Ty Girlz are here
I mentioned at Toy Fair that a lot of toy companies have been, ahem, inspired by the immense success of Webkinz to create their own plush toys with online tie-ins. How does the old adage go? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Well, I’m sure Ganz (the company behind Webkinz) isn’t exactly enjoying the compliment. But Webkinz have been few and far between these past few months as Ganz scrambles to increase production to meet the huge demand. Will the paucity of the Webkinz open the door for kids to check out the competition? It seems likely.
(Never heard of Webkinz? To get a sense of the scope of addiction, check out one dad’s 12 step program.)
Anyway, this summer, two major companies will pose a serious challege to Webkinz world domination. The first to arrive in our store is Ty Girlz. From the same marketing genius who sparked the Beanie Baby craze, the Girlz are targeting tweens and teens. With their psychedelic hair and outrageous outfits, they aren’t exactly a wholesome plaything. And it was actually a difficult decision for me, personally, to bring them in. I was so hung up on the short skirts and belly-button shirts.
I showed them to my sister, who is 14 and a very wholesome, modest kid. I thought she would certainly be as shocked as I was by the fashions, but she wasn’t ruffled. She thought they looked cute (I guess I’m getting old). And she loved the website component. So with her blessing, I gave Ty the green light to ship our Girlz. It’s not exactly market research, but it worked for me.
The best part of these dolls is actually their hair. It’s a patented fiber that really feels and behaves like hair. It’s soft, brushable and it holds a style really nicely. Each Girl comes with a special code that provides access to the Ty Girlz site. The site is under constant development, but already has some nice features. I particularly like the clothing store – you can spend hours designing the fashions. Not that I did. Um.