December 2006 | Vol. V - No. 12
Cute, Cuddly and ... Considerable
Oversized Plush Gives Holiday Sales a Big Boost
Amidst Ganz’s Webkinz and all the penguins ambling around toy stores, hip little girls can still combine fashion with cuddles. Purses designed to hold stuffed animals, such as those from Douglas Cuddle Toys and Aurora World, continue to carry on in a big way, according to 51 specialty toy retailers surveyed by TDmonthly Magazine.
Six retailers specifically referenced oversized plush items — including a dog, duck and giraffe — by Melissa & Doug. They’re “just fun to see under the tree,” Genevieve Collonge, manager of Wooden Horse in Los Gatos, Calif., told TDmonthly.
Owner Mary Walsh of Magical Child in Greenfield, Mass., noted that these furry friends “really do move. They’re almost life-size, many of them, and they keep coming out with more.”
Angel Stahl, owner of Angel’s Toy Barn in Greensburg, Pa., carries Melissa & Doug as well, but expects Bear Mill plush to be the hardest to keep in stock. “Children and adults get to select a new special friend, stuff it with fluff, and then make it even more special by choosing outfits to fit their personality,” Stahl said.
Some stores, such as The Time Machine in Manchester, Conn., are counting on new ranges. “There’s a new line that we brought in that’s great – Yomika line from Russ – because of the realism,” said owner Steve Maynard.
Here’s what retailers and manufacturers think kids will snuggle with this Holiday season or in early 2007:
This colorful polka-dot knit lion makes a great companion for little ones, and brightens up any room. Designed by Florence Wetterwald, it was knitted by Peruvian artisans from natural fibers of exceptional quality grown in Peru. “Children grow very attached to their blabla dolls not just because they look fun or colorful but also because of their unique cuddliness and softness,” Susan Pritchett, co-owner of blabla, told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10146 (added 11/17/2006)
This 14" plush Peaco is very shy. … Well, shy on the outside. On the inside, Peaco is a wild man! You can see it in his eyes. All three. Peaco really shines when he’s doing what he does best, DANCING. Peaco loves to dance in the water...much to the dread of his cousin Cinko. Why dance in the water? Well, think about it: When you dance in the water, no one can see you! SHY! Remember? It’s kind of a pain explaining, water dancing to lifeguards though. Please dance with Peaco; he’s seen your moves! (But don’t step on his ears.) Peaco is also available in a $10 Little Ugly size (7") and $6 key chain size (4").
— “Uglydolls. I think that half the people that buy them are buying them to give to adults. That’s been a phenomenon,” was the consumer behavior noticed by Rick Henry, owner of Stellabella Toys in Cambridge, Mass.
— “We might be behind the rest of the country, but suddenly Uglydolls are real big,” said Debbie Scholl, owner of Fundamentally Toys in Houston, Texas.
—”I attribute Uglydoll's success to the quality and originality of the brand,” Victoria George, PR director for Pretty Ugly LLC, told TDmonthly. “It's the only plush product on the market that carries such versatility and broad-spectrum appeal. They're soft, cuddly and the narratives are funny, silly and sweet. They really have a wide demographic of fans and enthusiasts, which is so unique for a toy brand.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9177 (added 8/29/2006)
The redesigned Pet Carriers feature six new styles including dogs, a horse and even a unicorn. The carriers feature a loop showcasing detachable and interchangeable charms, which replace the embroidered phrases that used to adorn the most popular product from Aurora.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9832 (added 10/27/2006)
This big, soft bird is ready to warm up with a friendly hug. He has long, outstretched wings and a wire frame so that he is partially poseable. He is quite realistic looking and measures 23.5" by 13" by 12".
— “Anything penguin,” was the state of plush toys described by Kim Duff, manager at Giggles Toys & More in Bozeman, Mont. “Our favorite is the one that's 2' tall from Melissa & Doug.”
— Angel Stahl, owner of Angel’s Toy Barn in Greensburg, Pa., concurred: “Melissa & Doug is our No. 1 seller. For them, penguins sell the best.”
— Rick Davis, from the marketing department at Melissa & Doug, told TDmonthly, “This embracably soft plush penguin will march into your heart with its colorful coat and cute features. Nearly 2' tall and 12" wide, this cuddly emperor's 'waddle' can make any penguin lover happy.” Launch Date: Summer 2005
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8353 (added 6/21/2006)
This 6" tiny lil' nugget golden retriever is just one of 11 breeds of Lil' Nugget Palm Puppies. We carry dogs in very difficult-to-find breeds in many sizes and styles...Golden Retrievers are our best sellers!
Our specialty is dogs and we are proud of the selection we offer!
— “My best selling item is the Douglas Golden Retriever, any size,” Philomena Paolucci, manager of Wayland Toy and Stationery in Providence, R.I., told TDmonthly about the Holidays 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6594 (added 1/17/2006)
Part of the Jingle Beanies Collection, this adorable little penguin makes a great holiday gift. “Each 5” Jingle Beanie has a jingle bell inside to add a bit of holiday cheer, as well as a top loop that allows you to use it as holiday decoration or attach (to) backpacks, purses or zippers,” Dana Scott-Turkovich, marketing project supervisor for Ty Inc., told TDmonthly. Launch date: 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10145 (added 11/17/2006)
This frog will liven up any dull day with its bright red toes and vibrant green skin. In its online world, the frog has a treetop perch and eats tree frog fly soup. The Canadian Toy Testing Council honored Webkinz with a 2006 Children’s Choice Award – Top Ten Toys of the Year. Launch date: November 2006.
