Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 1227 - Day two at the New York Toy Fair

The concept store.

The Cheer Chick Charlie booth #5843 New York Toy Fair
(C) Deep Fried Fruit
After being introduced to the New York Toy Fair yesterday, and surviving, we decided to change things around a bit for today to be more in keeping with the method of operation of others.  It seems that rather than a "stall" or "markets" style approach of sitting behind a table with your wears displayed in front of you, you need to create your booth as though it is a mini shop.  Enter, the concept store.
As soon as we arrived this morning we packed up some more doll and book combo boxes and set about turning our tiny little space into a welcoming environment in which people could enter.  While not exactly a "concept store" in the true sense of the term, it was the best that we could do with our very basic signage and tables.

The Cheer Chick Charlie booth #5843 New York Toy Fair

I then left Derek to man the store again while Cindy* (my agent) and I wandered the rows around us to look at the displays and find some synergy.  We chatted to a couple of other exhibitors about partnering options and came back to the booth feeling energised and hopeful.  

We then spent the day standing around as people cruised by looking, but not stopping to chat. While it was comforting to note that the other stores around us were in a similar situation, I still felt a little rejected.  

It was nice to hear comments such as "oh that doll is so cute" and "Cheer Chick Charlie, what a cool name", and "a book series about cheer, that's great".  But it would have been nice if I had more "I NEED to talk to you/I want your product" style interest.

I have to say that the handful people who did stop by were real people with real possibilities.  One guy was a doll manufacturer himself with established distribution chains to stores all around the US and overseas, including with Toys R Us.  He was quite taken by the Cheer Chick Charlie concept.  He said to me that while he creates dolls of all shapes and sizes for the marketplace, he's never done anything with a supporting book series and product line.  He was impressed.  So of course we swapped cards.  He was so impressed he suggested he may be able to reduce my manufacturing costs and get my range into the US a little easier.  I don't know what's in it for him, or what's in it for me, but hey ... it's a great contact to have.  Because the one thing we are lacking in the USA is a distributor. Well, that and a publisher.

Day two of the Toy Fair is now over** and I am safely back in my hotel room ready for a late afternoon nap.  It's ridiculous how hanging around doing nothing all day can be so incredibly exhausting.  I'm not sure if it is the standing, the smiling, the overwhelming array of colour and energy in the room, the need to stay focused, the learning process or the hope and expectation that does it, but something about the Toy Fair is making me feel very fatigued.

We have two days left which not only means more standing around smiling and being open to the possibilities, but includes meetings with two literary agents, a Disney agent and Pop Warner.  

Two days left to find and take home a kick arse opportunity.

I keep saying to myself, it's not the number of people who stop by that matters. It's that the one person who does stop by is the one that counts.

Have a great day everyone.

*Cindy Villarreal is based in Austin Texas and came up to work with us at the booth, create brand awareness, find some partnership opportunities and get us meetings with key people.  She does not hang out at the booth all day, but rather attends her own meetings around the edges.  

** While I am finished for the day, Derek kindly offered to stay at the booth until closing time. He was able to get out of the event in the middle of the day for some down time, so now it's my turn.  For that I am very grateful! While the flat boots are a much better option, my body still hurts from all that standing.  


  1. It sounds like a wonderful experience! I am sure you will make lots of great connections and although it may not bear immediate fruit, I know from experience that you will be surprised at what will unfold down the track ...

  2. It is so interesting following along on this journey with you. I speak to a lot of people about doing business but very few of them actually go out, put it on the line and have a crack.

    Well done - looking forward to hearing more

  3. It only takes that one person, I really hope you get something awesome out of the trip. Other then the great experience!

    Changing the booth around was a great idea!


  4. I hope that one person stops on by soon for you. Must be so exciting to actually be there, living your dream. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses

  5. It's one of those things...you're not just selling a concept, you're selling part of you. No wonder its exhausting to just be there.
    And who knows, you may have already found that opportunity, don't write off your efforts yet! xxx

  6. I have everything crossed for you Leanne. Sounds like a couple of promising meetings coming up. Hope they go great! I'm sure part of the fatigue is all the lead-up time and work you've put in catching up with you. A couple more days, then you can try to rest and unwind! Good luck for the next couple of days. - Aroha

  7. Hope that one amazing person comes your way in the next two days! Your adventure is so incredible to read about - a meeting with Disney - I would not be able to contain myself!!

  8. That sounds very promising!!! And you know what you never know who he might tell and so on and so forth! Enjoy the US and eat lots of Peanut Butter Cups for me! Em (ps thanks for my Olay products, they arrived the day before my son dropped and broke my other bottle of face cream, they say everything happens for a reason:) Em x

  9. Best of luck!! I think your 'stall' looks great and you never know who is just around the next corner!! x


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