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August 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 8
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TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most-Wanted Furniture and Playhouses

Retailers Make Room for Melissa & Doug


With additional reporting by regional correspondents Sharri Hefner, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn, Marie Raven and Brenda Ruggiero

Dollhouses and kitchens are the most popular furniture and playhouse items at specialty toy stores, 62 retailers told TDmonthly Magazine in early summer 2008. Melissa & Doug’s dollhouses give storeowners and customers something to be excited about, and KidKraft is still cooking up sales. Retailers agreed that the holiday season is the best time of year for big-ticket items, but some do find success with space-consuming fare year-round. Take a look below to find out what other items made the top 10:




MSRP: $148.95
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls - Accessories



It's every girl's dream home, the beautiful Victorian Dollhouse. Decorative detailing throughout the interior and exterior of this amazing dollhouse makes it a high-quality heirloom to be cherished for years and years to come. Matching room furnishing sets are also available.
— “Melissa & Doug Victorian dollhouse with dolls,” Helen Ulrich, assistant manager of Hardware Center Inc. in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly when asked about best-selling furniture and playhouse items in summer 2008. “This time of year, we don't sell as many (it's more of a Christmas item) but we sell pieces or dolls.”
— “We have a three-tiered [dollhouse] display as you walk in the door. I have all [Melissa & Doug’s] furniture around it. The kids love that doll house,” said Jeanne McCullough, owner of Children’s Store Inc. in Boise, Idaho.
— Six of 62 retailers mentioned doll houses by Melissa & Doug as a strong seller in the furniture and playhouses category in June 2008. Three specifically referenced the Victorian design.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8442      (added 6/29/2006)
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With classic decor against a subtle pastel color palette, this three-floor dollhouse include four open rooms, two staircases, a chandelier, a terrace and wide windows. It comes with 11 furniture pieces and is suitable for fashion dolls up to 11.5" tall.
— “KidCraft always does well,” Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toy & Book Store in Scottsdale, Ariz., told TDmonthly in June 2008.
— “KidKraft — their big dollhouse for Barbie,” answered Jeanne McCullough, owner of Children’s Store Inc. in Boise, Idaho, when asked about best-selling furniture and playhouses.
— More than 6 percent of retailers surveyed in June 2008 said dollhouses by KidKraft are good sellers in the category of playhouses and furniture.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19772      (added 7/10/2008)
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MSRP: $129.99
Age Range: 1 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls - Accessories
Play Sets



Suitable for ages 9 months and up, this three-story home features nine rooms and measures 17" x 17.5" x 17". It includes a spiral staircase, bay windows, French doors, a balcony, and front-porch steps and lanterns. It comes assembled except for some accessories.
— “Calico Critters has a townhouse that was given to us … [and] sits on a play table,” Jennifer Vanderish, co-owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga., told TDmonthly in early summer 2008. “Kids just love it; it's amazing.”
— “Calico Critters — they've moved away from wood,” said Margy Pein, owner of Tree House Toy Shop in Cumberland, Md., when asked about best-selling furniture and playhouses. “We also have Plan, and Calico Critters outsells it six to one.”
— Four of 62 retailers named Calico Critters when asked about best-selling furniture and playhouses in June 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19770      (added 7/10/2008)
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SKU or Item #: 53145
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Furniture & Decor
Play Houses
Pretend Play



This bright red, wooden kitchen features a retro design and includes under-sink storage, a removable sink for cleanup, knobs that turn, and a microwave, refrigerator and freezer that open and close. It measures 33.75" x 11.75" x 36.5".
— Patti Tepper-Rasmussen, owner of Learning Tree Toys, Games & Books in Oklahoma City, said she typically sells about one KidKraft kitchen per month, but sells about six around Christmas.
— Three of 62 specialty retailers told TDmonthly in June 2008 that they carry kitchens by KidKraft when asked about best-selling furniture and playhouse items.
— KidKraft offers 16 different kitchens in various colors and sizes.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19771      (added 7/10/2008)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
General Games



