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 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~

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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:12 pm

EVERYTHING is expensive in Denmark Crying or Very sad

Fortunately I can buy eggs and vegetables at the local farms, an I always bake my own bread.

Postage from MPV is 5,50 Euros, no matter how much I buy, so I do not have to order many figueres to make it very much cheaper than here Wink

The buildings, - I think 22 Euros is a lot to pay for shipment on top of the price for a building, - but there is also the question of having room for them What a Face
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:18 pm

Susanne, you're not the only one with these problems. Schleich are expensive here, too. Sad I stopped buying horses from then a while back. I think I stopped buying farmlife whatsoever... No It is a worldwide pandemia of high prices!


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schmidtchenschleich



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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:22 pm

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I think 22 Euros is a lot to pay for shipment on top of the price for a building, - but there is also the question of having room for them What a Face
Of course, but 2 buildings together in one parcel is only 11 Euro more.
Think what you have paid for your dark beagle.
And i think the figurines allone in an glass cabinet is boring.
Only with the zoo buildings the zoo figurines looks funny and even the farm animals in the old farm buildings.
And so you can really play with it together with your child.
But that is only my opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:57 pm

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Fortunately I can buy eggs and vegetables at the local farms, an I always bake my own bread.
:
Oh you bake your own bread, that's lovely! We have a bread maker and should use it more, I love homemade bread, yum yum Very Happy

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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:08 pm

You are right, Peter, it is more fun to have the buildings.
And the people figueres also.
Only with all my cats and dogs I have to be very carefull where I place the figueres.

The cats can get almost everywhere and they love to play also, - and a plastic figuere on the floor is DEAD What a Face
The dogs think it is a chewing toy pale

My son, he would rather be seen in pink ballet dress than play with stupid plastic animals, - he is 29, - but still my little boy, of course Laughing

Harriet, I LOVE to bake bread. I put honey, differnt seeds and whatever in it. And organic ingredients, of course.
That way I beleive I am healthy and can eat some more chocolate with good concience geek
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:57 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
You are right, Peter, it is more fun to have the buildings.
And the people figueres also.
Only with all my cats and dogs I have to be very carefull where I place the figueres.

The cats can get almost everywhere and they love to play also, - and a plastic figuere on the floor is DEAD What a Face
The dogs think it is a chewing toy pale

My son, he would rather be seen in pink ballet dress than play with stupid plastic animals, - he is 29, - but still my little boy, of course Laughing

Harriet, I LOVE to bake bread. I put honey, differnt seeds and whatever in it. And organic ingredients, of course.
That way I beleive I am healthy and can eat some more chocolate with good concience geek
Susanne, Honey on bread! You just made me hungry, I'll have to go down to the store and pick up some honey. It is ashame that your toy animals are so expensive there.
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:13 pm

From new release animal to cake story! bounce bounce

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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:51 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
From new release animal to cake story! bounce bounce

And chocolate cake perhaps ? cheers cheers cheers

geek jocolor clown Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:08 am

Delicious discussion! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:16 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
EVERYTHING is expensive in Denmark Crying or Very sad

Fortunately I can buy eggs and vegetables at the local farms, an I always bake my own bread.

Postage from MPV is 5,50 Euros, no matter how much I buy, so I do not have to order many figueres to make it very much cheaper than here Wink

The buildings, - I think 22 Euros is a lot to pay for shipment on top of the price for a building, - but there is also the question of having room for them What a Face


Nothing like growing your own vegetables and getting freshly-laid eggs, is there, Susanne! Here is the USA, eggs are all irradiated before they go on the mass market. There is a very good reason for doing this, but I'd rather take my chances with "real" eggs if I am able to get them locally.

Yes, 22 euros is a lot, but here in the States, it costs either 31 or 50+ euros to have most buildings shipped from Germany. I intend to collect them all, but it will be a bit of a hardship to do so.
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schleich61



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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:18 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I think 22 Euros is a lot to pay for shipment on top of the price for a building, - but there is also the question of having room for them What a Face
Of course, but 2 buildings together in one parcel is only 11 Euro more.
Think what you have paid for your dark beagle.
And i think the figurines allone in an glass cabinet is boring.
Only with the zoo buildings the zoo figurines looks funny and even the farm animals in the old farm buildings.
And so you can really play with it together with your child.
But that is only my opinion.

