Ty Toys

Written by Will Baum
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Ty Toys is the champion of the collectible plush toy business. The Ty company is most famous for the Beanie Babies, but the Ty collection doesn't stop with Beanies. Perhaps you've heard of Pillow Pals? How about Pluffies, Plunkies, Beanie Buddies, and Beanie Boppers? In the stuffed animal pile of any child's room, there is bound to be at least one item with a Ty tag.

It was a trip to Italy that gave us this consortium of creatures. Ty Toys founder Ty Warner, fresh from 18 years working at toy manufacturer Dakin, went on a tour of the boot-shaped nation as a vacation. While he was there, he noticed children playing with small plush toys unlike anything he knew of back home. An idea was hatched.

Ty Inc. started with a line of toy cats. Beanie Babies soon followed, and the rest is history. Frenzied parents soon battled each other to get Beanie Babies for their kids. Available at first only in small gift shops, the competition for the plush toys was fierce.

Ty Toys "Retires" Slither and Friends

Warner wasn't out of ideas. Ty Inc. soon began its policy of "retiring" Beanie Babies. After a certain date, they would stop making certain Beanies and begin with others. There would be no more Humphrey the Camel, no more Slither the Snake. As collectible as they already were, the moment the retirement policy sunk in with collectors, Ty Toys became a true collecting phenomenon.


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