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Happy Birthday, Raggedy Ann!


“Fairyland must be filled with rag dolls, soft loppy rag dolls who go through all the beautiful adventures found there nestling in the crook of a dimpled arm.”

-Raggedy Ann doll creator Johnny Gruelle

Plush toy, gift and doll manufacturer Aurora World Inc.® is celebrating Raggedy Ann’s 100th birthday! The company just introduced brand new, “Stars and Stripes” special edition Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy rag dolls to the market that feature an all-American, red, white and blue theme, exclusive 100th year embroidery and commemorative hangtags on every doll.

Raggedy Ann’s Betsy Ross-inspired white shawl collar, printed dress with navy and white stars and elastic cap are reminiscent of the bygone era while Raggedy Andy’s Uncle Sam-inspired outfit features a matching printed jacket top, red twill bow-tie and pants, and his classic matching sailor hat.

021815_CRT_RaggedyAnnClassic“The Stars and Stripes dolls celebrate the goodwill, kindness and compassion that the Raggedy Ann doll creator Johnny Gruelle envisioned for the people of our nation,” says Michael Kessler, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Aurora.

The Stars and Stripes dolls, complete with their signature red yard hair, are available in large sizes and feature custom cotton, embroidered fabrics, finely detailed faces with button eyes and exclusive outfits highlighting the birthday of Raggedy Ann – perfect for collectors.

Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls are part of Aurora’s ever-expanding soft doll category featuring dozens of award-winning doll designs including the Sea Sparkles™ mermaid collection, fashionable Sweet Lollies™, new Cutie Curls™, ballerinas and activity dolls for toddlers. As part of the birthday celebration, the company gave away a three-foot Raggedy Ann doll at the recent Toy Fair New York in February. “Stars and Stripes” special edition Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy rag dolls are available now in stores everywhere.

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New Plush from Aurora World


The award-winning company introduces three engaging new lines the blend trendy with traditional cuddliness.

042314_CRTPost_Aurora_01Leading plush toy, gift and doll manufacturer Aurora World Inc. recently added three new original lines -from the eye-catching to the irresistible, Wuff & Friends is based on a proven Aurora best-selling character, while Taddle Toes and Wobbly Bobblees use oversized features to grab the attention and hearts of shoppers everywhere.

These stunning, new product lines provide our customers with a true impact at retail via excellent value, branded merchandising support and engaging consumer experiences.

042314_CRTPost_Aurora_02Wuff & Friends. “Shake the animal upside down for a fun feature that makes Wuff and his friends outrageously fluffy,” says Michael Kessler, Aurora’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. Shaggy, waggy and just plain cute, Wuff is Aurora’s best-selling sheepdog highlighting a line of eight dogs including Schnauzer, Chow, Pekinese, Poodle, Malamute, Pomeranian and Scottie. A high-pile, low-pile mix gives this plush line a whimsical, fun look that is soft to the touch.

Retailers:  Merchandise signage and product tags reinforce this messaging.

042314_CRTPost_Aurora_03Taddle Toes. “These characters encompass chunky soft bodies, endearing faces and detailed, oversized feet,” Michael says. At recent industry trade shows, Taddle Toes proved to be one of the hottest sellers as the oversized features delighted buyers who wanted a stand out plush product for their stores. The Taddle Toes line features a large variety of popular domestic, jungle and wildlife animals. “We anticipate Taddle Toes to be a long-term plush line with introductions for our ‘everyday’ and seasonal styles, as well as for baby, including adorable pink and baby blue bears and elephants.”

Retailers:Aurora’s branded display rack holds approximately 32 pieces.

042314_CRTPost_Aurora_04Wobbly Bobblees. “An innovative, impulse plush line with strong shelf appeal, Wobbly Bobblees feature darling, oversized heads that subtly wobble for an endearing head tilt at retail,” Michael says. “Plus they are extremely cute, and that equals strong sales.” Seventeen styles include a monkey, lion, elephant, white tiger, pig, cow, giraffe, cat and dogs; a spring-themed assortment with lamb, chick, bunny and frog complete the line.

Retailers: Aurora’s collateral merchandising support including a branded corrugated display and product hangtag, highlight the Wobbly Bobblees characters and product features.