Kids can paint with sweeping gestures when they use this generous-sized easel. One side is a chalkboard, the other´s a dry-erase board. Load a piece of paper into the paper holder and kids can paint and scribble to their heart’s content. Each side of the easel features a colorful tray that can hold paints, cups, chalk, erasers, clips and more. “Our Deluxe Easel has become one of our best-selling items because of its great value, high-quality construction and versatility,” said Rick Davis, part of the marketing team at Melissa & Doug. It has two adjustable boards that allow children of all sizes to enjoy painting and creating, and the easy-to-clean trays are removable in seconds.”
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2005.
—  As of 1.06.2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 647 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 18 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros: Double Sided; easy to clean. Cons: Supplies must be purchased separately.
— "The Melissa & Doug Easel, hands-down, beats everything in terms of dollars. It's well-made and good value," was the praise given by David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont.
— “Our easel, from Melissa & Doug, just blows out of here,” said Nishan Shepard, owner of Rockridge Kids in Oakland, Calif., in early 2010.
— Seven of 48 retailers named the easel as their top-selling art item in January 2010, reporting average sales of three per month.
— This easel has been a consistent best seller for Jillie Beans Toys & More of Westminster, Colo., since the store opened in 2006. (April 2010)
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4844      (added 9/29/2005)
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MSRP: $80.99
SKU or Item #: 5517101
Gender: Girls
Category: Play Houses
Dolls - Accessories



Outfitted with magnetic closures, this portable dollhouse with a wooden handle comes with a kitchen unit, a table, a rug, a fireplace, a sofa and other accessories.
— “We sell playhouses — wood playhouses from Ryan's Room,” Kathy Goeddy, manager of JaZams in Pennington, N.J., told TDmonthly when asked about best-selling furniture and playhouses in June 2008.
— One other retailer, out of 62, mentioned dollhouses from Ryan’s Room as a top-selling item in that category.
— The Ryan’s Room brand offers several different styles of wooden dollhouses.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19773      (added 7/10/2008)
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MSRP: $21.99
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 617
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Play Houses



This 5'-long crawl-through tunnel comes with a removable Caterpillar face and is made of sturdy material.
—“The Crawlerpillar always does really well in spring. I probably go through a dozen of those a month,” Lynn Sanchez, owner of Wiz Bang Toys in Lake Oswego, Ore., told TDmonthly when asked about best-selling furniture and playhouses in June 2008.
— Five of 62 specialty retailers mentioned tents and tunnels from various manufacturers.
— Insect Lore also offers a Butterfly Bungalow tent.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19775      (added 7/10/2008)
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MSRP: $119.99
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: 71100
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Play Houses
Dolls - Accessories



This 1:12 scale wooden dollhouse includes four rooms and a balcony, and comes with tools for assembly. It measures 24.8" L x 14.2" D x 23"H.
— “We cycle out what we carry year to year — right now we have a Plan dollhouse,” Tina Schwindt of Fairhaven Toy Garden in Bellingham, Wash., said when asked in June 2008 about top-selling furniture and playhouses.
— “Plan Toys — not selling a lot right now, given the time of year; generally, I’ll sell six rooms a month. … As we get into fall, [we] will expand [the line] a lot more; it’s a line we love and their dollhouses are great,” Jerome Crawford, owner of Crawdaddy’s Toys in Lafayette, Calif., told TDmonthly.
— When asked about best-selling furniture and playhouse items, three of 62 retailers told TDmonthly that they carry dollhouses by Plan Toys. There was some concern, though, about slow sales at the time of the interviews, in early summer 2008.
— Heiko Peine, owner of Treehouse Toy Shop in Cumberland, Md., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that they sell 1-2 each month.
— As of 06/29/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 22 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Simple yet high-quality; durable. Cons: Too deep and dark to play on the bottom floor.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19774      (added 7/10/2008)
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Julie L. JonesWriter's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author

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