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February 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 2
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Regional Reports: What’s Selling … And Where

Find Out What’s Going on in Stores Near You


New England Trends by Chris Lundy

Sticky Mosaics by Orb Factory are just blowing away the competition. Not only did they rank at the top for girls’ arts and crafts toys, but some storeowners reported they were the best-selling item in the store. Also tops in crafts were Creativity for Kids, especially the Fashion Design Studio for girls and Klutz books for all kids.

Overall, boys need a hing to move before they move it off the shelves. Boys like cars and other vehicles, and the idea of designing their own wheels appeals to them.

Also continuing to be strong are Iwako Japanese erasers by BC Industries and Playmobil.

Obviously, storeowners are looking for new things at Toy Fair 2009. Specifically, they are searching for items that would make their stores more relevant in today’s marketplace. Deran Mukjian, owner of Catch a Falling Star in Lexington, Mass., said that with many children growing out of toy stores younger and younger, he wants to find toys for infants.


Mid-Atlantic Trends by Brenda Ruggiero

Boys continue to be a tricky subject for craft items, but products with bugs are always a hit. For several retailers, Shrinky Dinks were popular for both boys and girls; they probably have a retro factor as well. Jewelry and fashion continue to be strong for girls.

Games such as Bananagrams, Quirkle by Mindware and Family Time Dinner Games continued to be strong sellers through the Christmas season.


Midwestern Trends by Terri Hughes-Lazzell

When it comes to arts and crafts, the focus is mostly girls. And right now, Sticky Mosaics and other items from The Orb Factory are selling the best. Many specialty toy-store owners are surprised and delighted that the item came out of nowhere and is doing so well. When it comes to games, Blokus still seems to be popular, and the new 3D Blokus also seems to be popular, though most retailers are pretty angry that the game they made popular has now been bought by Mattel and is in mass-market stores everywhere.


Western Trends by Claudia Newcorn

PlasmaCars by PlaSmart are still hot. Only one of four retailers surveyed still counted Webkinz by Ganz as a great seller. Of these retailers, the two who are going to Toy Fair 2009 are looking for lower-priced items because of the economy and European toys to minimize the risk of recall problems.

Harry Potter’s Light Wand and a Fart Machine were each mentioned by one retailer, but the manufacturers were not specified.


Southwest Trends by Claudia Newcorn

Standards such as Sticky Mosaics and Plasma Car remain strong. New hot toys are Elf on the Shelf by CCA & B LLC, Air Pogo by Hypergee Inc., and Rolit and Exago by Goliath Games. One of three retailers going to Toy Fair 2009 will be looking for music, art and safe infant and toddler toys. Another is searching for companies that are easy to do business with.


West Coast Trends by Marie Raven

Most retailers felt as though many craft items are marketed more toward girls. Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics are strong for both girls and hard-to-please boys. Fashion items are also very popular for girls. Responses to the upcoming Toy Fair 2009 in New York were mixed, with some retailers saying they had not yet decided whether to attend. The most important thing for most retailers who are either planning to attend or have attended in the past is to find new or unique product, and to be able to speak to the companies directly and see the products themselves.




Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 9 and up
SKU or Item #: 1252
Launch Date: May 2007
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Kits
Tween



This designer-set features a mannequin, sewing materials, a sketch book, yards of fabric, a swatch booklet, trims, a satin dress form, a garment bag and a design manual. Kids can decorate the dress included or create their own dream designs. “This product taps into the energy generated by television shows, such as ‘Project Runway,’ and excites tweens to try out their fashion design skills. The thoughtfulness that went into the selection of materials in the kit makes it ideal for the specialty market,” Lisa Ritchey of Faber-Castell told TDmonthly. Launch date: May 2007.
— Terry Meyers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly that her store “sells several dozen” of this item each month.
— “They're all inclusive and that's attractive to customers because they don't need to go out and buy a whole bunch of other supplies,” said John Goehring, owner of The Toyworks in Santa Rosa, Calif., of his top-selling Creativity for Kids crafts in late 2008.
— Thirteen percent of 44 retailers listed fashion-related kits as top-selling crafts in fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15519      (added 9/28/2007)
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MSRP: $16.95
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



This pop art kit comes with bottle caps, charms, glitter and gooey glaze so that kids can make colorful, retro creations. The goo dries into a hard, shiny coating overnight. The caps feature safety-coated edges.
— “Klutz books are our main focus regarding arts and crafts for both boys and girls,” said owner Kevin Pohle of his Denver, Colo., toy store, The Wizard's Chest.
— “We sell a lot of Klutz books,” said Lesa Smith, owner of Whiz Kids in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
— Eighteen percent of 44 specialty retailers named Klutz as a best-selling product line in fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22018      (added 1/7/2009)
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SKU or Item #: 38138
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: School Supplies
Novelties
Gifts



These tiny helicopter erasers come in four colors.
— “We have been selling those really, really well,” Michelle Smith of Piccolo Mondo Toys told TDmonthly of Iwako erasers in fall 2008. “It’s amazing how many people are driving across town for these things because they heard we have them.”
— "We sell 5,000+ pieces a month" of the Iwako erasers, estimated Bill Sartain, co-owner of Tutoring Toy in Salt Lake City, Utah, in early 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21864      (added 12/18/2008)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 339-SEK-FP99-08
Launch Date: August 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



