Steve Pasierb: “We must all work together with the evolving retail community”

What was once called the “Toy Manufacturers of America” has evolved over the past several years to embrace the entire toy community, as we believe every element of our industry’s ecosystem is interdependent and none insignificant. Now called The Toy Association, our organisation is all about truly realising our mission of being a unifying force, and of protecting and promoting the toy community.

Today, The Toy Association is honoured to include among our membership not only manufacturers, but every form of enterprise involved in inventing, designing, producing, testing, marketing, and delivering toys and games for kids – including retailers and individual retail buyers of all sizes, from majors (like Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Noble) to mid-size chains, specialty retailers, and independent neighbourhood toy stores.

A positive and open relationship with the retail community is imperative, especially as the toy selling landscape evolves at a rapid pace.

The input we’ve received from retailers of all sorts not only shapes and strengthens the educational resources and tools we offer, but has helped foster and deepen connections between toymakers and toy sellers, be it via Toy Fair New York and Toy Fair Dallas, the innovative e-commerce platform, and now our Annual Business Conference. Acting as a steward, and promoter of the toy community has also allowed us to deliver a more powerful message in state capitals, in Washington, DC, and in world capitals.

This is vital as we all work together to tackle important issues affecting the full scope of the industry, from regulatory barriers, intellectual property (IP) protection, and children’s online safety, to the threat of tariffs on US toys made in China.

This June, our Annual Business Conference will be held in partnership with Target – a member of The Toy Association and the eighth largest retailer in the US. As part of the program that includes a phenomenal variety of expert speakers from a range of businesses, conference attendees will get to hear key insights from Target executives, who will share their perspectives on the future of retail, the role of licensing in toys, sustainable sourcing, digital marketing, and much more.

The breadth of valuable content coming from every speaker will help attendees as they navigate the new retail environment.

Every retail outlet selling toys matters. The Toy Association remains an ardent supporter of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) and their members. Our staff will again attend ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy in Pittsburgh, PA to learn from independent and specialty toy stores, whose businesses play an integral role in bringing communities together for unique in-store experiences.

We’re also thankful to be able to present a seminar to provide attendees with information and resources they need to effectively educate shoppers on toy and play safety.

Thinking differently and more holistically about the retail community is a cornerstone of today’s Toy Association and has made us stronger, smarter, and more agile as we work to protect and promote the entire US toy industry and our partner toy associations around the world.

We must continue to evolve as an association and as a trusted business ally, constantly enhance resources for all levels and types of members, and never forget that we – and everyone in our wonderful toy world – must work hand-in-hand.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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