Dart is part of a family of interactive dumplings from toy maker WowWee that hit stores in mid-July. They’re basically what the name suggests – squeezable but inedible dumplings that are big enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
And they’re getting harder and harder to find. As with anything, you blame the supply chain.
“It’s a ** tshow,” said Michael Yanofsky, the company’s managing director of sales. “It’s not just the downtime in the ports, it’s labor shortages and backups across the transportation network that are struggling to get the toys to the retailers.”
“Our bet is made for Black Friday,” said Yanofsky. “Whatever dumplings there is in the warehouse, it is, and we hope it all hits the shelves. There’s no chance of getting more unless we get them on airplanes. “
WowWee is trying to tackle the serious supply chain problems to ensure that overall there is enough inventory of its dumplings to meet the heavy demand by Christmas. The dumplings, like most toys sold in the US, are made in China.
The first four in the list are called “Doe”, “Dip”, “Dee” and “Dot”. They each speak a strange “squish-pop” language and giggle and laugh. The cheeks change color and the top of her head lights up in a color code that matches her current “mood” – energetic, happy, silly. Then came “Mel the Marshamallow”, “Peace the Peach” and “Coco the Cotton Candy Cloud”.
Its popularity even caught the attention of MyBookie.com, an offshore gaming site, which this month took bets on whether the squishy little golden dumpling would sell out before Black Friday on Amazon.
Meet all trends
The $ 15 dumpling toy is popular because it is hitting some dominant toy trends right now, said Marissa Silva, editor-in-chief of The Toy Insider, a toy review and news website.
She said children are obsessed with collecting tiny cute toys that come in tiny packages, as the Shopkins mania proves.
“Dumplings are a bit bigger, but collectable,” said Silva. “They are also affordable and not too difficult for children to understand.”
In addition, the soft, squishy texture of the dumpling and the jumping out of her body also cleverly play a role in the current bubble fidget poppers toy craze.
There is another attraction: the food inspiration.
“Food-themed toys continue to be a very hot trend. We have seen this at Shopkins and Mini Brands, ”said Jim Silver, a toy industry expert and CEO of Toys, Tots, Pets & More, an industry reviews website. Mini brands are tiny, shrunk versions of popular consumer goods like a can of Spam or a bottle of Dove Body Wash that are hidden in tiny bags. “
“These food-inspired toys are also so easy for kids to have fun on social media,” said Silver.
The mushy dumplings are the brainchild of Sydney Wiseman, Vice President of Brand Development and Creative Strategy at WowWee. She had the idea for this 18 months ago. “I’ve wanted to make a dumpling-based toy for a long time,” she said. And she wanted the dumpling characters to be in a band. This aspect is permeated in their look and the accessories they wear.
There are more to come
WowWee announced a partnership with Nickelodeon in August to produce animated digital music videos depicting a band’s squishy characters.
Wiseman is thrilled with the popularity of the dumplings overall and especially Dart’s, of which WowWee only produced 100,000 pieces as a very limited character. She said darts has a special meaning for the WowWee team. “It’s named after a dear friend of ours at WowWee, Art Janis, who recently passed away,” she said.
There is still an opportunity to score darts after Black Friday. On November 30th, WowWee is launching a set of two with the golden dumpling and a rose gold dumpling on Amazon.