Beanie Babies are a line of popular stuffed animals, made by Ty Warner Inc., which was later renamed as Ty Inc. in late 1993. Each toy has an inner "posable lining" and is stuffed with plastic pellets (or "beans") rather than conventional stuffing (see PVC and PE), giving Beanie Babies a flexible feel.
The original nine Beanie Babies launched in 1993 were Legs the Frog, Squealer the Pig, Spot the Dog, Flash the Dolphin, Splash the Whale, Chocolate the Moose, Patti the Platypus, Brownie the Bear (later renamed "Cubbie"), and Pinchers the Lobster (with some tag errors with "Punchers") .
Ty, Inc. stopped producing the product in 1999; but consumer demand led them to reconsider. In 2000, a Beanie Baby named "The Beginning" was introduced to remind people of Beanie Babies' comeback.
Teenie Beanies, an offshoot of the Beanie Babies line, were made by additional manufacturers for a few McDonalds Happy Meal promotions. They are not new Beanie Babies, but Beanie Babies in a smaller size.
Beanie Babies began to emerge as popular collectibles in late 1995, and became a hot toy. Ty systematically retired various designs, and many people assumed that all "retired" designs would rise in value the way that early retirees had. The craze lasted through 1999 and slowly declined after the Ty company announced that they would no longer be making Beanie Babies and made a bear called "The End".
Since the beginning, Beanie Babies have included two tags for identification: a heart-shaped "swing tag" at the top, and a fabric "tush tag" at the bottom. Both tags have been redesigned completely over time. Between 1994 and 1996, the swing tags had "To" and "From" blanks in them for use as gifts. Starting in early 1996, the tags include four-line poems related to the Beanie Baby, and a date of birth for the toy. The poem and birthday concept was created by Lina Trivedi who is credited as authoring the poems on the first 136 poems that were introduced to the marketplace.
It was not uncommon for Beanie Babies to be accidentally shipped out with incorrect or misspelled tags, which sometimes increased the toy's value. On occasion, the poems, birth dates and even the names have been changed on certain Beanie Babies.
Business model 
Based on the sales and revenue of this toy, Ty Warner Inc. created an empire worth over $6 billion. In 1995, demand was increasing significantly, resulting in a profit of $250 million in the following year, with substantial re-sale value in the secondary market. In 2008 Ty, Inc. released a follow-up line, Beanie Babies 2.0, for use on online games on the Ty website.
Marketing strategies 
- Reasonable Price: Ty Warner wanted to keep Beanie Babies selling at a lower and more reasonable price, but did not want to mass produce them. In doing so, he followed steps 4 and 5 by limiting production and distribution, only selling to smaller retailers.
- Keep it Secretive: Ty Warner was able to keep people interested because they weren’t jaded by the constant advertisements that most large toy companies use; when people don’t know what to expect, it becomes more appealing.
- Surprise People: Unpredictability became entertaining to the mass public and made people even more eager to engage in the collection process of Beanie Babies.
- Limit Production: Limiting production ensured that keeping some Beanie Babies rare would keep people excited.
- Avoid Large Chain Retailers: Unlike most toys that are mass produced and retailed to major toy stores, Beanie Babies were sold at smaller, more refined specialty shops. This helped sustain the authentic image of Beanie Babies.
- Simplicity: Because only a few different colors of fabric were used for each Beanie Baby, costs were kept low. At the same time, this simplicity appealed to everyone because what they saw is what they got.
- Personification: Personification made Beanie Babies easier to relate to; every Beanie Baby had a Ty tag with a unique name, a background story including a birthday, and a poem. This would increase the product's appeal by adding a personal connection with the buyer, as it was no longer just a stuffed animal.
- Variety: Producing a variety of Beanie Babies attracted everyone because this tactic aims to please everyone’s taste. This ploy also made serious collectors more eager to collect every Beanie Baby out there.
- Retirements: Retirement created frenzy among Beanie Baby consumers. When Ty would retire a certain Beanie Baby, demand would increase, while supply would come to a halt. Three company Reps (Kevin King, Chris King and Bryan King), who are brothers, started this concept at the Atlanta market, when they noticed that other reps were saying "discontinued" (this gave the appearance that it was of lesser or even no value), the King brothers started telling their customer that these Beanies were "retiring". This concept led to record sales.
- Risk: Every previous strategy that Warner developed was a risk, and he succeeded in going against the norm.
Beanie Babies 2.0 
In early 2008, Ty decided it was time for Beanie Babies to go online. This new version of Beanie Babies was called Beanie Babies 2.0. The purchase of a Beanie Baby 2.0 provided its owner with a code to access a Beanie Babies interactive website.
List of Beanie Babies 
Notable Beanie Babies 
Garcia the bear 
Garcia the bear was released in January 1996 and retired in May 1997. He is a tie-dyed bear that seems to be a tribute to Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead. A group of differently colored dancing bears, originally artwork from the back of an album cover, was one of the band's many iconic images. The guitarist and the bear share a birthday, but the bear was supposedly "born" the year that Jerry died (Aug 9, 1995). The fast retirement for this Beanie Baby was due to an alleged lawsuit that the Garcia family filed against the Ty company, claiming that the name "Garcia" was used without permission from the family. In cooperation with the lawsuit, Garcia was retired and a similar bear named Peace was released.
The bright colors on Garcia the bear made him one of the most popular Beanie Baby styles.
Princess the bear 
Diana, Princess of Wales died on August 31, 1997. Warner announced the Beanie Baby Princess on October 29, 1997 in honor of Princess Diana. Warner said that all proceeds would be donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. The Princess Diana Beanie Baby was sent to vendors to distribute in the second week of December 1997. Some vendors had to wait until February 1998. Only 12 Beanie Baby Princesses were released to each vendor initially, but this changed due to strong demand.
Decade the bear 
Decade the bear was made in honor of Beanie Babies' tenth anniversary. Decade bears were made in white, royal blue, red, purple, orange, hot pink, green, gold, brown, and light blue. Most Decade bears have silver sparkles on their bodies.
Tabasco the bull 
Named after tabasco sauce. The name was changed to Snort to avoid copyright infringement.
Counterfeit Beanie Babies 
Counterfeit Beanie Babies began to surface in 1997. Early on, cheap knock-offs and fakes of commons were widely available at discount prices.
The FBI cracked down on counterfeit Beanie Babies in the late 1990s, and some people were prosecuted for direct known involvement in their commerce. For example, a St. Louis Park, MN couple was sentenced to prison, probation, and fines for their involvement in smuggling counterfeit beanies. York, North Yorkshire, England authorities seized more than 6000 Princesses and Britanniae from a ring.
During the wake of Beanie Babies' success, Beanie Baby-centric publications were issued. One of the largest was Mary Beth's Bean Bag World, a monthly magazine dedicated to Beanie Babies and competing plush toys. This magazine ran from 1997 to 2001.
Licensed Beanies 
In the late 2000s, Beanie Babies modeled after characters from popular children's franchises by Nickelodeon, DreamWorks and Paramount began appearing. These included characters from cartoons on the Nickelodeon television channel such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, as well as characters from DreamWorks Animation movies such as Shrek the Third and 20th Century Fox's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Beanie Babies have also been produced for characters from the Legend of the Guardians 2010 film and Guardians of Ga'Hoole book series.
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- Amy Carr (August 14, 1997). "Those Beanies are still hot, and there's no sign of the crazNe slowing down". Daily Herald. "Punchers the red lobster. Originally introduced in 1993, Punchers was redesigned in 1994 and renamed Pinchers."
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