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August 08, 2021

The secret behind a best-selling product

Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle me Elmo, Furby, Sophie the Giraffe.

What do these toys all have in common?

Well, they were all highly sought-after toys that stores just couldn't keep on their shelves.

And even though Sophie the Giraffe -- a baby teether -- originated in France in 1961 it is still a hit today with parents and babies alike across the globe.

In fact, more Sophie's are sold each year in France (816,000 in 2010) than babies are born (796,000).

But what is it that makes a tiny teething toy like Sophie so popular?

Is it the marketing? Is it the brand? Is it word of mouth? Is it the product itself?

Helene Dumoulin-Montgomery began importing the little giraffe with its big dark eyes and blush cheeks to America in 2000.

Sophie the Giraffe got her big break in Hollywood, California. She was a pricey little teether, but parents were willing to pay the price to keep their little ones happy and to keep their own sanity.

The seven-inch rubber giraffe, selling for roughly $25, was sold in upscale baby boutiques and was a popular item for celebrity baby gift baskets and baby showers. Sophie was known as a "status teether" and was soon getting celebrity endorsements that pushed her to fame.

As well, Dumoulin-Montgomery sent out free samples to bloggers who tested and wrote glowing reports about Sophie shooting her even farther to teether stardom.

Now that's something to chew on.

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

What is it that makes you want to purchase a product? (Word of mouth, marketing, advertising, the brand, the product itself?) 




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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...