Peter, I think that despite the high cost of shipping them to the USA, I will swallow hard and save the money to get them. Schleich, IMHO, makes some very, very nice buildings, and I am quite anxious to collect some of the old ones!
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schleich61



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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:20 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Harriet, I LOVE to bake bread. I put honey, differnt seeds and whatever in it. And organic ingredients, of course.
That way I beleive I am healthy and can eat some more chocolate with good concience geek

Susanne, do you spread Nutella on slices of your homemade bread? :)
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schleich61



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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:29 am

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I'm not disappointed this year Wink . I can't ! Schleich has the smallest range of wild animals among the majors company and I can't see any reason it will change soon. We discussed a lot about this in this topic last year Laughing Laughing Laughing :

Indeed I'm very happy with the 2011 stuff ( YES LADIES and GENTLEMEN Laughing ),

The Schleich public is not the collectors first, it is children who have parents with enough money to buy these expensive toys. Schleich is a leader because it is the only company which is everywhere in the world, it is the oldest among the majors and CollectA, Papo, of course Mojö have no chances to grab the title in 2012. Not because the Schleich models are far better ! Because for a big part of the world, Schleich is the only serious "animal toy company", the others even don't exist Sad

That's also the reason why Schleich don't need now to make original species or bigger range as in the past, they are often alone in the shop without any competitor around.

I hope the other will survive the Schleich steamroller What a Face

Well, Christophe, you need not fear my responses to your post, as I agree completely with all you've said, although I think some of the new animal molds are less than ideal.

Here in the USA, it is Schleich and only Schleich. The only other brand I can purchase in a store is Papo, and I would have to drive 250 miles round-trip to purchase them from Jeffrey's Toys in San Francisco, as that is the only store I've seen them at.

It is disappointing that Schleich has opted for a safe and comfortable existence as a near-monopoly in the animal figurine market, but that is the reality. In a strange, almost perverse way, I guess I am almost happy about that, since I still have so many of the retired models left to collect... Laughing

I think Schleich will now make fewer new animal models but will increase the number and variety of human figurines. I wouldn't be surprised to see Schleich start to make sub-lines of these like Preiser did. Schleich is ruthlessly attempting to maximize its "collector" revenue with gambits like the airplane crypto-figurine scam, the fantasy animal/human duos, the dragon/white elephant specials and the four scenery packs for this year. I will purchase the white elephant and dragon because they are simply spectacular, and I will also bleed my thin wallet for the four scenery packs because they are stunning, but I am not happy about this... Crying or Very sad

Schleich steamroller? No relation to "Mannheim Steamroller" is it? Well, they are both German entities, are they not? (sorry, but this is obscure reference to 70's musical group)

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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:19 am

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..........Well, they are both German entities, are they not?


Just a small addition .... I think Schleich changed strategy a lot since they were taken over by the British HgCapital in late 2006. Not immediately, of course, it takes a long time for a huge ship to change direction.

It may be only a feeling, but it seems they have become more profit-oriented. Crying or Very sad
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sphyrna18



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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:10 pm

Quote :
Schleich steamroller? No relation to "Mannheim Steamroller" is it? Well, they are both German entities, are they not? (sorry, but this is obscure reference to 70's musical group)

Mannheim Steamroller are from Omaha Nebraska. Their name refers to a musical technique popularized by the Mannheim School for Composition. afro But they do have a lot of German influences haha cheers

I'm not sure what's going on where you're from, but in much of the USA, Safari has the market pretty well cornered. They aren't as commonly found now as they once were, as they've focused a lot of their attention back on the specialty stores and museum/zoo gift shops. But most Michael's, A.C. Moore's, Hobby USA, HobbyLobby, etc. carry Safari animals to some degree. I've only ever found Papo in specialty stores in and around larger metro areas.

Last time I had checked, and I'll admit it has been awhile, Safari had the largest market globally for their animal figures. That was within the last few years. Their figures are available in China, which is a HUGE market, as well as throughout the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Japan, as well as apparently throughout Central America, South America, & then, naturally, North America. Europe/Australia don't seem to be great markets for Safari, though.

Maybe things have swung in Schleich's favor regarding marketshares, but I don't think so. They are becoming less creative, more profit-driven, and much, much more conservative. Sorry, but as a businessman myself, I can tell you that those are characteristics of a business that isn't seeing the kind of profits it wants to. Businesses with healthy profits and growth are more willing to take risks than those stuggling. Over the past few years, we have seen a steady decline in Schleich's willingness to take risks. They are paying very close attention to the markets, and have jumped into the Fantasy figure market. But even there, if you look closely, many of their figures are still "safe bets". Not like Papo, for instance, who have introduced the "mutant" figures (among others), or even like Safari, with their Mythical Realms and their Dragons lines. Schleich has played a conservative hand, sprinkling in a little of this, a little of that - a business strategy akin to fishing. Bait the lines, see what takes, run with that.

