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November 2006 | Vol. V - No. 11
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When a Key-Chain Just Won’t Cut It

Personalization Moves Beyond the Obvious


“Kids love hearing their name in music.” Daryl Ragsdale, Kids Juke Box
Gift-buyers seeking to please Taniquas, Cassandras and Xaviers need no longer despair: Personalization has gotten so personal, manufacturers told TDmonthly, that almost any name can be added to anything from storybooks to CDs.

Calling Shoppers by Name

“Personalized products call out to shoppers. They can’t resist stopping at displays of personalized products to see if their name, or the name of a favorite child, is represented,” said Mary Dwyer of That’s Me Publishing LLC. (ToyDirectory)  “Shoppers who are looking for less common names feel especially motivated to buy the product, when they can find it.”

Nowadays, though, they don’t have to find it, or even order it. CD-ROM and Web site-based software lets them create it at home. That’s Me Publishing’s kits, for instance, contain everything the gift-giver needs to print out and assemble an entire personalized storybook.

Kids Juke Box even offers personalized CDs that pair kids with Spider-Man for musical and Marvel-ous adventures: 

“Kids Juke Box Personalized Music CDs are designed specifically for retail stores,” explained Daryl Ragsdale of Kids Juke Box. The customer buys the CD in a store, then uses “Grab and Go” technology to complete the personalization at home on the Internet. “Kids love hearing their name in music, and parents love watching their child’s face light up when their name is sung. Hearing kids laugh when their name is sung along with Spider-Man's is only available with the Kids Juke Box Marvel Heroes music CDs.”

Learning's Easy When It's All About Me

Personalized products can even help kids learn, Becky Nusbaum, owner and creator of Me A-Z (ToyDirectory), told TDmonthly. “We brought  [our Personalized Children's Educational Program] to our elementary school and tested it. …[The kids] enjoyed hearing their names. It actually helped them learn the alphabet.”

But low-tech personalization works for the retailer, too. Austin-Abbott offers multi-use products, such as Busy Boxes, Lap Desks and Clipboards that can be personalized with their Sharpie paint pens.

“Our great colors really work with the customer’s needs,” Roxanne Rebarber, co-owner of Austin-Abbott, told TDmonthly. “Retailers can add value to our products, too, by adding coloring books, crayons and activities to our Lap Tray, for instance.”

All It Takes Is a Photo ... and Imagination

And Picture Me Press (ToyDirectory) has plenty of personalized books that don’t even need a computer:

“Our products are personalized with a child's photo,” explained Deborah D'Andrea, president of Picture Me Press. “We have more than 100 titles and the consumer just buys the product off the shelf and puts a photo in. Or they can go to our Web site and we’ll custom-size the photo for them. We have really nice displays that are free with the purchase of a certain quantity, and books are displayed face-out so customers can see that the books are completed with the child's photo.”

Following are some of the personalized products that can help you make your customers feel extra special:




Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Personalized



That’s Me Publishing’s pending process uses incredibly simple software to enable your customers to personalize and print their own children’s books at home. Everything is included in the kit: covers, paper, binding coil, software and directions. In “Alphabet,” a child gives his friend, Frog, a storybook for his birthday. The child teaches Frog to read his new book by finding the letters of the alphabet in the world around Frog’s pond and then in the names of the child’s family and friends. Frog learns quickly. He shows his skill by identifying the letter that begins the child’s name. “Our Alphabet Personalized Book Kit works well for specialty toy retailers because it represents a personalized product where shoppers will always find the name they are looking for, since the simple software in the kit allows any name up to 16 letters,” Mary Dwyer of That’s Me Publishing told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9406      (added 9/19/2006)
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SKU or Item #: 646
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Personalized



These Paint Pens are xylene-free, which means they're safer for kids and everyone else, too. They’re available in assorted packs of 15 ... one of each color in medium or fine points. One point size is included per assortment. “Austin-Abbott is celebrating almost 37 years of business in 2006,” co-owner Roxanne Rebarber shared with TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9407      (added 9/19/2006)
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Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: September 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Audio & CD