Aurora showcases its products at over 50 industry trade shows each year including Atlanta International Gift Show July 8-15, 2014; showroom #784. Aurora products are available in more than 25,000 specialty stores and gift shops worldwide as well as online at http://shop.auroragift.com. For more information or to make an appointment at an upcoming trade show, visit http://auroragift.com, email info@auroragift.com or call 888-287-6722.

YooHoo & Friends™ Limited Edition Design Contest Winner


This April, the winning design will be released, along with five new dinosaurs for the best-selling YooHoo & Friends line.

032713_YooHooContestWinner_resizedJanessa Chong from Malaysia and her colorful rainbow-inspired Marshmallow beat out hundreds of other designs from around the world, in Aurora World‘s first-ever Design a YooHoo & Friends Contest.

“We were floored by Janessa’s design. It’s an honor to award her the winning dinosaur, together with Janessa, we hope Marshmallow brings smiles, joy and happiness to the hearts of children and collectors everywhere,” says Michael Kessler, SVP of sales and marketing. “Dinosaur toys continue to be big with kids because they are fascinated with the creatures, and they stir up the imagination.”

032713_YooHooContestWinner_02_resizedJoining Marshmallow (Triceratops) in the YooHoo & Friends dinosaur line is Rexee (Tyrannosaurus Rex), Stegee (Stegosaurus), Woolee (Wooly Mammoth), Toothee (Saber Tooth Tiger) and an endangered Sloth named Speedee. This year alone, Michael tells me that this popular plush animal line expects an epic expansion to include over 30 new styles in all.

Based on animals from around the world -many that are rare and endangered- each YooHoo & Friends animal makes a fun sound when squeezed, plus each character is described in detail on new hangtags.

Available in more than 25,000 specialty stores and gift shops worldwide and online at http://shop.auroragift.com.

  • Children’s Retail Today publishes new posts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you want to get the word out about your innovative, imaginative and inspiring products for children, contact me today!

Sad Sam & Honey®


Two popular doggies born on Long Island have one more family who’ll love ’em.

120412_Aurora_01After launching in 1980, Sad Sam & Honey® rose to fame all over the world. Known in five continents, these two endearing basset hounds with sweet, innocent looks and sad eyes are from George Valentino, president and CEO of Long Island, NY-based Creative Endeavors, Ltd., the sole worldwide licensor for Sad Sam & Honey and the Sad Eyed Family of characters.

Recently, Aurora World Inc. nabbed the license for Sad Sam & Honey, and plans to produce a variety of styles for release this  January.

We are so excited to welcome Sad Sam & Honey to the Aurora family. We’re planning a variety of huggable designs, stylish fabrics, classic body poses and seasonal styles. We look forward to bringing Sad Sam & Honey to a new generation of children and parents everywhere.

Michael Kessler, Aurora’s SVP of sales and marketing

Aurora World, Inc., makers of high-end plus plush toys and gifts, is a Korean company with headquarters also in the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong, founded in 1981. Aurora created the international plush toy phenomenon – YooHoo & Friends™ – and its corresponding free, interactive web site (www.yoohoofriends.com), appealing to young children and tweens. The company sells its products via a wide variety of retailers including major zoos, high-end toy stores such as Learning Express, top gift chains such as Hallmark and Claire’s as well as hospital gift shops, fine florists, candy stores and gift/stationery stores worldwide.

  • Children’s Retail Today publishes new posts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you want to get the word out about your innovative, imaginative and inspiring products for children, contact me today!

Design a YooHoo & Friends Contest


For the first time ever, fans of the best selling plush toy line YooHoo & Friends have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to help manufacturer Aurora World design the next YooHoo.

The online contest, hosted on the official YooHoo & Friends Facebook page, asks contestants to download a predesigned template of line art. Then, either by hand drawing or using a computer program such as Photoshop, contestants can design their entries for consideration in an all-new YooHoo dinosaur line to hit stores in April 2013.

Aurora’s judges will review all entries and determine a grand prize winner. The winning design will be made into a special edition YooHoo to début at the industry trade show Toy Fair in 2013.

With over 22 million sold, YooHoo fans expect a lot of enthusiasm for this contest! For more information, please visit YooHoo & Friends on the official Facebook page at http://facebook.com/yoohoofanpage.

  • Children’s Retail Today publishes new posts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you want to get the word out about your innovative, imaginative and inspiring products for children, contact me today!