While it obviously makes good business sense to explore and exploit new opportunities as they arise, Schleich is reluctant to commit fully, which can be a bad business move.

I'm not saying Schleich is going under financially. Don't misunderstand me. I'm saying that for whatever reason, they are playing their cards very close to their breast. But Schleich-steamroller? I wouldn't be concerned. The other major labels aren't. Papo, Safari, and now Collecta, are all willing and able to focus on concise, niche markets, and are producing figures with very little crossover between lines. In doing so, they are taking calculated risks. None of them seem to be terribly concerned about what Schleich is doing. Schleich, on the other hand, is creating lines like the Bayala figures - which seek to grab the attention of the Fantasy figure-buyers, Historical figure-buyers, and Animal figure buyers, all in one fell swoop. In my experience, this rarely pays off in the long run, as they are likely to alienate all three demographics, who don't want to pay the increased prices so that they can have one piece of the "set".

I also don't believe that Mojo's greatest threat comes from Schleich, other than possibly a bid to buy them out/absorb them into their company, much like they did with the Noah's Pals series. Again, companies with healthy profits and steady market growth rarely worry much about upstarts, especially in a field like educational toys. People buy what they know. If your product is strong, your sales will reflect that. Mojo has a strong enough product for the most part (their dinosaurs are lacking, sorry), and they have produced a figure line with few, if any, risks. Hopefully, they get a good start out the door, and they see the kind of growth Collecta has. As we can see, though, as Collecta's market has grown, and their profits increased, they have improved the quality of their figures. Quite the opposite of Schleich. Mojo faces great market competition from Collecta, and if I'm understanding correctly, there may be some personal bad blood between those two businesses. That may very well work out for us, the collectors, as it will create some much needed competition in the field. We'll see how all this works out.

This is obviously just my two cents. But from a business perspective, I'm really not seeing any Schleich juggernaut outside of Europe, and every year they get more conservative, indicating that what they are doing isn't paying off, and they still aren't seeing adequate profits to make them feel confident in experiementing with new, creative ventures.
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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:48 pm

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.................

This is obviously just my two cents. But from a business perspective, I'm really not seeing any Schleich juggernaut outside of Europe, and every year they get more conservative, indicating that what they are doing isn't paying off, and they still aren't seeing adequate profits to make them feel confident in experiementing with new, creative ventures.

Hi, Sphyrna Very Happy

I used to be in sales also, and after 17 years in an American owned compgny I follow your line of thought completely and fully aggree.

The exception is that we, of course, see Europe as the centre of the World, just as Americans see their continent as the centre.

In Denmark I have never seen Safari in shops, E- or others. Or Bullyland or Papo for that matter. Here I think CollectA has a chance, if only they had not got hold of the wrong distributor who is much too timid and only imports a very little range of figueres.

But I also see Schleich as a compagny with internal battles. After more than 70 years as a family owned compagny there are new managers, new measurements of success, perhaps lifelong traditions are being crushed, earlier successes are being looked down upon.

One of the reasons for their enormous succes in Europe, as I see it, is their "finely masked net" of distribution. Here you see them everywhere. And that is expensive. In Denmark they are simply getting too expensive !

Elves etc must also be very expensive to distribute, and very vulnerable in transport because of the cardboard .

All in all I aggree with you that Schleich may be in trouble. But it could well be temporary.

What do you others think ???
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schleich61



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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:23 am

Omaha? Thanks for the correction, Sphyrna. That's hilarious.

Interesting comment about Safari, Ltd. and it's market share. Here in Northern California, it is nearly impossible to find Safari figurines anywhere other than museums, from what I've seen. Schleich figurines, however, are everywhere. I know that some of the local retail toy stores used to carry limited Safari sections, but discontinued them because of a lack of business.
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Kikimalou
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:07 am

My two cents to,

I agree about a lot of things here, the Schleich's conservative strategy was my point last year in the topics about the Schleich 2011. That's why I'm not sad, I have no hope about the Schleich lines and I have good surprise this year, because the Schleich models are less chubby, because of the TOO EXPENSIVE porcupine, because of the wolverine. It's enough for me to be happy with the less innovative line on the market.

