It’s the end of January and that means only one thing – yep – ToyFair season! Amanda negotiating her way to London on public transport in the Red Shoes for 2 days of madness. Actually, for the record for those that didn’t get to see me it was Red shoes, handbag, nails, belt and even mobile phone cover! I would like to publically thank the people at Newport train station for being so complimentary about my footwear and for the 2 older ladies who were telling me they would love to still be able to wear such things!

Even after 14 years I am always excited when I walk in through those doors at Olympia to be greeted by the noise of the fair, and this year it was fantastic, there was a real buzz about the place. Everyone was really positive and receptive not only to customers but to little old me too!! It’s really hard to pick a highlight of the show in terms of product so I am not going to, although knowing my love for coffee you know I was deeply impressed with Jumbo’s offering of free coffee in a Jumbo travel cup. All of the stands were great (apart from one nameless one that looked more like they had rocked up to a car boot sale than a trade show) and there was a great choice in energy giving treats available. Special mention needs to go to the Bandai ladies all in Blue (beautiful shoes) and the IMC ladies who made a fantastic dress choice!!

Wednesday evening was taken up drinking pints, and eating Pizza while chatting and meeting with people at the ‘unwind’ party at The Albion pub. A big shout out goes to Aardvark Swift for organising the event, along with the Licensing Awards/Licensing Source Book (the mighty Rob Willis) and  Toy News Magazine for sponsoring and treating us to much needed beverages. Ooh and John Crane Limited thanks for the Glow Sticks – my son loves them! It was great to meet so many people and put faces to names – being honest by the time I left there I was almost crying as my feet hurt so much but beauty is pain ladies and day 2 meant the red shoes were back on!!

I felt a real shift in this year’s show. Rather than clients hiding away or being ‘busy’ when a recruiter was lurking! I was being approached by people wanting to introduce themselves to me, invited on to stands to see product ranges and to discuss future and current plans. Directors running off stands to make sure they introduced themselves to me from; “ah, the lady in the red shoes, you must be Amanda”, “ooo, you in the red shoes; we need to talk”.  “You must be bloodyrecruiter can I find out more about what you do”, to “excuse me! Shoe lady can I show you our products and explain what we do”.

I was welcomed into the heart of the Toy Trade last week in a very different way and it feels ace! Knowing a company’s business plan enables me work with my clients in a way that really suits the individual organisation. I act on that with efficiency and integrity, meaning that I only talk to clients about the right type of candidates, and candidates about the right type of opportunity; it’s certainly the way forward and after years of banging on it is now being understood.

The other interesting dynamic has to have been being able to introduce some of you to my Business Coach and (some) credit to my new identity has to go to him. For those who have never worked with a business coach I understand your scepticism – what a true coach does is to allow a business owner to really look at the business rather than just do their jobs. Adam does not have a recruitment background and does not have an involvement in my job; he encourages me to look at my business and this is having a huge effect on Birchwood! He can be found at and his blog is well worth signing up to.

So the red shoes work; people recognised the shoes and came to talk to me. I am clicking my heels together 3 times and making it happen and I am bringing my clients with me! Next stop Spring Fair; Let me know when you would like to see me or feel free to stop me as I am whizzing up and down the aisles… x


2 thoughts on “ToyFair!

  1. I wondered whose they were! 🙂

    Great show and brilliant start to the year for you Amanda, build on the momentum and keep your focus. 2012 will be ace, you’ll make it so.

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