TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 Awards
These Specialty Toys Make Sales Extra Special
If you want to know what some of the top-selling toys in specialty stores are, just take a look at TDmonthly Magazine’s award winners below! Most of these toys have been highly rated for years by retailers who speak with TDmonthly. Others are relative newcomers that have just, well, lifted off — like International Playthings’ Lift-off Rocket.
We’ve excluded some great sellers because we’ve heard complaints about quality or safety. And, of course, since we limited the winners to just 20, many other fantastic toys couldn’t be squeezed onto the list. Maybe next year!
Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks for helping to make 2007 a great year for specialty toys:
This adorable Webkinz pup is the life of the party, as long as you bring along some of his favorite five-alarm chili from the W Shop. As with the entire Webkinz line, the Dalmatian comes with a special code that allows a child to interact with it on the Web. His "special item" includes the Ganz Rapid Rescue Fire Truck.
— "We just got the relatively new Dalmatian. Their new stuff is great," said Chris Walsh, owner of The Whiz Store in Westborough, Mass., about Ganz. "The demand for Webkinz is going down, supply is up and prices are coming down. Yet, it's still selling quite strongly.”
— Almost 25 percent of the 58 retailers TDmonthly spoke with expect strong holiday sales of Webkinz.
— Although many specialty retailers have complained about how Ganz has handled Webkinz’ sudden popularity, they haven’t quibbled at all about the thousands of dollars these little plush toys have added to their cash registers. The extra publicity the toys have generated hasn’t hurt either, which makes Webkinz a shoo-in for the TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15298 (added 9/20/2007)
The 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
— 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.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14762 (added 8/20/2007)
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)
MSRP: $19.95Age Range: 7 and upSKU or Item #: 030Launch Date: January 2006Gender: Boys And Girls
The game begins with 17 pairs of tiles that feature the engaging characters from the Cogno games and books series. The object is to find as many matched pairs as possible — while preventing other players from finding them first. In Codebreaker, players use the included dry-erase markers to draw or write something on the backs of the cards they pick. Players delve into their lifetime of memories to create “codes” that help them remember where the game’s characters are hiding. The key is creating codes that others won’t guess … and the fun is guessing others’ codes.
— The original Cogno game was a huge hit for Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toy & Book Store in Scottsdale, Ariz. VIEW ARTICLE The game “is endlessly creative and interesting, because players draw from their lifetime of memories to write or draw secret reminders about the characters in the game. The key is making coded reminders for yourself that other players will not figure out!” Montaldo told TDmonthly. Award: 2006 Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children’s Products — Building on the success of the Cogno games, Codebreaker challenges memory and creativity while adding the fun of secrecy and (best of all) dry-erase markers! Since it’s basically “memory” with some scribbling, retailers can easily teach the game to customers and just as easily ring up the next sale. That winning combo won Codebreaker a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
Where to Buy: Berkira
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6793 (added 2/1/2006)
Wholesale Price: (Log in to view) MSRP: $5.49Age Range: 3 and upSKU or Item #: 39919Gender: Boys
Papo is proud to introduce its new line of Weapon Master for 2007. The hand-painted King of Knights is just one of 10 in the series. For added play value, each of the Weapon Master Knights can ride a horse and stand on its own.
— Shirley Reilly, owner of Let's Play in Hillsboro, Ore., discussed with TDmonthly the upcoming 2007 Christmas season, noting that Papo Knights will be big with little boys.
— “Papo has truly outdone themselves creating one of the most detailed knights on the market,” said Brian Shackleton, operations manager for Hotaling Imports, the toy’s U.S. distributor.
— Ask retailers’ advice for how to sell to boys and Papo Knights ride to the rescue again and again, no matter what the season. They’ve been on three TDmonthly Top-10 Most-Wanted Toys lists over the last year, which is why they’ve been named a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007.
Where to Buy: Really Great Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13301 (added 6/7/2007)
MSRP: $34.99Age Range: 12 and upLaunch Date: January 2006Gender: Boys And Girls
This popular card game now comes in a solid wooden storage crate to be preserved for generations. It’s designed for 4 to 10 players, comes with 756 Red Apple Cards, 252 Green Apple Cards and two Deluxe Card Trays. Kids and adults can have fun by making outrageous comparisons that go beyond just “apples-to-apples.” Matt Mariani, director of marketing for Out of the Box Publishing, told TDmonthly, “It takes only 30 seconds to learn. A complete game takes less than 30 minutes to finish. The conversations around the table while playing the game are the focus.” Launch date: 2006.
