Toy Fair 2020

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Written by: Jordan Hennell

Hosted at London’s Olympia, Toy Fair is the UK’s largest dedicated toy, game and hobby trade show. The yearly showcase welcomes more than 270 companies who exhibit thousands of products to visitors, retailers, buyers and the media in attendance. Toy Fair is an event we frequently attend, closing in on ten years now, but it was my first time seeing all that the convention had to offer. Having been a recent addition to the team here at Aardvark Swift, working under the guidance of Chris Mellor on the Toys and Licensing desk, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect…

Toy Fair is hosted at the end of January and runs from Tuesday until Thursday. I travelled down to London with Chris on Monday evening to set up our stand. Getting to the loading bay at Olympia, it finally dawned on me how large the event was. The building itself and the showspace was pretty cavernous, even after the stands went up! As soon as the doors opened at 9am on Tuesday it was non-stop. Around the pre-arranged meetings we had booked with current clients and candidates, we also had a lot of lovely people approach our stand to talk about career options and advice. I’ve followed up on a lot of these discussions since getting back into the office and have some exciting news on that front. More on that in a bit.

I went around the expo booths and introduced myself, being the new man on the scene I wanted to put a face to a name, and I was surprised that a lot of people already knew who I was! Our stand was right at the heart of the action, just off the main thoroughfair and next to the primary stairway to the second floor. It meant that a lot of interested parties dropped by to have a quick chat with me and Chris and we were more than happy to help them with their needs. Whether it was a hiring manager looking for the right employee, or a graduate looking to make their first moves in a junior role; we had something for everyone.

Toy Fair is a place that you just can’t walk around without a smile on your face. It’s so bright and vibrant, everyone is so passionate about what they’re showing and what they do. I don’t think you can work within the toys and licensing industry if you’re not.

On the Wednesday evening we co-hosted our annual Toy Fair After Party at the Hand & Flower with Progressive Preschool. The networking event was the perfect way for industry professionals to unwind and talk about the direction the industry is taking. Whether that be the push for more renewable-based packaging or the drive to online-focused retail. The free bar was a nice addition that everyone appreciated and I definitely got to learn more about the people and companies we work with and their needs

Since being back in the office, I have actually managed bring on board a new client who is actively recruiting in the toys and licensing space. I spoke to them at our booth and they are excited to get started on their expansion journey.

Please remember, you don’t need to wait until Toy Fair 2021 to speak to me. If you have recruitment needs within toys and licensing, or just want to discuss your options, I’m always available to talk. You can call me on +44 (0)1709 834777 or email jordan.h@aswift.com

Be sure to check out our official video from Toy Fair below where you can see just what we got up to, as well as all the amazing products on show!

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