February 2013 | Vol. XII - No. 2
What We Want From Toy Fair 2013
Retailers share their most-wanted toys for 2013.
It's important to keep up with the latest products in specialty, and TDmonthly Magazine wanted to find out which new toys retailers are excited to find at Toy Fair and bring into their stores for 2013.
We asked a group of retailers which new products they are most excited about, and what they'll be looking for at Toy Fair. See their answers and decide if any of the products mentioned would be a good fit for your store, below.
Games and Active Toys
Michael Hershman, owner of Evan’s Toy Shoppe in Hamden, Conn., told TDmonthly that this year he wants to see more new games that are innovative. "I think we need to do a better job of getting people together over a table where they can talk, laugh and interact, and games do that."
At Toy Fair, Michael plans on visiting his "usual" specialty companies, like International Playthings, Creativity for Kids and Melissa & Doug, but he'll also be on the look out for exciting new companies.
Candace Gooch, owner of At Once All Agog in Limerick, Maine, is intrigued by eeBoo's new Juggling Balls, which she saw on the company's Facebook page. "I thought they looked bright and cheerful," she said.
Candace will also be restocking HABA's games for toddlers. In 2012, "I could not keep them in stock...It seemed every time I turned around, I was out of one or two of them," she said. She'll also be restocking the Rody Horse from TMI Toymarketing International, one of her store's 2012 best sellers.
At Toy Fair, Candace will be looking for science kits, dress-up, and specialty products, like puppets from Folkmanis. "I like to try out all the new puppets," she said.
Innovative active toys were at the top of the list of products that Kathy Mabry, owner of Village Toy Shop in North Easton, Mass., would like to bring in for 2013. Last year, sales of jumping toys like pogo sticks and hopping products from HEDSTROM were strong, and she's keeping an eye out for the next big thing in that category.
Kathy will be looking for new companies at Toy Fair, but she'll also be visiting some of the big vendors like Melissa & Doug, LEGO, Playmobil, International Playthings, and Schylling.
Arts & Crafts, Plush
Duct Tape crafting kits have done well in the past year for Andrea Scartozzi from Hardware Toys in Paoli, Pa. "We're going to have a whole section of that" in 2013, she told TDmonthly.
As for Toy Fair? "Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing Douglas, because I love stuffed animals," she said.
"We are growing our selection of high quality learning toys for kids under 3. We love djeco and p'kolino, which both did well for us over the holidays. Both are beautiful, high quality lines with great packaging. They put all those plastic toys from Target to shame," Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Virg., told TDmonthly.
Christine Osborne, co-owner of Wonder Works in Charleston, S.C., told TDmonthly she is excited about the new Melissa & Doug Animal Rescue Shape-Sorting Truck Wooden Toy. "That's incredible," she gushed. They'll be adding a selection of LEGO toys to their store this year, and at Toy Fair she'll be looking for high-ticket items for fourth quarter. "We were lacking that this year," she explained.
Though he's not sure what shows he'll be attending this year, Dan Marshall, co-owner of Peapods Natural Toys & Baby Care in St. Paul, Minn., will be looking for new toddler ride-on toys. He usually goes to ASTRA, because "It's hard to evaluate these things online," and looking at products in person gives him a better idea of how an item will fit with his store.
Peg Scholtes, owner of Capitol Kids LTD in Madison, Wisc., usually goes to ASTRA, but isn't quite sold on Toy Fair. "It seems like every time I go to Toy Fair, I find new stuff...Then a few weeks later, one of my reps walks in with it!" she lamented. She likes ASTRA because it features "Companies specific to specialty, which makes a big difference" for her store.
Whether you're attending Toy Fair, ASTRA, or staying away from shows this year, there are lots of new products to get excited about. See some of the toys mentioned by the retailers in this article below, or you can check out our article New Year, New Toys: 2013 Product Launches.
