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“Licences are an important part of Toy Fair”

As Toy Fair kicks off at Olympia, we chat to the BTHA about why licensing is key to the sector.

It’s a new year and that can only mean one thing – it’s trade show season. And, with the looming shadow that is Brexit, this year’s run of events could be more important than ever when it comes to deciding on the big new brands and products, as well as sharing knowledge and gaining feedback from retail.

While a number of the UK licensing trade have already visited Hong Kong, the official kick off on home soil is UK Toy Fair, which runs at London’s Olympia from today (January 22) until Thursday (January 24). The show sold out its exhibition space back in October, and over 250 companies will be on the showfloor.

Licensed toys will, of course, play a major part, as Majen Immink, director of fairs and special events at the BTHA, explains: “Since our first show in 1954, Toy Fair is all about showcasing the talent and ingenuity of the UK toy industry. Licensed toys are always an important part of that, and we’re delighted to have so many influential exhibiting companies that specialise in this sector.

“Some of the hottest brands will be featured by our exhibiting companies including Marvel, Fortnite, Disney, DC, Overwatch and Rick & Morty. Funko is a great example, as they will have all of these brands as well as many more pop culture favourites.”

Majen continues: “Licensed toys are also influencing the biggest trends at Toy Fair. Slime is as popular as ever, and this year Zimpli Kids is partnering with emoji to create the emoji Gelli Baff, which transforms bath water into yellow emoji goo and back again. Disney products will also have a strong showing at this year’s show.

“Along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar celebrations, Rainbow Designs will be showcasing its latest line of Disney collections, including Winnie-the-Pooh and Dumbo. I can’t wait to see what other brands will be on offer.”

For licensors and agents, Toy Fair affords them a strong understanding as to where toy suppliers will be focusing their attentions for the upcoming key fourth quarter trading in the UK, as Ian Wickham, director of Licensing Link Europe, explains. “This is the place to see exactly where the landscape buttons out and how Christmas is starting to really look,” he says. “This is key for agents and licensors to see trends, technology and where the focus is being directed across that key toy category in the children’s entertainment space.”

This feature is part of an in-depth look at the key spring trade fairs – across toys and gifts – in the spring 2019 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full feature, simply click on this link.

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