioned that in another Toy Fair video.)
Shibajuku Girls debuted their new smaller sized dolls in their booth! I still prefer the big ones to the small ones, but they look cute!
This is just a sampling of what was on display at Toy Fair. If you haven’t, I suggest going to YouTube and searching Toy Fair 2017 and seeing what else people posted. (Look up Hasbro, Mattel and Funko– they usually have great stuff on display!)
There are some videos of the new Monster High dolls out, but honestly, the dolls don’t look very exciting. Also, bad news for Ever After High fans, it looks like they had zero new dolls on display for that line. There look to be a lot of fun new dolls coming to the DC Superhero Girls line, some of which are characters I actually know thanks to the CW’s current love affair with DC themed entertainment.
Did you see anything exciting at Toy Fair or through coverage online? What was it? Let me know in the comment area!
At Toy Fair, I got to experience a craft product called Paper Punk. What is it? Well, it’s a product that allows you to make fun paper sculptures with no wet glue or hassle! There are a number of Paper Punk products to choose from including animals, robots, snakes, unicorns, cars, as well as licensed characters like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
For review, I received two sets: Kitty001 and Urban Fold. We’ll start with the Urban Fold set, which allows you to build your own paper block city. What drew me to this set was the open ended play element it had. This set includes 48 punchable, foldable shapes, 697 stickers, 1 poster and planning mat and 1 storage box. Half the fun of this set is putting the pieces together. Inside the box you’ll have a few pages of perforated cardboard shapes. Punch them out and follow the numbers– put tab 1 into slot 1, tap 2 into slot 2, etc. It takes a while to put all 48 shapes together and little kids might not make it through the whole process. This is definitely something you’ll want to do as a family.
After you’ve built your building blocks, it’s time to go to work building your own cardboard city. Use the blocks to build towers, homes, bridges– whatever you’d like. Add extra elements, like bikers or buses, by attaching stickers to the blocks. There is no right or wrong way to play with the Urban Fold kit.
What I like about this particular set is that these easy to fold shapes work well as background elements in photography. These are sized just right for 1/6th scale dolls like Makies. They are also light enough for jointed dolls to hold without giving their limbs trouble. For those looking to use this more traditionally, the blocks, while not weighted, do stack relatively well.
The pieces included in this set vary in size and shape. They are all brightly colored and stay together well. No tape required.
The stickers packaged with this set are super cute and offer you a wide range of options- from cars to bikers to dinosaurs; A lot can be said using the stickers provided.
The biggest disappointment in this set has to be the black and white instructions. Doubling as a playscape for your blocks, the instruction side of this oversized document is in black and white. It features already made patterns for you to create with your blocks that resemble landmarks you may be familiar with around the world (ie: the Duomo in Florence). Great. Love the idea.
However, the color key that you use to find the blocks you need is in black and white. I don’t know many 6 year olds who would be able to ‘see’ blue (sky) on a key that shows it in light grey, if you know what I mean. It would have been easier if they had printed this element in color. Overall, though, this set is great for those kids who enjoy open ended play.
The second product for review was the Kitty001. The Kitty is more of a display piece. I think it’s really cute! Built from 16 foldable paper shapes, this cat is super colorful. This set also comes with over 100 stickers and 40 adhesive dots. Plus, you can reuse the folder the pieces are packaged in for whatever you’d like.
Folding the shapes for the Kitty can get tricky- some are very small. Once they’re folded together, follow the instructions provided (again, black and white) and use the glue circles to start making your Kitty. This set comes with a lot of glue dots, so don’t worry about using multiple circles on your pieces.
The age range on these two sets is 6 and up and the younger set may need some help in folding and placing the pieces. However, I think these kits would work great as rainy day/vacation projects.
Here’s the video review:
This product was received for a fair and honest review. All opinions stated are my own.
Earlier this year, I posted pictures from the JC Toys booth at Toy Fair. While I’m not a baby doll collector, I left the booth impressed with these realistic vinyl baby dolls. There are a number of different baby dolls produced by JC Toys. Made in Spain, these baby dolls come in both genders and diverse skin tones. Many of their vinyl dolls are anatomically correct and all are highly detailed.