This craft activity kit enables kids and adults to create handmade bag tags, key chains and more. The pack includes an Enchanted Kingdom poster, 32+ traceable images, oodles of Shrinky Dinks plastic, eight color ball chains, and a photo frame keepsake. Shrinky Dinks® is the amazing, shrinking plastic that you draw on, color in, cut out, and bake in the oven to create all kinds of crafty items such as jewelry, bag tags, charms, magnets and ornaments. Launch date: August 2008. Display Ideas: The product is designed to hang or sit on a shelf.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20266      (added 8/27/2008)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Educational
Award Winners



The fast-moving word game consists of 144 ivory-like letter tiles in a zippered banana pouch. Players place the tiles face down on the table and randomly select 21 tiles. They turn their letters right-side up simultaneously and proceed to form as many intersecting and interconnecting words as possible, rearranging their own letters as many times as desired throughout the game. Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007; 2009 TOTY Game of the YEAR, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal; 2007 iParenting; 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended; 2007 Dr. Toy Best Products. (Read Review)
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2007.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 456 reviews on Amazon.com.
— Eight of 66 retailers vouched for its best-selling status in May 2008; seven of 63 did in Sept. 2008. Shani Watmough of Planet Toys in Rockland, Maine, said her store sells 60 per month.  Fifteen of 38 named it a top-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— As of April 5, 2010, Bananagrams had spent 570 days in the top-100 best-selling toys and games on Amazon.com.
— According to owner Brett Sommer of Figpickels Toy Emporium in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,  “It was the 2009 game of the year. The brilliant packaging definitely helps this product."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8301      (added 6/19/2006)
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Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 4264
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Pretend Play
General Toys
Creative Activities



Help the Police monitor the Police Headquarters. Prison cell comes with working door lock and breakout window and wall. The Police Headquarters is equipped with surveillance cameras and has a reception area, interrogation room, and a wall for equipment. Also includes three figures and many other accessories. Recommended for ages four and up. Choking Hazard. Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.
— David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont., likes Playmobil because its products are "not made in China, customers come back for more [and it offers] good play value," he told TDmonthly in fall 2008. Thirteen percent of 52 retailers named the company as a favorite.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21632      (added 12/8/2008)
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MSRP: $69.99
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: PC020
Launch Date: February 2005
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Vehicles - Riding
Preschool
Outdoor Fun



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)
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AD


MSRP: $30.00
Age Range: 3 to 6
Launch Date: May 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Educational
Plush
Interactive



Webkinz Jr. features its own website where smaller boys and girls can play age-appropriate games chosen by their parents. This 12", super-soft Kitty comes with her own secret code that little tots can use to access the online play space.  Launch date: Spring 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22031      (added 1/8/2009)
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Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 73113
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Novelties



This motion-activated fart alert broadcasts eight verbal warnings while flashing its light. Phrases include "Fart detected; maintain safe distance" and "Warning! Dangerous gases emitted." It comes with two AA batteries.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19690      (added 7/2/2008)
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AD


Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



The object of Rolit is to observe, block, and change the balls' colors to your own. The victor is the one who has the most Rolit balls in his or her color. The oversized game board, for two to four players, is perfect for tournaments and schools. The game takes about 20 minutes to play.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19746      (added 7/9/2008)
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AD


Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



Exago is a fast game for two to six players. The object is to form a straight line of four hexagonal pieces of the same color. It takes about 20 minutes to play.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19745      (added 7/9/2008)
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AD


MSRP: $32.00
Age Range: 7 and up
Launch Date: February 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



Kids (and adults) will give two paws up for this risk-taking game where being sent to the “dog house” actually makes you the winner. Come inside the “Hot Dog” casino and roll the dice. Each player has a bag of numbered poker chips and a “doggy doo doo” chip. Simultaneously, players blindly pull a chip from their bag and reveal which chip they pulled. But don’t pull the “doggy doo
doo” or you lose your turn. Players can take a chance and keep going back to the bag for additional chips. At this casino there can be two winners each round. Players move their dog across the board until someone reaches the winner’s circle – the dog house. Designed for two to four players. Launch date: February 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22226      (added 1/23/2009)
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AD


MSRP: $126.00
Age Range: 3 to 6
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Outdoor Fun



Air Pogo can best be described as a pogo on a rope. It gives kids a big bounce in the air instead of on the pavement. When suspended from a tree limb, deck, wooden swing set or any other 8.5' sturdy overhead support with 6' obstacle clearance, the Air Pogo gives children a great ride — swinging and bouncing up to 2.5' without touching the ground.
— "Air Pogo [is] suddenly going very well," Charles G. Bonner, co-owner of Heights Toy Center in Little Rock, Ark. told TDmonthly right before the holidays 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16174      (added 11/15/2007)
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AD


Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $14.95
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Educational
Christmas
Books



The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Activity Book™ is the companion book to the much beloved The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition™. Families, teachers and all who believe will enjoy celebrating the Christmas season with their favorite elf as they play with reusable, full-color stickers, enjoy The Elf on the Shelf games, construct crafts for fun and gifts, sing along with The Elf on the Shelf North Pole singers, and more.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19435      (added 6/17/2008)
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AD


Launch Date: January 2008
Gender: Girls
Category: Fashion & Accessories
Eco-Friendly



This necklace comes on a reusable card, and a portion of the purchase price is donated to a fund that protects animals and habitats. The back of the pouch tells consumers that the "blue speckled blowfish is slowly disappearing from the waters around French Polynesia where it is found." Launch date: 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21278      (added 11/11/2008)
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AD


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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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