Ahead of Toy Fair, TnP offer up special guest columnists and interviewees Anna Williamson and Gav Inskip, the co-hosts of Toy Fair TV, and turn the spotlight on the people who ask the questions for the in-house programming at Olympia…

What’s your favourite toy category?
I’m just so excited to see them all! I haven’t had the joy of attending Toy Fair for a couple of years now, so I’m just looking forward to catching up with everybody and looking at all of the wonderful stands and incredible toys that I know will be plentiful. As a mum of two young children, I’m always particularly interested in the STEM products.

Gav: Board games. I love them! In fact this winter with my friends, I want to set up a Board Game Olympics where a couple of nights a month we play different games and have an Olympics-style leaderboard. Problem is, I have too many. I have a wardrobe full in my spare room; a unit in my living room – I can’t have any more!

Anna Williamson and Gav Inskip

After so many shows you must have a stand out moment/toy that you will always remember?!
Yes, Toy Fair is such a special week for Gav and I, as the hosts of Toy Fair TV. There are too many amazing memories to list! But, one of the most memorable shall we say, was when Gav managed to lose control of a go-kart and take out half of the Greenhouse section… Thankfully everybody was unharmed and very good-natured about it.

Gav: I bet Anna mentioned the go-kart incident…

Toy Fair TV

How can Toy Fair TV help exhibiting companies in attendance?
It’s the exhibition of all exhibitions for the toy industry! Anybody who is anybody and no matter how big or small, established or new to the industry you are, everybody can enjoy what Toy Fair has to offer. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to get like-minded people together, under one roof, for three days to really get the year off to a great start business and industry wise.

Gav: We want to come to your stand, so fill out the form you’ve been sent and book your slot. We haven’t been there for the past two years, so my goal this year is to do the most stand hits we’ve ever done. We do get swamped so make sure you get your form in, well now! And please think about what you want to show on camera. While standing and having a chat is nice, remember a lot of people on the screens around Olympia may be seeing, rather than hearing – so make sure you show us really cool stuff.

What are you most looking forward to seeing from exhibiting companies at the show?
It sounds clichéd, but just being back in the thick of all that Toy Fair has to offer. Due to the pandemic and having my last child, I haven’t been able to join everybody for the last couple of years. So, I’m just really excited to immerse myself back into the whole thing and see what the latest toy trends are going to be.

Gav: Honestly, I’m just so, so excited to be back. January hasn’t felt like January the past two years without our week at Toy Fair. Even the little things such as the smell of Olympia, the bright carpet, walking in when it’s dark in the morning, leaving when it’s dark, checking my Apple Watch to see how many steps I’ve done; I’m looking forward to all of it.

Toy Fair TV

What do you love about the toy industry?
Anna: The fact that it is so accessible and it’s something that everybody can get excited about, no matter the age. Nobody is too grown-up or important to not enjoy a good toy.

Gav: This sounds such a cliché, but it honestly is the people. Let’s be under no illusion – Anna and I don’t work in the toy industry, we’re media folk. But the whole industry makes us feel so much a part of it, we’re like some half-brother and sister of the industry. Doing our jobs, as you can imagine, we do lots of ‘corporate work’ but by far – and I’m not just saying this, so much so I hope anyone else who books me for corporate work sees this (as I’ve done some shockers) – but this is easily THE best gig by far. We start looking forward to it from Christmas.

Any top tips on how to make the most of Toy Fair 2023?
Book in your meetings and chats with whoever you want to rub shoulders with. Make sure you join us on Toy Fair TV as well for another opportunity to showcase your wares. My final tip, wear flat comfortable shoes… The three days take their toll on your feet!

Gav: First, there’s a different layout this year – so if you’ve been before don’t stick to your normal route. Some of the best things I’ve ever found at Toy Fair are by heading into a corner, or up to the gallery to where some smaller stands are; they’ve got the most amazing stuff. And that’s another thing too, don’t judge the stand by what they’re showing at the front – go in, talk to them. Some of the best things I’ve seen there haven’t been displayed up front.

What is your favourite part of hosting Toy Fair TV?
Without a doubt being alongside one of my oldest mates, the fantastic Gav. Quite possibly the most excited man in the world when it comes to new toys!

Gav: Has Anna said working with me? I mean I’ll have to say the same I suppose. But the truth is we’ve known each other since we were 18; she’s one of my closest friends, we socialise together, we go away together and then I have to blooming spend four non-stop days FOR WORK. You know with someone when it’s a bit overkill? Hold on…you’re not recording this bit are you? Damn. Erm… Anna?


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