December 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 12
TDmonthly’s Top-10 Wow Toys
Melissa & Doug Cook Up Jaw-Dropping Displays
With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Laurel DiGangi, Dennis Furlan, Greg Rock, Terri Hughes-Lazzell and Christine Lebednik
As retailers gear up for the holiday season, they’re stocking their shelves with items that are sure to wow their customers. Among 58 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly Magazine, 16 mentioned play kitchens as their ultimate consumer attention-grabber. Although they cited kitchens produced by Kidkraft, Plan Toys, Guidecraft and Dexton, the company most cited by retailers was Melissa & Doug. Other attention-grabbing items include Playmobil’s playsets, Kidkraft’s dollhouses and Plasmart’s Plasma Car.
Role-play is not difficult for kids when it comes to this complete play kitchen set. It’s made of wood and comes with stove, refrigerator, freezer, oven, sink and microwave. Knobs and handles provide added realism. The color and design also add to the appeal of this set. Assembly is required.
— “It’s not really a surprise, but Melissa & Doug is getting more popular. People ask for it by name,” said Alyssa Cox, owner of Animal Quackers in Raleigh, N.C.
— Rick Davis of marketing at Melissa & Doug told TDmonthly that the Country Kitchen “has been a tremendous success for us this year, and we’re looking forward to introducing even more exciting items in 2007.”
— Almost 25 percent of 58 retailers who shared their thoughts with TDmonthly stated that Melissa & Doug kitchens would be their stores’ wow item during the 2007 holiday season.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9726 (added 10/23/2006)
The doll cottage is designed with a child’s imagination in mind. With open space to navigate and redecorate, this charming dollhouse offers hours of inventive play. Features include three levels, charming flowers and scalloped trim, rooms typical of any household, sturdy wood construction and a welcoming family of four dolls. The cottage measures 20" x 12" x 25" and weighs 20 lbs.
— Dollhouses by KidKraft were predicted to be hot sellers during Christmas 2007 for girls aged 8 to 12, according to Lisa, manager of The Toy Box in Augusta, Ga.
— We sell a lot of wooden blocks and wooden doll houses by KidKraft,” Alison Cox, owner of Animal Quackers in Raleigh, N.C., told TDmonthly.
— Four of 54 retailers cited KidKraft — especially their dollhouses — when discussing sales for the 2007 holiday season.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15306 (added 9/20/2007)
The Original PlasmaCar continues to intrigue and fascinate. Powered by kid power; no batteries, gears, or pedals needed. Just sit, put your feet up, and turn the steering wheel to propel yourself forward. The patented safety seat design places riders in a safe, comfortable position and minimizes tipping. Moves up to 6 mph on any smooth, flat surface. Supports up to 220 lbs. Visit www.plasmacar.com to see all the wonderful colors available.
— In a March 2015 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Plasmacar is a best-selling outdoor toy.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 122 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: Does not work well on surfaces that aren't completely smooth.
— This top-seller in specialty stores earned a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for its distinctive aerodynamic design and ease-of-use. TDmonthly believes it has the potential to become a classic due to its fresh, contemporary appeal and application in a child’s formative years.
Awards: 2012 Parents Choice Awards Recommended, 2009 Green Parents List Check Mark, 2009 DisneyFamily.com Top Action Figures and Toys for Toddlers, 2009+2008+2005 The National Parenting Centre Seal of Approval, 2008 iParenting Media Toy Award, 2008 Fat Brain Toy Award Active Play, 2006 TIA Outdoor Toy of the Year - Specialty Toy of the Year, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, 2005 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2005 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products, 2005 Creative Child Seal of Excellence, 2001 International Patent Fair, Hong Kong Gold Medal
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3829 (added 6/28/2005)
Engage your gladiators with competition in the arena. Features include audience seating with trap doors to the lions cages, wide gate and large battle area. Also comes with eight figures, two lions, a double-harness chariot and lots of accessories for hours of fun. "Playmobil toys allow the child's imagination to soar, while playing and learning!" Michelle Winfrey, advertising and marketing manager of Playmobil Inc., told TDmonthly. This product is a winner of the 2007 Oppenheim Gold Award. Launch date: August 2007.
