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November 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 11




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Celebrities Pay Greenbacks for “Green”

Eco-Friendly Materials Give Stores an Edge


“They don’t hurt the little babies.” 4-year-old Majorca Espinosa
Ellen West extols the detailed craftsmanship of the Käthe Kruse toys she sells at the Acorn Store in Santa Monica, Calif. Lifting a blond, pony-tailed doll from the shelf, she revealed to PlayZak that the little beauty even has a sweet pink blush to her tiny behind.

The many celebrity shoppers at Acorn, in this tony seaside city, go for the detail, too. But that’s not all. Many of these dolls are made of organic wool and cotton. Green, as in sustainability, is what gets movie and television stars leaving greenbacks at Acorn.

SAYING NO TO PLASTIC

“I’ve never carried plastic toys or computer games,” West told PlayZak, adding that celebrity shoppers also like her wooden animals and toys by HABA and Ostheimer, companies that use eco-friendly vegetable dyes and sustainable woods. “They’re very magical and creative.”

Four-year-old Majorca Espinosa, loading HABA fruits and vegetables into her mini-shopping cart at Acorn, knows the eco score, as well, preferring wood over plastic any day. “They don’t hurt the little babies,” Majorca confided to PlayZak.

To protect their privacy, West won’t name her celebrity clientele. But it’s no secret that many of the same glitterati championing the cause to stem global warming are spreading the gospel to short people, too. This has resulted in the Hollywood set’s creation and purchase of a plethora of green books, toys, video games and more.

GREEN TAKES TO THE ROAD


Laurie David a producer of Al Gore’s Oscar-winning environmental documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” recently published ”The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming,” one of several new eco-themed books for youths.

Ed Begley Jr.
, star of HGTV’s very green “Living With Ed,” is endorsing iZip electric bicycles. And, according to TreeHugger.com, Microsoft plans to unveil Project Gotham Racing 4, an XBox 360 featuring the Tesla Roadster, a high-speed all-electric sports car that’s expected to debut early next year and has already been purchased by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney.

Begley appeared with an iZip hybrid electric bike at Santa Monica’s Alternative Energy and Transportation Expo in late October. While the speedy bike’s not for young children, “it’s probably good for anyone in their double-digits,” he said, meaning preteens and teens.

Begley chatted at the expo with Chelsea Sexton, a key figure in “Who Killed the Electric Car,” the popular 2006 documentary. Sexton’s 9-year-old son, Chris, plays with LEGOs and Hot Wheels, but if she could find the new Tesla XBox video by Christmas, she’d switch gears. “I’d buy it for him in a heartbeat!” she said.

SOWING ECO SEEDS

Meanwhile, actress Soleil Moon Frye, best known for her title role in the 1980s TV series “Punky Brewster,” was so intent on giving her newborn natural toys that she co-founded The Little Seed, a new store in Los Angeles that carries eco-friendly and organic products, including Holztiger figurines, made of European hardwood and colored with water-based paints.

“We wanted to create a physical space — and an accompanying website — where parents had the option to purchase stylish organic and eco products exclusively,” Moon Frye says on her website.

Check out the products (both green and non-green) mentioned in the article, plus several eco-friendly options:




MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 0 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls
Infant & Toddler



The 12” Waldorf Towel Doll is an old-fashioned European tradition for new mothers. Made from the finest cotton flannel, this soft towel doll absorbs the familiar scent of the mother, so when babies are alone in bed, the calming effect leaves them feeling safe and happy. Made in Germany of cotton flannel, the machine-washable doll has a hand-embroidered face.
— When asked about best-selling gifts, Jude Larene, owner of Izilla Toys in Seattle, replied, "The Käthe Kruse towel dolls. They're probably my single best selling category. They have 10 different styles. They just sell very, very well." He said he sells about 10 per month.
— Four of 45 retailers said the dolls and towel dolls from Germany are popular gift items.
— "Käthe Kruse Waldorf towel dolls are the first friend of a baby — something to cuddle and love. [They] are made of all natural fabrics," said Marion Hohmann of Käthe Kruse.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14248      (added 7/23/2007)
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MSRP: $10.00
Age Range: 1 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Infant & Toddler



Designed for ages 6 months and up, these are vegetables a child can actually listen to and cuddle. Made of velour and cotton/polyester, the carrot and tomato make rattling noises, while the lettuce leaf rustles.
— "I would say any of the Haba grocery items," said Candace Gooch, owner of At Once All Agog in Limerick, Maine, when predicting 2007 holiday sellers.
— "I haven't even thought about it yet — not sure what’s going to be hot — but every baby is new and needs the basics. Haba baby always does well," said Peg Scholtes, owner of Capitol Kids in Madison, Wis.
— Two of 54 retailers TDmonthly spoke to specifically cited Haba pretend food as something to watch for during the 2007 holiday season.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15289      (added 9/20/2007)
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MSRP: $79.99
Age Range: 8 to 14
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction



This Lego building set portrays a Mars' mission vehicle that can be used to help mining specialists searching for energy crystals. Players have access to a connecting air pump that can be used to transport sleds and battle aliens. The aliens come in their own glow-in-the-dark attack ship.
— “LEGO and more LEGO,” Phil Wrzensinski, owner and manager of Toy House and Baby Too in Jackson, Miss., told TDmonthly in April 2008, when asked to name the best-selling construction toy in his store. “The Mars Mission is hot.”
— “I’ve been in business for 22 years, and a lot of stuff come[s] and go[es], but some things just stay around,” Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston’s Child’s Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly in April 2008, when asked to name the best-selling construction toy in her store. LEGO was one of three manufacturers she mentioned.
— In April 2008, more than 31 percent of 50 retailers surveyed named LEGO products as the best-selling construction toys in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15715      (added 10/11/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $39.99
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: L2968R
Launch Date: June 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Die-Cast
Vehicles - Small Toy



Manufactured by Mattel, this 1:18 scale red die-cast collectible model features metal construction and is individually packed in a window box. Launch date: June 18, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13874      (added 7/2/2007)
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MSRP: $18.99
Age Range: 4 to 12
SKU or Item #: 878549000214
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
Eco-Friendly



This kit includes everything required to build a space rocket and more. It comes in an eco-friendly box with printing on the inside so that children can create a project out of the box itself, and is designed to encourage manual dexterity, parental interaction, creativity and recycling. It includes seven language translations.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15601      (added 10/4/2007)
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MSRP: $17.95
Age Range: 3 to 8
SKU or Item #: 987-09779643-5-2
Launch Date: March 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books
Eco-Friendly



This environmentally friendly book is printed on high-quality recycled paper and processed chlorine free. The story is based in part on real life events, and the four seasons are playfully introduced while children learn the important role that trees play in the environment. “Baby Lauren and Theodore” is a story of friendship, love, loss and renewed hope that is sure to warm the hearts of children of all ages. “With global warming being a major issue … this is a very timely book. It teaches children at an early age to love and respect nature, while instructing on basic earth science,” Author Deborah Sherrell of Healing Tree Arts told TDmonthly. Launch date: March 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14980      (added 8/30/2007)
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MSRP: $34.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Launch Date: September 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Toys
Eco-Friendly
Play Sets



Young green thumbs can watch nature at work by growing an indoor garden in just days with this environmentally friendly Indoor Gardening Kit made of recycled plastic milk jugs. The planting kit comes with a peapod-shaped planter, three planting pots, a trowel, three packages of organic seeds (Teddy Bear Sunflower, Basil and Zinnia) and soil disks. It is made from environmentally friendly materials, helping to reduce fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions in the name of Good Green Fun™. Launch date: September 2007.
— Angel Stahl, owner of Angel's Toy Barn in Greensburg, Pa., thinks these eco-friendly toys will do well for her in 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14772      (added 8/21/2007)
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AD


Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $38.99
Age Range: 12 and up
SKU or Item #: H1L
Launch Date: November 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Board Games
Eco-Friendly
American-Made



In each round of Head1Liners, players privately write a news headline to a shared, mysterious "front-page" photo card. Straightforward journalistic attempts or satirical, funny headlines alike are equally encouraged. Headlines are read in random, anonymous order by the round's editor, and every player votes for a favorite headline (not their own). Writers move one space for each vote received. Later rounds include intentionally surprising theme assignments that often result in hilarious headlines. According to Owner Tony Kvale, Good Natured Games is the only eco-friendly board game publisher manufacturing mainstream game concepts locally within the United States. The company’s website offers a free sample round of play. Launch date: November 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14726      (added 8/16/2007)
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MSRP: $16.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Construction



These new construction/craft kits from ÜberStix take the company's commitment to recycling one step further. When kids open the construction kit, they will discover that it requires more than just building it. The ÜBERSTIX LANDSAILER™ and ÜBERDRAGSTER™ are both working models that require Push Ups® ice cream pops for wheels, coffee stir sticks, straws and more. The LandSailer requires very little wind to move it across the ground. Kids can set up their own unique race courses for their working models — even build a speed ramp. "This is the first build system that rewards kids for recycling," ÜberStix founder Dane Scarborough told TDmonthly. "In doing the Scavenger Kits, we're starting a new category of toys."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16613      (added 12/17/2007)
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Writer's Bio: Zan Dubin Scott is president of ZDS Communications, a public relations, marketing and writing agency specializing in sustainable business, healthcare, arts and entertainment. Zan was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times for 10 years and continues to report and write for the newspaper and other publications. Read more articles by this author

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