Our Trip to Toy Fair 2023
READ ABOUT THE WONDERFUL WORK OF THE TOY PROJECT CHARITY AND WHO ELSE WE BUMPED INTO AT THIS YEAR’S EXHIBITION
Toy Fair London draws to a close for another year, and we’ve just about made it back to the office after three busy days of transporting our protective display cases, LEGO sets and ourselves down to the Olympia Centre for the annual toy exhibition.
Throughout three action-packed days, we made new friends, soaked up the atmosphere, tried out some fun new toys and had a chance to see the latest trends in the toys and collectables market.
The Toy Project Charity
Our neighbours, The Toy Project, caught our eye in no small part thanks to their main attraction – a vintage, fairground-style win-a-prize game featuring Sooty and friends!
While chatting with our new friends, we learned about the wonderful work they do from their north London shop…
A Mission to Recycle Unwanted Toys
The charity’s primary aim is to collect unwanted toys to recycle them and help raise money to provide toys to children, families, communities, and organisations such as hospitals and schools.
Through their fund-raising work, they also invest in various community projects, such as events, libraries, murals, school classes and LEGO workshops.
The Toy Project also boasts Jason Donovan – a well-known 80s pop and soap star – as a supportive patron!
Second-hand LEGO Sets
We were interested to learn that the charity also receives a lot of LEGO donations. These sets are not always the most affordable toys for struggling families when purchased new, and it is good to know they can be bought pre-owned in support of such a good project.
Due to the number of LEGO donations received, The Toy Project employs four members of staff as ‘LEGO Therapists’ to sort mixed-up bricks in various states into functional sets with all the right pieces and working elements. This sounds like a dream job for LEGO enthusiasts like us!
It is fascinating to imagine how many popular LEGO models are restored from the ashes and given a new lease of life in this way, ready to join a child’s collection anew. Next time you want to save money on LEGO sets, why not head down to the charity’s shop on Junction Road in Archway?
You can also read more about the charity on their website, including an option to donate.
Who Exhibited at Toy Fair 2023?
Every corner of the massive Olympia building space was filled, and while exploring the massive array of stalls, pods and zones on show, we came across plenty of familiar faces, including a few mascots.
Our Marketing Manager couldn’t resist grabbing a photo with her favourite huggable Squishmallow toy, while our copywriter spotted a slightly less responsive life-size Batman statue keeping watch on proceedings…
We finally had a chance to visit LEGO and check out their latest sets – quite a few of them also popped over to our stall, as they were eager to see our LEGO Icons Eiffel Tower 10307 on show in our latest 6mm acrylic display unit.
Other highlights included being mesmerised by ROKR’s wooden marble run toys and being introduced to several new board games from the Lord of the Rings franchise, courtesy of Cartamundi UK. Both games are yet to be licensed; we’ll be keeping a close on when they might hit the shelves!
As always, it was great to catch up with Funko on their upcoming releases – we also spent far too long staring at GetRetro’s hoard of Doctor Who collectables.
Eco-friendly and Recyclable Toy Manufacturing
The resounding message many exhibitors were eager to convey was the continued move towards recycled plastic materials in toy construction and the elimination of single-use plastics.
It was impressive to see the wide range of toys made from recycled materials, including plush soft toys (utilising plastic fibres), plastic figurines, and cardboard 3D puzzles.
Eco-friendly products are essential to the sustainability of our world, and it is encouraging to see the toy industry take such a positive approach to the issue. It will be fascinating to see what innovations toy manufacturers continue to make in future.
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