Where to Buy: Really Great Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10909 (added 1/4/2007)
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This garbage truck features a trash compactor and a back end that tilts up to dump the truck contents. Each truck features tread tires and two small trash bins. “This toy is fully functional and designed to be used just like the truck in real life. This kind of classic play pattern allows for open-ended play that encourages children to think creatively and use their imagination. The basic controls and actions of the truck will need to be learned by younger children, giving them a chance to watch themselves succeed,” Noah McKiernan of Bruder Toys told TDmonthly. Launch date: 2003.
— Michelle Deutschmann, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass., told TDmonthly that Bruder has been a best seller ever since she opened her toy store.
— Lynn Robillard told TDmonthly in summer 2007 that the second best-selling line at her store, Toys in the Attic in Manchester, Vt., is Bruder trucks, which customers like because they are plastic and can be left outside.
— “Big, beautiful trucks from Bruder [are] going to make great Christmas gifts,” Rick Henry of Stellabella Toys in Cambridge, Mass. told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11585 (added 2/23/2007)
KidKraft’s kid-sized kitchen provides fun and fantasy for open-ended imaginative play in the heart of the home. Pink refrigerator and freezer are finished with frescoed water and ice dispensers. There are knobs on the sink and the oven. The microwave oven has see-through doors. The kitchen even includes a clock and a phone (with caller ID), and a notepad on the side panel.
— Over 15 percent of retailers named Kidkraft as the company whose products would grab the attention of most consumers during the holiday season.
— “The big kitchens and dollhouses by Kidkraft are always great sellers,” Tracey, co-owner of Whippersnappers in St. Simons Island, Ga., told TDmonthly.
— Four of 58 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly named Kidkraft’s big kitchens as impressive holiday items.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7988 (added 5/24/2006)
The knight's castle playset features a drawbridge, boulder-drop and trap-door to fend off invading knights.However, the castle also has a break-through wall that invaders may succeed in knocking down.
— Over 20 percent of retailers revealed to TDmonthly that Playmobil’s playsets will most likely be their wow item of the holiday season.
— “As far as Playmobil’s line goes, we have been selling 30 to 40 percent of those [items],” Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly.
— “This year, there are a couple of Playmobil items that are going to do very well, [including] the airport and the castle,” Peter Scott, owner of Perfect Toy in Avon, Conn., told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8937 (added 8/8/2006)
The RC Forklift is incredibly functional and life-like. Kids can use it in their Rack’em & Stack’em Warehouse to stack, load and sort beams, barrels and balls. The warehouse includes six pellet racks and ROK bins, two barrel skids, eight barrels and two beam racks. It requires a start set and three AA batteries (not included).
— "Rokenbok finally took off. I’ve been carrying it for six years and this is the first year I remember selling a lot. It's a good construction toy," was the insight given by Karen Williams-Fox, owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt.
— "Rokenbok is a perennial favorite," added Kathie Dockstader, buyer for Top Ten Toys Inc. in Seattle.
— Rokenbok is the “one thing that sells every year,” Teresa Newman, buyer and manager at Toy World in Wayanta, Minn., told TDmonthly about the holidays.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10518 (added 12/7/2006)
The Chalet Dollhouse With Furniture offers kids the full package in dollhouse play. It comes in two units that can be manipulated to form numerous dollhouse layouts. It also comes with furniture, so that nothing's missing when dolls come to visit. The Chalet Dollhouse includes three stories, slanting chalet roof and creative stairs, as well as an innovative floor plan. It is 32" x 24" x 14", is made from recycled rubber wood, is coated with a non-toxic finish, and all colors are made from vegetable dye.
— When asked about best-selling play houses and furniture, Teri Soelter, owner of Teri's Toybox in Edmonds, Wash., said "Plan Toys. People will buy the furniture by itself and the dollhouses later."
— Four of 62 retailers TDmonthly spoke with in spring 2007 said Plan Toys makes some of the most popular furniture and play houses in their stores. They sell about three Plan Toys dollhouses per month. Seven percent of 56 retailers surveyed in January 2009 said doll houses and accessories are among their top sellers.
— “These products are so beautiful,” Teneen Dobbs, owner of Kits & Kaboodle in Carmel, Ind. told TDmonthly. “They display well. People just love wooden items.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11464 (added 2/19/2007)
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