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Atlanta Gift Show, Day 2

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I'm too tired to come up with a more compelling heading for this post. My pedometer says I walked just under 5 miles today, but my feet demand a recount. On the plus side, my return trip took less than 45 minutes today AND I made it back to the hotel before the storm began.

My day ended with my first vendor appointment of the Mart, and I'll work backwards to satisfy the curiousity of those (both of you) who have been waiting for an update since last night.

As I suspected, Enesco IS bringing Robert Olszewski's "Gallery of Light" Disney sculptures to market. These are the identical sculptures to those currently offered at Disneyland, and will start shipping to retail stores on May 15th. There are 7 designs in the initial collection: Bambi, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Nightmare Before Christmas. (The Pirates of the Caribbean piece will remain a Disney exclusive for now)

Bob's Heirloom Boxes will also be produced by Enesco, and will debut at the summer shows - and can I say that the Jack Skellington PokitPal he was showing today is pretty nifty?

I've carried Olszewski Disney products since just after the Story-Time collection was introduced, and I've followed Bob through the ups-and-downs of business. In all these years, I have NEVER seen him look as happy and excited as he did today. When he spoke about upcoming ideas, it wasn't "here's what I'd like to do if they'll let me," it was "here's what's coming next!" Bob said that there are no current plans to bring Story-Time pieces back into production, but I'm definitely going to make my opinion known to the new guy running Enesco.

Enesco did a great job of featuring Bob's collection in their showroom, and he was on hand to meet store owners and explain the line to them. I'm thrilled for Bob, and I was pleased to see how many new accounts were buying the line.

I'm a little underwhelmed by the new Christmas / Winter Disney Traditions pieces. None of them have the "oh, WOW" factor of the 2007 collection, and it feels like they are working from a old checklist. "Christmas Mickey? Check! Something with Pooh and a Snowman? Check! Something with Tinker Bell? Check!" The nicest new piece is the Santa Mickey Big Fig, and I like it for its function more than its style. This Santa Mickey carries a fabric sack into which you can stuff small gifts, and the base has a functional drawer to store your holiday cards.

I like the two new Halloween pieces quite a bit, and that Mickey-o-Lantern is sure to be very popular. I also like the new "mini" figs that Enesco previewed in October, and can't wait for those to start shipping. These are small figures of Sorcerer Mickey, Dumbo, Pooh, Bambi and Pinocchio, and they are only $15 each.

Enesco is also the home of the Walt Disney Classics Collection, and the first collection of 2008 sculptures can be viewed at Duckman's Disneyana Update. (I'm only slightly miffed that he gets high-quality Web images before the retailers even learn about the new pieces.) I adore the new Elliott sculpture, and Frollo's pose and expression is perfect.

Madame Alexander has a new crop of Disney dolls, and they are departing quite dramatically from the "pretty princess playbook" with this first item: "Maggie Visits Halloween Town" with Lock, Shock and Barrel. I wish I had a scanner - I know someone who is going to die when she sees this. The question becomes, "Do Nightmare Before Christmas fans collect dolls?"

Madame Alexander makes both licensed and non-licensed "princess" items. From the Disney side of the legal line comes a Limited Edition 10" Sleeping Beauty and 16" Limited Edition Cinderella, Snow White and Belle dolls, plus a "dress up trunk" with an 8" doll and three Princess costumes. The remaining Disney items include a Limited Edition Christopher Robin with Pooh, Wendy with Miss Piggy, Wendy with Bambi, Pinocchio with Jiminy, a 10" standing Tinker Bell, Mowgli with Baloo and four new "Peekaboo" dolls with Pooh costumes. The "aren't we glad Disney doesn't own this trademark" category includes a new White Rabbit.

[Non-Disney detour - the "Wicked the Musical" dolls that have previously been available only through the theaters are going to be available to all retailers starting in June, and there are Limited Edition "First Day of School" Elphaba and Galinda dolls with edition sizes of just 300! (Though they spell it 'Glinda,' which anyone who has seen the musical can tell you is just WRONG) I'm trying to figure out of I can justify opening an account for the sole purpose of buying Christmas presents...]

Department 56 introduced Disney buildings to their North Pole Village a few years ago, and this is the first year since then that there has not been a new Disney introduction. I'm a little concerned about that, because the Disney pieces to date have been really great and I'd hate to see them end the line. I talked a little with D56 exec about it and she was genuinely interested to know what other buildings I'd like to see in the collection, so who knows.

D56 is adding a LOT of new Disney Snowbabies merchandise to the line, including "Tinker Bell's Flight School" and Jasmine and Ariel pieces. (If you can navigate their Web site, this link should bring you to the page where you can start to search for new Disney releases...) I'm not a Snowbabies fan, and the "personalize it!" ornaments aren't my thing, but the Mickey and Minnie designs aren't bad for what they are. There are new Disney treasure boxes and some new Tinker Bell "wall plaques" that you can also personalize.

On the Lenox side of the showroom, they have a few new sculptures that are pretty nifty - I really like the "Fab 5 Neverland" and Mickey Valentine treasure box, but I'm getting a little bored with the "dated" ornaments that are nothing but last year's version with a new year sticker on it. The 2008 Tinker Bell has the year stamped in gold numbers on her TORSO. I mean, really - if there's no better way to add the year to something, maybe it doesn't need to be there?

Finally we have the Bradford Exchange. We stopped carrying this line last year for a few reasons, the most important being quality problems and unacceptably high breakage. I had hoped that these and other problems would be resolved if they had enough complaints, but everything seems to be business as usual. I'm really quite frustrated by this because there is some CUTE product in the new line - the Pirates of the Caribbean ornaments are great! I could deal with some of the other issues if they could just assure me that the items would arrive intact, and that they wouldn't look as cheesy as they frequently do. (I'm not a manufacturer, but even I have to believe that there is a way to glue translucent "gems" onto something without the glue showing through. Believe me, this plate looks MUCH different in person...)

My first appointment is early tomorrow morning, so that's all for tonight. I hope to stop by the Precious Moments showrooms between appointments, and if I'm really lucky I'll even manage to finish building 2 tomorrow. It looks like I'm going to need an extra day here next year - the Mart announced that they are adding a new "wing" to building 2, which really means they are just annexing the building next door. That should make the Mart the equivalent of a 52-story Macy's.

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  1. adriennek's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by AVP
    I'm trying to figure out of I can justify opening an account for the sole purpose of buying Christmas presents...
    I believe that the answer is an unqualified: Yes. Yes, you can.