July 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 7
Top-10 Most-Wanted Plush and Puppets
Folkmanis Leads the Pack of Soft, Cuddly and Interactive Toys
With additional reporting by Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggerio
In May 2009, TDmonthly Magazine surveyed 43 specialty retailers about their sales of plush and puppets. More than half of the storeowners said Folkmanis accounted for their top sales. As Susan Swickard, owner of The Talking Teddy in Estes Park, Colo., summarized, “They're the king of puppets.”
Other retailers said their customers are wild for fashionable animal and handbag sets such as Sassy Pet Saks from Douglas, or unusual creatures like the Galoompagalots, dreamed up by Manhattan Toy. Here are the top-10 best-selling plush and puppets in specialty toy stores.
Part of Gund's San Diego Zoo line, Zhen Zhen is a special plush animal named for a Giant Panda cub at the San Diego Zoo, born August 3, 2007. Posed sitting and looking forward curiously, Zhen Zhen is carefully stitched and extra soft. Gund contributes 7 percent of all sales of its San Diego Zoo line to global conservation programs.
— “Gund has been our long-time [best seller],” said Bill Rayment, owner of Toy Crossing in Harbor Beach, Mich., during a May 2009 survey of top-selling plush.
— Thirty percent of 43 retailers told TDmonthly Gund is a best seller.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24044 (added 6/9/2009)
With a bold giraffe and leopard print, this soft plush purse comes with an orange tabby cat tucked inside, covered in cuddly material and ready for any adventure a young child might come up with. At about 8” wide, the purse is an easy take-along, either for the included pet or other treasures that a little girl might consider essential. Note: Video depicts an earlier version of a Sassy Pet Sack.
— “Douglas plush handbags with plush animals” are best-selling plush, Casey Sartain, buyer in his family's Salt Lake City, Utah, toy store, Tutoring Toy, told TDmonthly in spring 2009, citing sales of between 20 and 25 per month.
— Thirteen of 43 retailers surveyed in May 2009 listed Douglas as one of their top-selling plush lines.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24045 (added 6/9/2009)
You may look at Winkolina and say, "There goes a really plain, regular, every day looking Ugly." But on the inside, Winkolina is an adventure waiting to happen, which is funny because she sees that in you, too. Winkolina thinks you have nothing but action and adventure locked away, way deep down! Is she right? Are you ready to show the world what you've really got going on in there? Winkolina has six cookies, an apple and 11 tacos in there. What about you? Launch date: April 2009.
— “All of the Uglydolls do well. We sell about five a week,” said Jeanette Lauture, owner of Aunt Jean's Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J., when asked about her best-selling plush toys in spring 2009.
— “We sell lots of plush, but as a single group or vendor, Uglydoll is at the top,” Sallie Kashiwa, owner of Timbuk Toys in Denver, Colo., told TDmonthly in May 2009.
— Twenty-one percent of 43 retailers surveyed in May 2009 said Uglydolls are best-selling plush items in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22776 (added 3/12/2009)
In colors and patterns modeled after a real jay, this Lil’ Kinz has boldly striped wings and a long, banded tail. According to the interactive Webkinz website, the Blue Jay is friendly, exuberant, and always likes to make new pals. The Jay, like all Webkinz and Lil’ Kinz, comes with a unique code that allows a child a year of access to the Webkinz world, where he can play games, interact with an online version of the plush toy, and explore an online community designed especially for children.
— “Webkinz are still selling out very quickly,” Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow Toy Store in Anchorage, Alaska, said of her best-selling plush items in May 2009.
— “That's outselling everything,” Linda Hays, owner of Hopscotch Toys in McMinnville, Ore., said of Webkinz during a May 2009 survey concerning sales in plush and puppets.
— Eight of 43 retailers told TDmonthly in spring 2009 that Webkinz by Ganz are top sellers in their plush departments.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24046 (added 6/9/2009)
With his great long neck and stretching tail, Melissa & Doug's Apatosaurus plush is covered in striking purple and green spots. More than 3’ long, this dinosaur is ready to be a bedtime companion or partner in prehistoric imaginative play for hours on end. He has a detailed face and white claws on all four feet, in addition to markings on his skin.
— “We sell them constantly, weekly,” remarked Samuel Cox, owner of My Favorite Toys in Carbondale, Ill., of the Melissa & Doug plush items in his store in May 2009.
— Eight of 43 retailers told TDmonthly in spring 2009 that Melissa & Doug supply their best-selling plush or puppet items.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24047 (added 6/9/2009)
One in a series of extra-whimsical characters from Manhattan, Galoompagalots Glus is a soft, lovable pal in a circus-array of bright colors — from his orange and violet shaggy ears to his key-lime green and goldenrod toes. Galoompagalots Glus has poseable ears and a floppy body, and a much friendlier face to imagine underneath the bed at night.
— Six of 43 retailers surveyed by TDmonthly in May 2009 said Manhattan Toy is one of their best-selling plush lines.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24048 (added 6/9/2009)
Affectionately considered 'slightly overfed' by the Russ Berrie company, Prudence is a quite round-bodied tabby cat with beanbag and plush filling and a soft Caress material cover. Available in orange tabby and silver tabby patterns, Prudence has a plump face, realistic whiskers, and detailed stitching on all four white-socked paws.
— “Kitties and puppies from Russ Berrie,” said Cheryl Richmond, owner of Punkin Doodles in Havre, Mont., when TDmonthly inquired about her best-selling plush items in May 2009. Richmond said she sells around a dozen per month.
— Out of 43 retailers surveyed, three named Russ Berrie as a best-selling plush line in their stores in spring 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24049 (added 6/9/2009)
These additions to Aurora’s furry, loveable YooHoo line are 8" Sugar Glider, Panda, Penguin and Lesser Panda. Each cuddly plush character makes a distinctive and funny sound when its tummy is squeezed. Sugar Glider has pink wings attached to her tiny arms and tail, and makes a "whistle” sound). Lesser Panda features a pink and purple striped tail to match his pink button nose and purple body, and makes a “boing” sound. Panda makes a “giggle” noise when squeezed, and Penguin makes a “magical” noise.
— “I would say it would be the YooHoo dolls from Aurora — by sheer quantity, our best seller in plush,” Jason Curtis, owner of Funtopia in Middletown, Calif., told TDmonthly in May 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21967 (added 12/29/2008)
Floppy and relaxed, Jellycat's Loppie Elephant is covered in soft, shaggy fabric. Wide ears, curving trunk and beady eyes, along with long limbs and big feet, characterize this 13” gentle giant.
— “Jellycat is our best line,” said Mary Schedjick, owner of Educare Learning Center in Oshkosh, Wis., during a May 2009 survey of top-selling plush.
— Two of 42 retailers listed Jellycat as their best-selling line of plush in spring 2009.
— In a June 2014 survey, three out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Jellycat made their best-selling plush toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24050 (added 6/9/2009)
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Writer's Bio: Marie Raven has a long history with the specialty toy industry as a family business. In addition to freelancing for TDmonthly Magazine, she writes creative and technical material for various other businesses. Read more articles by this author
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