Supercharge your sales with Marvel Heroes Music for Me!  This is the first-ever retail-friendly personalized music CD.  It features eight fun and entertaining songs all about a child and his or her favorite superheroes.  On these CDs, the child’s name is used more than 30 times.  Stop trying to guess what names to carry and let Spider-Man and his friends do the selling for you.  No rack system and no special equipment or mass amounts of inventory are required. Each of the eight-song music CDs represents thousands of names in any spelling.  Using “Grab and Go” technology, the customer simply buys the CD from you and completes the personalization at home using their computer and the Internet in less than 2 minutes. Our fun and friendly instructions guide the parent or child through the process from start to finish.  The CDs come pre-packed in a colorful and informative countertop display with audio samples built in to help sell the product for you. Generate more profit per square foot with this revolutionary technology. It retails for $14.95 to $19.95. Launch date: September 15, 2006.
— Daryl Ragsdale of Kids Juke Box told TDmonthly, “With this innovative technology, we can generate more profit per square foot than any other personalized product on the market. While our music CDs have been an exciting addition to the toy market, what we are working on now will change the face of personalization forever.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7751      (added 4/28/2006)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 3 to 6
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books



That’s Me Publishing introduces personalized book kits for children to make at home. The fun and easy software includes delightful illustrated stories ready to personalize. For example, in "Barnyard Bash," the child enjoys an adventure in the barnyard. Children can enter their own names in the story and those of family and friends. The illustrations can be personalized right along with the words of the story. The book is then printed on premium paper and bound with bright plastic coil. "That's me," kids will say, “I made it myself.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8288      (added 6/15/2006)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 0 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Adorable collections of scrapbook papers and stickers help parents preserve their baby's cutest moments. Whimsical sayings and cuddly costumed babies make these collections one of a kind. Parents insert their baby's photo, transforming Jr. into "As Cute as I Can Bee." Pages can also be decorated with full-size photos and colorful stickers. All contents are bound into a post-and-hinge, padded cover album. The stickers, cards and lettering are perforated for easy removal to use in decorating. The cards can be personalized with a photo and mailed to friends and family. The first album in the series, this kit has sold more than 5,000 pieces. Album size is 13” x 12” and sticker sheets are 7”x 12”.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6247      (added 12/29/2005)
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MSRP: $4.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Personalized



Personalize these holiday cards with a child´s photo and they bring a delightful season's greeting. Each card has a cute holiday message inside. The cards are 3.75" x 4.75" (approx.). It is a 6 card set plus envelopes.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5491      (added 11/10/2005)
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CD Story Books can be played on any computer that uses Windows. Each story features the child’s name, gender, ethnicity, and hair and eye color. It is personalized in both the audio text and visual animation, which draws children into the story. In this way, the product improves children's reading comprehension and can be used to help lengthen a child's attention span.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6872      (added 2/8/2006)
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Alarm Clocks feature a 50 second “Wake Up!” song with the child’s name sung 8 times. The face of the clock can also be personalized with the child’s name.

“The Kids Juke Box's ‘Grab and Go’ Technology has started to attract the major brand names in the toy biz due to its simplicity and the revolutionary way that it enables static brand images and products to come to life, shattering the silence of inanimate toys and objects, and empowering their appeal by offering a ‘one-to-one’ experience with the customer,” expounded Michael McBride, VP of international sales at Kids Juke Box Inc.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6870      (added 2/8/2006)
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Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Personalized



Each child creates his or her own program. Their pictures are uploaded for the Intro, their names are referred to  throughout the text, and they choose from more than 360 graphics and ideas to describe themselves, such as, "Aa: You are Artistic" or "Athletic" or "Awesome" and "Bb: You enjoy Books" or "Ballet" or "Baseball". They can choose a pre-made corresponding sentence or create their own. There is an audio element, which lists the phonetics of each letter and their choices, along with the full alphabet song. Their names and their uploaded pictures are featured throughout.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8840      (added 8/1/2006)
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Alison MarekWriter's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ...  Read more articles by this author

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