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Stuffed Animals Industry Overview

Shalleen Mayes

Tap into the timeless appeal of stuffed toys

Plush toys are an important part of the toy industry. A throwback to earlier days, stuffed toys require a child to use his imagination to engage in play with a teddy bear or stuffed doll. Stuffed toys also give customers a low-cost option when searching for a gift.

Most stuffed toys are manufactured overseas, particularly in China. These manufacturers sell to wholesalers, who then sell to the retailers. However, there are a few American companies that manufacture and sell stuffed animals wholesale, such as Gund.

A major issue surrounding stuffed toys, as well as the entire toy industry, is safety. Toy recalls, particularly of imported toys, have hurt the toy business, causing consumer confidence to slip. Business owners should watch for inferior stuffed toys and work with reputable manufacturers. As part of a stuffed animals industry overview, think about the following points.

1. Ensure the stuffed toys comply with state, federal and international regulations.

2. Check the track record of the manufacturer for violations and recalls.

3. Rely on association memberships to help you find the best stuffed animal manufacturers.

Work with established associations in the stuffed toy industry

The main associations in the toy industry can keep you up to speed on stuffed toy safety regulations. They also host large annual toy fairs in which potential buyers can see the latest stuffed animal offerings.

Check on safety regulations for stuffed animals

You should check to make sure that small parts such as the eyes, noses and mouth are safely attached to the fabric. Look for fabric that meets the standards of flammability, adherence to labeling laws, as well as age-appropriateness, such as safer embroidered features for very young children rather than plastic parts.
Consumer Product Safety Commission lists toy recalls and action that consumers need to take if there is a recall. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act establishes new standards for foreign and domestic toys.

Check out potential manufacturers for plush animals

If you have an idea for your own design for stuffed animals, there are companies that can help you develop your design, advise you on issues such as how product size will affect the total cost, and then help you get it into production with a stuffed animal manufacturer.

  • It's important to have a plan in case of recall on plush toys. Consumers often have to return the toy to the store, and if you're the retailer, you may be refunding money and trying to recoup your losses from the manufacturer.
Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Shalleen Mayes