The North American toy industry organisation, the Toy Association is celebrating its 105th anniversary today, June 9th, 2021, marking over a century of working with government, consumers, and its members to raise awareness of the importance of toys and play.
Established in 1916, the Association has been at the forefront of major advances made by the industry, from identifying a code of ethics in manufacturing and advertising, to leading the charge on toy safety across the North American market.
“The Toy Association got its start on Friday, June 9, 1916, when 46 toy manufacturers gathered at the Hotel McAlpin in New York City to discuss the establishment of a trade association that would support US toymakers, promote America-made products, and encourage the sale of toys year-round. They named it the Toy Manufacturers of America,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association.
“More than century later, The Toy Association’s commitment to member service, education, and philanthropy is stronger than ever. From hosting world-renowned go-to-market events and providing digital services that help tens of thousands of global toy sellers and buyers do business, to helping our members overcome barriers to trade so they can prosper in international markets, to providing advocacy, technical and safety guidance to companies, and promoting the value of play and our members’ innovative products to families everywhere, we remain an organization dedicated to the toy community’s growth and success.”
Of its roughly 900 members, The Toy Association has several long-time members, some of which have been a part of the Association since its earliest days, including Carrom Company, which joined in 1919, Madame Alexander Doll Company (1933), Schoenhut Piano Company (1937), and Hasbro (1942).
Commonwealth Toy & Novelty Co., Inc. has been a member for 86 years.
“Commonwealth Toy has been a proud member of The Toy Association, known by several names, since 1935,” said Steven Greenfield, chair of Commonwealth.
“The Toy Association has been a valuable friend for all these years, and between the help it provides and the relationships it helps foster, we feel it is one of the best relationships we continue to have.”
According to John Gessert, president of American Plastic Toys, Inc. (1962), being a part of The Toy Association has been a personally and professionally enriching experience.
“The Toy Association has been connected with American Plastic Toys for nearly 60 years,” said Gessert. “I have had a very long and rewarding journey with the Association that took me from the first DC Fly-In to having my name on the NASDAQ building in Times Square, to chairing The Toy Association and The Toy Foundation boards.
“During this time, I had the opportunity to work with many great people from the largest and smallest companies in our industry. I cannot imagine a more fulfilling or rewarding way to nurture and cultivate a career in the greatest industry in the world – the toy business.”
The Toy Association heads up major events including Toy Fair New York, Toy Fair Dallas, and Toy Fair Everywhere, as well as hosts exclusive webinars, research reports, as well as the Genius of Play initiative.