César Millán may be the dog whisperer, but when it comes to the interactive pet world, WowWee has the magic touch. Following the success of its Fingerlings range—animatronic toys that attach to kids’ fingers—the Canadian kidtech company is doubling down on wearables with its new Pixie Belles line.
The fantastical creatures have tails covered in fur and magnetic paws that can clip onto kids’ clothes. Like Fingerlings, Pixie Belles come equipped with dozens of reactions that children can trigger by petting them or planting a kiss. The range also features a dance mode, with different moves (like salsa or ballet) triggered by those same sensors—all while the Pixie Belles hang out on kids’ shoulders.
“Fingerlings really set the trend for wearable pets,” says WowWee brand manager Sydney Wiseman. “We started to think about how to one-up everyone else, and our research and development team cracked the code. We figured out how to not only hold your pet in your hand, but also to put it next to you wherever you go.”
To take the range’s wearable nature a step further, Pixie Belles’ tails can be detached and worn as a bracelet. This way, Wiseman says, kids can take the toys with them, even if they’re headed somewhere pets (or toys, for that matter) may not be welcome.
Launching globally this month, Pixie Belles retail for US$14.99 and targets kids ages four to eight. And in the same way that Fingerlings expanded to include everything from monkeys to unicorns, new characters are set to hit shelves next year. Additionally, a minis program will launch in spring 2020. Instead of wearing them on your shoulder or wrist, the US$4.99 minis can be worn as rings and will spin manually on your finger.
And while some might assume the initial range’s focus on pinks and purples hints at a girl-skewing property, Wiseman says WowWee’s kid-testing of Pixie Belles shows both boys and girls go crazy for the interactive pets.
“I’m not a real believer in girls or boys toys,” she says. “I think Fingerlings is pretty gender-neutral, and we felt there was an opportunity with Pixie Belles to do a range that’s more focused on the magical and fantastical side of things.”
Moving forward, Wiseman says WowWee is considering a consumer products program inspired by the brand. Fingerlings opened the door to licensing, with products across dozens of categories including apparel, publishing and puzzles. Apparel and accessories, Wiseman says, are two obvious categories for Pixie Belles. She says licensing partners have already reached out with offers, and are asking to be kept in the loop following the range’s launch.
“It’s been really well-received, and I think the magical, wearable component surpasses every other interactive pet at the same price point. We feel like this brand has a lot of longevity.”