A Wand-erful World: Harry Potter-Style
Wands for the Retail Market
By Andrew Windchantz
Makers of fine wands are finding the current excitement over the new Harry
Potter book release, The Order of the Phoenix, to be the perfect
springboard for all things magical. At first glance one might assume that
all wands are created equal: Sand a bit of wood into a round shape, and
youíve got yourself a wand, right? Not so, according to ALIVAN'S
and Whirlwood (ToyDirectory),
the two premiere wand makers. Both companies hope to ride the wave of Potter-mania
into high profits.
At first glance, the Alivanís box containing the cherry-wood
wand is dripping with magical intrigue. The deep blue cover with gilded
letters feels like it just came off of some ancient wand-makerís shelf.
Opening the box, I unwrap the white and gold tissue paper to reveal a beautiful
red velvet bag embroidered with Alivanís classical-style crest. The certificate
of authenticity is a nice touch, though the glossy print paper and small
size is not in tune with the meticulous packaging surrounding the wand.
I open the velvet bag and there it is: roughly 10 inches long with a turned
handle perfectly sized for a child up to 12 years old, a real Harry Potter-style
wand. Its simplicity is in stark contrast to the opulent packaging, but
thereís no sign of disappointment from my niece, who has been watching with
wide eyes and mouth agape. She seizes the wand out of my hand and soon I
hear her trying to unlock the hall closet with a homemade incantation.
The Whirlwood box, with its plain paper exterior stamped
with the artistic ďWĒ crest of the company, contrasts with the flashy Alivanís
box. Opening the end of the outer box to remove the case holding the wand,
I find it decorated with an intricate black design hinting at the magical
adventures waiting within. Inside is a black velvet bag, unassuming and
elegant. I tip the bag to reveal an exquisite, hand-turned wand made entirely
of one piece of wood, an indication of the time and effort put into its
creation by artist Gary Hall. This wand exceeds all my expectations for
a toy, a collectorís piece, and a piece of art. Iím not sure Iíll let my
niece see this one.
In a side-by-side comparison, the wands appeal to many different consumers.
Alivanís wand ($35.00) is a great package that appeals to the child who
is looking to live a moment in the world of Harry Potter. The Whirlwood
model ($67.00) has appeal for children and adults due to its high level
of craftmanship. The simple construction of Alivanís wand lends itself
to younger children ages 6-10, while the Whirlwood wand will capture pre-teen
and young adult imaginations for year to come.