— "Apples-to-Apples by Out of the Box: just got more in because people still want it, even after the holidays," said Karen Williams-Fox, owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt. Five of 31 retailers said the game was one of their best sellers for Christmas 2006.
— “The word is out about this game for adults as well as kids,” Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., told TDmonthly in summer 2007. “We carry all the versions. It’s so much fun ... a must at our family reunions!”
— An Apples-to-Apples sale a day helps keep the bill collector at bay, retailers have told TDmonthly (in so many words) bushels of times, and so it’s been honored with a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9733 (added 10/23/2006)
The Amazing Labyrinth is a mind-challenging game that allows players to shape the game board maze in order to win. A player’s wooden piece is moved according to the card games selected and the imagination of the players involved. It’s fun for kids and adults alike.
— Linda Graham, owner of Scheffel’s Toys in Jacksonville, Ore., summed up the game pretty well when she said, “It’s a universal maze game for kids and adults. It’s always different and always changing.”
— “Labyrinth … appeals to many different people. We sell a lot of games to families. They play the game together,” was the answer Valla Wagner, co-owner of Teaching Toys & Books in Tacoma, Wash., gave when asked for the best-selling game in the store. “An old favorite was back this year, Labyrinth from Ravensburger,” said Ron Sebert, owner of Becky & Me Toys in Glenview, Ill., in early 2009.
— Just when you think you’ve found your way out of the maze, someone comes along and cuts you off. The concept is easy but the strategy endless, which makes it challenging and fun for everyone from kids to grandparents. The Amazing Labyrinth is often on the best-seller list when games are mentioned, earning it a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
Where to Buy: Smart Kids Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9735 (added 10/23/2006)
This rubbery, tri-colored ball is a staple for any child learning cognitive and social skills and developing fine- and gross-motor skills. Ideal for children with a special need, the ball is durable and has a skeletal structure that allows for easy catching. "Kids and teachers agree that Oballs are the easiest balls to catch and hold. The cool design already has won five awards for excellence and innovation, including an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award and a Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products Award,” said Suzanne Silverglate, owner of Rhino Toys.
— “Everybody buys it,” Dalene Lockhart, owner of Toy Town
in Casper, Wyo., told TDmonthly
in 2007. “Right now it is head and shoulders above others [in the infant/toddler category]. It's probably been that way for two years.” Retailers reported average monthly sales of five to 25 a month.
— In summer 2008, four of 66 specialty retailers named the Oball as one of their top-selling gifts for babies. “We sell more of them because our store does gift wrapping and it makes a good topper,” said Jill Jernigan, owner of J. Christopher Toys in Jonesboro, Ark.
― Ask retailers about top-selling balls and the Oball is an answer that’s sure to come up, winning the graspable toy a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007
award. Six of 64 retailers named the Oball as a best-selling baby toy in March 2009, and two of 39 said the same a year later. “[It] is definitely the best-selling gift for babies,” stated John Naisbitt, owner of Thinker Things
in Del Mar, Calif., in June 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 456 (added 9/1/2004)
These Painted Tip, Inside-Out Balls come in two sizes. When flipped inside out, the painted tips reveal an array of color. They were introduced in January 2005 and have exceeded the company´s retail expectations.
— Virtually every retailer who has these products has told TDmonthly Magazine over the past year that this is a hot-selling product.
— “Are you kidding? They love them!” Chuck Susmilch, owner of J.T. Puffin’s in Madison, Wis., responded when asked how well they were selling at his store. “We always sell a lot at Christmastime.” He said that other stretchy products, such as the Urchin Ball and Glow-in-the-Dark, Inside-Out Ball from Play Visions, were also great sellers.
