Rain, sleet, snow are certainly irrelevant to newbie exhibitors who come to Javits with high hopes and higher expectations. This year, the TIA reported Toy Fair included 239 first time exhibitors.
2013 newbies, Rob Appelblatt and partner Tim Crean, unveiled a spin on the timeless light strategy classic game, tic-tac-toe, with a uniquely designed version trademarked as TIC STAC TOE TM. Like other first timers, Appelblatt spent hundreds of hours on product preparation and thousands of dollars on the Javits floor space, product samples, and a booth display to confirm strong personal belief in the game. He says, "family, friends, and co-workers all loved the game, but presence at Javits was a true opportunity for genuine, outside validation".
Four weeks after the Big Show, Appelblatt is following up on what he calls, "great interest from retailers, distributors, and potential marketing licensees for TIC STAC TOE TM." He sees the positive results as payback for the amount of effort and energy put into readiness for Toy Fair. That effort included molded parts, multiple prototypes, packaging, a YouTube demo, and even an APP. Appelblatt says, "We were forewarned by many that we had gone way beyond what a typical inventor would do, but I think this is one of the reasons we had such a successful show."
TIC STAC TOE TM @ Toy Fair
How to Play the APP
As he sorts through opportunities from Javits 2013, Rob Appelblatt offers this advice to newbies who may appear at Toy Fair 2014. "Trust and follow your gut instincts. That should lead you to the right decisions as long as you do your homework and constantly critique and challenge yourself. You will meet people who will give reasons why you won't succeed. Hear their reasoning, but don't let them get the best of you. Stay true to your vision but be malleable as you learn things from others that will greatly improve your chances for success."
Hopefully, Toy Fair was as successful for the other 238 first timers as it was for Rob Appelblatt. The play industry needs the annual infusion by start-ups making the commitment to launch their dreams in the aisles of the Javits Center. Regardless of the weather on the streets of Manhattan, they bring sunshine and smiles into hundreds of booths.