Matthew Hoffman holds the RBG figure, his pop appliances behind him
Much as she was earlier this month at the winter NY NOW home/lifestyle/gift market trade show at New York’s Javits Center, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a ubiquitous figure this week at Toy Fair--again at the Javits Center--most notably at the Uncanny Brands exhibition booth.
Bleacher Creatures Toys—a division of Uncanny Brands—displayed its new 10-inch plush representation of the immensely popular 85-year-old jurist, just back on the Supreme Court bench after cancer surgery.
“I have three daughters who are inspired by her,” said the company’s president Matthew Hoffman of the May release.
“She’s important on many levels: the role of law, checks-and-balances, women’s rights and gender equality, her strength and courage—and as a feminist role model for both gals and guys. We were overwhelmed with interest even before Toy Fair—but I’m not surprised.”
Nearby at the Royal Bobbles booth, customers were likewise admiring the company’s new RBG bobbler, to go with other political figures like Bernie Sanders, a forthcoming John McCain, and three Donald Trumps. On the other side of the hall, FCTRY was showing off its new Kamala Harris and Robert Mueller figures, to go with its other political figures, also including Sanders and Trump.
Back at Uncanny Brands, Hoffman noted that he knew Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton when his plush Bleachers Creatures figure bested hers in sales.
The line itself comprises officially licensed 10-inch plush figures, “a cross between action figures and soft toys,” said Hoffman.
“We’ve had success with relevant spiritual and political figures,” he said. “One of our biggest is Pope Francis: When he came to New York, he blessed one at JFK [airport] and took a selfie with it—and kept it!”
Entertainment and athletic stars are also well represented in Bleachers Creatures catalog, and Hoffman pointed to its success with Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot, which has become “a social media sensation.”
“He was even a part of Time Magazine’s 2018 time capsule!” said Hoffman. “The Flyers had never had a mascot, and Philly people hated it at first—but then embraced him after the national media goofed on him.”
But Uncanny Brands remains best known for what it calls “pop culture small appliances”—licensed products that are both cool and useful and include popcorn and waffle makers, toasters, and slow cookers.
“Slow cookers are really popular now,” said Hoffman, citing the Star Wars slow cooker as his best-seller. Forthcoming releases in the small appliance category include Marvel, WWE and Minions licensed product, with Hoffman hailing a Spider Man toaster for its certain back-to-school appeal.
Bleacher Creatures' manufacturing process