September 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 9
TDmonthly´s September Recommendations
September is just past summer and looking towards Christmas. It’s a humble-jumble month, and our recommendations run a wide gamut. Many are eclectic, some you already know about and are simply doing even better. TDmonthly Magazine talked to more than 25 retailers all over the land, and here’s what they said:
Uglydolls by Uglydoll — are just growing bigger and bigger, and the release of the film “Zathura” in November with the lead wearing an Uglydoll T-shirt pretty much the whole movie looks to send this soaring. As Nichole Lindsay, Toy Baroness of Kidrobot said: “Uglydolls are one of our top-selling items. Everyone from little girls to older guys loves them.”
While we’re on the weird and the wonderful, take a look at the Marshmallow Shooter by Marshmallow Fun Company (ToyDirectory). To quote: “Never has victory tasted so sweet.” Joe Jamrosz, corporate sales manager of Hammacher Schlemmer, explained why they like it: “It’s a unique item: Unexpected at a great price. A perfect Christmas gift.”
Misery loves company, or at least it’s that way in the successful Gloom, an Atlas Games card game, where you assume control of the fate of an eccentric family of misfits and misanthropes and the winner is the one to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death. As Darrell Wyatt, sales manager at ACD Distribution said: “They are selling great every day. And with the new expansion pack coming out, they should do even better.” Atlas has reported that many retailers are selling out, and they are doing their best to fill the demand. “We sold our warehouse out three months after it debuted, and now are into our second run with the expansion pack,” explained Michelle Nephew, tenured editor and head of production for Atlas Games. “It has the art and atmosphere, lots of shtick and innovative transparent playing cards. Everything that makes a great game.”
While still on the games front, Blokus by Educational Insights (ToyDirectory) roars in, still popular, still fun to play, still from Europe. Chris Dany of Covenant Games finds Blokus a fast-seller, as does Jerry Sunkin, CEO of CoolStuffInc.com: “Blokus is heating up with school coming around. It’s a good game.”
Here’s one that shows big things can come in very small packages. It’s the Wee Forest Folk by Wee Forest Folk. Patty Helberg, owner of Crystallia, explained that they’re selling so well in her store that Wee Forest Folk did 110 special pieces just for her. “Whirly Girl is the best selling new piece, but they’re all selling really well.”
While still on the “little people,” another TDmonthly recommendation is the Papo Figurines by Papo (imported into the United States by Hotaling Imports (ToyShow)). “The Two-headed dragon and the dinosaurs are selling particularly well right now,” explained Larry Hotaling, head of Hotaling Imports, “and pirates and fantasy continue to sell.”
For more details on these popular products, just read below:
What kind of name is OX? No, not like the animal... OX, as in HUG and KISS! How can he hug you with such short arms? OX uses his ears! He promises to be your friend if you would lend him a hand, or an ear...or, like, two dollars!
— “We're still selling Uglydolls pretty well,” said Sally Lesser, owner of Henry Bear's Park in Brookline, Mass., in late spring 2010.
— Out of 43 retailers who participated in a May 2010 survey, five listed Uglydolls as top-selling plush items.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 585 (added 9/1/2004)
Shoot an edible miniature marshmallow over 30´ with this pump-action shooter, complete with LED sight for aiming accuracy. The easy-to-refill magazine holds 20 marshmallows (or foam pellets—which are included) for fast, nonstop action. The LED sight shoots a safe beam of red light to help locate a target. Barrel and magazine are top-rack dishwasher safe, and the back of the box even has a target for practice.
— "The Shooter did excellent for us this past year ," said Andrew Saucier, general manager for the Marshmallow Fun Company. "We were on Jay Leno and Good Morning America. We're about to go on David Letterman, and AOL picked us as a top toy of the year." In November the company launched the Marshmallow Blaster, which fires "big marshmallows," he added.
— Warren Brown, owner of French’s Toy Shop Inc. in Concord, N.H., claimed he never fired marshmallows at lax storeworkers, but later admitted, “I did use it on a couple of customers!”
