July 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 7
|July 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 7|
TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Novelty Toys
Play Visions Likes to Stretch It
With additional reporting by regional correspondents Terri Hughes-Lazzell and Christine Lebednik
Play Visions keeps stretching the limits of wackiness with the Flower Inside-Out Ball and Flex Net additions to its Hyperflex line, at least according to 35 specialty retailers who recently spoke with TDmonthly Magazine. What's up in the air? Rocket Balloons by Cold Spring and Toysmith, and Playmaker's Flying Flingshot Monkey. What's not? The fact that the Creepy Worm Ball and Slinky round out a powerful arsenal of oddities this month. And if you can't wash that black stuff off your face, just thank Black Soap from S.S. Adams.
Here's what's wild and strange in the world of novelties. For related trends, see Nano Novelties Puff Up Sales.
Kids can now see petals bouncing off the tops of their heads with the latest addition to the popular SUPER MONDO Inside-Out Ball line. Although similar to the other balls, the flower version adds an unusual retro twist to the line; the petals are reminiscent of a style once popular in bathing caps. The flower balls come in assorted colors and are 98 mm in size.
— "The Play Visions Inside-Out Ball is a no-brainer," said Trish Garlock, owner of Treasured Child in La Grange, Ky., when asked about hot-selling novelties in her store. Three of 41 retailers TDmonthly spoke with in spring 2007 agreed that the Inside-Out Balls are popular in their stores.
— One retailer estimated sales of 75 units of the Inside-Out Balls per month.
— "The Flower Inside-Out Balls remind people of the ‘50s-style bathing caps. They're nostalgic and hilarious," said Mark Chernick, owner of Play Visions Inc.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13032 (added 5/22/2007)
The Creepy Worm Ball allows kids to gross-out their friends. Children can squeeze the ball and watch the ugly worms and flies ooze their way around inside.
— "I actually do hardly anything in novelty toys, although the Creepy Worm Balls are probably my top pick. We get them from Toysmith," said Frances Finfrock, owner of Aunt Franny's Toys in Richland, Wash.
— Although Finfrock told TDmonthly that monthly sales of two units are routine, the product’s suitability as a stocking stuffer increases demand during the holiday season.
— Two of 41 retailers who spoke to TDmonthly in spring 2007 cited squishy novelties from Toysmith as popular.
— Toysmith products are so popular for the holiday season, in fact, that preparation is crucial. “I’ve already got sacks of them, holding them for people,” Sherry Grisham of Yesterday’s & Today’s Dolls in Corinth, Miss. told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13033 (added 5/22/2007)
The 10"-tall Elephant on Bike tin wind-up toy is a reproduction of classic tin toys made in the 1940s and 1950s. Kids can wind the key and watch the ball spin on the elephant's trunk while he rides his bike in a circle. Schylling carries approximately 50 tin toy reproductions in its line, including many exclusives.
— Kara Fichtner, owner of Out of the Blue in Albuquerque, N.M., told TDmonthly that she sells up to 100 Schylling animal wind-ups to customers per month.
— "Collecting actual antique tin toys is extremely costly, but the Schylling Reproductions are very affordable and display just as nice," said Stephen Medina, public relations and marketing, Schylling Toys.
— Over 10 percent of 58 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly cited Schylling as a company whose products will make popular stocking stuffers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13034 (added 5/22/2007)
Flex Nets are made from the stretchiest material on earth. Hyperflex stretches up to 10 times its size and returns to its original form.
— "Play Visions have the Flex Nets that [are] new this year that did well for us over Easter," said Trish Garlock, owner of Treasured Child in La Grange, Ky. Two other of 41 toy-store owners mentioned Flex Nets as hot novelty items.
— Fifty units a month of the Hyperflex line was a sales figure given to TDmonthly during research conducted in spring 2007.
— "The Flex Nets were designed almost by accident. We were fiddling with the Inside-Out balls in our office and someone took a scissor to it and started pulling it over their head. But it can create the optical illusion effect for any body part," said Mark Chernick of Play Visions.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11151 (added 1/12/2007)
Toysmith has made it easier to engage in rocket-balloon fun. The newly added pump allows for automated balloon inflation so that ammunition is always ready. Kids simply inflate the balloons, let them go and watch them fly.
— "Rocket Balloons with pump. We shoot those off in the shop," said Linda Angel, owner of Kidoodles Toys in Norman, Okla. Toysmith was the manufacturer she mentioned.
— "About three a day," was a sales figure for rocket balloons given to TDmonthly by Trish Garlock, owner of Treasured Child in La Grange, Ky.
— Three of 38 retailers TDmonthly spoke with in spring of 2007 mentioned rocket balloons as best-selling novelty items in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13035 (added 5/22/2007)
You go to the sink and pick up the soap. You run the water and start washing your face. You look into the mirror, and to your horror, your face is black. You wash your face harder, but your face gets even dirtier. You hear laughing behind you and realize you've been had by the good people at S.S. Adams. Trick Black Soap washes off with water and has a shipping weight of 12 ounces.
— "Adams prank and magic," was the response TDmonthly got from Buddy Wood, owner of Le Jouet Inc. in Metairie, La., when asked about best-selling novelties in his store. He said he regularly sells 18 to 24 units per month.
— Two of 14 retailers cited Adams products as best-selling novelties in spring 2007.
— "The Trick Black Soap is a classic gag that's been around for decades. It's a time-tested seller," said David Haversat, an owner of S.S. Adams.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13036 (added 5/22/2007)
This monkey works like a slingshot and offers hours of screaming fun (he’s designed to scream on impact). The toy is 11” tall with an arm-span of 13”. With a bit of arm power, he can fly up to 30 feet – the farther one pulls him back, the farther he will fly. “The novelty of a monkey flying through the air and screaming, catapulted by the stretchy arms, brings smiles to children and adults alike,” said Ernie Wong, president of Playmaker Toys. “It requires interaction from those who play with it. You just don't watch it do stuff, you're an active part of what makes it such an entertaining product."
— “[We sell] three per day, 75 to 80 in a month” of the flying monkeys by Westminster International, Teresa Ford, owner of Kids’ Ketch in Lewes, Del., told TDmonthly in May 2008.
— “[We sell] at least 20 per month,” Owner Mary Sisson of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., told TDmonthly in May 2008. She buys the store’s best-selling monkeys from Westminster and California Creations. “We sold something like 97 in a week before Christmas — mostly to adults for their offices,” Sisson said in early ‘08.
— The Flingshot Flying Monkey was a surprise hit, and thus earned a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9727 (added 10/23/2006)
The fun of Toysmith's Magic Mic is now available in translucent colors. Kids can speak or sing into this 9.5" echo microphone to hear the sound of their own voice magnified. No batteries are required. An order includes one translucent Magic Mic available in various colors.
— "For a long time we have been selling a lot of the echoing Magic Mic by Toysmith. It's a hollow microphone that gives off an echo sound. It's very inexpensive," said Buddy Wood, owner of Le Jouet Inc. in Metairie, La.
— According to Wood, 24 units sold monthly means the Magic Mic has the magic touch with customers in his store.
— Ten of 38 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in spring 2007 said Toysmith is still hot in novelty items.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13037 (added 5/22/2007)
The Neon Slinky is a brighter and more colorful version of the world-famous Slinky toy. You simply stretch it and it bounces back, and then keeps bouncing in ways familiar to eyes from all corners of the planet. The Neon version comes in various colors and offers consumers an alternative to the standard classic. Don't worry, it still makes the same "slinkity sound" when set into motion.
— "Surprisingly, Slinkies are [still] big sellers," said Peggy Sebert, owner of Becky and Me Toys in Glenview, Ill., when asked about hot-selling novelty toys in her store.
— Two of 38 retailers TDmonthly spoke with in spring 2007 said Slinkies are still hot. Both said they were surprised at the enduring retail appeal of the classic toy.
— Ray Dallavecchia, president and CEO of Poof-Slinky, spoke with TDmonthly about the enduring popularity of this toy: "Slinky is an American icon. It's something that goes beyond explanation. The simplicity and value of a product that's made in the United States contribute to its success."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10218 (added 11/22/2006)
The Rocket Balloon Fun Set gives the user 50 reusable rocket balloons and a two-way action pump. The balloons inflate into 36"-long rockets that fill the sky with color. Rocket Balloons are a safe alternative to fireworks on the Fourth of July, and adults have a great time letting them fly indoors on New Years Eve. An additional pump can be added to the set to keep the balloon ammo flowing.
— "Rocket balloons. We sell them from Cold Spring," said Linda Angel, owner of Kidoodles Toys in Norman, Okla., when asked about popular novelty items with her customers.
— Three of 38 retailers TDmonthly spoke with in spring 2007 said rocket balloons were hot-selling items in their store. Sales of rocket balloons appeared to be concentrated in the Southwest, according to research conducted by TDmonthly.
— “This is the best-selling outdoor product we have ever had in the store,” said Joe Berardoni, Sr., owner of Pun’s Toy Store in Bryn Mawr, Penn. “Just blow up the balloons and watch them whistle and fly all over.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13038 (added 5/22/2007)
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Writer's Bio: Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He works on a variety of writing and editorial jobs with clients and publications worldwide. Dennis is proud to be part of the TDmonthly team, serving as a regional correspondent for the northwestern U.S. Read more articles by this author
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