My take on Yo-Yos at the International Toy Fair in NYC


I just got back from the NYC Toy Fair at the Javit’s Center in Manhattan, let me just say, wow. It is toy overload. So many toys, so many exhibitors, so many people, it just makes your head spin. Speaking of spinning, let’s talk yo-yos.

Out of the 2000 or so exhibitors, there is a surprisingly small yo-yo presence at this show. The three big brands, Duncan, Yomega, and YoYoFactory were there, and then there was my little known brand, yoyo Zeekio, and a small shelf of Tom Kuhn yo-yos. But aside from that, I only saw a few junky novelty plastics and some oddball cheap wood yo-yos and that was pretty much it.

There were some new yo-yo models but nothing earth shattering. Yomega has come out with a new winged yo-yo that is fixed axle and very inexpensive. Probably good for the market, but not very exciting for experienced yo-yo players.

Perhaps the most interesting new yo-yo I saw was Duncan’s a new metal yo-yo. Based on the Wheel design,The Racer looks nice, plays great and even has a hub set you can buy separately. At first I thought this was more a gimmick than a real yo-yo, but I gotta say, I like this yo-yo. We will have a broader review of this soon.

YoYoFactory had a couple of things new. They are back in the off-string game with the new Flight, which looks sweet. My off-string skills are the equivalent to just taking a yo-yo and throwing it across the room, so I can’t speak to the performance, but I’ve heard good things (look for yoyoskills’ review soon). They also put out a Japan collection in anticipation of 2016 Worlds in Japan. Some really nice new graphics on some old favorites.

And then there is yoyo Zeekio, my company. I have to be careful here because of the whole being neutral thing, but let me just say, we got some great feedback on our newest throw, the Lunar Wind. Also, given the quiet reputation of our brand, lots of people found our throws to be new and refreshing. That’s all I’m going to say about YYZ.

So the question I had throughout the show is, why were there not more yo-yo companies showing? The short and obvious answer is, because there are not more retailers buying yo-yos. Why aren’t retailers looking to stock yo-yos? Because customers aren’t buying yo-yos. It’s the whole free market economics thing.

If more people were buying yo-yos, more stores would be stocking them, and more yo-yo companies would be developing new products to sell at places like the NYC Toy fair. To that end, people in the industry need to do a better job at promoting yo-yoing. There is always a way to do more and to do better, the question is- how. I think the answer lies not in the yo-yo business’, but among the yo-yo community overall.

This is a big subject with a lot of opinions. But most of us will agree, there should be more yo-yoing out there. I dream of a day when the Javit’s center Toy Show has 1% of it’s exhibitors carrying yo-yos. That is about 20 companies, it would be a giant step up from this years four or five, and seems totally doable to me. This will be the subject of a future editorial.

In the meantime, everyone, and I mean everyone, can do their part to promote yo-yoing by simply getting yo-yos into peoples hands who have not played with a yo-yo before. There is an old saying that a journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step, so goes the new saying; a lifetime of yo-yoing starts with a single throw.



About

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of YoYoSkills.com. He is also the owner of YoYoSam, yoyo Zeekio, and Bahama Kendama. He is avid yo-yo collector and skill toy enthusiast in a BIG way.


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