Beanie Babies were
created and are owned by Ty Warner.
Ty's full name is H.Ty
Warner. He was supposedly named after the baseball player Ty
Cobb. The "H." represents no name.
Ty started working in the plush toy industry with Dakin,
where he worked both as a sales rep and in product design.
In 1980, Ty left Dakin and took a 3 year vacation in Italy.
He returned to the United States in 1984 and by 1985 had
started Ty, Inc. He decided to concentrate on designing and
marketing stuffed cats. He found a stuffed toy manufacturer
in Seoul, Korea that became his supplier.
His first product was a Himalayan stuffed cat that retailed
for $20. The appeal of these cats were that they looked
realistic and they could be posed in different positions.
They were under-stuffed with tiny PVC pellets in their feet
that helped keep them in a posed position.
Ty got a second mortgage on his small condo in Hinsdale,
Illinois, to finance his company. In the beginning he worked
out of his condo. He'd have the cats shipped from Korea and
then would have them trucked to his condo, where he would
reship them to fill orders.
His cats were selling well. He had 10 styles of the same
Himalayan cat in 10 different colors. Each cat had its own
Within a short period of time Ty rented a 12,000 square foot
warehouse in Lombard, Illinois and hired two employees.
His company moved on to producing dogs, monkeys and bears.
Then on to farm animals and jungle animals. By 1992, Ty had
a catalog with dozens of animals, priced at $5, $10, and $20
There were no quality stuffed toys in
1993 that sold in the $5 range. Everything was either
plastic or hard stuffed. So in 1993, Ty introduced Beanie
Babies to the world.
The next nine Beanie Baby styles that were introduced are
the "Original Nine." The designs were copied from the best
designs of Ty's larger animals. The original nine were
Chocolate, Cubbie, Pinchers, Raspberry Patti, Spot without a
spot, Squealer, Flash, Splash and Legs.
Beanie Babies started showing up in stores in 1994 and at
first the sales were slow. This was attributed to the fact
that there were only 9 styles of Beanies. Every 6 months Ty
would introduce another 9 to 12 styles. As the variety of
Beanie Babies grew, so did the sales. By late 1995 it was
hard for retailers to keep them on
Fifteen years later Ty's Beanie Babies are still one of the
most successful products ever retailed. They are still
popular with people of all ages even though they don't sell
as well as they did in the past.