So... What about the steamroller ? Less than 10 years ago I was able to find SAFARI ltd models in several places, Bullyland too... Now ? Maybe a few Bullyland... And SAFARI Ltd none Sad
Last year at the Plankendaele zoo store, I was able to find PAPO, SCHLEICH and even some COLLECTA. In 2011, SCHLEICH, SCHLEICH and SCHLEICH...
I can find some places who only sale PAPO because I'm living in France, but I can find a lot of places where SCHLEICH is alone now.
I heard a lot of collectors here who told us they can only find SCHLEICH in a lot of place s in the world... Even in Northern California as it seems...
I'm not living in a small town, I'm living in the European blue banana so I can imagine what I could find in smaller places What a Face

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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:40 pm

I totally agree with Chris a few years ago,
I found the Safari, and even AAA Bullyland now
is the Desert, in any store I can find that the Schleich, Papo shelves are increasingly rare, Bully virtually disappeared.
If they are,
there are only a few older models. I asked when the news comes from Papo I was told that the representative of the brand is not passed.
On the other hand, the feast of Schleich expands throughout the new store, and full of animals, even the garden, possesses great delight and shelves packed.
A real steamroller crushes all that they gene. Safari, nothing more than one store, I have long commands in the United States and recently in Germany.
Bully is increasingly rare even on the other side of the border in the country of origin?
The Swiss side is the same policy .....
Is it the policy of Treats, which is the highest ....?

scratch Suspect study What a Face
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:22 pm

I just got done reading this very interesting conversation. I guess I must be very lucky where I live because I can easily find all of the papo, schleich, and safari at multiple places within one half hour of my home. My favorite store carries all three lines at a decent price. I probably have 25 stores that carry either papo, schleich, or safari or a combo of brands. I can not get bullyland or collecta anywhere locally (Only on the internet).

I do alot of traveling through out the USA and have found the "Big Three" mentioned above to be easy to find. Bullyland to a limiting extent pops up here and there. I have never found Collecta in a US store. I live about an hour from the Canadian border and travel there once a year and find mostly SChleich and Safari as the brands available there.
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sphyrna18



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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:21 pm

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I can not get bullyland or collecta anywhere locally (Only on the internet).

I do alot of traveling through out the USA and have found the "Big Three" mentioned above to be easy to find. Bullyland to a limiting extent pops up here and there. I have never found Collecta in a US store. I live about an hour from the Canadian border and travel there once a year and find mostly SChleich and Safari as the brands available there.

That really does seem to be the trend. I've yet to come across Collecta in any store, and I haven't actually seen a Bullyland figure since I was a child, and even then, it was only at the Smithsonian's one gift shop. Personally, I can't say that I really have yet to accept Collecta as a Major Player - more of an up-and-coming. However, Collecta used to do the Nature's Wonders figures, back when they were Procon Collecta, and I've seen those turn up, although rarely, at Target stores. Ok, actually probably only once.

I still remember when AAA was the predominant figure - mostly because it was imported through Safari Ltd. IMO, they still have the absolute best reptile figures of any of the companies, but they are nearly impossible to find anymore outside of hole-in-the-wall "roadside attraction" zoo gift shops and what not. Schleich has pushed their product into some of the big-box chains, like Target, Toys R Us, and Tractor Supply (?!), and this has been largely seen as a betrayal by the independent store owners and nich market suppliers. Safari used to be headed in that direction, but I've noticed over the last few years they have started to focus more and more on internet sales than on big-box retailers. This is apparently proving rather successful for them, as they show signs of continued growth and profitablity.

Perhaps we can look to the companies' products for a hint at market shares. I recall Safari putting out the call for suggestions and/or requests. However, it came with the caveat that they would only seriously consider producing animals with global appeal, and therefore, requests/suggestions for North American animals should be limited. They stated that overall, most North American animals have appeal to people who live in North America or are collectors of animals figures, but not to the general public in other areas of the world. That also happens to be why they broke out their Wild Safari North American Wildlife figures from the rest of their Wild Safari figures. It streamlined their products for retailers who were not familiar with/interested in selling figures of animals they felt their customers would not recognize or readily purchase.

There are a lot of deciding factors that determine whether an animal figure is produced, and I think it is important that we as consumers keep that in mind when we look to these companies each year for their new introductions. It is easy to see some of the determining factors just by looking at the products available already: For instance, Schleich does not seem to be pushing into many "exotic" markets such as in Asia or South America, and they do not produce any figures from either of those continents except for those that are featured in zoos through out Europe. Does Schliech even produce any reptiles other than the Crocodile?