The Plush Animal Kingdom of Aurora World


Visit almost any gift shop at a zoo or a hospital, a toy, Hallmark store or Claire’s …

… even a florist, a candy or stationery store worldwide – and you’ve probably ogled over the cute plush toys from Aurora World, Inc. Founded in 1981, the Korean company with headquarters also in the U.S., the UK and Hong Kong is a leader in the toy and gift industry, offering luxuriously soft, lifelike and adorable plush toys for kids of all ages –a far cry from my own little stuffed doggie named Trevor I still have from my childhood!

Signature by Aurora® This brand new line of plush animals is handcrafted with personal attention to detail. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Wildlife, jungle and exotics like fox and lemurs –even bald eagles and owls- are boxed individually and include a hand-stitched, illustrated booklet outlining the animal’s distinctive characteristics.

Aurora has elegantly captured the spirit, grace and vitality of real wildlife with one of the most beautiful lines we’ve ever created. Each piece is hand cut, sewn and shaded to make it so exquisite. These particular details bring each of the Signature characters to life.

-Michael Kessler, senior vice president of sales and marketing

Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy Aurora World and Hasbro, Inc. have teamed up on a new line of plush dolls based on the iconic Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy of old, bringing these beloved characters to life for a new generation of children.

YooHoo & Friends™ Aurora’s international plush toy phenomenon has sold more than 14 million worldwide, and the company recently added eight new WannaBes and an assortment based on the colors of the rainbow. Due to popular demand, Aurora added a pink gorilla and camel to the YooHoo & Friends line, too.

Lush Two-Toned Fabric. This year, Aurora adds shimmer and shine to new lines Sweet & Softer, Wishful Bear, Silly Monkey and Jewel Pets- a line of squeezably soft stuffed animals. The short pile plush appears reflective and bright from one angle and soft and smooth from another.

Three brand new plush gift lines are geared toward new parents and their children:

The western-themed Lil’ Howdys, an interactive collection of Crinkle Friends and Quizzies, a collection of bears, bunnies and puppies. Michael Kessler says, “These accessories are the perfect complement for the crib and nursery.”

  • My childhood toy dog, TrevorChildren’s Retail Today publishes new posts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you want to get the word out about your innovative, imaginative and inspiring products for children, contact me today!

Seen at Toy Fair 2012


Happy Valentine’s Day! New products galore at the International Toy Fair taking place right now in New York, NY.

Booth 1803. See more than 400 new products from Aurora World Inc., including three brand new plush gift lines geared towards new parents and their children; the western-themed Lil’ Howdys, an interactive collection of Crinkle Friends and the plush line, Quizzies.

We are using fancier, softer fabrics with many of our products in 2012. However, in keeping with our mission statement, price points are not compromised by the high quality designs for which Aurora is known.

Michael Kessler, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Aurora.

Aurora created the international plush toy phenomenon – YooHoo & Friends™ – and its corresponding free, interactive web site, appealing to young children and tweens alike. Founded in 1981, the Korean company with headquarters also in the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong, has ascended quickly to become a respected leader in the world’s toy and gift industry.

Booth 5214. Esther Novis, a mother of five and a former Harvard-trained biologist, started The Young Scientists Club as a summer science camp for her then five-year-old son. Friends from other parts of the country told her they wanted to duplicate her concept and the idea for a science subscription service was born. The subscription kits are now mailed monthly to thousands of children around the world and the company’s retail kits are sold in hundreds of specialty stores.

The Young Scientists Club’s newest kits teach children how to make and race magnetic cars, how to create slime, how to grow pretty polymer petunias and super balls, and over 50 other cool experiments.

Booth 6406. anamalz comes to the Toy Fair for the first time to show off its newest box sets in animal kingdom themes of Wild, Farm, Jungle and Prehistoric. Designed in Australia and made from sustainable maple wood, anamalz is anaward winning range of toy animals that can be bent into dozens of funny poses. The green business uses fabric that is AZO dyed and the company’s wood scraps are used on a farm to grow mushrooms. Each toy is assembled in factories that are of the highest standards and meet international regulations.

It’s easy to see why these eco-friendly characters enchant grownups, but it’s the children who are immediately engaged when they see anamalz because these wooden toys look so different from any other toys out on the store shelf. In all, there are 38 figures to collect in four categories. All toys are designed for children ages three and up.

Get the word out about your innovative, imaginative and inspiring products! Contact me today!