The Western Toy & Hobby Show 2011

Every year since 2004, SensoryEdge has attended the Western Toy & Hobby Show. We enjoy meeting our suppliers in person and getting to know the products we sell. We feel the ability to actually touch & play with the products and talk to the manufacturers about the features and benefits of their items gives us an advantage over many of our competitors. Attending trade shows is also a great way to pass on suggestions and criticisms that we’ve heard from our customers. Making an item is one thing, but using it is a completely different experience.
The 2011 Western Toy & Hobby Show was held in Long Beach California. With the best intentions of going to the show, we awoke to a torrential downpour. The weatherman said it would last all day and the trip would take two hours in low visibility. We were also supposed to meet up with one of our customer service reps so she could get to know some of our vendors in person. After much debate and a plea from our babysitter (grandmother) not to go because it would be too dangerous, we decided not to make the trip. Lisa, our rep was a different story. She was like the USPS, “Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor gloom of night” was going to stop her from attending!
Here’s Lisa’s recap:
On Sunday, March 20th, I went to the Western States Toy & Hobby Show at the Long Beach Convention Center in Southern California.  This was my first toy trade show and I decided to brave the crazy Southern California rain. I felt going to this event would be a great opportunity for me to see new items and meet the people I’ve spoken to on the phone with. Plus I was on the lookout for new vendors who were interested in having their items sold by SensoryEdge.
Since this was my first show. It was a little overwhelming to see rows and rows of toys. Surely not like the bigger toy show in New York but still a little scary. Also, most of the people who knew SensoryEdge were used to seeing Alycia and Ed. I was interested to see their response when a “new” person was representing the company. After a few minutes, I was totally at ease. As you would expect people who sell toys and other kids products are generally happy go lucky and fun. We laughed at the rain and at how people in California have no idea what really bad weather is!
It was great to see Guidecraft, Pacific Play Tents, and Roomates Peel & Stick Décor there.  The Guidecraft items look so cute in person.  There is a dimensional aspect to their carved wooden pieces that cannot be fully captured in photos. 
I was especially impressed with their new Hideaway Play Kitchens, which collapse to about 6” when not in use.  When you open them up, they look like great wooden kitchens that kids will love, and adults won’t believe that they can be closed up and stored so easily.  Great for those of us with limited space!  Pacific Play Tents was excited to debut their new Dinosaur Train licensed tents and tunnels, and they have great canvas teepees that boys and girls alike with love. 
In the Roommates Peel & Stick Décor booth, I checked out the gems that go on their wall decals to add a bit of sparkle and a nice dimensional effect.  My daughter will LOVE having these on her wall.  There are so many licensed characters and different designs available, that they truly offer something for everyone.  And since they are repositional, removable, and affordable, you and your kids can have fun decorating without worrying about damaging your walls or making a long-term commitment to wall paper!  Anatex was there, with their classic beadmazes and activity tables.  We also saw some great items from new suppliers that you may see on our site soon.  At SensoryEdge, our goal is to offer the best, high quality, innovative, and affordable products for kids that we can find.  Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to visit toy shows and manufacturers across the country!
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At SensoryEdge our focus is to educate, inform, and inspire each person caring for children to be and do their very best. It is not always easy and sometimes we don't take action (or we take the wrong action) because of a lack of understanding the real issues. We hope that the conversations that occur here will help in some small way better the lives of children, their families, and the professionals who work with them. We are always looking for valuable contributions to our site so if you are interested in becoming a contributor contact us.