Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Odd Things that Plush Does to Sales in Owe Our Kids’ Section

(Oh, it's not odd, really.)

Having a limited budget to purchase sidelines (gift, nonbook, whatever), we decided in the kids’ section to try (emphasis on try) to focus on book-related titles. Some of my booksellers are crazy about these little stubby little plush animals with no official book tie in. Fortunately, you can be creative and find your own. The board book Kiss Kiss is a perfect match for our Happa Hippo.

One book that we hadn’t even been carrying anymore was Elmer, the patchwork elephant that tries to blend in by rolling in the dye of gray berries. Elmer’s been licensed around a bit, and one bookseller told me she liked the series a lot.
Well, what do you know? Everything old is new again and we’re selling stuffed Elmers, an Elmer puzzle, and several of the books, particularly the classic story. We just sold out of the beanie-sized plush but we've still got the medium.

My favorite oddity happened when we brought in some plush Madelines (the Ludwig Bemelmans charcter, not the Proust cake). Not too much, because we overdosed on the little French girl about 10 -15 years ago (who can remember?). Now we’ve got the classic doll in two reasonably-priced sizes, beanie and medium. And no, she isn’t selling well yet. But here’s the funny thing. Our book sales increased substantially when we set up the display. Perhaps sales will pick up when it’s time to pick out a birthday gift.

It turned out that my weakness is robots. We’ve got plush and puppets, and it turns out that Jason and Amie are feeding my weakness and finding all kinds of other robot-themed kid stuff. Now all I have to do is start selling Sarah’s pick, The Robot and the Bluebird.

No I have to figure out how having this stuff affects how my customers think about the store. It's even more difficult with the adult stuff.

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