President’s Letter – September 20, 2011: Networking Gold

On September 12, TIA Board member Bill Campbell hosted a networking event for current and prospective members of the Association at Leapfrog Enterprises’ headquarters in Emeryville, California.  The event included a guided tour of Leapfrog’s facility and remarks from Harry Chang of Li & Fung who spoke to the group about current manufacturing trends in China and, more specifically, how China’s five-year plan will impact the toy industry.  Representatives from Wild Planet, Diggin Active, Kimochis, IAG Media, Bossa Nova, Plan Toys and numerous other Northern California toy companies attended the event. For the time being, our members in the area have agreed that they would like to continue hosting these events under TIA’s umbrella.

In June, our friends and colleagues at the Toy Association of Southern California (TASC) – a TIA associate member – hosted a networking event of their own; another is scheduled on October 27 at Otis College on October 27.  I am honored to have been invited to attend and offer brief remarks on the current state of the global toy industry. 

In July, we hosted a networking gathering here in New York attended by more than 50 of TIA’s metro-area members.  These networking events augment our winter Toy of the Year and Toy Fair activities, PlayCon in the spring and October’s Fall Toy Preview. 

As a trade group, TIA’s formalized structure provides a legitimate venue for competitors to gather and exchange ideas without any suggestion that anti-trust prohibitions might be violated.  We see facilitating connections among our members as an essential role of the Association and a true benefit for our members.

It’s impossible to know how many new business opportunities have emerged at these networking events, but their popularity suggests they are a “petri dish” for growing toy business ideas.  As Woody Allen said: “90% of success is just showing up.”

I look forward to seeing you at industry events throughout the year. 

Warm regards,