For review today is the Berenguer Boutique La Newborn Layette Gift Set from JC Toys (Amazon link). Unlike many of their dolls, which are 100% vinyl, this La Newborn is made with a soft body and vinyl limbs. She’s 15.5″ tall.
Adding to that, she has the cutest expression on her face. Her half-open eyes, chubby cheeks and open mouth make her look like she’s actually looking up at you. There’s a sense of wonderment in her expression that isn’t seen on lesser quality baby dolls. Her head is blushed to make it look like she has hints of hair.
One thing I gushed over at Toy Fair were the details on the arms and legs of the JC Toys baby dolls and this La Newborn is no exception. Her hands and feet are incredibly detailed, with unique hand molds that include baby wrinkles, fingers that are sculpted in multiple positions and finger nails.
Also worth noting is the body blushing, which is really well done.
This baby girl comes dressed in a striped onesie, pink socks and a pink hat. Her outfit is fastened with velcro, so you can easily remove it and redress her. While her torso is stuffed, her arms and legs move up and down well. They even hold poses. Her head doesn’t turn as willingly as her arms and legs.
Also included in this set is a baby blanket that you can tie around your baby doll, a birth certificate, pacifier, bottle and pacifier holder. Both the pacifier and bottle fit in this girls open mouth well. The hands are even molded in a way that makes it look like she’s realistically holding them.
Needless to say, this baby doll stole my heart almost immediately. She’s not the most affordable baby doll around, but if you’re looking to gift a quality baby doll to someone, you want to check out JC Toys.
For more information on JC Toys, visit their website, facebook or twitter. Also online is their 2015 Catalog. You’ll find lots of fun baby dolls of all shapes, sizes and colors. All the pictures above can be found on Flickr.
Contest: That’s not all, though! JC Toys has agreed to give one lucky US reader a La Newborn of their very own! To win a doll just like the one I reviewed, fill out the google form below! Earn extra entries for liking JC Toys on Facebook, and/or following them on Twitter. The contest ends June 6th and is US only. (Sorry, international readers!) What do you think of this adorable Berenguer Boutique Baby doll? Share your thoughts below! (The contest is now over. Thanks for entering!)
This product was received for a fair and honest review. All opinions stated are my own.
The article below was originally written as a spec article for Dolls Magazine. Spec articles are essentially writing samples that you hope will entice an editor enough to give you a chance at getting an article in their magazine. I gave them a few weeks to get back to me. After receiving no response at all regarding my submission, I decided it was best just to post it here on the blog. Some of what is stated here is repetitive for long time readers, but there may be some fun facts in this article for you to enjoy! (And for those who missed it, be sure to check out my article in the January 2015 issue of Complete Wellbeing!)
A Doll Blogger At Toy Fair
The North American International Toy Fair has always been an elusive event for me. Known as Toy Fair to most, this show has been happening annually in New York City since 1903. You read toy histories about your favorite playthings making their debuts during this important industry event — Barbie in 1959, Cabbage Patch Kids in 1983, Furbys in 1998, to name a few. Every line needs to start somewhere and that somewhere is usually Toy Fair.
My interest in the show came from my mom, an avid doll collector. Growing up the daughter of a doll collector, it should come as no surprise that I decided to collect, too. My collection includes a variety of things. I started actively collecting Skipper, Barbie’s Little Sister, when I was in my teens and gradually added more dolls of all shapes, sizes and brands to my large, out of box collection.
In 2010, I decided to share my collection with the world through my blog, Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter. Shortly after starting the blog, I started my own YouTube channel under my internet pseudonym Kewpie83, as a supplement to my written reviews. Eventually, I started a facebook fan page, in an effort to make my blog even more accessible to collectors. My blogging opened up many doors for me, including crossing off a major bucket list item—to attend Toy Fair.
Many bloggers don’t give themselves enough credit. They think they’re not legitimate enough to apply as press for events like this, just because they don’t write for a print magazine. I was guilty of thinking I wasn’t on par with ‘real’ writers until one day, when I realized thinking like that wasn’t going to get me anywhere. That’s why it took four years for me to apply to attend one of the most important events in the field I write about. In November of 2014, I decided to bite the bullet and applied for a press pass to the New York City show. A few days later, I received a confirmation e-mail and that was the beginning of my Toy Fair adventure!
