Summer 2004 Merchandise Update
Collectors see significant growth of Disney licensed
Thursday, August 19, 2004
by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
For retailers, the California Gift Show means scouring 19 floors in
two office towersnot to mention the entire 770,000-square-foot Los
Angeles Convention Centerlooking for new products to bring home
to their stores. Mom-and-pop shopkeepers rub elbows with buyers from Bloomingdales,
all scouting for the next trend in gifts and collectibles.
For stores like mine that specialize in Disney merchandise, the twice-annual
gift shows were once an exercise in futility. Very few companies were
willing to pay the licensing fees necessary to produce merchandise with
Disney characters, and the few established licenses were well-represented
in the market.
A lot has changed in the past two years. Dozens of new Disney licensees
have hit the gift show circuit showcasing their latest creations. Where
I could once skim the entire show in one long day, we now devote days
just to check out new Disney-licensed products. We found everything from
accessories and clothing to board games and stationary at the just-completed
The Bambi Couture collection of sweetly charming T-shirts, skirts,
hoodies and accessories, featuring Bambi, Mickey & Minnie and Winnie the
Pooh characters, has been making waves on the 'tween (children ages 9
to 12) fashion scene. Find them online at stores like dELiAs.com or FredFlare.com.
A line of Alice in Wonderland accessories is also in the works.
USAopoly offers Monopoly, chess and dominoes featuring Disney characters.
Photo © USAopoly.
USAopoly has introduced a series of classic board games with Disney
themes, including Monopoly, chess, and dominoes. The character-based chess
and Monopoly games are already on store shelves, with the Classic
Mickey collection dominoes and chess sets arriving later this fall.
The company has also created four Disney variations of their award-winning
Kid Q's games. The company Web site (link)
offers a list of retailers carrying these collections.
High IntenCity offers over 100 Disney charms and accessories through gift,
accessory and specialty shops. Photo © High IntenCity.
Hi IntenCity's Charm It! Disney collection of charms and accessories
takes a popular theme-park souvenir into mass retail. Over 100 charms,
necklaces, bracelets, keychains and bags are available, with new additions
coming every month or so. Find a store near you from its retailer listing
A new offering from Inscribe will allow Disney fans to create
social stationery featuring licensed Disney characters. The company's
print-on-demand system cuts production time compared to traditional custom
printing, and lets customers order just the quantity they need.
Holiday greeting cards are just one product available from Inscribe's
new Disney collection. Photo © Inscribe/Disney.
Available products include cards, announcements, invitations, notepads,
address labelseven candy bar wrappers, and feature characters from
Mickey Mouse to Pixar's upcoming The Incredibles. The company plans
to have the first systems installed in stores by October, and will make
a list of participating retailers available on their Web site (link).
DisneyInkShop.com lets customers design their own T-shirts, sweatshirts
and more. Photo © Zazzle.
MousePlanet reported in March that Zazzle and Disney teamed up
to launch another print-on-demand enterprise. DisneyInkShop.com lets Disney
fans order custom-designed T-shirts featuring their favorite Disney characters.
Customers can choose from a gallery of over 2,500 images, 18 shirt/accessory
options, and dozens of fabric colors and combinations. The shirts can
further be personalized with hundreds of slogans, names, or even team
numbers (MouseAdventure teams, are you paying attention?) Zazzle estimates
that there are 1.7 billion possible custom shirt designs.
Master Replicas, already well-known for creating officially licensed
collectible prop replicas for movie and television productions including
Star Wars, Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings, is
now working with Disney to produce prop replicas from animated and live-action
features, with three items scheduled for release in 2004.
Cinderella's Glass Slipper will be the first Disney prop replica produced
in the new Master Replica's collection. Photo © Master Replicas.
The first item to be released in October/November is the glass slipper
from Cinderella. The next issue will be Princess Aurora's Tiara
from Sleeping Beauty. The adult-size wearable Tiara will be finished
with 18-karat gold plating and extensive crystal and pearl detailing.
