Toy Fair NY’s Steve Pasierb | “Brands Untapped” comes to New York to Showcase Toy Brands and Licensing Partners

Many well-known toy companies have successfully built their properties into iconic global brands that can be found in almost every aisle at retail – spilling out of toys and games into kids’ apparel, backpacks and lunchboxes, cosmetics, school supplies, housewares and more.

As this phenomenon grows, toymakers are also finding creative ways of tapping into older audiences who are either nostalgic for the toy brands they knew and loved as kids, or simply embracing their own inner child, resulting in toy company relationships with high-profile partners spanning the apparel, housewares, food & drink, hospitality, live event, video game, film & TV, and publishing industries.

During Toy Fair New York ’22 (taking place 19 to 22 February), we’ll be celebrating and showcasing these important properties and licensing partnerships in the show’s innovative “Brands Untapped” area at the newly renovated and expanded Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. 

This partnership between The Toy Association and the team at Mojo Nation, who are dedicated to celebrating the creativity of the toy, game, and designer community, assures “Brands Untapped” will be an experience-rich, curated area that will feature multiple activations designed to showcase toy and game brand extensions, product ranges, and licensed interactions. 

An accompanying “Brands Untapped” conference will host talks and panels delving into design stories behind the extensions of well-known toy brands into categories like footwear, video games, and even hotel suites, allowing New York attendees to get an up-close look at the synergistic relationship between toys, play, and licensing – both within children’s product categories and well beyond.  

Our annual New York marketplace continues to expand and evolve to serve a growing range of attendees across everything play at all ages, importantly including licensors and entertainment executives. With licensed products accounting for better than 30 percent of US toy sales, the future is far more than the past’s licensed product stemming just from movies. All forms of content and digital-first brands (originating from streaming platforms, social media, esports, and so on) are having an incredible impact on the business of play, and companies are licensing their own brands and transforming them into household names, following in the footsteps of Barbie, LEGO, Hot Wheels, and many others. 

Each February in New York, seminars on licensing fundamentals, the latest global trends in licensing, and how to evaluate whether a property is ready for licensing play a vital role. The Toy Association’s trends team also tracks and monitors the impact of blockbuster movies, preschool properties, non-linear channels, and original IPs on toys, among other toy and play trends, and their findings will be announced at Toy Fair ‘22.

In addition to licensing activations, content, and trends via “Brands Untapped” and other programming, the global toy & play community continues to tell us they greatly anticipate returning to the Javits Center next February. There will be so much to explore and discover – and even more reasons to celebrate and connect with toy industry colleagues who are passionate about play and entertainment! We look forward to seeing you all at Toy Fair New York 2022. Visit for the latest show news.

The Toy Association outlines plans to move New York Toy Fair to May 2021

The Toy Association has laid out its plans to host the annual New York International Toy Fair in May 2021. In a President’s letter issued by the association and penned by Steve Pasierb, it has underlined its mission to ‘bring the industry back together as soon as it is safe to do so.’

The Toy Association has therefore set the date of the 2021 International Toy Fair as May 1st to 4th 2021 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.

“We have been presented with a window in the opening days of May and we are willing, ready, and able to put resources toward the show and any other projects that will continue to help members grow their businesses,” said Pasierb in the group’s official statement.

“When the time was right to provide a digital solution, we did just that by leveraging our existing technology to build and offer Toy Fair Everywhere digital market weeks. When the time was right to provide companies with private virtual preview opportunities with key retailers – TargetToys“R”Us Canada, and Meijer – we did.

And when the time is right for a return to in-person meetings, we will make it happen.”

In his open letter to the international toy community, Pasierb said the following:

While none of us can be certain what the nation and world will look like some seven months in the distance, we all need the promise of a future for the toy and play industry, a return to a degree of business normalcy, and to reclaim some aspects of our collective pre-COVID-19 lives.

The Toy Association’s trade events effectively and efficiently help members and the industry do more business more often, whether large- or small-scale. We canvassed our primary audience of retail buyers and toy sellers to determine whether they want us to plan for a May 2021 tradeshow. They said yes! We heard from them that the first few days of May have high potential, and the timing is relevant to specialty, long-lead, and mass market retailers. May serves specialty in time for Q4 2021; is well-timed for long lead and mass to conduct or complete Spring/Summer 2022 line reviews; and may even offer some early views for Q4 2022.

There is also a healthy slate of toy, entertainment, and licensed properties targeted for 2022 that need to be acted upon. As always, Toy Fair New York is a key opportunity for influential brand owners, licensors, licensees, retailers, and manufacturers to connect in the media and financial capital of the world, New York City. To be certain, this not the Toy Fair NY we have traditionally known as we anticipate smaller footprints, a different exhibitor mix, less extravagant if not workmanlike displays, and simply a focus on making the human and product connections that Zoom and similar substitutes have not been able to offer.

Protecting everyone’s health and safety remains paramount. We are right now working closely with every entity connected to Toy Fair, including federal, state, and city officials; contractors; and support teams, to ensure a safe environment. The show will be designed to reflect these proven approaches and will follow every prescribed health and safety protocol.

We understand that not everyone will be comfortable in an in-person environment, which is why we continue to expand our other digital engagement opportunities: Toy Fair Everywhere, which is rolling out its year-round version later this year, and the aforementioned private preview program with key retailers.

What if the situation does not turn in our favor in spring of 2021? If at any time we feel that Toy Fair NY 2021 cannot be produced in a safe manner, we will cancel the show. If the event needs to be canceled, as is the long-standing show policy, any monies paid will shift toward Toy Fair New York in February 2022, when it returns to the newly expanded and state-of-the-art Javits Center. In fact, almost all 2021 exhibitors had already shifted to 2022, so May again presents a more immediate opportunity.

Our community made it clear they did not want Toy Fair NY 2021 to simply become virtual. Rather, the connections, ability to experience products first-hand, and return to some form of human connection in doing business have proven to reign supreme. Together looking toward May with optimism reflects the very nature of the toy and play community – resilience, tenacity, confidence, and a willingness to find new ways forward.

The immediate next steps are the one-on-one conversations our account executives are having with exhibitors and the conversations our team is having with retailers and other members of the show’s audience. Much more news and specificity are to come. For now, mark your calendar and together we will do whatever we can to make good things happen in a safe, healthy, and business-building manner.