Exhibitor Spotlight: Melissa & Doug — ‘We are Winning Together’ at Toy Fair®

April 11, 2023 | Toy News Tuesday editors caught up with David Henderson, chief commercial officer at Melissa & Doug, to learn about the company’s plans for Toy Fair® 2023 (September 30 to October 3), how to maximize face time with retailers, and the importance of the show’s new fall timeframe.

What aspects of the reimagined Toy Fair are most appealing for your business?
Toy Fair in New York City is an amazing event. Being back in person at Toy Fair for the first time since 2020 is special, but the fact that it’s taking place on the cusp of the most important 12 weeks of the toy year sets us up for something extra special. And, most importantly, you have better point-of-sale (POS) data from early fall on new trends and core sell-through, which will better inform the 2024 holiday season for all our retail partners.

Can you speak to the importance of networking and relationship-building at Toy Fair?
We can't wait to see everyone in person. While many previews will have been completed and teams will have visited other trade shows, Toy Fair is the biggest show! Hearing directly from trusted industry sources of what is working, what is trending, and what is rising to the top for 2024 will be exciting. We will be building new relationships, but it’s also all about enhancing existing relationships.

What is Melissa & Doug planning on doing differently at the upcoming show versus years past?
We can't tell you everything, but we will be showcasing our evergreen core line plus great innovation that will drive sales across all key channels in 2024 and beyond; new ways we will invest in our brand; and how we will be leading the way in preschool, activities, and arts & crafts for years to come. Our booth is brand new, and our team is ready to welcome our partners for impactful discussions and meetings throughout the show. [Editor’s note: The show’s new visual merchandising initiative encourages more buyer interactions and product engagement, and will help attract media attention as attendees hunt for the hottest toy of the holiday season. Exhibitors will be rewarded with their stand-out displays as part of Toy Fair’s first-ever exhibit design competition, the Reimagination Awards.]

What types of programs or events do you personally take advantage of during the show?
We look forward to participating in events that help us connect with all the passionate people in this amazing industry, having meaningful face-to-face conversations, and learning from others' experiences. [Editor’s note: Toy Fair University will feature the most comprehensive lineup of educational programming at Toy Fair, taking place throughout all four days of the show.] There's nothing like Toy Fair to get inspired and energized for the important work we do in spreading the power of play.

What kind of marketing and promotional strategies does Melissa & Doug employ in the lead-up to Toy Fair?
Our retailers’ calendars at this time of the year are precious, so we will maximize every moment we have with them. Our commercial and customer marketing teams will be connecting with all our key retail partners to invite them to our booth, schedule time to meet, and convey some special programs we will be setting up for the show. We will be hosting key senior management meetings as well to ensure we keep elevating our partnerships and deliver programs that drive success for both teams. The key focus at the show will be in support of 2024, but our exciting marketing programs will be in full flight for holiday 2023 worldwide.

How does Melissa & Doug measure the success of its participation in Toy Fair?
High retailer engagement. We want to host an event that draws our key retail partners to join us because we are winning together. We will showcase the productivity of our brand, break frame category insights, actionable data, plus reinforce our position as an industry leader in sustainability. We will highlight our leading innovation and how it is additive to our core brand growth plans and the opportunities we can share in the years ahead.

Toy Fair will take place September 30 to October 3 in New York City. Attendee registration is now open. Visit ToyFairNY.com to learn more.