ToyDirectory
October 24, 2017

TDmonthly Magazine

October 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 10


Kids Eager to "Adopt" Collectibles

Young Collectors Demand Interactivity

By A. Antonow
October 2007

“I'm hoping to see a trend where people get items because they have a genuine passion for it.” David Campbell, Amazing Toys
With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Dennis Furlan, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Christine Lebednik and Brenda Ruggiero

According to a survey of 32 retailers, kids are eagerly building collections. Sixteen percent of the retailers polled by TDmonthly Magazine sell 30 or more units of their most popular collectible a month, while nine percent reported selling 100 or more, and a full quarter said they either sell hundreds of their best sellers or are simply unable to keep up with demand (see TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Collectible Toys).

WHAT’S NEW(ISH)

Capitalizing on two recent trends — plush characters with online games, and fostering charity in kids — Matter Group hit retail stores in September with soy-based plush lemur based on its collectible card game, Xeko. New characters in Xeko’s Eco-Pals line are scheduled for 2008, said PR rep for Matter Group, Lisa Orman.

Scott Loveless, owner of Toys That Teach in Bothell, Wash., told TDmonthly that the Xeko cards already do well for him, even without fuzzy friends.

WHAT’S SELLING

Similar to Ganz’s wildfire Webkinz (see TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most-Wanted Collectibles), Zibbies from Play Visions uses a zany website that encourages collectors to “adopt” their newfound friends, solve puzzles and play games. Tina Benoit, operations manager and buyer for Kids Town in South Burlington, Vt., said these rubber-haired plush characters sell well in her store. Other plush & virutal combos that are being collected include Russ Berrie's Shining Stars and Ty's Ty Girlz.

Dalene Lockhart, owner of Toy Town in Casper, Wyo., told TDmonthly that licensed collectibles continue strong, while items such as classic dinosaurs are selling less briskly.

“With kids watching DVDs today, licensed items never seem to die out anymore,” she explained, noting that toys from the movie “Cars” move quickly.

Julie Manning, owner of Two Boys Toys in Palmer, Mass., agreed, noting that Pokémon products sell well. And David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont., told TDmonthly that Star Wars toys are still popular.

But it’s not just movie-licensed items that are hot. Mattel Hot Wheels is a classic seller for Campbell, who pointed out that “Mattel has been treating us specialty retailers well lately. They offer special pricing on quantity for little guys such as myself.”

Sales at Toy Mill in Tiverton, R.I., are floating along with Rubber Duckies from Schylling, according to Owner Donna Sedgwick. “Pirates, devils, angels — that’s what my customers [who are into] collecting want,” she said.

WHAT’S COMING

Although traditional collectibles, such as pirates and knights by Schylling, Playmobil and Papo (see Top-10) are steady, more toys with a virtual component are likely on the way.

“I think Manhattan Toy will be the next company that will get on this bandwagon,” the staff at Three Sisters in Springfield, Mass., told TDmonthly. The company already appeals to traditional collectors with Groovy Girls, which are a strong seller at Kids Town and other stores.

Whatever comes next, “I'm hoping to see a trend where people get items because they have a genuine passion for it,” Campbell remarked.

WHAT TO MAKE OF IT

Internet toys are hot, but young collectors aren’t looking just for avatars. Today’s picks are soft, lovable toys that get adopted rather than left on a shelf.

