Exclusive: embracing Plush

Published on: 12th August 2022

Rachael Simpson-Jones finds out how things such as TikTok, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and wellness are shaping the Plush sector this year.

For a deeply traditional category, Plush has been enjoying its fair share of social media crazes, technological advancements and licensed expansion.
In previous issues, I’ve talked about the behemoth that is Squishmallows: its huge sales, obsessed fans and cult status have made it a giant in the plush arena. It’s fair to say nothing much has changed; fans of all ages love the brand, not just children.

Social media lies at the heart of Squishmallows’ success, with TikTok and Instagram leading the way in terms of impact, while gaming – an area that’s really starting to mix and merge with the toy space – will also be a focus for the brand moving forward. Jazwares aims to grow its presence in the metaverse as well as develop further gaming offerings for fans of the brand. Holly Oldham, MD UK & Nordics at Jazwares adds: “We also have some exciting licensed collaborations launching, which we know our fans will love.”

Licensing continues to make waves in plush and this year, as well as success with its Peter Rabbit and Disney’s Winnie the Pooh ranges, Rainbow Designs is experiencing significant demand for all its Paddington collections following the bear from darkest Peru’s visit to Buckingham Palace to have afternoon tea with the Queen.

Paddington has also joined the heritage plush brand Ty in the form of a Beanie Baby, and later this year will also appear as a Squish-A-Boo. Ty’s other licensed ranges are also expanding with new additions to its Marvel Beanie Babies range, while Marvel also joins the Squish-A- Boo line-up, which currently also includes Peppa Pig and Hello Kitty.

Golden Bear, a specialist in licensed pre-school plush, unveiled own-brand interactive plush range Curlimals at Toy Fair 2022. It’s got off to a very strong start – surpassing even MD Barry Hughes’ high expectations.

Other upcoming new ranges for this year include Fuzzballs from this month’s front cover holder, KAP Toys, based on the kawaii pet-themed and pop-culture comic. Then there’s Happy Line Toys’Dream Beams, distributed in the UK & Ireland by One For Fun, which makes the most of sensory elements and glow-in-the-dark features.

To find out more on the latest plush ranges, how manufacturers are incorporating sustainable elements into their designs and the in-store support available to retailers, read the full article, which appeared in the August edition of Toy World, here.


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