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Has the beloved Ty brand lost its way in Australia?

For years, Ty products were hero products in toy shops and newsagents in Australia. Built around collecting Ty Beanie Boos and other products, sales were excellent and shoppers were loyal.

At the end of 2022 that changed with the decision by Ty in the US to make different arrangements for distribution in many international markets, including Australia.

While the products are the same adorable and loved products, from what I can tell they now appear to be targeting impulse shoppers. There was no product on offer for Valentine’s Day 2024, despite it being available overseas. I’ve been told that nothing is planned for Australia for Easter 2024 yet I have seen the Easter 2024 product overseas. I hope these products do make it to Australia.

Gone are opportunities offered retailers like us to nurture collector relationships. The focus does appear to be on pitching Beanie Boos as a low-cost impulse line. And while the company has its reasons for this, it appears the successful approach of us and other retailers serving collectors is of no interest.

Here’s an announcement they made on LinkedIn a couple of months ago:

Last year, Ty Australia set a maximum retail price at $1 lower than what had been traditional for Beanie Boos. They said sales would increase as a result. That has not been my experience. It’s unfortunate there was no consultation prior to their pricing decision, no consideration of past experience that showed it did not boost sales and that other tactics were far more successful at boosting sales.

Time change, trends come and go, I understand that. What has happened here is not that. Collector interest was as strong as ever. The decline has been driven by the company for reasons only it understands.

Communication from Ty Australia has been non-existent. This has not been helped by a succession of senior staffing changes. I’m not sure why people with good experience in the field are not staying with the company that long.

Maybe what is happening with Ty in Australia is the same as we see happening with some other overseas suppliers: disconnecting with previously successful local retailers in pursuit of change for reasons not explained. It will be interesting to see how that plays out for them. In the meantime, I’ve found other uses for the freed space and new customers to attract as a result.

We had an excellent and profitable run with Beanie Boos and other Ty products in my shops for many years, and maybe we will at some point in the future. For now, though, the company is more interested elsewhere. Good luck to them.

Has Ty lost its way in Australia? Time will tell.

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