Fast forward two months; It’s February 15th. I have ten booth appointments scheduled and my coveted press pass hangs around my neck. I am standing in the Jacob K Javits Convention Center attending Toy Fair. What can I say? Toy Fair is an amazing event and well worth the endless planning and money spent commuting from Chicago to snowy New York City.
Inside the glass walls of the Javits Center are thousands of toy designers, manufacturers and distributors, from start-ups to big name brands, displaying their wares in nearly every nook and cranny of the gigantic building.
Walking into the large convention halls that housed exhibitors was much like walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. So many different sights and sounds. No one booth was the same as the other. Walking down one aisle, you would see someone sailing down a ramp on a wheel less board, beautiful doll furniture displayed in enchanting scenes, fun and funky vinyl figures and maybe even a brave show attendee lying on a bed of nails! And that would be just one of the 2,000 aisles on Level 3.
One thing that surprised me about Toy Fair was the idea of making ‘appointments’. Appointments will differ depending on who you’re working with, but in most cases, appointments are one on one booth tours. They’re your chance to have the exhibitors’ undivided attention, which is a great advantage during the show. You don’t need an appointment for every booth you see, but if you really, really want to cover a certain type of toy, in my case dolls, appointments are the best way to go.
While perusing the many aisles of Toy Fair, there were some interesting trends that I spotted in the doll world. One theme I saw a lot of were interactive talking dolls that connected to the world in a whole new way—by bluetooth and wifi.
This new element adds extra dimension to conversational play. With these elements, which in most cases allow the dolls to connect to secure databases, dolls can understand what you’re saying, retain it and respond appropriately. Dolls with this technology will be seen later this year in My Friend Cayla and Hello Barbie.
I also noticed a huge growth in the 18” doll market. Growing up, there were two 18” lines that I can remember: American Girl and Magic Attic.
Now, there are a whole slew of dolls in this size range. Some of which were designed in that size due to the fact that so many children already have an 18” doll, making clothing changes endless and easy to find.
In the toy world, there were a lot of electronic toys on display, like miniature flying machines and robots. In the same respect, minimalistic, crafty toys and building sets were represented in multiple booths, as well.
There were a few exhibitors that made lasting impressions on me. Tonner brought prototypes of their new 18” My Imagination line. These unique dolls have a great, childlike look to them and a fantastic wardrobe. Girls and boys of all ages will love this line. I know I do!
Paola Reina brought an assortment of dolls. This doll line hails from Spain and has been going strong since 1994. Recently, it was brought over to North America. These dolls have amazingly expressive faces with hand painted features and inset eyes. They’re even infused with a unique vanilla scent. Their beautiful booth made me leave a huge fan.
Two other exhibitors that stayed with me were creating fantastic multicultural dolls. Double Dutch Dolls displayed their line for the first time at Toy Fair. It was great being able to see their 18” line of multicultural dolls in person.
The One World Doll Project also had an eye-catching showing of dolls on display; with their 1/6th scale Prettie Girls! and new 16” Prettie Girls! Tween Scene literally on pedestals. Keep an eye on these two brands. I personally think they’ll help create a very positive trend in the doll world.
And, of course, we can’t forget the fang-tastic 17” Monster High releases we’ll be seeing later this year. Not only is Mattel creating a new unique character for their Freak du Chic line, Gooliope Gellington, in this large size, but three of their original Monster High girls, as well—Draculaura, Clawdeen and Frankie. Seeing these four in person at the show made me even more excited about adding them to my collection!
Also worth mentioning was the surprise of the show for me; the Nutcracker themed ‘My Ballerina Dolls‘. Standing at 23″ tall, these resin, ball jointed dolls were major stand outs at the show.
Overall, my first Toy Fair was a huge success. However, it was only a success due to the helpfulness of past attendees who were kind enough to pass along their words of wisdom. So, it’s only right that I leave a few bits of advice for bloggers who may be considering attending, as well.
1- Don’t be afraid of applying. The worst that can happen is that you’re not let in. If that happens, just try to bump up your stats for next year and remember, you don’t have to attend Toy Fair to make contacts. You can do that all year round.
2- Before attending, print lots of business cards. You want people to know who you are and where to find you. You’ll also want to make a blogger media kit. My kit consists of a one sheet with my picture, blog links and important stats.