Pirates - Boxed Set by SCHYLLING

Pirates - Boxed Set by SCHYLLINGGet set to sail on the high seas with this boxed set of pirate fun! This complete set of fun comes with three pirate figurines, a boat and two chests of booty. Sturdy plastic figurines are brightly painted so that young collectors can act out their favorite pirate scenes. Sturdy construction means hours of fun, and these figures can be used with other Schylling pirates and accessories. Young collectors can set up the pirates in dioramas or still poses, or use them as play figures. Schylling offers “lots of nice incentives for retailers, such as with shipping,” Donna Sedgwick of Toy Mill in Tiverton, R.I., told TDmonthly. 8/20/2007 (MSRP: $4.99; Age: 4 and Up)


Papo Barbarossa by HOTALING IMPORTS

This 3.5" hand-painted figurine is carefully crafted with a true eye to value. Details such as shoe buckles and belt are painstakingly and perfectly rendered for a realistic look that ensures hours of fun. “We sell hundreds of the Papo,” Owner Ginger Milligan of Fantasy Island Toys in Fairhope, Ala., told TDmonthly in summer 2007. 4/22/2005 (MSRP: $4.99; Age: 3 and Up)


Knight Baron by PLAYMOBIL INC.

Knight Baron by PLAYMOBIL INC.Ready to charge into battle at any second, the sturdy plastic Knight Baron from Playmobil comes with charming details and a cartoonish, endearing face. The knight’s generous red beard is covered by an intricate helmet and his armor is completely removable. Knight Baron comes with a sword, shield and trusty dog companion. He is fully compatible with all the Playmobil knight accessories. Shirley Reilly, owner of Let's Play in Hillsboro, Ore., told TDmonthly, “I sell lots of those. Altogether, I probably sell 50 units a month of Playmobil. Kids actually do collect the Playmobil and try to get every one in a category, and then a new category will come along.” 8/20/2007 (MSRP: $4.99; Age: 4 and Up)


Zibbies – Lily Ladybug by PLAY VISIONS INC.

Zibbies – Lily Ladybug by PLAY VISIONS INC.This friendly-looking ladybug sprung from the imagination of author Stephen Cosgrove. Lily has a huge, welcoming smile and very stretchy, cool hair that can be strung out, tied up or twisted around. With the face of a cartoon character, Lily is sure to inspire a whole collection of Zibbies. Those who adopt Lily can look at the Zibbies website to learn more about her story and her extended Zibbies family. 8/20/2007 (MSRP: $7.99; Age: 3 and Up)


Xeko Pals by MATTER GROUP LLC

Xeko Pals by MATTER GROUP LLCHairy is the star of Xeko Mission: Madagascar, the award-winning animal trading card game. This 5" hairy-eared dwarf lemur from Madagascar is made from earth-friendly organic cotton and soy-based fabric, features an 8" tail, and is roughly the size of a real hairy-eared dwarf lemur, one of the most endangered lemurs in the world. The Xeko Pals line of quality plush toys is designed to delight toy lovers while raising awareness of endangered species and raising money for global conservation efforts. Hairy is “the ‘green’ gift of the year!” Mark Gross, director of marketing for Matter Group, told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 12, 2007. (Watch the Xeko Pals Video Watch Video) 12/8/2006 (MSRP: $16.99; Age: 3 and Up)


Hot Wheels 2007 Cadillac Escalade by MATTEL INC.

Hot Wheels 2007 Cadillac Escalade by MATTEL INC.This 1:18-scale die-cast SUV model is highly detailed. 6/11/2007


One-Eyed Pirate by PLAYMOBIL INC.

One-Eyed Pirate by PLAYMOBIL INC.Aye aye, matey. Kids can now add the One-Eyed Pirate to their Playmobil treasure. This particular find comes with an adjustable action figure, a treasure chest, gold pieces, a sword and an old-style pirate revolver.
— "Pirate-themed stuff like figurines — Playmobil specifically," said Alex, lead clerk at Learning Tree Toys in Oklahoma City, Okla., when asked about popular gifts in his store.
— Four of 45 retailers said Playmobil makes for great gifts with their customers. Thirty units a month was the most common sales figure given to TDmonthly.
— "The Playmobil One-Eyed Pirate is a captivating 3” figure wearing gold hoop earrings, while protecting a chest full of gold. It is a wonderful addition to the Playmobil Pirate Playworld and perfect for the Playmobil collector," said Playmobil's Michelle Winfrey. 7/23/2007 (MSRP: $2.99; Age: 4 and Up)


Star Wars Giant Pez Dispensers by SPORTSLINE DISTRIBUTORS, INC.

