Sponsored by:

“Cool Companies” is a monthly feature where we recount the odd beginnings, interesting permutations, or otherwise unique and noteworthy circumstances of a toy or hobby manufacturer. If you think you know of a Cool Company that you’d like to see featured here, please contact comments@toydirectory.com.

The Buzz On Fuzz: Folkmanis Always Puts On A Great Show

By Karen Mendez Smith
February 1, 2003


It's showtime!
The action begins the moment you see an award-winning Folkmanis puppet or marionette. So soft, so appealing, so squishable — most kids (okay, adults, too!) just have to hug them before they dive right into fantasy play. From finger puppets to glove puppets, animated plush hand/arm puppets of every shape and size, character and storytelling puppets and a new line BabyFolkmanis books and toys, Folkmanis always finds a fresh take on this imaginative art.

Folkmanis' Jellyfish

Hands above the rest
For over twenty-five years, the Folkmanis family has defined high-end imaginative plush puppet play. What's the secret to their success? "In part this is due to the design sense of owners Judy and Atis Folkmanis who originally created and hand-produced the entire line, and still have daily input," said Elaine Kollias, Marketing Director. "Another key is our terrific team of designers. They're simply the best around." New puppets are released each January and June. "We simply care about putting the most animation with the most play value in each one," she tells us. "Then we multiply that by ten."

Great White Shark

Products with legs . . . and teeth!
Thought-provoking animations also set their products apart. "A great example is the new Great White Shark that has two rows of custom-molded teeth, movable eyes and a hole in its mouth for swallowing," Elaine said. "It's very true-to-life, as are all of our animal puppets. But our number one seller this year is definitely going to be the Great Horned Owl. With a newly-designed mechanism that turns his head and blinks his eyes, he's just awesome."

Folkmanis' Cardinal

Net gains
The Internet has been a real bonus to Folkmanis. "Businesses linked to us online have really grown," said Elaine. "It is really making a difference in sales for smaller companies." With over 50 online links available through the colorful website at www.folkmanis.com , an online catalog and lots of information make it a truly worthwhile web destination for retailers, collectors and fans.

A hands-on approach
In some ways, Folkmanis' success can be attributed to what they don't do. "We don't do licensing, we don't do trends and we don't change directions quickly," Elaine said. "We've stayed true to our original mission." From a cottage industry in the '60's to a multi-million a year private corporation, Folkmanis has managed to keep their company a family concern.

Writer's Bio: Karen Mendez Smith has been involved in children's media for over twenty years as a literary agent, writer, and creator of animated television and film. Co-founder of Satori Organics and M/Path Press, she is a parent to eight children and five incredible grandchildren (and counting).

Want to see a showcase of toys?  Click Here...

Send comments about this article to: comms@toydirectory.com

Return to ToyDirectory Monthly front page

Keep Your Little Monster Cozy

Industry Overview:
Halloween Definitely Happy for Retailers

Product Summary: Let’s Scare Tactics: Making Halloween a SCREAM!

Cool Company:
The Buzz On Fuzz: Folkmanis Always Puts On A Great Show

Real Retailer: The Romance of Retail: The Enchanted Forest

ToyDirectory Mom: Small Retailers can take Advantage of Halloween's Homemade Spirit

Design Inspiration: The “Big Daddy” Legacy Rocks On


Advertise on TDmonthly

Home  ToyShow™ Previews & Highlights  Toy Gallery  Contact TD Monthly   Broadcast  Advertise Here

Look up Manufacturers at ToyDirectory.com®

TDmonthly™ Holiday Gift Guide

Disclaimer  Privacy Policy 
Career Opportunities  Feedback
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use.
© Copyright 2003 ToyDirectory Monthly™, a division of ToyDirectory.com®, Inc.