Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Desire to See More Plush on Hooks Comes to Fruition, to the Delight of Penny, Otis, Daisy, and Lucy.

I start this gift post not with an assortment of cuddly toys or fresh cards or some purse shaped like an owl (not that we don’t have these things), but with a simple plastic hook. It’s a hook that comes attached to many of our baby toys and small plush. And we attached these hooked items to something that our like the grocery clip strips. More about those later. But anyway, these strips hang from our bookcases and sell our kids’ items well. It keeps them off the counter, and also a bit more fresh looking.

This was particularly a problem with the Merry Makers line. We have a certain amount of space for book with plush displays, but just piling the extras on a table just didn’t have a great look. And we simply didn’t have an appropriate display, the way we do with Folkmanis puppets, for example. But Merry Makers didn’t offer a hook in their plush the way Kids Preferred and Rich Frog (and probably other vendors) do.

We knew how to attach the j hooks using our tagging guns, which is the way we add price tags to some plush items. But we couldn’t find them for sale. An internet search of j hooks found that a lot of different things are called j hooks. The only source we found was directly from China and was $80 (more than we could spend) for a very large assortment. A call to a couple of vendors that used these hooks went no further.

This went on for months. I thought they might be on the Kenco website (the Milwaukee company where we buy custom labels and tagging and pricing guns), but after going through possible page on their website that would be appropriate, I found nothing.

A few months later, I decided to simply ask our rep Ben. Oh, we have those, but you have to buy them in lots of 2000. Now it turned out that a lot of 2000 was less than $20, and I figured we didn’t need to sell that many extra rattles, chimes, and small plush to make back the $20 investment, so we went for it. It’s probably a lifetime supply.

Now we just have to figure out who made these hook strips. I haven’t been able to find these anywhere as well. Amie thought maybe one of our Schwartz gift buyers originally brought them in as items to sell, but they sure do work for display, so they might be available in a display catalog or website. I sure haven’t found them yet.

So what did we bring in from Merry Makers on the new order? We were inspired by the Penny doll from Kevin Henkes, and a collection of backpack pulls, which admittedly, I was reminded to bring in during rep night at Books and Company. There’s also Daisy the dog from A Ball for Daisy, the 2012 Caldecott winner.Unless they are out of stock, the order should include backpack pulls for Lucy Bear (Children Make Terrible Pets), Bad Kitty, Ladybug Girl, and Skippyjon Jones. Obviously the characters should not be italicized but the books should be--this is a gray area.

In addition, we have a special promotion going on where you can get a Fly Guy backpack pull if you buy one of the Fly Guy hardcovers from us. These mini-plush came from Scholastic, but we can kind of tell that they were actually made by Merry Makers, who periodically does custom product for publishers as a promotion, like the mini Otis the tractor from last year. These are available for a limited time, and then disappear.
And now that they are gone, we’re bringing back the regular size plush Otis the Tractor too.

No comments: