In 1983, Ty Warner created a toy company using all the capital he had. The toys he created were animals stuffed with plastic pellets, instead of traditional stuffing, which made them less stiff and more lifelike.
Ten years after the initial products were launched with some level of success, Ty Warner introduced a lineup of nine animals the company called Beanie Babies: Flash the Dolphin, Splash the Whale, Brownie the Bear, Pinchers the Lobster, Patti the Platypus, Legs the Frog, Spot the Dog, Chocolate the Moose and Squealer the Pig.
The company’s smart marketing strategy soon placed the Beanie Babies in the hot market of collectible items. Beanie Babies were priced under $5, Ty introduced new products in limited quantities, sold its items only at small retailer, not big chain stores and retired models periodically, which increased the popularity of the toys and promoted a secondary market for the Beanie Babies where they fetched astronomical prices.
When the company partnered with McDonalds to offer Teenie Beanies with the Happy Meals, the lines around the fast food chain would wrap around for blocks.
In 1999, the company made a bear called “The End” to signal the end of the Beanie Babies, but after consulting with the public about whether the product should still be manufactured and sold, and receiving an overwhelming response to continue, the company decided to keep the toys on the market.
Today, 20 years after the craze began, Beanie Babies are still somewhat popular with some rare and first edition Beanie Babies still going for thousands of dollars.
More than 50 different Beanie Babies were produced over the years. The company introduced new toys in limited quantities and retired them after a period of time, so the same Beanie Baby that was available in 1995 is not on the market today, which has created a very hot secondary market for these toys.
Some of the most popular designs released by Ty Warner over the years were: the Garcia Bear, honoring Jerry Garcia of The Greatful Dead, the Princess Bear, released after the death of Lady Diana in 1997, Tabasco the Bull and the Decade de bear, which marked the 10th anniversary of the introduction of Beanie Babies.
Some of these first edition toys can be found on the Internet for sale by collectors for thousands of dollars.
The craze for the Beanie Babies was so incredible that there even was a monthly publication dedicated entirely to the toys, Mary Beth’s Bean Bag World, that ran from 1997 to 2001.
We love Beanie Babies, and the best part about them is that they are priced so reasonably that kids can purchase them and collect them, just for the fun of it.
The cute and varied designs make for great gifts for kids and adults.
Ty Warner’s philanthropic contributions include the creation of Ty Warner Park in Westmont, IL, the Ty Warner Sea Center in Santa Barbara, CA and monetary donations to the Andre Agassi Foundation for underprivileged children in Las Vegas. In 2006, Warner received the Children’s Champion Award from Children’s Hunger Fund for his charity work and donations.
Ty Beanie Babies, Tracker The Basset Hound Dog
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