Animal Rescue Shape-Sorting Truck Wooden Toy by MELISSA & DOUG
Other products from MELISSA & DOUG
Animal rescue rangers to the rescue! With this rugged safari truck, two cheerful people are ready to zoom across the savannah to help their animal friends. The alligator, zebra, rhinoceros, elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus and lion fit into the truck's sides through die-cut slots, so this exciting toy is perfect for imaginative play and fine motor skills . . . and much more! Lift and remove the cargo door to unload the colorful animals, then count, sort and stack the solid-wood pieces before loading the truck and securing the door in its track. One male and one female ranger fit in the cab of the truck, or come out to tend to the animals on the preserve. Play ideas are included to reinforce basic skills and inspire creative play.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35903 (added 1/8/2013)
Kids can just tear, stick, and wear. Create unique duct tape fashions using the fluorescent and animal print tape and easy templates included in this fun Alex kit. Get all "duct" out in colourful rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, headbands, brooches, belts and more. Includes 8 rolls of duct tape (2.74 metres each) and other items needed.
Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval
— In a Summer 2012 survey, Deran Muckjian, owner of Catch a Falling Star in Lexington, Mass., told TDmonthly that "anything Alex releases that has to do with duct tape" becomes a best seller at his store.
— In a Fall 2012 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that duct tape kits from ALEX were their best selling hobby item.
— In a December 2012 survey about bestselling toys, four out of 12 retailers said that Duct tape kits from Alex were their bestselling Arts & Crafts toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33904 (added 3/13/2012)
Never in the history of performance have juggling balls been so eye-catchingly pretty. Novice and master jugglers alike will delight in eeBoo's soft and perfectly weighted juggling balls – inspiring enthusiasts of this classic hobby to reach new heights. Each set of 3 balls is beautifully designed with brightly colored velvet and festive, stitched designs. The set includes a colorful instructional poster featuring simple step-by-step instructions guiding young jugglers as they dazzle friends and family. Diameter of ball is approximately 2.5". Juggling and mathematical thinking are intricately linked. Moreover, scientists have found that juggling is associated with an increase in white and gray matter in the brain.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35723 (added 12/7/2012)
My Very First Game - Gitti Giraffe by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.
Other products from HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.
In free play children will pile the animal blocks on top of each other by color or all mixed up, and play with the animal vehicle. A colorful stacking game. All in one toy and game with instructions. Game material designed with special care. Conceived for small children's hands. 1 - 4 players.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35471 (added 11/8/2012)
Racin' Rody Blue by TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.
Other products from TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.
Blue is one of the new colors of the Gymnic Line’s NEW Racin’ Rody Horse. The Italian-made line is a favorite with children, who learn balancing and coordination while hopping on their Rody. Can be used for Rody Races. Used in therapy for special needs children due to its softness and ride-on qualities. Made of heavy duty, latex-free vinyl. Inflates according to size and weight of child (inflation by adult). Surface washable with soap and water. Base is available for transforming to a Rocking Racin’ Rody Horse. Racin' Rody is available in 3 colors. Launch date: March 2012.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35427 (added 11/5/2012)
What’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys? Well, a MONKEY IN BARREL puppet of course. When you pull the monkey down into the soft microfiber barrel, the barrel lid closes. Guess what kind of monkey business is going on in there or pop the monkey out for a playful surprise. Launch date: January 2013.
— In an April 2013 survey Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly that Folkmanis puppets are a best-selling toy for infants/toddlers.
— In a June 2013 survey, six out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly that Folkmanis was their best-selling brand of plush or puppets.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35773 (added 12/13/2012)
Hop-Hop-Hop around on a Hedstrom Hopper. Made of durable vinyl, Hedstrom’s hops will provide hours of fun along with the added benefit of exercise. Easy to inflate, Hops can be deflated to a smaller size for convenient storage.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35932 (added 1/9/2013)
This wolf is a perfect example of the Douglas touch when it comes to beautiful and realistic wildlife. He sits proudly at 10 inches and is a carefully chosen combination of features to do justice to the breed.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35550 (added 11/16/2012)
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Writer's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author
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