TDmonthly Magazine!
April 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 4


Top-10 Most-Wanted Costumes and Apparel

Fairy Ballerinas and Aspiring Astronauts Take the Stage

With additional reporting by Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Julie L. Jones, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero

In February 2009, TDmonthly Magazine spoke with 52 specialty retailers around the country about their sales of dress up, costumes and children's apparel. Overwhelmingly, the most popular items mentioned come in pink, tulle and ribbon.

“All things little girl,” as Mary Ellen Cerney, owner of Dear Friends and Children in Duncan, Okla., noted.

However, real-life costumes, such as emergency and construction workers from companies like Aeromax and Melissa & Doug, also earn their keep in retailer's stores.

“Realistic role-playing sets do best for us,” Marilyn Walker said of the sales in her Boulder, Colo., store, Play Fair Toys. Here are the top-10 best-selling dress-up and costume items:

MSRP: $49.25
Gender: Girls
Category: Costumes & Accessories

Made in Canada, the Forest Fairy Dress combines the float and shimmer of organza in the multi-layered petal skirt with the rich textures of crushed panne and satin in the fitted top of the dress. Matching organza petals form poofy cap sleeves at the shoulders, and organza flowers adorn the neckline.
— “They last, and the lining underneath is very soft. We've had them for four or five years, and we go through a lot,” said Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Center in Paoli, Pa., of Creative Education of Canada, in early 2009.
— “I sell 20 to 30 a month of complete girl's outfits,” said Fred Rosenberg, owner of On the Park in Kingwood, Texas.
— “We sell a lot of fairy or princess-oriented dress up,” Kim Emigh, VP of e-commerce at Growing Tree Toys in State College  Pa., told TDmonthly about her sales in dress up.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22735      (added 3/10/2009)

MSRP: $70.00
Gender: Girls
Category: Costumes & Accessories

In shimmering pinks and purples, this full-length princess gown features a multi-layered skirt in sheer material with a panel of shiny satin in the front, a frilly, gathered bodice, puffy sleeves and a pink princess hat with a long chiffon veil. Little girls can act out their favorite fairy tales or invent their own fantasy stories while looking the part.
— “Probably my upper-end dress-up clothes from Puppet Workshop. I sell 10 to 15 of these a month,” Charles Bonner, owner of Heights Toy Center in Little Rock, Ark., told TDmonthly of his best-selling dress-up items in early 2009.
— “Princess related dress-up from Puppet Workshop,” said Mary Ann Benson of best-selling costumes at her Austin, Texas, store, Kinda Krazy Kids and Company.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22736      (added 3/10/2009)

MSRP: $39.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Costumes & Accessories

This construction worker kit comes with a realistic vest in high-visibility neon orange trimmed with reflective tape, a bright yellow hard hat, work gloves, goggles, a tool belt, a toy hammer and saw, a measuring tape, and a name tag for personalizing. The vest is machine washable, and the measuring tape really works.
— “The Melissa & Doug Construction Worker set sells very well,” said John MacDougall, owner of Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., in early 2009.
— In a December 2011 survey about best selling Halloween items, seven out of 12 retailers named Creative Education as their best selling brand of costumes.
— “Since the introduction of costumes by Melissa & Doug, they have been selling well,” said Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun's Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22739      (added 3/10/2009)

MSRP: $19.50
Gender: Girls
Category: Costumes & Accessories

Several layers of pink and purple tulle gather to a flexible elastic waistband to form this light, versatile tutu. Accented with three shiny ribbon roses with petite green leaves, the one-size skirt can be paired with other dresses and bodysuits from Creative Education of Canada, a swimsuit or leotard, or any variety of clothes in a little girl's wardrobe to be part of a fun, creative costume.
— “Best sellers are tutus for girls,” Gwen Bowden, manager of Doodlehopper for Kids in Springfield, Va., said to TDmonthly of her top-selling dress up in early 2009.
— “Tutus and princess dresses sell best,” said Rosie Morris, manager of Whiz Kids in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22740      (added 3/10/2009)

MSRP: $49.95
Age Range: 2 to 12
Launch Date: May 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Costumes & Accessories

This top quality Astronaut Suit is sure to please any little space traveler. Its official look and feel make it seem like it’s real. It also comes in Bright Orange, and includes an official NASA special commander patch and an official embroidered NASA cap. This product received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award for 2007. Launch date: May 2006.
— “They have the best quality on the market,” said Diane Robinson, who listed the Jr. Astronaut costume as the top-selling dress-up item in her Essex, Mass., store, Silly Goose.
— “The higher-priced items that do well are from Aeromax, because of their quality and authenticity,” said Ray Goodhart, president of Ages and Stages Toy Box in Arvada, Colo.
— “They are top notch in quality,” Patti Tepper-Rasmussen, owner of Learning Tree Toys, Books and Games in Oklahoma City, Okla., observed of Aeromax's costumes in early 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9443      (added 9/21/2006)

MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 2 to 9
SKU or Item #: 11133
Launch Date: February 2009
Gender: Girls
Category: Pretend Play
Costumes & Accessories

This exquisite dress is made with a stretchy pink, crushed velvet bodice and an elegant skirt made from pink China silk. There is great attention to detail in the trims and ruffles, making this a charming, regal dress up. Launch date: February 15, 2009.
— “Little Adventures — anything with a princess theme for girls. They're well-made outfits, and reasonably priced,” Gary Green said of the top sellers in the dress-up department of his Asheville, N.C. store, Toy Box of Asheville.
— “Little Adventures, a new company out of Salt Lake, has a Princess line which does very well,” said Carol Knight, owner of The Toy Store in Ketchum, Idaho, in early 2009.
— “I sell Little Adventures out of Utah. [We] found them to have more of a play value,” Jeanne McCullough, owner of Children's Store Inc. in Boise, Idaho, told TDmonthly when asked about her best-selling dress-up items.
—  “Little Adventures is the most successful and ha[s] the best quality,” Jim Davis, owner of Kid's Center in Tucson, Ariz., told TDmonthly of his best-selling line of dress-up clothing in spring 2010.
—  Eight of 37 retailers named Little Adventures as a best-selling dress-up line during a March 2010 survey.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21774      (added 12/12/2008)

Gender: Girls
Category: Costumes & Accessories

A charming little fairy from a familiar tale, the I Won't Grow Up character costume is comprised of a stretch velvet leotard in glittery forest green with an attached petal skirt in several layers of chiffon. It is accented with sheer fabric flowers. A pink tiara is included, and it pairs with various wings or other accessories from the A Wish Come True line.
— “The fairy tutus, anything like that,” said Katherine King, manager of Giggles Toys and More in Bozeman, Mont., who listed A Wish Come True as one of her top-selling lines dress-up lines.
— Six percent of 52 retailers listed A Wish Come True for their top-selling dress up in early 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22742      (added 3/10/2009)

Gender: Boys
Category: Costumes & Accessories

This tall black pirate hat can let small swashbucklers and large ones alike tell everyone who's in charge. The hat is made of rich black velvet and printed with the Jolly Roger in white.
— “They are inexpensive and there's a nice variety,” said Erika Evers, owner of Dancing Bear Toys in Hendersonville, N.C., of Jacobson Hats.
— “Jacobson Hats and pirate stuff,” said Candace Gooch, owner of At Once All Agog in Limerick, Maine, of her top-selling dress up items in early 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22743      (added 3/10/2009)

Marie RavenWriter'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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