— "Marshmallow Shooters are really hot," Mary Alice Miner, co-owner of Miner’s Doll & Toy Store in Ocean Springs, Miss., told TDmonthly in fall 2007.
Past Videos: Product demonstration, Toy Fair 2009
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3824 (added 6/28/2005)
In the Gloom card game, the goal is to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death. There are horrible but winning mishaps such as Pursued by Poodles or Mocked by Midgets that lower a player’s Self-Worth scores, or happy, but losing events such as marriages. The player with the lowest total Family Value wins. Printed on transparent plastic cards, Gloom features an innovative design by noted role playing game author Keith Baker. Multiple modifier cards can be played on top of the same character card; because the cards are transparent, elements from previously played modifier cards either show through or are obscured by those played above them. You´ve got to see (through) this game to believe it.
— Gloom is a great seller at the Wizard’s Chest in Denver, Colo., said owner Kevin Pohle.
— “It's a darker humored game, but well-adjusted children will understand and enjoy it,” Eric of Gamescape in San Francisco assured TDmonthly Magazine.
— “I have high hopes it will do really well; it’s the first time it’s been available at Christmas,” John Nephew, president of Atlas Games told TDmonthly. “It’s ideal for older kids and teenagers who are at the point of appreciating things morbid and ironic — especially surly teenagers with a Goth bent!”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4153 (added 8/15/2005)
Europe´s 2002 game of the year, Blokus is a strategy game for the family. It's similar to the ancient Go Game — the board is a grid and players use their pieces to try to control as much territory as possible. The game pieces are in four, 21-piece sets of varying shapes. Each player chooses a color and works on expanding his territory on the board while blocking others from doing the same. Each new piece laid down must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but can only touch at corners, not along edges. The game ends when all players have been blocked from laying down more pieces. Points are deducted for pieces not played, and the player with the highest score at the end, wins. Blokus comes with a game board with 400 squares, 84 game pieces (red, green, blue and yellow), and instructions.
— In spring 2007, Sally Lesser, owner of Massachusetts’ Henry Bear’s Park, called Blokus a “consistent best-seller” at her three stores. It's also tops at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., and Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash. Six of 63 retailers named Blokus as their overall best seller in September 2008. Three of 52 retailers named Blokus as one of their overall top sellers in November 2008. Blokus is no longer distributed by Educational Insights as of 12/4/08.
― “No. 1 is Blokus,” Linda Hanzelko, owner of Timmy's Toy Chest in Lake Mary, Fla., told TDmonthly when asked about best-selling games in early 2009. “It's an easy sell. It's one that people come back later and say 'You were right.'” In late 2009, Lori Hershman, owner of Evan's Toy Shoppe in Hamden, Ct., estimated sales of about 34 units monthly. Six of 38 retailers called it a best-selling game in Feb. 2010, selling from three to 150 units per month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3721 (added 5/27/2005)
Wee Forest Folk are a line of miniatures -- most of which are mice. Meticulousy painted, the talented artists have been carefully selected for their delicate hand skills. Enormous amounts of time and patience are invested in producing each figurine. Wee Forest Folk are made entirely in Carlisle, Massachusetts USA.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4154 (added 8/15/2005)
These highly detailed figurines and accessories are hand-painted and historically accurate. Almost all Papo Figurines can stand on their own or ride any of the horses. "The concept of creative imaginative play continues to be something that retailers and parents are very pleased with," Larry Hotaling, president of Hotaling Imports, Papo´s U.S. distributor, told TDmonthly Magazine. "It´s something that´s [otherwise] lacking with today´s children ... Papo´s been very well received."
— Papo knights were very-good-to-great sellers in 90 percent of stores surveyed.
— “Papo knights are one of the best things we have right now,” said Richard Emery, owner of Toy Star in Easton, Pa., back in June 2005. As of the end of October 2005, retailers across the nation agreed that Papo knights were still one of their best items for boys.
— The popularity of Papo is growing strong," said Hotaling. "Children are very interested in our different categories, such as Medieval Knights Fantasy and Pirates. The brand name is becoming very well known.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4155 (added 8/15/2005)
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