Dolls' Houses Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern. Plus furniture and accessories.

2013 New York International Gift Fair and Toy Fair by Chris Ferrara

Once again, I attended both the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) and Toy Fair at the Javits Center in New York City in January and February, respectively. I register as press (because of my blog), which means I can access press releases and other information about new products in advance and then review other material on site in the press center. It also means I get emailed a lot by PR firms and companies themselves ... sometimes it is relevant, other times not!

NYIGF, which will be known as "NY NOW, the Market for Home & Lifestyle" with the August market (August 17-21, 2013), includes home and housewares as well as the newest in design and handmade items. The Toy Fair is the showcase for the toy industry, so it features all the major companies as well as smaller, independent toy makers and innovators.



I first attended the shows back in 2011, with an eye toward modern dollhouses and anything that might be repurposed for modern miniature environments. The shows are high energy, usually crowded, and filled with a dizzying array of products. And giant product placements!



Each exhibitor has a booth -- some are quite small and open, whereas the larger companies have much more expansive spaces with walls on all sides and elaborate entrances. You can't really call them "booths" anymore...more like fortresses.





The shows include *hundreds and hundreds* of vendors across many categories, so it is a bit overwhelming. This time around, I decided to be systematic: I made appointments with a few companies in advance and mapped out my visit according to booth numbers (each show provides massive directories with company names and booth numbers). I only had a day to spend at each show, so I wanted to structure part of my visit and then be able to freely walk around for some "discovery" time.

As always, I like to share highlights of my visits, especially any news and products. I've combined both visits here in one post, so lots of photos ahead!

Shall we start with
brinca dada? Why, yes!



Photo courtesy of brinca dada website

It was great to see Doug (Rollins, CEO) and Erica (Turzak, COO) again. The "Zoe" house (above) was on display (it's selling very well, Doug said), and while there is not a new dollhouse on the horizon, there is a new line of blocks, "
Constructures," that are extremely cool and show lots of promise for adapting in the modern miniature realm.



Hi, Erica!



Nice, right? The set will include forty pieces and will retail for $39.95. Look out for them in April!



At Schylling, I saw a kid's house called "Amanda & Family"





Photo courtesy of Schylling website


Shows some promise for mini play, and has a durable wooden construction. Retails for $49.95.

What do you think?

was a highlight! I made an appointment to see the latest line of dolls, and also hear more about Hape's acquisition of the venerable doll maker Kathe Kruse. Both companies have such a long and distinguished history, and are uncompromising in their production of high-quality products. Seems like a powerhouse partnership! I am curious to see what will be next.


That's me chatting about the Kruse acquisition with Peter Handstein, Hape Founder and CEO 

The Hape booth had on display some adorable new wooden dolls, which represent a departure from their previous dollhouse people line, "Happy Family," which looked like this:



And now, they look like this:









The line is very cute, modern, and fun. The dolls will retail for $7.99. The babies, which will retail for $2.99 each, are totally adorable and could easily work in a modern mini environment.

Hape also let me know that plans are now in the works to update the phenomenal
Sunshine dollhouse. I hear there may be a new layout and furnishings!



Cannot wait to hear more on that!!


Plan Toys always delights too. They have come out with a new Chalet Dollhouse and My First Dollhouse which look similar to the original, but are made of replenishable rubberwood material.

Here are the originals:


Photo courtesy of


Photo courtesy of


And the new!






Love the colors and textures! Definitely tempting to get one.


Moving from sustainable wood to...cardboard! I was delighted to come upon Urban Canvas, which makes a neat modular cardboard dollhouse called Mod House. The designer and owner, Maria Chee, wanted to create a fun and different structure that also had a strong element of reuse and creativity. The walls are a blank canvas for designs, and can be easily written-upon and erased. You can also explore different configurations for the house.










Neat, huh? The house set retails for $55 and includes the furniture too. Would you buy one?



On I went to the d-torso booth, which featured a line of 3D constructions made by a Japanese company, AKI. Many animals were on display, and are intriguing for 1:12 scale play.




The packing is neat as well...




While I didn't see it at the show, the company makes a mini deer head. Possibilities!



Next, I was drawn over to a small display showing Lichtbloem, a DIY light by Coens made of a ping pong ball, optic fibers, LED, and a clothespin!






Very cool Dutch design, no? Could be adapted for a mini space for sure. It will retail for approximately $25.

As always,
UMBRA offers fun and functional eye candy. Ring holders are definitely transferable to a mini environment, as are magnets, and their plastic mats might also work well as flooring or dividers.









In addition to housewares, the NYIGF is a venue for card and stationary companies. I love seeing the range of creative designs...I could spend hours just looking through papers and other accessories. I saw a few neat things, such as...

Adhesive washi paper!
 Retails for $11.95/five sheets



Animal-shaped stick-it notes!





And paper bots!





WHEW! I hope you enjoyed my report on both fairs. I go back to the summer market of NYIGF in August, so I’ll post more on my blog then!


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