3- The real work begins after getting the registration confirmation. Remember those appointments I mentioned earlier? You’ll want to lock those down before the show. Do you have a relationship with companies already? Shoot them an e-mail and mention you’ll be attending the show. Is there a company you want to work with? Why not shoot them an e-mail, too, explaining who you are and that you’d love to meet with them if they are attending Toy Fair. You may even want to attach your Media Kit to the e-mail. The Toy Fair website is really helpful with this—they’ll usually post who is attending in advance, so you don’t have to contact companies completely blind. Be careful not to over book yourself, though. I found some amazing products while walking the aisles in my free time. (And don’t forget lunch. You’ll want a lunch break, too!)
4- Not all the exhibitors will be blogger friendly. Some don’t care about marketing themselves because they are looking for buyers. Some will grill you on all your stats, others will need you to explain what ‘blogging’ is. Not everyone understands what bloggers do or how they affect the toy industry. Don’t take offense if a booth doesn’t quite ‘get’ what you do.
5- In the same respect, not all booths will allow you to take photos and/or video. Ask the exhibitors when you enter if it’s okay for you to shoot. I didn’t have much trouble with booths saying no when I asked about taking photos. Most just asked for a business card in return for permission. Within photo-friendly booths, there may be items that you can’t photograph. Booths will usually mark those with small signs. If you see something at a booth, but can’t show it off to your readers, it’s more than okay to ask if the company could keep you in the loop.
6- If you visit a booth and you like what you see, ask for a business card. The key thing for bloggers at Toy Fair is to make relationships with companies. Follow up after the show and thank them for speaking with you. If you’re on a company’s radar, you may be offered samples to review for your blog, which is never a bad thing.
7- Don’t underestimate small independents. If you’re at all shy about talking to people, chatting with independents may be a great way to warm up for your appointments. In most cases, the smaller entrepreneurs will want as much Toy Fair coverage as they can get. Plus, there were some fantastic products coming out of those booths. And you never know, they could be the next big thing!
8- Most importantly, have fun! You may be attending for work, but it doesn’t have to feel like work. Take in the vastness of the Javits Center, run across the lobby to catch up with the Power Rangers for a super dorky, but amazing photo opportunity, step inside that Cabbage Patch Kids box, stand in awe across from the insanely large Funko Groot, drool over (metaphorically speaking) the amazing dolls and toys that will be popping up over the next year.
I would never have expected ten years ago that I would be in a position to attend Toy Fair, but am so pleased I could finally check this bucket list item off my list! It was an amazing experience and definitely one I hope to repeat in the future.
Tell me, what was your favorite thing shown here from Toy Fair? I’d love to know! Leave your thoughts in the comment area.
At Toy Fair, I visited the Hog Wild booth. Hog Wild is known for novelty toys like the popular Squeeze Poppers. They also have a line of cute plush that double as night lights called Brobo‘s. There are five Brobo characters: Brobo, Pep, Trex, Mumu and Dog.
These night-light buddies have three modes. Swipe your Brobo’s hand over the circle on his/her stomach one time to enter Flashlight mode. In flashlight mode, the LEDS on your Brobo’s stomach light up to their brightest point.
Swipe the circle again and the lights will dim into Nightlight mode. Finally, swipe the hand over the circle one last time to turn the light off completely. Brobo’s are equipped with a five-minute automatic shut off, to help conserve the three AA batteries located safely inside their oversized heads.
This is Pep. Pep is a baby pink robot and about 13″ tall. She has an oversized stuffed head with large, cartoonish stitched features. Pep’s eyes are very similar to what you might see in a 1960’s anime or, more recently, an episode of the Power Puff Girls. Her body is 95% plush. The only hard part is the circle atop Pep’s stomach, her Shine Force Light. Pep is stuffed well and is very huggable. Because Brobo’s take 3 AA batteries, they are not machine washable. The battery compartment is cleverly hidden in the oversized head, so you can’t feel it from the outside. It also includes an ‘off’ switch.
Design-wise, I love the look of Pep and the other Brobo’s. Their oversized features are really cute. I also like the concept. It’s easy to turn the night-light function on and to manipulate it. Pep or the other Brobo’s available would make a great friend for a child on a dark and stormy night.