First things first. It’s cold. Very cold indeed. F-f-f- reezing in fact. Walking home from the train station to my hotel last night, it felt like the skin was literally being burnt off my face. And they say tomorrow will be colder still!
Arctic conditions aside, Nuremberg is in full swing, and the upbeat mood which has characterised the toy shows thus far continues. Lots of people have given me their thoughts on attendance, but at this stage any observations would be purely anecdotal and rather unscientific. Someone tweeted last week that they’d rather have one influential industry follower than 100 irrelevant ones, and for what it’s worth, I wholeheartedly concur. The same applies to Trade Fairs as far as I’m concerned; it doesn’t matter how many pr’s, packaging reps, logistics companies etc are around touting for business, it’s the number of customers – and the quality of the meetings – which really count. And the people I’ve spoken to so far seem more than happy in that respect.
Show organiser Ernst Kick told me yesterday that he felt the move to start the show a day earlier had been “fully accepted”, although one company did admit to me that their French counterparts had turned up on the stand a day late due to ‘date confusion’ (D’Oh!).
The mood in the British pavilion has been positive too. Organiser Stuart Whitehill has done an excellent job co-ordinating the stand, which I am told is actually the largest UK government- sponsored participation at any overseas trade event all year. There’s a splendid camaraderie amongst the British exhibitors and a real feeling that the group approach works well, so any British toy companies looking to expand their horizons overseas and participate next year should contact the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce for further details.
Elsewhere, it’s been a great opportunity to catch up with many overseas companies which target the UK market to see how their ranges are shaping up for 2012. A full review will appear in our March edition, but the contents of that review may depend on one of you out there…..I have somehow managed to mislay the notebook which I have been using all week to remind me of some of the best new lines I’ve seen. The likelihood is that I’ve left it on someone’s stand, so if anyone finds a rather nice black ‘Flair’ branded notebook with lots of undecipherable scrawl in it, it may well belong to yours truly. Beer reward tokens aplenty if anyone comes up trumps! Otherwise I’ll just have to try my best to remember what I’ve seen (and there has been an awful lot of good things, so it will be rather like the conveyor belt conclusion to the Generation Game!).
There has been plenty of talk around the stands about the ‘Clear to go’ strategy which one retailer is currently pursuing, and which I mentioned in my Hong Kong blog. The retailer in question seems to be adopting a rather ‘low profile’ approach to the show, so perhaps they have other pressing matters to attend to. I was also sad to hear that former Gamleys buyer Keith Ansell had passed away earlier this week. Keith was one of the most popular buyers of his era, and he will be missed.
Ok, ‘Nuremblog’ written, it’s time to head off to the Learning Resources party, and who knows, I may even put in a brief appearance at Finnigans for a swift half later.