No plans for Leia merchandise at the Disney Store?

Leia doll (back in the day)Last week, Natalie Wreyford asked the Disney Store on Twitter why they have no Leia dolls or other products. Their response:

Currently, there are no plans for Leia products at Disney Store, Natalie. Have a wonderful day!

No so shocking, really, given the current climate. (Not to mention that the ‘have a wonderful day!’ is delightfully discordant here. How very, Disney.) They do later offer to follow up with Natalie. Perhaps they noticed the response? I first saw this on The Mary Sue, and today it’s on Jezebel. Hello, mainstream!

Given the reports from Star Wars Weekends that Her Universe stuff was selling like hotcakes down in Orlando, is it really such of a stretch for the Disney Store to dream up some Leia merchandise? As Jezebel points out, Disney is more than aware of the demand for Frozen stuff – why can’t they imagine that people may want Leia dolls, Padme dolls (dear lord, you could found an American Girl-style empire on that woman’s wardrobe alone) or even a few t-shirts?

Hell, turn some of that in-house Princess expertise to a Star Wars test run, or simply partner with Her Universe to get a few exclusive tees and dresses, bags and necklaces in stores across the country, and count your money.

Yes, Star Wars is a brand that is seen as being primarily “for boys.” But that doesn’t mean girls don’t like it. (Hello!) That doesn’t mean that girls obsessed with Elsa (or their parents and grandparents) won’t pick up a Leia shirt, an Ahsoka lightsaber, a Queen Amidala dress while they’re in your stores. This is not a zero-sum game: Crossing the aisle of the tired boy-franchise/girl-franchise gender binary means you get more money. What’s so hard to understand about that?

UPDATE: Steve Sansweet has an entry on the official blog about the Disney Store Star Wars offerings. Several comments are already addressing this issue, but if you feel the need to join them, please BE NICE. After all, Steve and the StarWars.com team are not at fault here.

10 thoughts on “No plans for Leia merchandise at the Disney Store?

  1. Arnold Corso

    Disney already has a near monopoly on girls’ toys and girls entertainment franchises. By contrast, big part of the appeal of Star Wars for Disney was to get a larger share of the boys’ market. So while I’d love to see Disney market Star Wars to both genders, I think it’d need more proof that the girls’ SW market is big enough to justify efforts there. As you noted, it’s not exactly struggling in the girls market.

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      1. Arnold Corso

        That’s not “proof”, that’s anecdotes. What I think Disney would need to see is market research of a large slice of the demographic. Focus groups, surveys, reports on consumer buying patterns, etc. I don’t have that, but I’m sure somebody does and I’d be curious to see it. Disney’s probably not going to go after female SW fans if they’re only 10% of the SW market, but might if it’s 40%.

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        1. Dunc Post author

          For some reason I’m pretty sure they have access to the Weekends sales figures. In any case, it’s not like selling stuff to girls means taking away stuff for boys.

          The success of Her Universe proves, if nothing else, that there IS an untapped market, and we WILL buy. In droves. It’s not just Weekends, HU has lines – LONG lines – at every convention they go to. The market is clearly there.

        2. Paul

          As an accountant, I can unfortunately tell you that right now there is someone in sales and finance at Disney who is calculating exactly how much money it will cost to develop products for the girls’ Star Wars market.

          This isn’t just what the items will cost (design, development, and production) but what it will cost to store them, to advertise them, to pay the additional staff to manage and sell the additional product line, to ship them, and so on. These costs are always WAY higher than most people think.

          The raw sales figures don’t matter one bit…only whether the sales figures are enough over the costs to make it worth the effort of rolling out new products. Companies make much higher percentages of money by selling large quantities of products, and if someone at Disney thinks that sales numbers aren’t going to allow them hit those magic percentages, the product lines will never appear.

          The best thing you can do is to encourage people to buy these kinds of products the moment they hit the market to send the message that it is worth Disney’s effort to support Star Wars products for both genders.

          By the way, my wife loves Star Wars (particularly the character of Mara Jade) and I’ve promised my daughter that she will get to watch the original trilogy with mommy and daddy for her sixth birthday…so there’s one more girl that will be wanting Star Wars stuff very soon.

        3. Dunc Post author

          I do realize there are other factors at work here, but… The bar is very, very low here at the moment. They wouldn’t have to do much: I don’t think anyone expects them to go full Princess (ha ha) on Leia. They literally could do a handful of t-shirts (pretty cheap to produce) and lunchboxes/tote bags and it would be more than they’re doing now. An endcap worth of stuff, tops.

          The real tell will be when the Rebels and Episode VII stuff starts coming. We know the cartoon has two major female characters – we can pretty safely assume that the new trio will have at least Daisy Ridley’s character. Will they be present in the stores? Will they get anywhere near the amount of product coverage as the male characters do? Because people will notice, and if Ahsoka is any indication those characters will have a fair amount of male fans as well.

  2. Jack

    Maybe Disney marketers are worried that Leia (or any girl centered toys) would scare boys away from the Star Wars toy line. I think that’s ridiculous, but there has got to be a reason for the complete lack of girl products.

    Reply

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