How Can The Toy Industry Grasp This New Wind?

A news that “after 1995, girls got tens of millions of financing for making cotton dolls” brought cotton dolls to the industry. According to the big data of micro store APP, from 2017 to 2020, the number of cotton doll merchants with transaction records rose from less than 400 to nearly 10000, with an increase of more than 20 times in three years. In addition, in 2021, the online trading volume of cotton doll alone will exceed 1 billion yuan.


From the minority to the public, cotton doll has received more and more attention, which not only gave birth to the offline professional cotton doll exhibition, but also held the 2021 Cotton Doll Fashion Festival on Taobao, and many animation, film and television plays, catering brands and other brands have included it in the derivatives category to be developed. It can be said that cotton doll has become another outlet after the blind box and tide play.


From the fans circle to the trend circle, the cotton doll gradually differentiated.


Cotton doll was born in 2015. It is a plush toy made by fans of an idol group in South Korea based on the image of members of the group. The doll’s image is cute and healing, so it quickly became popular among fans and enthusiasts. Because of this origin, cotton dolls were only popular among fans for a long time. Later, with more and more cotton doll lovers, the category gradually divided into two categories: attributed doll and non attributed doll.


The so-called doll with attributes refers to the prototype of cotton doll, including but not limited to stars, cartoon characters, game characters, film and television characters, etc. This kind of doll usually conforms to the characteristics of the prototype in terms of appearance, shape, demeanor, clothing matching, etc., which is convenient for fans to identify the prototype and attract fans to buy. Because of the prototype support, the sales of this kind of dolls are usually not too bad. For example, the sales of a single “naked dolls” (dolls without clothes) of a star in a WeChat store exceed 40000 pieces.


From this perspective, dolls with attributes are somewhat similar to the combination of IP and cotton dolls – the prototype of dolls is equivalent to IP. This means that the sales volume of the product largely depends on the IP popularity and the size of the fan group.


The opposite of the stuffed toy doll with attributes is the doll without attributes, that is, the cotton doll without prototype, which is completely designed by the original “baby mother” (term, equivalent to the manufacturer) or by an appointed designer. This kind of doll is somewhat similar to the original IP without content, which usually requires a period of cultivation and promotion, and the sales volume of the product is related to how many fans can love and recognize the doll’s image.


From individuals to brands, cotton dolls gradually become formal


Perhaps because it was born of individual fans, the makers of cotton dolls have been mainly individuals for a long time, that is, the “baby mother” mentioned above. It is understood that a “baby mother” can be responsible for the design of stuffed animals, contacting manufacturers, selling products on e-commerce platforms, shipping and other chain links. In this way, “baby mother” is also very versatile, but in fact, it is not.


Most “baby moms” sell cotton babies by pre-sale, which lasts from one or two months to five or six months. In addition, the pre-sale quantity can reach the minimum order quantity of the factory before continuing to sell, otherwise, the order will be cancelled. After it is confirmed that the cotton dolls can be mass produced, the group order or the weak “baby mother” will make virtual delivery, and the buyer should confirm the order to ensure that the “baby mother” will get the payment first. After several months, the “baby mother” will actually deliver the cotton dolls after the production is completed, and provide the express bill number for the buyer to query.


After the whole process, the buyer should be able to get the goods smoothly, relying on the “baby mother” to keep their promise. In fact, not all “baby moms” are reliable. In the circle of cotton dolls, “baby moms” often run away. In addition, “baby moms” are individuals after all, and it is difficult to follow up the production of dolls in the whole process. Therefore, the cotton dolls finally delivered to buyers inevitably have quality control problems. Moreover, whether many “baby moms” make attribute dolls involving infringement is also a topic of endless debate.


With the expansion of the audience and market of cotton doll, the manufacturers of cotton doll have also expanded their enterprises/brands from individuals. At present, the enterprises/brands that launch cotton doll include toy enterprises, such as Baixingrui and Mengshiqi; Specialized cotton baby brands, such as Rua Baby Bar and MINIDOLL; Chaoplay brands, such as TAKITOYS, Koi Naqu, Bubble Mart, etc.


