Retailers Recommend Fabulous Products
Retailers Recommend Fabulous ProductsJuly/August 2010
by Anya Harris
Paul Caplan of S.W. Randall Toyes and Giftes in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
“The LEGO Architecture sets (1) have been doing very well for us. They’re LEGO bricks, but we get them through a different distribution channel, from a company called Brickstructures. Since we’re in Pittsburg, near Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, that model is probably my number-one-selling LEGO item of all time. Other famous buildings are available as well, including the Gugenheim, the Sears Tower, the Empire State Building, the Seattle Space Needle, the John Hancock and the White House. We’ve had to reorder them several times, both last year and this year. Anybody interested in architecture will be buying into this series for years to come.
“We find that many adults buy these for themselves. For example, I have a close friend who is a docent at Fallingwater, and when I told her last year that Fallingwater and the Gugenheim were coming out, she wanted them both. Her husband bought her Fallingwater and I bought her the Gugenheim for Christmas. She put them together herself, without help from her husband or children.
“Playmobil (2) has traditionally done very well for us, and most recently, the Ghost Pirates and their new Safari series stand out. They’re new additions this year. The Ghost Pirates have glow-in-the dark components, which sets them apart. I also like the African Safari sets because they fit together, and you can build a little stream with the stations along the way.
“We’ve also been doing well with the Perplexus Maze (3) ball from PlaSmart. It seems to be popular with teens and tweens – the same age group that likes Rubik’s Cubes. It’s new and a slightly different take on a manipulative-type toy.
“Kids also like the Crazy Cheese puzzle (4) from Blue Orange Games. It’s neat. It comes in a little nylon bag. It consists of nine pieces of wood, painted yellow, with holes drilled into the sides. The trick is to assemble the pieces in such a way that the holes line up and it looks like a piece of Swiss cheese.
“We do very well with craft kits (5), particularly the Creativity for Kids line. They’re popularly priced – You’re looking at something between $15 and $30, so they’re perfect for gifts. They also have such a wide variety – for both girls and boys – that you can always find something that will interest the child, whether it’s a jewelry kit or one of their many coloring books. They include Faber-Castell products, and the customer likes that quality. We get good feedback on the vividness of their markers, crayons, paints and colored pencils. When a customer has a good experience, they’re more likely to buy a similar kit the next time they need a gift, so it feeds on itself.”
June Hargrove of Black Forest Books and Toys in Charlotte, North Carolina
“Right now, we’re still doing well with the SnapCaps (6) from M3 Girl Designs. They are magnetic bottle caps, decorated on the inside, that can be worn on a necklace. They were invented by a 10-year-old girl who’s now 14. What she started has become a multi-million-dollar business.
“CHARM IT bracelets and charms (7) from High IntenCity are new to our store. Kids can buy a bracelet or a necklace, and then charms – which are affordable. They are terminally cute, but the nice thing is that you don’t have to have them soldered on. They’ve got a clasp, which allows the little girls to put them on immediately.
“The marbles (8) from Fabricas Selectas USA have also done well. They are gorgeous. One woman came in and bought two sets as a gift for someone, and then came back and bought more because her kids liked them so much.
“The Pumponator (9) sells well too. Kids can use it to either blow up balloons or make water balloons.
“We’ve also had a lot of luck with something called the Big Bang Rocket (10) from Can You Imagine. You put a little piece of newspaper in the nose of it, which is soft and stretches. Then, throw it in the air and when it lands it makes a big ‘bang!’
“We brought in Fractiles just to see what people thought of it, but it has turned out to be very successful for us, especially the travel version (11). The tiles are magnetic, and come with a nice metal board. Both can be easily stored in the package that folds like an album cover.
“Also, the Mini Kickboards (12) by Kickboard USA have become a standard for us. They’re like a mini scooter. I don’t even have to sell them because either a parent is in the store and raves about them – they have three wheels, making them more stable than a lot of similar toys – or a little child will get on and figure it out immediately.