FAQ – WIT Empowerment Day

When and where is WIT Empowerment Day?

Monday, October 2, 2017
8:00 AM – 5:30 PM – Empowerment Day
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Cocktails & Connections (optional event; ticket purchase required)
Dallas Market Center, 2100 N Stemmons Fwy, Dallas

What is the cost to participate in Empowerment Day?

  • Empowerment Day is FREE for WIT members
  • Coffee and lunch will be provided (generously sponsored by Hasbro)
  • Requires WIT membership ($150 for 1-year membership)
  • Requires registration as trade guest to the Toy Association’s Fall Toy Preview ($175, business credentials will not be required)
  • Your personal travel expenses
  • Optional Cocktails & Connections Party – ($45 early-bird discount ticket)
  • NOTE:  All Fall Toy Preview attendees and exhibitors are welcomed to attend the Keynote and Walmart Buyer Panel at 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM, and speaker Chairman Buerkle at 2:00 PM.  WIT membership is not required. (Lunch not included.)

** All presenters and mentors provide their time and expertise as volunteers, ensuring a significant value to registrants.

Where are my hotel choices? Is there free hotel shuttle bus service to Dallas Market Center?

As a registered trade guest of Fall Toy Preview, you can book your hotel and get discounted rates through the Toy Association’s travel partner, onPeak. Be sure to book early, as rooms sell out fast! Most hotels offer free shuttle bus service to Dallas Market Center. Click here for pricing information and to make reservations.

When and how do I register for Empowerment Day?

Registration is now open. Deadline to register for toy company and Walmart pitch sessions is September 15, 2017. Click here to register.

Why do I need a Fall Toy Preview badge?

It is a requirement by the Toy Association. With your badge, you are free to visit exhibitors during Fall Toy Preview. This is a benefit to you, as it gives you the chance to make even more industry connections. We highly encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity.

How do I register for my Fall Toy Preview badge?

  • Click here to register for Fall Toy Preview and to obtain your badge.
  • Unless you are exhibiting at Fall Toy Preview, click ATTENDEE to register
  • For Registration Category, register as a TRADE GUEST (business credentials will not be required)

What toy companies can I pitch my product to, and can I sign up to pitch more than one company?

You will have the opportunity to pitch Hasbro, Spin Master, PlayMonster and Jazwares, and you can sign up to pitch any or all. There are a limited number of pitch slots available, and they will be scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Although we do our best to accommodate all pitch requests, there is no guarantee that you will be scheduled to pitch all companies requested on your registration form.

Does Empowerment Day give me the opportunity to license my concept to a toy company?

Yes. If you wish to license your product concept, you can schedule pitch sessions with Hasbro, Spin Master, PlayMonster, and Jazwares. All toy companies will provide valuable guidance and information on licensing a product or concept to a manufacturer.

When will I receive confirmation that my application has been approved, and how do I sign up for pitch sessions?

  • All registrations are time-stamped, and will be reviewed on a first-come basis
  • Within two weeks from the date you submitted your application, you will receive an email notifying you if your application has been approved, and providing you with next steps.
  • If your application is approved, you will receive a link and instructions on how to schedule your pitch slot(s) online.
  • Be sure to sign up for pitch sessions quickly. Sessions are limited, and will be scheduled on a first-come basis.

Am I guaranteed a pitch session with the companies that I request on my registration form?

We do our best to accommodate all registrants, however registration does not guarantee a pitch session with any named toy company or Walmart buyers.

What is the process to pitch Walmart? How do I sign up?

You must pre-qualify to pitch Walmart by meeting these criteria:

  • Your company must be led by women or women-owned.
  • Your product must be sold at retail, either online or in stores.

You must complete the Empowerment Day Registration Form and Walmart Pitch Application

  • On the Empowerment Day registration form, check the box to pitch Walmart. The Walmart Pitch Application will pop-up. Please complete all required fields.

Do I need to be women-owned to pitch toy companies?

No.

Do I need to have my product name trademarked before I pitch?

No.

What about NDA’s? Do I need to sign any, or will Walmart or the toy companies sign my NDA?

Walmart and the toy companies will not sign your NDA. Toy companies will require that you sign their companies’ NDA’s, which will be sent to you in advance. You must bring signed NDA’s with you to your pitch sessions.

How can I prepare for Empowerment Day and my pitches to Walmart or the toy companies?

WIT will conduct a series of informative webinars designed to prepare you for Empowerment Day and help you perfect your pitch, beginning with Empowerment Day 101 webinar recorded on June 20. If you are unable to attend the webinars, all archive links will be available on the Webinar page of the WIT website. If you’re having trouble accessing the links, please contact Amy Good at amy@womenintoys.com.

Can WIT help me with my pitch or review my pitch deck?

WIT will help you prepare through our Empowerment Day Webinars, however we do not provide individualized assistance for deck preparation or review.

How long are product pitch sessions?

Pitch sessions are 15 minutes long, with a 5-minute passing period in between. We recommend your pitch presentation be 7-10 minutes, and that the balance of your time be spent for feedback and discussion. Set-up time for your presentation should be done during the 5-minute passing period.

Are the pitch sessions private?

Yes. Pitch sessions will be conducted in private curtained pods, each containing a table and chairs. There are no electrical outlets in the pitch pods.

What should I bring to the pitch presentation?

