Ty Warner is the entrepreneur behind the idea of cute toys. He created a toy empire worth 6 billion dollars and his current estimated wealth is 2.4 billion dollars. His entrepreneurial skills have made him into one of the richest people of the world.
Warner was born on 3rd September 1944 in Chicago, Illinois. He studied at the Lyons Township High School and then attended the St. John’s Military Academy in Wisconsin. He enrolled in Kalamazoo College, Michigan but dropped out a year later. Warner went to LA to enter the field of acting however after little success he decided to return to Chicago. He got a job with the plush toy maker Dakin where he stayed for almost twenty years. In 1986 he sold his house and used up all his life savings to start ‘Ty Inc.’ in 1986. In 1993 he launched what became the reason for his huge success; Beanie Babies.
Beanie Babies became the biggest frenzy of all time. Warner achieved this by calculating every business move that he made. Firstly Beanie Babies were really cheap to buy costing only 5 dollars. This meant that kids could easily buy them with their pocket money. Instead of going for the big names in retailing such as Toy R Us Ty Warner went for small retailers which made his toys seem not only inexpensive but this move also limited availability, a big marketing element. Then Warner gave a name, a poem and a birthday to every Beanie Baby. In this way children could actually relate to them like real pets. Another one of Warner’s trick was to retire a Beanie Baby line due to which their production would be stopped making the few remaining toys valuable and rare. Due to this the stores would stock up on that particular line of Beanie Babies before they retired.
Warner used a clever system of demand and supply. He would deliberately create a shortage of toys. In 2000, Peanut, the royal blue elephant was sold for 3000 dollars on eBay. It was made in that color ‘by mistake’ and because so little of them were available, everyone wanted to collect them. Ty Warner also announced that all his Beanie Babies would retire in 1999. This created a craze among people who ran to the stores to buy any toy they could find. By the end of 1999 he asked the public to ‘save’ the toys by voting on the website whether the Beanie Babies should continue being made or not. This brilliant tactic ensured that people all over the world were involved in this and consequently sending the sales over the roof.
He has invested in several properties, hotels and golf courses. His hotels and resorts also include the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, the Four Seasons Resort in Santa Barbara, the Sandpiper golf course and many others. Ty Inc. consists of only 100 shares making Ty Warner a very rich man.