Andy Keimach: What I’m Hearing! – What are the Benefits of Becoming a Member?

by Andy Keimach | 21 Mar 2024

Industry Commentary, Op-Ed



What I’m Hearing! – What are the Benefits of Becoming a Member?


I’m often asked how The Toy Association works on behalf of the industry. Not everyone is aware of the work we do to support and protect individual companies, the entire membership, and the industry at large. From tackling new legislation that could negatively impact your business, promoting members’ products in the media, delivering an extensive array of year-round educational resources, and meeting the evolving needs of toy sellers and buyers through our world-class marketplace events, our dedicated team works daily to support the toy industry and foster growth.


In this week’s column, I’d like to introduce Ken Ebeling, The Toy Association’s EVP of strategic development and member services. Whether you are a current member of The Toy Association interested in diving more deeply into the benefits we offer, or you’re considering joining as a member but want to know how we can serve you, please read the Q&A below with Ken.


In terms of advocacy, what did The Toy Association accomplish in 2023 on behalf of members?


Ken Ebeling: Last year, our government advocacy was crucial, helping not just members of the Association but the industry as a whole. Our Global Government & Regulatory Affairs team pushed for the reintroduction of the SHOP SAFE Act, which holds online selling platforms accountable for any harmful counterfeit goods sold on their sites; made significant progress to ensure consistency across state EPR (extender producer responsibility) programs by tracking and preventing proposals that would have been harmful to industry; and pushed back on more than 400 pieces of priority legislation directly impacting the toy industry. Our work extended well beyond U.S. borders, with our team representing the North American toy industry across the EU, the Gulf region, and other key markets; meeting with government bodies to push for global standards alignment and improved regulations for toys; and collaborating with 20 national toy associations on critical issues impacting toys.


This is a small sampling of our advocacy work; please click here for a continually updated list of articles covering what our Global Government & Regulatory Affairs team is working on.


The Toy Association offers educational resources and guidance – can you describe what both members and non-members have access to?


Ken Ebeling: Our educational resources are complimentary or available at a discounted rate for members and those who attend our marketplace events, such as Toy Fair in New York City. Through one-on-one consultations with Toy Association staff, our members also receive safety and technical guidance to help them understand and comply with all relevant laws and regulations.


Throughout the year, The Toy Association Knowledge Network offers a number of webinars, research reports, trend insights, studies, surveys, and white papers on issues impacting the toy industry. Recently, we updated our Safety Education Program to provide companies with a comprehensive understanding of the latest federal and state regulations impacting the toy industry. It is free for members (non-members may access the course for a fee). The international portion of the program will be updated soon.


All of our webinars are available on-demand and are free for members of The Toy Association – these sessions cover everything from toy safety and trade issues to toy shopping trends, entering new markets, and much more.  I encourage everyone to visit the education & services section of our website to take full advantage of what we offer. Our team strives to ensure the most pressing and relevant issues and topics of interest to the entire toy community are covered through our educational resources.


How do you help members connect, do business, sell products, and reach consumers?


Ken Ebeling: Our marketplace events are key to unlocking business opportunities for the toy industry, and our members can take advantage of discounted exhibit space, priority in selecting booth placement, and promotional/sponsorship opportunities at Toy Fair in New York City and our upcoming LA Fall Preview, taking place this September.


Our members are also prioritized for all media and promotional opportunities – including TV segments, product placement in trade articles, trend presentations for media and buyers, and media coverage at Toy Fair, among many other opportunities. While we strive to represent the entire toy industry in a positive light in the media, it is certainly an added benefit for members to have their specific brands, products, and companies promoted and shared with the press.


These are just a few examples of how The Toy Association works on your behalf. Readers are encouraged to visit for more information and to view the 2023 Impact Report for a complete overview of The Toy Association’s accomplishments last calendar year.


Questions or comments about Toy Association membership? Please reach out to Ken Ebeling, EVP of strategic development and member services.

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