Measuring 12” tall, there are eight different Star Wars characters available: C3-PO, Yoda, Darth Vader, R2-D2, General Grievous, Chewbacca, the Death Star and Emperor Palpatine. In addition, there are 20,000 limited edition designs featuring a metallic gold-plated C3-PO, a colored crystal version of Yoda and a sliver plated Darth Vader, each with eyes that light up. All Star Wars Giant Pez Dispensers feature authentic dialogue and the Star Wars theme song. 2/15/2005


Papo Dead Head Pirate Figure by HOTALING IMPORTS

Papo Dead Head Pirate Figure by HOTALING IMPORTSThis spooky skeletal pirate figure, standing approximately 3.5" tall, is hand-painted and highly detailed. He has a massive sword and shiny pistol. "Each Papo figure is painted by hand and incredibly detailed," said Brian J. Shackelton, operations manager for Hotaling Imports Inc.
— Betsy Justings, owner of Betsy's on Ross in Auburn, Ala., told TDmonthly that Papo Pirates is the hottest selling item in her store.
— Two of 45 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly specifically cited Papo Pirates as a continuing hot-seller in their stores. Both retailers are located in the Southeast.
— Pirates came in second to knights in the best-selling action figure category, according to research conducted by TDmonthly in spring 2007. 5/9/2006 (Age: 4 and Up)


Papo – Knights Crusader by HOTALING IMPORTS

Papo – Knights Crusader by HOTALING IMPORTSDressed in white and emblazoned with a cross, this knight is ready to defend his faith. His horse is also dramatically draped. Each is available separately. Launch date: 2006.
— "Papo... across the line. Our Knight Papo figures are our best-selling stand-alone figures," said Alex Witten of Sparks Toy & Hobby Shoppe in Smithfield, R.I. Eighteen of 34 retailers TDmonthly spoke with in spring 2007 cited Papo as best-selling action figures in their stores.
— Retailers reported sales of Papo Knights averaging 50 to 100 units a month.
— "Papo’s design, quality and play value continue to inspire children and even adults with the imaginary world of Papo," said Larry J. Hotaling of distributor Hotaling Imports. (Watch the Papo – Knights Crusader Video Watch Video) 5/2/2006 (MSRP: $4.99; Age: 3 and Up)


Shining Stars™ Turkey by RUSS BERRIE

Shining Stars™ Turkey by RUSS BERRIEThis colorful turkey is ready for Thanksgiving. When kids purchase a Shining Stars friend, they can log onto the Shining Stars website and use the secret code inside the plush’s hangtag to register and name a star with the International Star Registry. Children can print a star certificate that gives the exact location of the star, and the site also offers fun games and activities. Launch date: September 15, 2007. 6/25/2007 (MSRP: $15.00; Age: All Ages)


Troop Groovy Girls by MANHATTAN TOY

Troop Groovy Girls by MANHATTAN TOYManhattan Toy has teamed up with Girl Scouts of the USA to design a spirited line of themed Groovy Girls dolls and accessories. Celebrating girls’ personal style, diversity and the power of friendship, these debut dolls embrace virtues inspired by the Girl Scouts' mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Groovy Girls Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007. Launch date: July 2007.

Where to Buy Groovy Girls: Blue Turtle Toys (Watch the Troop Groovy Girls Video Watch Video) 6/7/2007 (MSRP: $15.50; Age: 3 and Up)


Rubber Duck Large by SCHYLLING

Rubber Duck Large by SCHYLLINGRub-a-dub-dub, there’s a big duck in your tub. Schylling Toy Company believes that bigger is better, which is why this duck is 12” long from beak to tail. The Large Rubber Duck comes with an assortment of hats for virtually any occasion a child might have in mind: rain hat, bonnet and sailor’s hat.
— "Rubber duckies by Schylling" were bath best-sellers according to Tristan Hewitt, manager of Dragon's Toy Box in Seattle. Another agreed.
— Both retailers noted that ducky sales are sporadic throughout the year.
— Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Toys/Big Smile Toys in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly in an April 2013 survey that they sell about 5 of this toy each month, making it a best-seller in the bath toy category. (Watch the Rubber Duck Large Video Watch Video) 4/10/2007 (MSRP: $11.99)


Disney Pixar Cars Cruisin' Ramone by MATTEL INC.