Finally, Snow White collectors will scramble to own the Evil Queen's heart
box from Snow White. The box has a unique opening mechanism, and
is designed to also be a functional jewelry box. Each of these three releases
is a limited edition of 2,500 pieces, and are priced from $249 to 299.
The products will be available through the company Web site (link),
or at authorized retailers.
When Enesco Group announced last September that it had been named
the exclusive licensee for the Walt Disney Classics Collection,
some collectors began to worry about the future of the line. They feared
that Enesco, the company behind such lines as Cherished Teddies and Precious
Moments, would not be able to maintain the image of a high-end line like
the Walt Disney Classics Collection.
Hercules and Pegasus: Defiant is one of the first Gallery Edition releases.
Photo © Disney.
At last week's New York gift show, Enesco unveiled the fall 2004 additions
to the collection, including the start of an Aladdin series, two
figures from Pixar's upcoming The Incredibles, and additions to
the Beauty and the Beast series. The company also introduced a
new Gallery Edition series. The first two releases in this
series are bronze-tone variations of existing Classics Collection sculptures,
Mulan and Hercules. Walt Disney Classics Collection is available at the
Disney theme parks and through authorized retailers Ü find one near you
at the Enesco Web site (link).
Three new watch collections offer a bit of variety for your wrist. Photo
Seiko has just introduced three new lines of Disney watches. Since
1928 is a retro modern timepiece collection featuring only Mickey
Mouse. The Comics collection is a combination of cool vintage
and modern styling featuring original Walt Disney Comic Book artwork.
Snap watches have interchangeable bracelets, and are aimed
at younger fans.
The Fairest One of All is one of the upcoming additions to the Story-Time
collection. Photo © Harmony Ball Company.
Earlier this year, Olzsewski Studios announced that the Harmony
Ball Company would continue the Story-Time license with Disney. Robert
Olzsewski continues to serve as lead designer. Five new miniatures have
just been introduced, with another nine more on the way. Olzsewski continues
to produce the Disneyland in Miniature series under a direct license with
Disney, as well as his Warner Brothers series through his own studio.
Visit the new Story-Time Web site for local retailers (link).
Mickey's Teacup Twirl is one of the first theme-park inspired pieces offered
for sale outside the parks. Photo © Lenox.
Lenox Classics is expanding its Disney line with a large assortment
of figurines and ornaments. Where Walt Disney Classics pieces are based
on film scenes, Lenox pieces are more interpretive, and feature characters
in new poses. Mickey's Teacup Twirl has been the most popular of the new
collection, possibly because it is based on a theme-park attraction. You
can purchase Disney products through the Lenox Web site (link),
or at an authorized retailer.
Ron Lee unveiled Surf's Up at last month's NFFC Show & Sale.
Photo © Ron Lee.
Finally, many other existing Disney licensees are expanding their collections.
The Bradford Group has launched a new Disney collectible music
box series and a new holiday Disney train set. These can be viewed at
the company's retail division at Collectibles Today (link),
or at authorized retailers.
Department 56 is adding to the village started last year, and
is also featuring Minnie Mouse in the SnowBabies guest series
collection. Visit its Web site (link)
or your local D56 dealer.
Starlight Originals is adding three new pieces to their Disney
collections Ü check out their Web site for a preview (link).
Finally, sculptor Ron Lee (link)
unveiled three new sculptures at the July NFFC Show & Sale, including
a gorgeous holiday sleigh ride piece.
As Disney is eliminating many of its own distribution channels by closing
the Disney Gallery stores and turning the remaining Disney Stores into
children's emporiums, it's refreshing to find so many new products available
for adult consumers. A few more years like this, and we may all forget
why we even miss the old Disney Stores.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here.
Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix is the super-shopper behind MouseShoppe, your personal and unofficial shopping service for the Disneyland Resort, and the owner of CharmingShoppe, a Disney collectibles store located in Anaheim.
In addition to scouring the park to find you the latest and greatest merchandise, she keeps you updated on all of the merchandise events happening in the parks.
If you want to talk to her about this column, merchandise, or events, contact her here.
Visit our other shopping service, MouseMemories.com.
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