— It’s a ball … it’s a wig … it’s anything you want it to be! Retailers want best sellers and the Inside-Out Ball is that, too, which is why it was chosen for a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2673 (added 1/31/2005)
This open-ended building set introduces kids to the spatial world of angles, color association and unlimited geometric design. With large components, this toddler-safe product offers the same open-ended fun kids find while building with WEDGITS Junior and Deluxe sets. The geometric shapes nest, and each set contains 15 pieces of primary-colored building blocks that can be configured in virtually unlimited configurations. The Starter Set is compatible with all other WEDGITS sets.
— “You can start very young with these,” said Patty Tepper-Rasmussen of Learning Tree in Oklahoma City, Okla. She sells approximately 10 to 12 WEDGITS sets each month. Idanna Smith of Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., named WEDGITS as a top seller in her store.
— “We came up with the starter set to meet the concerns of parents of toddlers regarding choking hazards. The pieces are big, so that all kids in the family can play with them without worrying about the littlest ones,” Rob McKinley, vice-president of sales and marketing for Imagability, told TDmonthly
— The simple, open-ended play afforded by Wedgits makes it a favorite at toy stores and earned it a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007
— Jillie Beans Toys & More
in Westminster, Colo., has carried Wedgits, a consistent best seller, since the store’s opening in 2006. “These are an educational toy and parents love that they start at age 1 and you can continue using the early sets even as the child grows older,” reported Storeowner Valerie Elsea in April 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12551 (added 5/2/2007)
Magneatos is a jumbo-sized magnetic construction set similar in concept to popular sets made for older kids, but designed for small hands with huge imaginations. The distinctive extra-large size and bright colors of Magneatos make them ideal for little builders. Available in 36-, 72- and 144-piece sets, Magneatos construction sets can be combined with one another. The suggested retail prices for the sets are $30, $50 and $100, respectively. Baby builders can reach for the sky with this popular toy. Its steady sales have earned it a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
— TDmonthly posted a video of Guidecraft Inc.'s Magneatos in November 2007, in which a demonstrator commented on the "not so sturdy" nature of the product, potentially portraying the design or strength of the magnets as a weakness. TDmonthly did mention positive traits of the toy, but upon further review and observance of children playing the set, discovered even more: Magneatos encourage children to work together, communicate (as they find certain colors of pieces, for example), and compete, since the larger sets, especially, contain enough pieces for children to work on their own projects. Also, the power of the magnets forces children to put more thought into the foundation of their structures, reinforcing principles of balance. Per these findings, the video was removed.
Where to Buy: Rocking Horse Toy Store; Really Great Toys; Berkira
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4455 (added 9/7/2005)
MSRP: $19.95Age Range: 8 and upSKU or Item #: 9781570544002Launch Date: May 2007Gender: Boys And Girls
This building set includes more than 275 cards that allow users to construct their own version of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. Sturdy slot-to-slot construction means there is no need for glue or nails and the cards can be taken apart and reassembled over and over again. The instructions feature assembly hints, step-by-step illustrations and directions so simple even a Muggle could follow them. The set also comes with a custom-molded Harry Potter figurine. Launch date: May 2007.
— Licensed products may be frowned upon in specialty stores, but don’t tell that to the smiling retailers who are profiting from the super combo of best-selling Klutz books with super-hot Harry Potter. It’s a new item, but it’s already made the radar blink. That’s why it’s a winner of a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
— This set is a top seller Brain Station and Tree Town Toys in Ann Arbor, Mich., Owners Hans and Tricia Masing told TDmonthly in fall 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13459 (added 6/13/2007)
This monkey works like a slingshot and offers hours of screaming fun (he’s designed to scream on impact). The toy is 11” tall with an arm-span of 13”. With a bit of arm power, he can fly up to 30 feet – the farther one pulls him back, the farther he will fly. “The novelty of a monkey flying through the air and screaming, catapulted by the stretchy arms, brings smiles to children and adults alike,” said Ernie Wong, president of Playmaker Toys. “It requires interaction from those who play with it. You just don't watch it do stuff, you're an active part of what makes it such an entertaining product."
— “[We sell] three per day, 75 to 80 in a month” of the flying monkeys by Westminster International, Teresa Ford, owner of Kids’ Ketch in Lewes, Del., told TDmonthly in May 2008.