Disney Pixar Cars CruisinThis 1:55-scale die-cast car is part of the Disney Pixar Cars Supercharged line. Launch date: June 2007. 8/20/2007


Ty® Beanie Babies® NASCAR® 8" Kyle Busch #5 Bear by TY INC.

Ty® Beanie Babies® NASCAR® 8" Kyle Busch #5 Bear by TY INC.Kyle Busch, #05, was the youngest-ever pole winner in NASCAR's premier series, winning at 19 years old. After graduating with honors from Durango High School in Las Vegas in 2002, Busch pursued his passion for racing. Now, this collectible Beanie Baby lets collectors share in his passion for speed. This charming blue bear, like every other NASCAR Beanie Baby, has a sponsor's logo embroidered on the front. Kyle Busch’s name and number, as well as his signature, are embroidered on the back. An official NASCAR ribbon is tied around the bear’s neck. 8/20/2007 (MSRP: $13.33; Age: 3 and Up)


Ty Girlz – Jammin' Jenna by TY INC.

Ty Girlz – JamminThis 14” soft-sculpt doll is dressed in the latest trend-setting fashions that can be mixed and matched, and each Ty Girlz outfit comes with complementary accessories. The dolls have soft, realistic hair that can be easily combed and styled in numerous ways. Their clothes, hair and makeup are coordinated in monochromatic hues for a distinctive look, and the dolls are accompanied by a 3-D interactive virtual world. Launch date: July 2007. 8/9/2007 (MSRP: $12.00; Age: 6 and Up)


Ty Girlz – Classy Carla by TY INC.

Ty Girlz – Classy Carla by TY INC.This 14” soft-sculpt doll is dressed in the latest trend-setting fashions that can be mixed and matched, and each Ty Girlz outfit comes with complementary accessories. The dolls have soft, realistic hair that can be easily combed and styled in numerous ways. Their clothes, hair and makeup are coordinated in monochromatic hues for a distinctive look, and the dolls are accompanied by a 3-D interactive virtual world. Launch date: July 2007. 8/9/2007 (MSRP: $12.00; Age: 6 and Up)


Shining Stars - Snowy Owl by RUSS BERRIE

Shining Stars - Snowy Owl by RUSS BERRIEThe White Snowy Owl is a cute and precious addition to Russ Berrie's Shining Stars lineup of collectible plush dolls. When kids purchase a Shining Stars friend, they can log onto the Shining Stars website and use the secret code inside the plush’s hangtag to register and name a star with the International Star Registry. Children can print a star certificate that gives the exact location of the star. The site also offers fun games and activities.
― When the Webkinz crunch hit and retailers were left Cheeky-Dog-less for Easter, savvy store-owners picked up the slack by turning their little Webkinz fanatics into Shining Stars lovers. Steady sales since have earned Shining Stars a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
— Three Sisters sold 400 Shining Stars dolls between April and July of 2007. The toys also did well during Easter 2007 for The Treasured Child in La Grange, Ky. Other retailers have reported more lukewarm sales.
— "Unlike some other Web-play plush, only Shining Stars comes with a secret code that opens up a world of Web adventure, allows collectors to get their very own star in the constellation of their choice, and helps the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation through the donation of 'glow points,'" said Stephanie Araujo, marketing coordinator for Russ Berrie. (Watch the Shining Stars - Snowy Owl Video Watch Video) 8/20/2007 (MSRP: $18.95)






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