After a snowy start in Gloucestershire in our Birchwood Recruitment standard issue red wellies, we trundled up to Olympia. Imagine my excitement when I first spotted Optimus Prime outside, being ignored by past Toy Fair industry-hardened folk! Not me – I begged to drive him, he honked at me, and I took about 40 photos – all part of the experience so I’m told!
Once inside I was greeted by a plethora of colours, sounds and sights! I couldn’t wait to get stuck in! I was not sure of what to expect, but I wasn’t disappointed.
I would say that most of the stands looked AMAZING, showing off your ranges at their best. Closed stands, however, were a great big let-down, Lego – I am disappointed!! And as for Sales teams who did not even look up from their phones or even if they did, it was fleeting you should be considering your options (give us a call).
It was lovely to put faces to names of both Birchwood Recruitment candidates and clients. I was excited to meet those placed by Birchwood since I joined – Dan Richardson at Innovation First, Michelle Fox, Richard Hawkins and Paul Edwards at VTech to name but a few. It was easy to see why Amanda had chosen to put you forward for the roles that you have taken on, and great to see you enjoying these roles.
Both Amanda and I were invited onto a huge number of stands and thanks to everyone who showed us round. I would like to mention the very welcoming teams at Jumbo Games (thanks for the tea), Trunki, Carta Mundi, Click Distribution and Innovation First (makers of the wonderful Hexbug which I DO believe runs on magic dust!) It was amazing to see the difference the “welcome” made to the number of people visiting the stand and enquiring about the products.
I also enjoyed seeing the brilliant ranges and ideas being introduced. Hornby has some exciting products as do AppToyz – I was also interested in the way that apps seem to changing and shaping the industry.
It was great to watch the Sales Teams at work, being so passionate about their products and then revelling in their successes. This is a part of the Toy Industry that outsiders rarely get to see and it was fascinating. From big corporations such as Vtech and Flair to smaller companies such as A Girl for All Time, MedalHaul and Floppets, the different way in which you have to “sell” your product to the buyers was definitely an insight for me.
After a whirlwind day of meeting, greeting and gasping at everything I saw and rescuing my wellies from Iron Mans clutches (well getting them back after I left them by him when taking a photo – you can take the girl out Gloucestershire!) we headed off to the Alternative Drinks Party. This was a great opportunity for me to watch business being achieved in a much more casual way, and to have a good old gossip!
On Thursday, we were back to it, enjoying what was the last day of the Fair and getting a better opportunity to speak to everyone in a much quieter setting. It was lovely to be introduced to you all and connect with Birchwood Recruitment clients and candidates past, present and future.
After lunch we headed home – very tired, but pleased with how our own performance at Toy Fair had gone!
A special mention must be made to all the guys and gals at Progressive Preschool Magazine – you were all lovely and are a great team. Thanks to Rob Willis for lunch – thank god we ate, considering a mix up (not by us) on our lengthy journey home meant that we were redirected round the whole UK! Note to selves – drive next year!
Looking forward to seeing you again at Spring fair!
Little Red Wellies