Along with ASTRA President Kimberly Mosley, I traveled to Germany to meet with member manufacturers, reach out to new manufacturers, and explore how ASTRA could play a role in bringing new products to the U.S. market as well as assist U.S. companies find additional markets for their products in Europe.
What was the show like? Twelve halls and miles of walking over the span of three days that included:
- More than 2,900 exhibitors from over 60 countries, including 815 exhibitors not present at any other fair
- More than 71,000 visitors from 129 countries, including 19,000 visitors who only attend the Spielwarenmesse®
- 1 million products
- 100,000 new products
Although we may not have spoken the same language with the people we met, we were welcomed with open arms and all shared an interest to work together. From the Toy Night Party, put on by the show management, to the Women in Toys networking evening, we came away having met key decision-makers for future corroboration and partnerships to foster our mission of play.
Staying outside of Nuremberg in a lovely apartment in the smaller community of Schwaig, we also were welcomed by our host and became friends with a local restaurant owner, Nikki. She came to recognize us (we returned to her restaurant three times after our first night there!) and suggested meals we might enjoy. She joined us for our final night’s toast to Germany and the great hospitality we felt throughout our stay.
Heading to Spielwaremesse is a must for anyone to in the toy business – even if it’s to go only once to experience the vast array of products within our industry. ASTRA will continue to foster the relationships we started in Germany, working to support the independent retailers and the communities they serve as we Feel the Spirit of Play!
Sue Warfield is the Director of Member Relations at ASTRA. With more than 30 years of experience in the retail and toy business, Sue offers insight into industry trends and tips and works to connect the retailers, sales representatives, manufacturers and affiliates in the specialty toy retailing arena. Contact Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org.