What's the biggest difference, IMO, between the companies? Where the products are being marketed influences what will sell. Safari's production of animals such as Snow Leopards Red Pandas, Spectacled Cobras, Emerald Tree Monitors, etc. hint at Safari's bid in the Asian marketplace. As of now, they are the only one of the Big Three that has those animals in production. Their expanding market in South America is evidenced less by the inclusion of a Llama and Jaguar in their products (which are staples in the Big Three) than by their introduction of a Capybara, multiple Green Iguana figures, and high inclusion rate of South American frogs in their Incredible Creatures line. They are producing figures of animals that are highly recognizable to people in various parts of the world, even though most Americans have never heard of a Capybara. The South American market demanded one, so they produced.

All in all, what this means is that Schleich isn't investing in expanding markets. At least not at present. Their presence in stores over the presence of other brands typically has more to do with the distribution company and how savvy the reps are. I've seen those "balances of power" switch 100 times when reps change districts and everything else. What concerns me most, therefore, isn't that I'm not seeing a lot of brands in local shops (internet sales are set to top physical retail sales within the next few years, anyway), but that I'm not seeing any innovation on the part of some of my favorite companies ( Shocked Schleich) that expands them into developing markets.
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:39 pm

Interesting discussion, Sphyrna. I was under the impression that Safari, Ltd. has produced, and continues to produce, a wide range of animal species because it specifically places a very high value on selling its lines as adjuncts to learning processes for children and teenagers. You are indicating otherwise, howver, in asserting that Safari is "making a play" for emerging markets around the world. Is this borne out by sales data, broken down into geographical regions? If so, how does this square with Safari's long history of producing a wide range of species?

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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:08 pm

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Interesting discussion, Sphyrna. I was under the impression that Safari, Ltd. has produced, and continues to produce, a wide range of animal species because it specifically places a very high value on selling its lines as adjuncts to learning processes for children and teenagers. You are indicating otherwise, howver, in asserting that Safari is "making a play" for emerging markets around the world. Is this borne out by sales data, broken down into geographical regions? If so, how does this square with Safari's long history of producing a wide range of species?


Don't get me wrong, I believe that Safari IS very education oriented. However, expanding into new markets and placing a high value on the educational quality of the animal species represented are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Safari has said that in regards to suggestions/requests for figures they were most interested in non-North American species. Not that they wouldn't consider North American species, just that they were most interested in suggestions for animals from outside North America, but that people in other countries tend to have less interest in North American animals. Around the same time, they issued press releases that they were attending an international toy show in Dubai, which is largely considered to be the gateway to selling products in the Middle East and Asia. These press releases were more specific as to Safari's intentions to expand into opening markets in these parts of the world as well as in South America. Safari has always produced a vast array of animal species, but that was the first time they actually made clear that they were looking to expand into new markets, and that they were going to be producing figures of animals that would make that happen.

Safari is certainly more focused on the educational quality of their figures than Schleich, Papo, or Collecta. This is evidenced in their lines such as the Carnegie Collection, Monterey Bay Aquarium Collection; both have amazing attention to the scientific accuracy of the figures, include educational information with each figure about the animal it represents, as well as an overall adherence to scale. In the past, they placed greater emphasis on the fact that each figure within the collections was accurately scaled with the other figures in that collection, and that having each figure would give a realistic impression of how these animals compared with one another. Realistically, this served not only an educational purpose, but also promoted collectibility.

Striving to create educationally enriching products while expanding into new markets and expanding sales go hand in hand. By focusing on species other than North American animals, they are able to simultaneously produce species that will be recognizable to people in other markets (remember: people buy what they know) while introducing the rest of the world (where they have name recognition to generate sales) to new species. This is an effective strategy. If we look back at a collection like The Vanishing Wild, we can see that this was definitely a collection driven by educational value. But ultimately, the line was discontinued, likely because it was harder sell - the figures were big and heavy, meaning that small children weren't able to easily play with them (not to mention, they made outstanding blunt force weapons); also many very endangered species are not the "charismatic megafauna" that make great-selling figures, so they were somewhat limited in the species they could include and expect to sell (they didn't even pursue making all the possible species that would have sold (Giant Panda?)); the shipping cost to retailers must have been steep, which was reflected in the prices of the figures... The list goes on and on why such an amazing, educational collection was discontinued, but they mostly boil down to Safari's commitment to the educational aspects outweighing their pandering to the market trends. I think that Safari continues to some extent to occassionally produce figures that are more educational than economically beneficial, but they are smart enough to realize that if they want to continue to produce any figures in the future, they have to stay focused on the sales-viability of everything they produce.

