Monthly Archives: January 2014

Chief Poobah blown-away at first day of world’s leading toy fair

Day 1 of Nuremberg’s Spielwarenmesse
Where do I start? What an amazing day; I am simply gobsmacked. It’s like I died and went to toy heaven! I am so, so glad that I came: I could tell it was worthwhile as soon as I walked in the door. It’s kind of hard to describe, but I’ll try: You know how you felt when you went from primary school to high school? At primary school in your last year you were one of the big kids and knew your way around. You were confident and people knew who you were. Then you go to high school and you are small fry. Everyone is bigger and more confident than you, and you have to make your way up the food chain again. Well, that was me – moving from primary to high school today. It was intimidating, but I LOVED it!

Toy Fair Nuremberg

Typical German efficiency got me to the Messe (Exhibition Centre) with no fuss. A short bus ride followed by three stops on the Ubahn and I was there, plus about 50,000 other people. And you could wear any colour you liked, so long as it was black. Well, at least that’s what it seemed like. So I was appropriately dressed in all over black and knee high black boots, which also seemed like part of the uniform for women. Flat shoes were an absolute must.

Folkmanis Oinking Pig

Folkmanis’ new oinking pig puppet

I started with a coffee and the mini guide to work out my plan for the day. I thought I would use my normal strategy and walk through every hall at first. That way, I would know exactly what I was dealing with, and how much time I needed to spend in each hall on subsequent days. First up, Hall 1 – dolls and soft toys. Well, that plan lasted… about two minutes; courtesy of the fact that the third booth I walked past was Folkmanis. There was this fantastically engaging display, and then I had to go in and look at all the new puppets. My fav? A cute pig that makes an oink sound when you squeeze its hindquarters (pictured above).

I then wandered through the aisles with a grin on my face like a Cheshire Cat. I always say that fairs are all about ‘wow’ moments and they were everywhere. I didn’t even go into most stands, just made notes of what to go back to. So I’ll just summarise a few of the photos I have taken so far:

Mini Micro - extra mini!

Hall 2 – Baby and infant. This is Micro Scooters’ brand new mini micro. It is smaller than the current mini micro, designed for children about 12 months old. It can even go in the dishwasher, though why you would want to do that I don’t quite know. Just let it get dirty!

 

Wheely Bugs with covers

The Wheely Bug stand was interesting. The lady in this photo is the inventor — and get this — she is from Kuranda (in the North Queensland Tablelands) and still lives there. These are the new removable soft covers – pretty cute!

 

Hall 3A at Spielwarenmesse

Hall 3 and 3A – this is where I really got stuck, and spent the rest of the day. You heard me, I did not get beyond Hall 3. This was where all the ‘wood’ was. I can’t even begin to describe it. My eyes were like saucers.

 

Honeybee Toys

This is Brendan from Honeybee Toys (where we source our Grimm’s range from). I ran into him and we spent a fair bit of the day together talking about the latest and greatest. Our retail customers will recognise our Kinderkram Castle in the background.

 

Janod Wooden Rocket Puzzle - a giant version!

I just had to take this pic of the Janod’s giant rocket for our Wooden Rocket Puzzle fans.

 

Time to play at Spielwarenmesse

Can you see the seat in this pic? You sit in it and they literally take you for a ride – amazing way to display the products they sell.

 

Toy of the Year

This was Toy of the Year in the Baby/Toddler Category. It’s a construction toy that links, and then you can move the pieces around… like worms really.

 

Kapla Blocks

Although he may bear resemblance to Colonel Sanders; this is the most amazing Dutch man who invented Kapla blocks. They are very similar to the PLANKS range we stock.

 

Spinning tops galore!

An Austrian stand, and all they produce are spinning tops – in all shapes and forms.

 

Le Toy Van Honeybake Oven... in pink!

The new Le Toy Van Honeybake range in pink colourway – very pretty! The items behind are the matching sink and dresser.

 

Fagus Truck

Me with the Fagus truck I made! It was part of their stand – they had the four steps in the manufacturing process set up, and you made your own. What a way to sell your product!

 

Auris musical instruments

Auris musical instruments which are made by disabled folk in Sweden.

Tomorrow? I still have six halls to go! Bring it on!!

Find more about Spielwarenmesse.

Greetings from Spielwarenmesse – the world’s biggest and best toy fair!

Our Chief Poobah has just completed the 33-hour-straight trek to Germany; and it’s all in the name of bringing the VERY best in toys from all over the world to our dear toy lovers. You guessed it; she is attending Spielwarenmesse — the world’s leading toy fair. It’s literally the toy mecca and has the creme de la creme of the latest and greatest in playtime magic. So, yes, you could say we are rather excited here at Elf HQ (and wishing someone would invent a suitcase that was big enough to fit us all in!).

Toy Fair Nuremberg

There are a few words from our fearless (and freezing… it’s literally 0 degrees C in Nuremberg at the moment) leader:

“I only arrived in my accommodation a couple of hours ago. 33 hours door to door – that’s the effort we go to in order to bring our customers the best toys! I have not done this trip from Australia for so long that I had forgotten how long it takes. The final leg was very pleasant though: A 170km approx trip from Munich to Nuremberg on the ICE fast train that took just over an hour. Could not drag myself away from staring out the window at kilometre after kilometre of snow-covered rolling hills. It’s such a typical European landscape, and train travel is so rhythmically relaxing.

When I got to Nuremberg, I got into a taxi to head to my apartment and spied a woman running for the bus carrying a new Micro Scooter Sprite in pink (obviously a present), and smiled. Then noticed that a couple more scooters on the drive, also Micros. Germans have such good taste, and I guess Switzerland is pretty close and that’s where Micro comes from.

They are expecting 50,000 or so delegates here, so I will blend in tomorrow. I have actually been to this venue before, as a sport scientist attending the CeBit Tech Fair, back in the late 90s. This one will be much more fun though!

What am I most looking forward to? Tomorrow – well, heading to the Haba stand of course. Have just found out our friends at Seedling will be here, so that should be great too. Will also get to see all the latest from Janod on Sunday. Very exciting. Will keep you all posted!”

Below: A map of the massive area that’s packed with the latest innovations in toys. We hope our Chief Poobah is wearing comfy shoes!

Toy Fair Nuremberg Hall Plan

As seen in Mother & Baby Magazine….

It was all about putting on the best show in Mother & Baby Magazine’s circus-themed nursery feature in the January issue.

The Elves were pleased to see that Janod’s wooden Circus Train pullalong made it onto the page. We just love this personality-packed toy! Beautifully-painted, this seven-piece solid wooden set is a fab first train that new walkers can take along anywhere thanks to a handy cord. Each train car is detachable and has a unique design twist, but you decide where to put the cargo – lion, seal and giraffe all need a ride! These wooden animal figures can also be played with in other sets, extending their play value.

Mother  Baby Magazine January 2014

Janod Circus Train Pullalong