Buyers at the KIDShow Vegas, held February 17-19th at Bally’s, were able to discover lots of new exhibitors and brands, as well as proven favorites that always support this show because they can rely on it to come through with new doors, plus opportunities to enhance existing retailer relationships. The event’s hospitality and buyer-friendly atmosphere is always welcoming. After attending every KIDShow for almost 15 years, I was particularly pleased to meet new people that charged my professional battery for the health of the children’s fashion industry, and new brands with something both worthy to offer and be discovered by specialty stores looking for their next buzzworthy line.
Toy Fair -
New York City, New York (2/14/15 - 2/17/15)
Valentine’s Day is all about love, and when you’re a kid, there are few things you love more than your toys. Considering this, it makes sense that that the 2015 New York Toy Fair kicked off its opening day on February 14 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Toy Fair brings together hundreds of exhibitors from far and wide. The whopping 422,000 net square feet of exhibition space was divided into convenient product zones, making it easy for visitors to find the types of products and companies they were looking for. Manhattan Toy, Lil’ Orphan Nannies, Le Toy Van and OgoSport all felt the love in their respective product zones.
New York isn’t the only place for amazing trade shows. At this time of year, it makes sense to head south! The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market is an impressive forum for new and established businesses of all kinds to introduce their products and court new customers. This year’s show brought out hundreds of vendors and thousands of guests, setting new records for sales volume. In such a large venue that features businesses from so many industries, it takes a lot for a children’s product vendor to stand out. Indy Plush, Zoocchini, Paper Punk and Just Born all made their mark on the Atlanta scene this year.
Last month’s ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas was the fourth largest event in the show’s history. Total attendance was 12,462, including 5,339 retail buyers. Retailers from 65 different countries participated, with a total of 969 manufacturers exhibiting. Exhibitors and retailers all gave the show high marks and they and the ABC Kids Expo team look forward to the ABC Spring Conference and Trade Show to be held April 30 through May 1, 2015, at the Rio Hotel & Suites, Las Vegas. Among the exhibitors that interested The Giggle Guide® were Spbang, Creepy Crawlers, Cozy Cocoon and Andy & Evan.
Playtime NY took place August 2-4, 2014 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Each year the show has a unique theme that influences the décor and ties the various displays together. This time the theme was Luna Park, in honor of the famed Coney Island theme park destination. As a nice break from work-related activities, all Playtime participants got their pictures taken in a fun photo-shoot featuring backgrounds by the graphic design firm Colorium. Among the smiling faces were representatives from Be Lucky Kids, Two and Two Kids, poème & poésie, and Luna & Stella.
From August 3rd through 5th, 2014, ENK International hosted Children’s Club, at New York City’s Pier 94. Over 650 brands ranging from traditional to contemporary; ready-to-wear; swimwear; footwear; accessories; and gift items for infants to pre-teens participated showing Holiday, Resort and Spring 2015 offerings. More than eighty first-time exhibitors were on hand. Among the many outstanding labels, Leesa Valentino from The Giggle Guide® was especially taken with Dress Rags Playwear, Bonnie Baby London, Tokyo Baby Cafe and mbaby by Munchkin, making its debut at the show.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and this holds true for the Dallas PBJ: Play Baby Juvenile Trade Show, held March 27th and 28th in the Dallas Market Center. The Market Center is a large, impressive venue that’s home to a number of vendors year round and also hosts special annual events like the PBJ. Out of the thousands of products and companies on display, the handful that caught our attention had a common thread: they’re designed to make life easier. Buggy Bench, InchBug, Nizo Wear and SnapFlaps all offer families functional and attractive products that make daily tasks more convenient and fun.
The March Playtime New York was themed beautifully around light through trends spaces, art installations and exclusive entertainment. Playtime New York continued to grow, selling out this year while hosting 120 international collections. This show is known for bringing together the best brands, both new and established. Here are a few that caught the attention of Editorial Director David Gaunt: California lifestyle brand Mini & Maximus has international appeal. Urban Infant carries the load for kids and parents on the go with convenient backpacks and lunch bags. Newcomer Mon Petit Atelier focuses on fancy dresses that inspire nostalgia. OmamiMini wows with modern outerwear and apparel from L.A. that complements a range of styles.
Last February’s KIDShow Las Vegas showed me a lot to love. The event continues to be the largest collection of children’s fashions and accessories west of the Hudson River, and offers a wide assortment of mid-tier to high-end apparel in a comfortable setting where buyers can review lines and write orders to assure well-stocked shelves and strong sales. Here are some of the brands and people that caught my eye and renewed my interest in the children’s business: We The Beautiful, Jo Ann Farese and all the brands she represents, GlitterTots Sparkle Screen and Ultimate Apparel, well represented by Karen Grasso.