— “Webkinz is probably the most desired product, but when you don’t have it, you can’t sell it,” pointed out Fred Rosenberg, co-owner of On the Park in Kingwood, Texas, in spring 2007. Many retailers are frustrated with the shortage of this super-hot toy. (View Article)
— Deran Muckjian, owner of Catch a Falling Star in Winchester, Mass., had much to say about this popular line: "Webkinz by Ganz is very interactive. It has a wonderful website that children adapt to."
— Michelle Deutschmann, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass., said Webkinz has been one of her best sellers since June 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10131 (added 11/17/2006)
Douglas offers many different horse breeds from 6” to 36”. This cuddly beauty measures 36” lying down. “We sell an awful lot of horses. Girls in general are horse crazy. We sell the Douglas Horses; they are a good size for most children. They're very reasonably priced,” owner Teri Soelter of Teri’s Toybox in Edmonds, Wash., told TDmonthly in regard to anticipated 2006 holiday sales.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6593 (added 1/17/2006)
A totally trendy hit with the younger ladies, Douglas’ Sassy Pet Sak collections continues to grow and suit the demands of today’s style conscience fashionistas. This one combines the hot hues of periwinkle, lime and white for the perfect color combo. The dotted lime-colored background fabric provides the perfect canvas for bubbles of periwinkle. The bag is topped off with coordinating striped edging and handles. Inside this 10-inch wide bag is a precocious Papillion pup for added play value.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7521 (added 4/12/2006)
This fuzzy light honey bear is perfectly soft and cuddly
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9302 (added 9/8/2006)
This extremely relaxed animals is from Mary Meyer’s Flip Flop line of extremely floppy, squeezable and silky plush pets.This flip-flop giraffe has a soft short pile coat, a happy smile and is long on lovability. His hooves have stitching for a little added shape. He is surface washable and 14” from nose to rump.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8348 (added 6/21/2006)
Steiff first produced this mohair penguin for children in 1928, in honor of Richard Byrd’s Antarctic Expedition. Today’s 13” Admiral mirrors the features that made the 1920s version so revolutionary. His legs and beak feature red paint applied by hand. His pupil eyes are backed in felt for a realistic effect. And his pudgy body is “weathered” with light airbrushing, as if he has just dried off after a playful swim in the ocean. Admiral is a North American Limited Edition of 1,500 pieces. Launch date: 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10130 (added 11/17/2006)
Muffy is all poinsettia perfection in her velvet and tulle confection. Satin pantaloons and jeweled felt slippers complete her floral fantasy. With her poinsettia petals, leaves, ribbons and petite poinsettia doll, there's no denying Muffy is blooming beautiful. The annual Muffy couture holiday edition is always a popular favorite and the most sought after Muffy design among avid Muffy collectors and bear fans, according to Lorene Shiraiwa North American Bear. All Muffy couture designs are boxed limited editions featuring a 7" fully-jointed Muffy in a lavish outfit complete with accessories.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8063 (added 5/31/2006)
This colorful elephant is perfect for cuddling and makes a great companion for a good night’s rest. Other varieties include a Dragon, Giraffe and Horse. Launch date: January 9, 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9898 (added 11/2/2006)
Leading the way is sassy and spectacular Babymouse! She lets her imagination go wild as she dreams of glamour, excitement and being queen of the world. This fabulous mouse will delight young minds as they create their own adventures for Babymouse. Straight from the pages of the graphic novel for tween girls written by Jennifer Holm and illustrated by brother Matthew Holm, this teeny rodent has huge tasks to accomplish. Babymouse’s amazing fantasy life takes girls on a series of exciting adventures. “They've got two Babymouse titles out now, and two more are coming every six months,” said Merrymaker’s president, Clair Frederick. “They’re published by Random House and carried by Barnes & Nobles, so they’re supported in big way. The dolls are going to be fabulous!”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8065 (added 5/31/2006)
GUND’s first-ever animated plush toy moves his mouth and head as he reads the classic Christmas poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” in its entirety. The bear is dressed for the season and holds a plush-covered green book bearing the poem’s title. He is easily activated with the touch of the “on-off” switch on his paw, measures 16.5” tall, and comes with three replaceable AA batteries. When switched “off,” he returns to the sitting position. Launch date: June 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9802 (added 10/26/2006)
Jasmine the Butterfly Girl in her chrysalis Pod by WILDWOOD MEDIA
Other products from WILDWOOD MEDIA
This beautiful butterfly girl comes snuggled in her very own chrysalis, just like a real butterfly. Jasmine brings her environmental message in a unique and fun way. With her bug-shaped body and gorgeous colored wings, she will inspire children to imagine they are the protectors of nature too. This toy was inspired by nature, and developed to give something back. Launch date: August 2007.
— “We believe there hasn't been a toy that encourages children to think about the environment, and that by caring for nature we can all help in some small way,” David Hughes of Wildwood Media told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9689 (added 10/13/2006)
One of the main characters from the VeggieTales series, Bob the Tomato measures 5.25” tall. A 16” Jumbo Larry the Cucumber is also available in the line. Launch date: Spring 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10129 (added 11/17/2006)
Only Hearts Pets ? T.T. the Monkey by ONLY HEARTS CLUB GROUP LLC
Other products from ONLY HEARTS CLUB GROUP LLC
About 2” tall, these loveable plush pets have Velcro paws that allow them to hold hands to form bracelets, necklaces and barrettes, or to hold on as a backpack, pen, or pencil buddy. Each pet has its own name, is packed in a brightly colored open gift box, and includes a handy backpack clip. Other little friends include Smokey the Pig, Hip-Hop the Frog, Howie the Cow, Tiny the Elephant and Wags the Dog. "It's very unusual to find a plush product this size, 2" tall, because of the tremendous amount of detailing that goes into the process,” President Len Simonian told TDmonthly. Launch date: Fall 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10180 (added 11/20/2006)
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Writer's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author
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