— “[We sell] at least 20 per month,” Owner Mary Sisson of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., told TDmonthly in May 2008. She buys the store’s best-selling monkeys from Westminster and California Creations. “We sold something like 97 in a week before Christmas — mostly to adults for their offices,” Sisson said in early ‘08.
— The Flingshot Flying Monkey was a surprise hit, and thus earned a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9727 (added 10/23/2006)
Wholesale Price: (Log in to view) MSRP: $40.00Age Range: 2 and upSKU or Item #: G02232Launch Date: March 2007Gender: Boys And Girls
Suitable for children 18 months and up, this rocket lights up and emits realistic rocket sounds with the push of a button. It has a handle for take-along play and comes with an alien, a moon crate, a dune buggy, a space puppy dog and two astronauts. The rocket features a cargo hold, a Murphy bed and toilet, a cockpit and an on/off switch and volume control. "The Lift-Off Rocket by iPlay is designed to encourage young imaginations and introduce them to new worlds. This high-quality playset has a space theme with an at-home-feel," Sue Tice, public relations director and product manager at International Playthings Inc., told TDmonthly. Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007. Launch date: March 2007.
— As of 5/12/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com from 98 reviews. Cons: Doors fall off too easily; the dog and alien figurines are too large to fit in the rover.
— Lynda Blankenship, owner of Smart Toys & Books in Knoxville, Tenn., told TDmonthly in late Spring 2011 that Lift Off Rockets were among her best-selling activity kits and playsets.
— “One of my favorite toys this season, for 18 months and up, is the iPlay Lift-Off Rocket," said Deb Necker, owner of Necker’s in Simsbury, Conn., when discussing hot-selling infant toys in her store.
— The Lift-Off Rocket is popular at LB Toys in Media, Pa., according to Owner Jamie Burdette. “It’s a great 1- to 2-year-old toy for a boy,” he said in April 2008. “Rocket ship toys for this age are hard to find.”
— Want this? As of 05/11/2011 this product was available at Smart Toys & Books
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13798 (added 6/28/2007)
This all-knowing handheld features “artificial intelligence” and can read minds. Players simply think of something, and then answer a series of questions. If the machine guesses within 20 questions, it wins. “20Q is an artificial intelligence, an electronic toy, a website and a phenomenon. Teachers everywhere…tell us how much fun it is to use 20Q with early readers in their classrooms, and as a motivator and reward for older kids,” Radica USA told TDmonthly.
— "A travel game we have for older children is 20 Questions. … the whole family can enjoy this one," said Peter, owner of Mr. Toad’s Toy Company in Naples, Fla.
— “The most perfect gift imaginable,” said DeeDee McMillen, co-owner of McMillen’s Magic in Trenton, N.J.
— Retailers have told TDmonthly that 20Q answers this pertinent question: What toy with wide appeal will boost my monthly totals? Since 20Q seems poised to do it again in 4Q, it’s been honored with a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3083 (added 3/1/2005)
This set includes a hand-painted fox, grizzly bear and big horn ram. The authentically detailed figurines are phthalate free and come with educational information in five languages.
— Our lives may be tame, but our yearning for the wild is fierce. Luckily, Safari fulfills that need with inexpensive, highly detailed animal figurines that also boast an educational tag in five languages. The combo of quality with play value, a dollop of education and a great price point have earned Safari animals a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15185 (added 9/17/2007)
MSRP: $35.00Age Range: 4 and upSKU or Item #: 894167000016Launch Date: October 2007Gender: Boys And Girls
This set of interchangeable parts features the following eight animals plus extra pieces: black bear, dart frog, Madagascan moth, seal, swine, lobster, kangaroo and Komodo dragon. It comes with a 20-page educational booklet and a large playmat of the world. The pieces can be popped together to create all sorts of poseable animals. Launch date: October 2007.
— TDmonthly has been tracking Zoomorphs’ success from the beginning, and sales haven’t wavered yet. Kids have an unquenchable appetite for building new critters or, for the more fastidious, faithfully recreating the real things with these multicolored animal parts. The newest set adds an educational play mat and booklet. Altogether, Zoomorphs have earned a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
Where to Buy: Kazoo Toys; LB Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15186 (added 9/17/2007)
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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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