Sunday, July 29, 2007

SF Gift Fair

I just got back from half a day at the San Francisco Gift Fair. If you ever worry about the Walmartization of America, just visit one of these sprawling fairs of specialty items. It was at the Moscone Center and took up three large halls. The Gama Trade Show (GTS) takes up one hall at best, so I was certainly impressed with the market for this stuff. I also haven't seen so many women in one place since college.

A small amount of the fair applied to my interests. There were a handful of game and toy companies, enough of them to make the short visit productive. I put in orders with Screen Life (Scene-It), Wood Expressions (classic games), and The Lagoon Group (my supplier of fake dog poop and puzzle games). I also got to say hello to my toy rep who will be providing me Thomas Wooden Railway stuff and John Hansen puzzles and games. Melissa & Doug was there and I was able to see some of the many items I have coming from them, and a possible offer to help set up the various racks when they arrive. I've got racks of puzzles, train track, craft supplies, and much more.

Lagoon Group: Various puzzles games, novelty items, optical illusion jigsaw puzzles

Wood expressions has new chess tables. I'm planning on showcasing this one in the store.

Melissa & Doug: "bread & butter" toys. These are the toys you expect a quality toy store to have. They're high-quality yet affordable. We don't need anything fancy from Europe here. They're good enough at an excellent price point. The rep told me one of his accounts described M&D in dating terms: You want to go home with that hot person at the end of the bar, but you're going to go home with the cute one whose talking to you. Maybe we should suggest a new marketing slogan?

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