President's Letter – Oct 4, 2010: A Bigger Tent

Writing from Fall Toy Preview in Dallas one day after a meeting of the Board of Directors, TIA president Carter Keithley explains how the Association is reinventing its membership to reflect the industry’s “new realities.”

The toy industry overall has changed massively in terms of how products are developed, sourced and marketed.  Everyone is doing everything, including inventing, manufacturing, retailing and licensing.  And the advent of new and affordable technologies has accelerated our entry into the digital world.

So the old model of membership in TIA has become quaint and anachronistic.  Though manufacturers and importers are eligible to be “regular” members, retailers and overseas factories are excluded altogether.  And sales reps, long an integral component of the toy industry, tell us they feel they have been relegated to second class citizenship.   

We have formed a Bylaws Review Task Force to look at how the Association should be structured to reflect new realities.  I anticipate that we will soon be a bigger tent, welcoming in the full spectrum of companies in the toy business.  The industry can be stronger and more effective if we enable all voices to be heard. 

With best regards from Dallas,

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Carter Keithley
President