Toy Fair

This is the biggest show of the Toy Industry every year – held in New York at the Javits Center. For four years I’ve created the booth layouts and designs, helped fill out all the paperwork with the venue, ordered anything we needed, helped pack and ship the booth, and then gone to the venue to help set up the booth. This is a large trade show with many moving pieces.

Toy Fair 2019

Toy Fair 2019 was the year that PlayMonster let me make some drastic changes. Feedback from the last two years had been that:

  • Buyers and salespeople had trouble finding the correct PlayMonster salesperson when it was time for their meeting
  • Management wanted to better control the flow of people coming into the PlayMonster booth
  • The sales team wanted to display more products
  • Management needed better space to hold important meetings.

This feedback indicated we needed some pretty big changes. For details on how I solved each of these challenges, see each section below.


I determined that we needed a dedicated reception area and a receptionist. Having a small area in the front allowed better greeting of the guests. It also enabled more easy distribution of information such as catalogs, a general brand statement, and company update, while also providing a sitting area while guests waited for their sales person.

The receptionist was also able to stop unscheduled buyers from walking through without a PlayMonster representative.


Finding the correct sales person sounds like a simple issue, but there were many things tried in the past that didn’t work. In the end I expanded the room directly behind reception to be a multifunctional area including a fridge, storage, and work stations for the sales team so they could stay in this room while not giving tours. Then we installed a small sliding window connecting to the reception area. This allowed the receptionist to call anyone they needed while not allowing the guests to see the chaos of the bullpen.

This idea ended up being the talk of Toy Fair in 2019. Everyone wanted to see PlayMonster’s drive thru window. It was a simple concept, but it was instantly effective in managing the traffic in the entrance of the booth and allowing the quick connection of people for tours.

Clutter and Space

Clutter and space was was another ongoing issue that I resolved for the 2019 show. We previously used round top pedestals, which I changed to have counters with storage underneath. This let us display more product while having hidden space for extra product, shipping supplies, and electrical cords.

Meeting Space

In order to solve the lack of meeting space, I created two rooms on either side of the entrance. One served as meeting space, and the other room provided an area for writing orders. The reception area was between these two rooms to control the flow of traffic.

Toy Fair 2020

While the 2019 and 2020 shows were visually similar, Toy Fair 2020 was very smoothly executed without any significant surprises behind the scenes due to pre-planning and keeping track of everything from previous years.

The biggest change was taking the order writing room away to make a second conference room. From on-going listening, I learned that the meeting room was a huge hit with upper management, the sales team, and reps alike. However, the writing room was no longer being used because the sales staff were able to work in the bullpen area added in 2019. Based on this feedback, I proposed changing the writing room to a second conference room and adding a small port hole window to allow others to see if the room was in use.