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This brand reached celebrity status in June 2015, when it’s iconic ‘nursery bear with pillow’ had a novelty appearance on one of the UK’s favourite TV series, ‘Coronation Street’; watched by 6mn viewers. Keel Toys prides itself on its ever evolving, beautifully designed and manufactured, competitively priced products to create a market leading range of soft toys. A spokesperson for Keel Toys says, “We combine innovative design with cutting edge fabrics, technologies and finishing techniques.”
Founded in 1947, Keel Toys is well established in the design and manufacture of plush toys and works with many blue chip companies. A third generation family business it is actively run by 4 brothers with a distribution centre of over 100,000 square feet. Baby Brands Direct specialises in the distribution of their teddy bears to baby and nursery stores globally and wholesale a range including traditional bears, animals, comforters, rag dolls and the bella rose collection. The latter has been received with phenomenal sales and is based on a pink and grey colour palette of a traditional English country theme.
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Why plush toys remain bestsellers
Always a reliable category for any retailer, the plush toy market is set to grow by 6.6% over the next six years, with the global market predicted to be worth US$ 11,000 million by the end of 2026. Plush toys are becoming more popular every year. Recent research revealed a 23 per cent rise in girls playing with soft toys, and parents are making a move back to more traditional toys, so it’s important that retailers stock a good range of the quality brands that Baby Brands Direct prides itself on supplying – leading brands such as Keel Toys, Kaloo, Lamaze, and Fisher-Price.
No toys mean as much to children as plush toys. In a study, nearly a third of those children who were attached to a toy named a teddy or other soft toy or doll as their favourite, ahead of action figures or other toys. And apart from looking adorable and helping to make a nursery feel cosier and appealing, plush toys can play an important part in a child’s development. A soft toy can be a best friend, someone who they can speak to and who will listen to them (even when adults can’t understand the baby babble!). Because that first teddy has been around since they were born, it will be hugely familiar to a small child. So, by the time they develop concerns or worries, that toy can hold a lot of emotional significance. A soft toy will never judge them or dismiss their worries as ‘silly’, offering a level of emotional security. Talking to a toy that doesn’t talk back can enable small children to work through their worries – interestingly, this forms the basis for talking therapies, such as CBT.
A familiar friend
That soft teddy or doll can help parents offer communication and reassurance and can help a child express their emotions. A parent might ask a crying child why ‘teddy’ is upset or be able to offer some reassuring words to ‘teddy’. A favourite plush toy can also help a child develop independence. Taking a soft toy to an unfamiliar place can provide the reassurance of a comforting, friendly face, which even smells of home. This familiarity and comfort can help a small child to relax and get to sleep, even if they are in unfamiliar surroundings. Toddlers can even use a beloved plush toy to practise skills learned, by showing the toy how to brush their teeth or get dressed, for example.
Plush activity toys and rattles offer all the benefits we have mentioned and more. A baby holding a soft rattle will develop the ability to track with their eyes, develop the muscles they will need to hold a pencil and other fine and gross motor skills. They will improve listening skills, scientific thinking and even learn how to investigate cause and effect. Who would have thought that one small rattle could be so effective? Baby Brands Direct also stocks a number of activity plush toys that can help to develop language skills, introduce colours and numbers, and encourage musical ability.