If it is said that “baby moms” have the meaning of “generating electricity for love”, then the enterprise/brand is interested in the market prospect of cotton dolls. Their participation has gradually standardized the cotton doll market, because the enterprise/brand has professional designers, long-term docking and cooperation factories, self owned e-commerce platforms, cooperation channels, etc., which can provide products with quality assurance, and the dolls with attributes that are launched will basically get the genuine authorization, while the situation of confirming the receipt of goods before pre-sale basically does not exist.


How the toy industry should seize the new wind?


As mentioned above, the toy industry has already had a pioneer in arranging the category of cotton dolls. Guangzhou Baixingrui Culture Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Baixingrui”) began to notice the category of cotton dolls at the beginning of 2021. “At that time, it was found that this category gradually began to develop from the minority to the public view, and more and more people were collecting and paying attention to cotton dolls. A doll that can change clothes and dress up can bring happiness to many people, and the things that can bring happiness have its demand points, so we began to design and plan our own cotton dolls brand.” Zhang Jiawen, the general manager, said that Baixingrui established the cotton doll brand “NAYANAYA” in the middle of 2021.


By integrating the interview, the reporter summarized three experiences of the enterprise as a cotton doll:


First, differential positioning.

The cotton dolls sold on the market are divided into “naked dolls” and dolls with clothes. The price of “naked dolls” is usually less than 100 yuan. The price of dolls with clothes is basically more than 100 yuan, and some even cost 300 yuan or more. In addition, 20cm is the general height of cotton dolls.


“The positioning of our company’s cotton dolls is cost-effective, that is, when they leave the factory, they are equipped with clothes that wear basic clothes. The goal is to give each cotton dolls integrity, so that entry-level players can get complete cotton dolls at a lower cost. This is different from most products in the market that leave the factory with only ‘naked dolls’.” Zhang Jiawen said that at present, Baixingrui has launched 15 cotton dolls, all of which are original designs, including 9 girls, 2 boys and 4 10cm cotton dolls. Each cotton doll has its own personality and characteristics, and all wear matching clothes.


It is understood that Bestarry will not only launch more original cotton dolls in the future, but also make more attempts in clothes and accessories of cotton dolls. “We are boldly and innovatively developing a new concept of Mian Wa’s main structure. We hope to meet the needs of more players at different levels while making self breakthroughs.”


Second, attach importance to quality.


According to the data released by the WeChat Shop, the percentage of the post-00s, post-90s and post-95s cotton baby players has reached 79%, that is, 18-32 years old are the main consumers of this category. For them, the purchase of cotton dolls is to “please themselves”, so the requirements for product quality are very high. It should be emphasized that cotton doll is different from plush toys. Its workmanship, design and positioning have a specific standard range, and the background of its origin and development determines that its access threshold and process requirements are high.


Zhang Jiawen believes that the face of a cotton doll is the key and also the soul of the product. The expression, eyes and face shape should be restored in place to show the original personality and characteristics of a cotton doll. “Our products are heavily guarded by professionals from design to plate making. Designers and plate makers have been working together to complete the plate making and modify it until the mass production to ensure that the production process can meet the standards.”


Third, the marketing channels should be precise.

The audience of cotton doll is mainly young people, and more than 98% of them are women. Therefore, enterprises should choose the marketing methods and sales channels that are suitable for these audiences to make a precise layout, especially the micro blog cotton dolls, cotton dolls’ super words and small red books that are often gathered by cotton doll players.


It is understood that Baixingrui has opened a small red book account, WeChat video account, etc. for the brand “NAYANAYA”, which is mainly used for discussing and daily sharing the topic of “baby circle” with cotton doll fans. At the same time, we will interact with some bloggers of “Baby Circle”. “In the future, it is planned to increase the interaction with fans and strengthen the brand promotion by participating in professional baby exhibitions, holding pre-sale fairs and other ways.”


In terms of sales channels, Baixingrui covers offline boutiques, fashion shops and online e-commerce platforms. Zhang Jiawen said: “Our staple retail price of cotton dolls is 79 yuan, and the retail price of clothes is 59 yuan, which has a high cost performance ratio. Since the product was launched, the sales have been very stable, with two types of cotton dolls selling better and better. Customers describe them as” out of the circle “, and they have been loved by many consumers. Many bloggers spontaneously make small videos for them.”

Post time: Dec-15-2022