This time of year is always exhausting. After what felt like three solid weeks out of the office at UK Toy Fair, Nuremberg and Spring Fair, I was actually looking forward to being back at my desk (something which my boss probably thought he'd never hear me say).
For Licensing.biz, and our sister magazine ToyNews, all of the shows were incredibly worthwhile. And this opinion seems to be echoed by the licensors and licensees which attended.
There were times at UK Toy Fair that I thought there was actually a mini licensing show going on. While ExCeL is undoubtedly superior in terms of the venue itself, the location of Olympia meant that certain brand owners and licensing agents were happer to attend as they could just simply pop in for a few hours a time each day for meetings.
Most were there, of course, to support their exhibiting licensees and it was encouraging to see so much licensed product news coming out of the event, from brand new deals through to existing agreement extensions.
The show just seemed to gel much better than in previous years, too. The stand layout was different, of course, and a number of licensees which were exhibiting reported some excellent walk up traffic, something which they'd never experienced at ExCeL. It was good to see more open stands, as well - I've always believed that if you go to all the trouble and expense of taking a stand at a trade show, you might as well make the most of it, and limiting your audience seems silly. Go big or go home, indeed.
And, speaking of big, it was my first year at Nuremberg, but again, turn out from the licensing community was notably high, while the sheer enormity of Spring Fair always astounds me.
Of course, a cynic would say that it's easy to be upbeat and positive when you're in your trade fair bubble. But, even if a little bit of the enthusiasm and purpose carries over to other shows - like Brand Licensing Central & Eastern Europe, Kazachok and Licensing International - and into the business in general, it should make for an interesting year.