You should bring your product, prototype, concept drawings, PowerPoint presentation, handouts, etc. There will not be any screens or electricity in the pitch pods, so be sure to bring your own fully-charged iPad, laptop or device to show your presentation. For more detailed insights of what and how to present, please view the Empowerment Day 101 webinar.

What should my Walmart pitch presentation include?

  • Present a clear, concise sales pitch to the buyer in your category, including information such as:
  • What is the unmet need your product fulfills or what was your inspiration
  • Why your product is unique in its category
  • Target market for purchasers and users
  • Product description with key selling features
  • Product and package samples along with any visuals of merchandising materials
  • Wholesale price points and suggested retail price (target a wholesale price 50% of retail price)
  • Market research results, if any
  • Current product distribution and general sales results, if any
  • Endorsements from customers and store owners, if any
  • Product video or sizzle, if available
  • Current or planned PR and marketing efforts and past results

Be sure to view the Empowerment Day 101 webinar to help prepare you with your product pitch. Click here to access webinar archives.

Walmart really liked my idea last year, but they never contacted me after the event. Can I pitch the same item again?

Yes, if you pre-qualify through the Walmart Application process, you are welcome to pitch your product again. The Walmart buying team invites and encourages all past participants to re-pitch their product, as long as the offering has been further developed. Please be prepared to summarize the comments/recommendations that you heard previously and explain product improvements. You will want to show how your product has been further developed and marketed since your last pitch.

If Walmart is interested in carrying my product, what happens next?

If Walmart expresses interest during the pitch session, they will likely set up a follow-up meeting to determine next steps (roll-out timing, number of stores, forecast, etc.)

Will Walmart make the decision on the spot at Empowerment Day?

Walmart will likely not make a firm yes-or-no decision on the spot. If they express interest, you will receive feedback and next steps to move the process forward. This may include ideas for improving your product, or next steps toward a formal purchase order and the process to become an approved vendor. Walmart provides guidance and support to women-owned businesses leading up to a purchase order.

If your concept needs refinement before Walmart will consider it for their stores, you will receive valuable feedback on product improvements or enhancements before you meet with them again. Depending on the feedback, you can decide whether you’ll be able to address their concerns or if you’d like to pursue other distribution options. In almost all cases with a new unproven product, Walmart will choose to test the product in several hundred stores before carrying it “chain-wide.”

I need my pitch to go well. Can WIT put in a good word for me?

WIT is not in a position to recommend businesses to Walmart buyers or toy companies.

Will I receive a contact list of Walmart buyers, toy companies, industry experts and speakers?

No, however you will have lots of opportunities to network with all of our speakers and experts, and can exchange contact information at the event.

Should I try to connect with Walmart buyers or toy company representatives before the event?

No, there is no reason to contact buyers or toy company representatives prior to this event, unless you already have an existing relationship with them.

What happens during the Ask-an-Expert Info Sessions, and how do I make the most of my meeting with the experts?

This is the “speed-mentoring” portion of the day. You will rotate between your choice of Info Session tables, where you will be mentored by top Industry Experts in a variety of specialty fields. Info Sessions are 15 minutes long. To get the most benefit from these sessions, identify in advance the area of speciality you would like to know more about. Then bring your top three (3) questions to the session, so you can make the most of your time with the experts. We ask that participants please be respective of others and limit visits to one 15-minute session per specialty/table. Depending on the number of participants at Empowerment Day, you may need to share your session with one or more of the other participants.

NOTE: Info sessions will not be assigned time slots or scheduled in advance. You may visit any Info Session table at any time during this portion of the day.

What happens during the Sharing/Recap session at the end of the day?

This is a chance for participants, industry experts and speakers to share their thoughts and takeaways about the event in an intimate setting. We encourage open and honest conversation and look forward to your feedback!

What is Cocktails & Connections?

This is our evening networking party, happening right after Empowerment Day at 6:00 PM. This event is open to all Empowerment Day participants and all Fall Toy Preview exhibitors and guests. Discount tickets may be purchased in advance by clicking here, and will also be available at full price at the door. Ticket price includes cocktails and a delicious appetizer buffet.

NOTE: All participants of WIT Empowerment Day and Cocktails & Connections must register for Fall Toy Preview and display a badge.

Anything else I need to know?

  • Special Dietary Requests or Food Allergies:  Individuals with food allergies or special dietary needs should note their request during the registration process, or by contacting us at info@womenintoys.com. We will make every effort to accommodate dietary needs. Requests made at the event may not be available.
  • Code of Conduct:  Event participants are expected to behave professionally. Obscene language, abusive or threatening behavior directed to any other attendee, speaker, volunteer, staff or building personnel is not conducive to a learning environment and will not be tolerated.
  • Photo Policy: We will have a photographer onsite who will be capturing images during the event. Only photos of individuals or groups of individuals will be taken, and we will not take or share photos of any product(s). Please see terms and conditions on Empowerment Day Registration Form for further information.
  • Cancellations:  Please email info@womenintoys.com to let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to attend Empowerment Day, so that we can reassign your pitch session time slot to waitlisted registrants.
  • Program/Schedule Changes:  For reasons beyond our control, it may be necessary to change program content, speakers and or pitch time slots. WIT is not liable for any changes.

 

For any other questions, please contact us at info@womenintoys.com. This FAQ will be updated as necessary.