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.
And now that they are gone, we’re bringing back the regular size plush Otis the Tractor too.