September 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 9
My Best Sellers: Boing! JP's Toy Shop
Store Gives Kids Freedom to Bounce and Play
Since her store opened in Jamaica Plain, Mass., six years ago, Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop has learned lots of lessons about inventory. It’s important not to overbuy, she told TDmonthly Magazine for this month’s Retailer Spotlight, but what should you buy? Here are the products that have proven to be her customers’ favorites:
Thirty-five rugged plastic pieces snap together easily to form endless poseable creatures. In this set, children can make a Mammoth, Brontosaurus, Sea Scorpion and Ancient Amphibian, or morph them to make all sorts of fantasy creatures. Extra pieces are included so kids can create even more poseable creatures. The heads have hinged jaws. All Zoomorphs sets are interchangeable.
— “We’ve had them for about one and a half years,” Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., told TDmonthly about best-selling Zoomorphs. “[It] captures the kids’ imagination and seems to give them a sense of personal creativity.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11754 (added 3/1/2007)
Rody Horse - Green by TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.
Other products from TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.
Ideal for learning balance and coordination, the Rody Horse allows children to hop around and can even be attached to a base that transforms it into a Rocking Rody Horse. The soft ride-on is often used in therapy for handicapped children, and is made of super-strong, latex-free vinyl. It inflates according to the size and weight of a child with a hand or foot pump. The maximum inflated height to “saddle” is 12".
Where to Buy: Really Great Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14605 (added 8/13/2007)
Hop! 66 (26") by TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.
Other products from TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.
The Hop! 66 is made from the super strong, yet soft, latex-free vinyl material for long-lasting use and durability. It is a great exercise product for indoors and smooth, safe outdoor surfaces. It promotes children’s body coordination, balance and lymph circulation, and provides a fun workout. It has a special patented handgrip safety handle, and the maximum sustainable weight is up to 600 lbs. based on the size of the ball. The Hop! 66 is available in three sizes and inflates with a hand or foot pump.
— “We’ve had them since we opened, [and they have] great nostalgic value for adults,” Elaine Hackney, owner of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., told TDmonthly in summer 2007 about this best seller in her store. “Kids love to exercise on them.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6704 (added 1/25/2006)
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bilibo is a Swiss-designed plastic shell that rocks when children sit in it. Kids have fun stacking the product as well, since it nests snugly in other brightly colored bilibos. Young children enjoy the simple design that they use in many imaginative ways. Awards: 2010 TIA Awards Toy of the Year; 2006 UK Good Toy Awards Toy of the Year; 2003 Deutscher Lernspielpreis, Auswahlliste; 2002 Dr. Toy 10 Best Active Products; 2002 Spiel Guy Arbeitsausschuss Kinderspiel 2002; 2002 Design Distinction I.D. Design Review
— "bilibo: We had to keep ordering it," was the response about hot-selling Xmas toys that TDmonthly got from Jenny Goodlund, manager at JT Puffin’s in Madison, Wis.
— Peg Scholtes, owner of Capitol Kids Ltd. in Madison, Wis., had great things to say about bilibo: "It's great for 2- to 5-year-olds. It's the modern version of the cardboard box."
— “We keep a DVD going up on the front counter that shows kids playing with [the bilibo]. Kids instinctively understand it, but adults don’t,” said Co-owner Mary Sisson of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., of this best seller in her store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3522 (added 5/10/2005)
This alphabet puzzle toy was designed to combine fun and learning. It comes with large pieces containing letters and drawings that are visually and intellectually appealing to the growing mind. It’s handcrafted of solid wood.
— "We sell a lot of puzzles. Most of the ones we sell well are Melissa & Doug. They’re a really great company," said Rene Leonardi, assistant manager at Ouray Toys in Ouray, Colo.
— Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop has carried these chunky puzzles for a couple of years and said they are best sellers due to their graphics and play value. “Each puzzle piece stands alone and can be used for pretending as well as for the puzzle,” she told TDmonthly in summer 2007.
— Rick Davis, from marketing at Melissa & Doug, told TDmonthly that “We just try to make it fun to sell our toys, and from what we hear from our vendors, customers, and from the media, it sounds like we’re succeeding.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9730 (added 10/23/2006)
Players try to fill their Zingo! cards with matching tiles from the Zingo Zinger. The first player to fill his or her card wins. Rules can be adjusted to favor more or less competition among players, and to vary the length of time each game requires. This game was a 2007 T.O.T.Y. Nominee for Specialty Toy of the Year. "It teaches memory, matching, vocabulary and social interaction skills. Kids have so much fun playing again and again; they don’t realize they’re learning essential thinking skills," Marketing Communications Manager Emily Peters of Thinkfun told TDmonthly.
