Imagine by Rubies is leading the way of a refreshing “Girl Empowerment” trend in the production & marketing of Superheroine dress up attire!
We (Imagine by Rubies) tend to go deeper, we see the spots where, like you said, people aren’t targeting those areas. Black Widow, Black Panther or Falcon, I mean there is a market for it, these are cool characters and kids want to be them. So we can find certain niches, sell it and they sell well.
Developed in 2012 to focus on the growing trend in children’s dress-up attire, Imagine by Rubies is a toy division of Rubie’s Costume Company, Inc., offering a full line of dress-up costumes and accessories for children in separates as well as boxed sets. Each and every unique ensemble provides kids the opportunity to dress up as their favorite character not only on Halloween but 365 days of the year!
Their philosophy to encourage kids to dream, believe and achieve through the art of imagination shines through, particularly with the upcoming Captain America Civil War, Star Wars, Batman Vs. Superman Dawn of Justice, and DC Superhero Girls products made specifially for girls to dress up and action play! I couldn’t record the DC Superhero Girls costumes but they are spot on identical to their animated incarnations: Here’s a preview:
I had the pleasure to speak with Joanne Rudis, Divison Manager and Tom Schilling Marvel Brand Director both senior product developers with Imagine by Rubies, at the impressive Imagine by Rubies booth at Toy Fair 2016.-
AY: “I wanted to talk with you both about the products you have. I saw really cutting edge Star Wars, Civil War, Batman Vs. Superman products. One thing I was talking to Renne (Renne Fink, Rubies Sales Exceutive) about was the high quality of the girls merchandice now. Years ago you could’t find alot of the superhero girls stuff. Today you have (Wonder Womans) swords and tiara and Rey’s costumes and well done Black Widow outfits, so where are you guys in getting that together? How do you decide on products?”
Joanne: “I would probably start by saying girl empowerment is actually really on trend right now, girl empowerment is a buzzword for Mattel and Imagine, some of the other majors, even the retailers, so the products shifted focus on boys AND girls, and we spent more time on the details. Not only how the girls want to look with the details of costumes and the dress up pieces but how will they will play with them. So, what would make the experience of pretending you’re Wonder Woman from Dawn of Justice? What would really allow you to become Wonder Woman? It would be her gauntlets that are plastic and “clank clanging” as you move and lighting up. It would be the lasso you can actually spin and light up and having the costume that matches how she appears in the movie. It’s those combinations of things that could really bring that character to life for a young girl.”
Tom: “The trend now is away from the Disney Princess, the pinks and purples, girls want to be what the boys are. The classic superhero girls where they have the power, where they still can dress up in a tutu dress if they like but it’s more, maybe.. you know, strong. The industry responded and the market has blown up for girls play wear and like Joanne said it’s more empowerment for girls, they aren’t afraid to play like the boys do. They want to be as strong and powerful as they are.”
AY: “I can attest to that! I have a boy and a girl eight and six so they are close enough in age that they play a lot together. They’ll pretend to be Jedis and fighting with lightsabers. They’ll dress up and play superheroes and as I said before, I’m so pleased with your excellent Black Widow dress up pieces, my daughter was looking for that not too long ago and we were like why can’t we find one? And you guys have done an excellent job..”
Tom: “Thank you..”
AY: “Really top notch stuff… I was talking to David about how I wish I was a kid now..”
Tom: (chuckles) “Yeah!”
AY: “You know the costumes were no where near what they are now.. you remember when we grew up?”
Joanne: (chuckels) “It was those plastic masks the ones that cracked!”
AY: “With the little rubber band on the back!”
AY: “Now the costumes are so well done and very reasonably priced. Retailing like twenty bucks or so?”
Tom: “Some things as low as thirteen dollars up to fifty or sixty dollars all depending on the retailer and the price point and all. But with the marketing now, roleplay is in the toy aisle. Back when we were kids it was just during halloween and there wasn’t the backing behind it. There are so many more companies involved in it so it’s one of the few growing industries actually.. So it’s very exciting!”
Joanne: “Especially when there are characters that are aspirational, for boys or girls.”
It’s the attention to details and the quality. It’s every little thing we look at in the dress up set, down to what type of thread were going to be using to the materials, all those little details when all is said and done and you’re in that photo shoot and that little girl puts on the outfit, she’s the model, and she becomes that character, and she looks amazing or he looks amazing. That’s the moment for me personally that I think, we nailed it! When you see them not wanting to give back the garment!
Joanne: “That’s a really big push for parents. That generation their kids are gonna be princesses no mater what but they want their kids to go for that aspirational character. Again, that Girl Power is very on trend. It’s kind of where things are heading.”
AY: “Yeah, it’s a great thing to see, as a parent I’m telling you, I really appreciate the quality of the products, I’m a big fan of your work. I don’t think anyone does it better then you guys..
Tom & Joanne: “Thanks.”
AY: “My son saw the Black Panther outfit online and he says, Daddy! can I get that!? I say of course, as soon as it comes out. When will the Civil War stuff come out? Is that coming out right before the movie?”
Tom: “Stuffs gonna start hitting shelves about now. I know some store sets are hitting next week some towards the end of the month, but yeah, you’ll start seeing product in the next weeks and months.”
AY: “Yeah, he has his eyes all over the Black Panther.”
Tom: “Yeah that’s another thing too. We (Imagine by Rubies) tend to go deeper, we see the spots where, like you said people aren’t targeting those areas, Black Widow, Black Panther or Falcon I mean there is a market for it, these are cool characters & kids want to be them. So we can find certain niches, sell it and they sell well.”
AY: “Is there anything you want your customers to know about what your’e doing here? I’m going to showcase some of the fine work your’e doing here but behind the scenes it seems you guys are passionate and really invested in what your doing here.”
Tom: “Imagine now has been going strong for about three or four years, and we just keep growing year after year and you can tell by the booth size and we are on the design side of things and for me seeing a kid buying a dress up piece and getting excited about it. It’s why you make a product, that’s what inspires me. And the fact of what can we do next? It’s a new industry, it’s almost like whatever you want to create out of it you can, and that’s exciting.”
Joanne: “It’s the attention to details and the quality. It’s every little thing we look at in the dress up set, down to what type of thread were going to be using to the materials, all those little details when all is said and done and you’re in that photo shoot and that little girl puts on the outfit, she’s the model, and she becomes that character, and she looks amazing or he looks amazing. That’s the moment for me personally that I think, we nailed it! When you see them not wanting to give back the garment!”
Tom: “You know when you have a hit when some kid is when can I get this? can I have this? Can I keep it right now? That excitement. That’s kind of why we do what we do.”
AY: “Well thanks for talking with me and I really appreciate your work, I have kids that wear your stuff all the time. My daughter got as an incentive gift a Captain Phasma you guys had made, she loved it!”
Joanne: “Awww good! Well there’s more to come, alot of good stuff coming out!”
Look for Imagine by Rubies at your chain stores, online & local retailers! Follow them on Facebook
art credit-Imagine by Rubies /Author
interior-Warner Bros. Entertainment