Hence, your impressions of Safari are not wrong or misguided, at least I don't believe they are. But as far as I can tell, educational quality is only one part of a very intricate puzzle that determines which animals are to be produced.

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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:04 am

Well, Sphyrna, I fully agree that producing figurines, as Safari has always done, to serve as adjuncts to the educational process for children and young people is certainly not mutually exclusive vis-a-vis efforts to expand into new markets, but I don't see any evidence yet provided that there is a causal link between the two, as you are strongly asserting. With all due respect, a few press releases in Dubai do not constitute much evidence of a sea change in their production and marketing approaches.

Are you sure you are not conflating a longstanding practice with an assumption about Safari's overall worldwide marketing plans? I'm not saying that there isn't a link, but merely that you haven't provided us any evidence of this beyond naked assertions. Do you have links to press releases by Safari or other salient documentation you can provide us with?

For the record, I agree with your criticisms of Schleich's direction under its relatively new ownership, and am personally disappointed with the stunning lack of imagination it has recently displayed in its new wildlife figurines. As far as Safari goes, the scuttlebutt among collectors I've heard in the last three years, for whatever it's worth, is that Safari has fallen on fiscal hard times and is struggling to compete without a strong worldwide retail presence in the Western markets. This may be untrue, and I personally hope it is, because I have always greatly admired the quality of their wildlife offerings, and also continue to respect their obvious commitment to using their figurines to educate, as well as make a profit.

You also mentioned the Carnegie Collection and Monterey Bay Aquarium lines, which are both fantastic, IMHO. However, both of these lines are relatively ancient, and I don't believe that they have generated the retail sales figures that Safari initially hoped for. One can obtain almost all of the figurines in both lines, especially the latter, incredibly cheaply, even though most of these figurines were retired many, many moons ago. I may well have underestimated Safari's financial footing, but it seems to me that Schleich is a "streamroller" and that, unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much of an alternative to it in the marketplace, and I say this as someone who only collects Schleich and some Starlux, along with the occasional odd figurines by AAA and Safari.

It seems to me that another possible approach by Safari might be to establish itself as the dominant online presence by undercutting Schleich's woefully overpriced new figurines. No retail presence needed, low overhead, and an emphasis on Safari's high design and production standards might well carry the day in the long term, it seems to me. In addition, it might create a web "supersite" which would allow visitors to access educational materials and external links about each figurine produced and utilize this approach to market its figurines as dual-purpose as toys and as educational materials. Such a site could be utilized to introduce customers from around the world to the fauna in emerging market regions and also might be a powerful tool in developing programs to be marketed to schools in all geographical regions.
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 ? ~ Schleich Company ~ Masters of Suspense ~   Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:33 am

Okay, I'm going to do the unthinkable - reply to my own comment...! I've now done my research at safariltd.com, and I was floored by what I didn't find there.

A quick count revealed 41 trade show appearances in 2011. Almost all of them are in the USA or EU, with single shows in HK, Mexico City, Guadalajara and Melbourne. Not even a single show in any the "emerging markets" you referred to.

A look at the roster of available wildlife figurines shows that other than the few species you listed, most of which have been available for several years, the great preponderance of Safari wildlife figurines represent species indigenous to North America and the EU or very popular species from Africa, etc.

The listing of linked news articles and press releases dates back to 2006. Only one of them really references an "emerging market" and that is the one authored by Ramona Pariente, President of Safari, Ltd. The first paragraph reads: "This year we participated at the Middle East Toy Fair for the first time. We heard about the exhibition from direct mailings sent to us in Miami, Florida. I decided to try out the show since, being familiar with the Middle East through various business trips, I was almost sure that this was an emerging market that should be taken seriously. We have always sold before in the region, but never on the level I thought we should be."
She never visited any retail outlets, and evidently, her only contact was with those interested individuals who came to her booth, many of them teachers. She said she made some contact with local retailers, and that as a result, Safari product was being sold at Geant and one educational store (all in Dubai, evidently).

Nowhere else in the entire website could I find anything that in any way referenced any of the "emerging markets" you have referenced.

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