Avoid being the general for a teddy bear army and other sales tips.
Who is Teddy? And where can you and I meet this most famous bear? Bears everywhere, even the reclusive panda, all pay homage to a bear named Teddy. The true story of the Teddy Bear is the stuff - or should we say "stuffed" - legends are made of.
The most common explanation for the wholesale use of the term of the "teddy bear" begins in November 1902, when President Roosevelt went out west to help settle a border dispute between two southern states. While on the trip, Roosevelt went hunting, but had little luck. His friends trapped a bear, which had fought with and killed one of the group's dogs. When Roosevelt saw what had happened, he ordered his men to humanely put the bear down.
He redrew the cartoon, changing the angry bear to a small, frightened-looking cub. The story changed too. The newly minted legend said that, after hunting all day and not finding a thing, Roosevelt was given the opportunity to shoot a cub that his friends had captured. Naturally, Roosevelt refused. This account of Roosevelt's trip caught on at a wholesale level and soon the cub was appearing everywhere in cartoons.
A turn of the century antique teddy bear.
The small cub cartoons caught the interest of Morris Michtom, the owner of gift shop in Brooklyn, New York. Michtom's wife stuffed herself some bears with a little sewing and imagination. When they sold out in a few hours, Michtom decided to send Roosevelt a bear and get his endorsement. Roosevelt agreed and Michtom, along with a large wholesale company, Butler Brothers, began to created stuffed teddy bears and sell them everywhere. Michtom probably didn't know it, but he had created a new piece of American heritage. Now teddy bears are sold in gift shops, flower shops, used in gift baskets, and just about everywhere.
For over a hundred years, plush toys, especially teddy bears, have been bought and sold in almost every gift and floral shop throughout America. Knowing that plush toys are a gift-giving staple should underscore the fact that stuffed toys can be a major force in your add-on sales push. The Plush in a Rush team, with over 30 years of combined wholesale plush sales experience has put together some tips that will help maximize your sales potential.
Out of the box and onto the shelf
After making a wholesale plush purchase, the first thing you will want to do is inspect the merchandise. Often, the plush toys are packed tightly for shipping, which affects the way the plush animals look when initially taken out of the box. Plush in a Rush recommends that you use a wire comb to fluff out the plush, especially the really furry ones with hair covering the eyes.
It makes quite a difference in the appearance of your plush toys when their fur is fluffed out and combed in such a way so their eyes show nicely. Before your customers will squeeze your plush and give it a good hug, they're going to look at it first. That's why you should fluff out your plush so that you can capitalize on the “looks good/feels good” mentality of plush purchasers.
Exercise your Plush Daily
Sure teddy bears are supposed to have a round tummy, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't get to move around. Naturally, your customers (and their kids) will hug your plush to see if it passes the softness test. And whether pass or fail, your plush toys might be tossed up rather haphazardly back onto the display shelf. That's why you and the staff should make sure your plush toys are straightened out regularly so that they always have “hug me” written on their face.
Make sure that your display shelves aren't too crowded. Plush sells best when there is a little breathing room on either side of the item. If you have a lot of stock, Plush in a Rush recommends you rotate it to allow particular items to stand out during different times of the year. If you really want to maximize on the inviting appeal of plush, use them as part of a window display or other arrangement.
Remember, plush toys have been around for over a hundred years and they aren't going to leave us anytime soon. If you ensure that your wholesale plush stock is cute and cuddly, it will reward you with increased sales. Remember:
- Comb out your wholesale stuffed animals once received
- Rotate your stock and keep your plush toys off the floor and in the eyesight of customers
The chrysanthemum was first grown in the Far East – China – as a flowering herb. It was first written about by scribes over 3,500 years ago. In fact their artwork shows mums as they would appear today. Folklore teaches that the boiled roots were taken as a headache medicine and ancient culinarians used sprouts and petals in salads. The leaves were even occasionally brewed for recreational purposes. The ancient Chinese name for chrysanthemum is “Chu.” The Chinese city of Chu-Hsien (which means Chrysanthemum City) is an eponym of the flower.
2,800 years ago, the chrysanthemum then appears in Japan. The Japanese were enamored with the mum, that they decreed the flower would be the crest and seal of the Emperor. Family seals for prominent Japanese families of nobility also contain a type of mum: a Kikumon – “Kiku” means chrysanthemum and “Mon” means crest. In Japan, the Imperial Order of the Chrysanthemum is the most elite Order of Chivalry. Japan also has a mum festival, which is called the Festival of Happiness.
The Chrysanthemum in the West
The chrysanthemum was first introduced to the west during some 250 years ago. In 1753 Karl Linnaeus, the famous botanist from binomial nomenclature fame, combined the Greek words chrysos, meaning gold with anthemon, meaning flower. Botanical archaeologists say this is probably a true description of the ancient flower, as it also points out the mum’s need for sunlight. The earliest depictions of mums show them as small, yellow daisy-like flowers.
The chrysanthemum was first introduced into the United States during colonial times. 300 years later, its popularity has grown such that mums now reign as undisputed “Queen of the Fall Flowers.”
For many of us in the South, and for virtually all Texans, our introduction to the chrysanthemum was a corsage for the girlfriends and mothers at Homecoming football games. Check out our Pinterest board below for some great examples of modern-day mums.
Today, a silk flower has replaced the chrysanthemum as the centerpiece for homecoming mums. Currently you can find them decorated with dozens of charms, ribbons, bells, including the occasional high school mascot. Plush in Rush offers several unique items that can make your homecoming mum a high school favorite.
A notable difference of the positive feelings many Americans have of the mum (football games, house-warming presents, get-well thoughts), is that in many European countries the chrysanthemum is known as the death flower. In countries such as Belgium and Austria, the mum is used almost exclusively as a memorial on graves.