One of our favorite companies that produces many different collectible items is Enesco. Today it is one of the largest operating in the United States. The company dates back to 1888 when it was called the N Shure Company. In the 1950s Eugene Freedman came to work as a salesman and worked his way up to eventually become President and CEO. At this time a name change occurred and the company was now called Enesco Imports. They were producing a line of items that included giftware, kitchenware and other novelty items. At this time all the items were being made in Japan. Some of their first items were Kitchen Pixies, Mother in the Kitchen and Ladies Heads.
During the 1960s, Japan sources became harder to come by and the company began to look elsewhere for suppliers. The result was, besides Japan, items were now being made in other countries including China, Hong Kong, Italy, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. In the 1980s, while other import companies could not adapt, Enesco grew because of its ability to add and change its lines.
A major line to become part of Enesco was Precious Moments. These darling faith based figurines were created by Sam Butcher. This alliance began in 1978 and has thrived ever since. The porcelain figurines and other related accessories have produced a major number of sales for the company. A different symbol is put on the bottom each year so you could identify what particular year it was made. A very cute special edition was made for children. A birthday train was offered with a clown conductor and started with a baby. Each year added had a different type of circus animal.
The first beginnings of its future success came from featuring national artists with specialty lines. Lucy Rigg, created two lines of cute bears called Lucy and Me and Chapeau Noelle. The Lucy & Me are brown ceramic bears about 3” tall and are dressed in various jobs and doing different activities. Chapeau Noelle came from the French word for hat and Noelle, Lucy’s daughter. These resin bears are wearing ornate hats with a feather on them. Patricia Hillman is an artist and author of children’s books. The bears came from her illustrations and were called Cherished Teddies. They were sculpted in a cast resin. They were given a name; a statement about their setting; registration number and certificate of adoption. These have proved to be quite popular. Kim Anderson designed charming little porcelain children and the series was called Pretty as a Picture.
Other popular lines have been Growing Up which featured birthday girls with their particular birthday year number on their dress or in their hand. These make great gifts for a grandma or other relative to give their favorite girl. As a follow up to this was the Afro American girls to honor black girls on their birthdays. Who could resist Garfield, the mischievous cartoon cat? Garfield was featured doing his favorite activities. A licensing agreement was worked out with Disney so Enesco could have some cute figures such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse and other favorite characters from their movies. A variety of cute cats and dogs have also been offered along with figurines, novelty kitchen items, planters and vases.
Our customers collect and decorate with these items because of their quality and ability to easily find them. An added factor is that most of the items range from $10 to $20 with many of them being under $10. This is a definite advantage when encouraging someone on what to start looking for. The main thing is to be able to answer questions and be of assistance to your customers. Always acknowledge the kids when they come with their parents to your shop or in your booth at a show. Encouraging kids is the best way to ensure future sales. If they are having a good time, they will want to come back to find something to spend their allowance on or as they get bigger, they own earned money.