— “Customers use this game as their ‘standard’ party gift,” Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass. told TDmonthly in summer 2007.
— “We sell out as soon as they come in,” added Pam Horwitz, manager of Mr. Toad’s Toy Company in Naples, Fla. Four of 63 retailers singled out Zingo! as the hottest-selling game in their store. Seven percent of 56 retailers listed Zingo as a top-selling game in January 2009. Six of 38 retailers called it a best-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— “Zingo is a great game for 4- to 5-year olds,” Jamie Burdette, owner of LB Toys in Media, Pa., told TDmonthly about this game — a top seller in his store — in April 2008. “The basic Bingo concept starts to introduce words and spelling.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3529 (added 5/10/2005)
Apples-to-Apples Party Crate by OUT OF THE BOX PUBLISHING
Other products from OUT OF THE BOX PUBLISHING
This popular card game now comes in a solid wooden storage crate to be preserved for generations. It’s designed for 4 to 10 players, comes with 756 Red Apple Cards, 252 Green Apple Cards and two Deluxe Card Trays. Kids and adults can have fun by making outrageous comparisons that go beyond just “apples-to-apples.” Matt Mariani, director of marketing for Out of the Box Publishing, told TDmonthly, “It takes only 30 seconds to learn. A complete game takes less than 30 minutes to finish. The conversations around the table while playing the game are the focus.” Launch date: 2006.
— "Apples-to-Apples by Out of the Box: just got more in because people still want it, even after the holidays," said Karen Williams-Fox, owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt. Five of 31 retailers said the game was one of their best sellers for Christmas 2006.
— “The word is out about this game for adults as well as kids,” Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., told TDmonthly in summer 2007. “We carry all the versions. It’s so much fun ... a must at our family reunions!”
— An Apples-to-Apples sale a day helps keep the bill collector at bay, retailers have told TDmonthly (in so many words) bushels of times, and so it’s been honored with a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9733 (added 10/23/2006)
Whether traveling to Grandma's house or spending the night at a friend's place, the 20-count WEDGiTS Junior Tote provides building ideas, word games and letter writing activities in one carry-along bundle. Kids love to show their friends and relatives the marvelous structures they can create, and children can learn to master their first letters and numbers with the dry-erase WEDGiTS Wipeoff Book. This included book and design card deck help kids learn and practice writing words, letters, numbers, mazes and matching activities for hours and hours of "learning-value" fun. Launch date: February 2007.
— Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., has been selling Wedgits for years and keeps a demo set out in the store. “This is a fantastic building game and can be demonstrated so well,” Owner Elaine Hackney told TDmonthly in summer 2007. “Every time I go to a show I have them show me more. It looks so simple, yet the possibilities are fantastic.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11915 (added 3/14/2007)
This dartboard set includes six balanced darts that feature N-35 Neodymium rare earth magnets and the lightweight, durable Doinkit material that keeps the darts flying perfectly true. The darts will work on any magnetic dart board.
— Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., told TDmonthly in summer 2007 that she has been selling lots of these dart boards for years. “The quality is great. The holding power of the magnets is great. The price is right,” she explained.
— Doinkit Darts have been “unbelievable” for Piccolo Mondo Toys of Portland, Ore., Owner Michelle Smith told TDmonthly at the end of 2008. JoAnn Farrugia, owner of JaZams in Pennington, N.J., reported sales of about three dozen per month of Doinkit Darts in a March 2009 survey of best sellers.
— “The [Doinkit] Darts sell really well for kids and adults,” said Lauren Obenour, manager of Portland, Oregon’s Green Frog Toys, where the product is among the best-selling sports and outdoor toys, as of spring 2009.
— Doinkit Darts are a “longtime best seller” at Totally Thomas Toy Depot in San Diego, as reported in July 2010 by President Cynthia Wyatt. “The rare earth magnets in the darts are super strong, stay put, and don’t bounce off. They’re very safe and don’t damage your walls. Nothing but fun!” she said.
Past Videos: ASTRA 2008
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14606 (added 8/13/2007)
Super Doinkit is great for all sports — soccer, baseball, volleyball and even the pool or beach. You can kick it, hit it, catch it, roll it, volley it and even juggle it. It’s the multi-sport ball that creates excitement wherever it goes. It improves hand-eye coordination while promoting athletic competence and fun. It is the perfect cross-training tool for all ages.
— “We’ve been selling these well for several years,” Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., told TDmonthly in summer 2007 about the “dart ball.” “The fact that it can be both indoor and out is a great selling feature. It’s good throwing practice and both kids and adults enjoy it.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 407 (added 9/1/2004)
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Writer's Bio: Brenda Ruggiero is a freelance writer from western Maryland. Read more articles by this author
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