We are not sure about a lot of things in life – but the one thing we know for certain, is that somewhere in this world, a baby is gnawing and sucking on a 18cm tall rubber giraffe. The popularity of Sophie la Girafe baffles experts and parents alike – but the secret is in the simplicity.
∇ The Birth of Sophie
The first Sophie was manufactured in a small factory in Rumilly in the Haute-Savoie region of France on 25 May 1961. For French babies, teether-toy Sophie la Girafe has become a right of passage. Sold at supermarkets all over France, Sophie was proudly French and their best kept secret! For decades, creator-company Vulli was content with Sophie’s local success. When Serge Jacquemier was hired out of retirement to be chief executive in 2006, he found Sophie’s container was printed only in French? Vulli’s main owners, two French families, thought the giraffe is so typically French, it can’t sell elsewhere. But Mr. Jacquemier was convinced Sophie would be popular in other parts of the world. He was determined to find out why Sophie was so popular.
∇ Simply Magic
Serge hired a psychotherapist to examine the magical little toy who concluded the chew toy tapped into all five senses: sight with its contrasting colours; hearing with its soft squeak; taste because it is easy to chew and contained no toxins; and the touch and smell of the natural rubber. It was easy for babies to follow the natural rubber smell and find their Sophie in a heap of toys. The size of Sophie made her easy to hold and she didn’t take up a lot of space. Simple yet so perfect! It was time for Sophie to travel!
∇ Sophie gets a Passport
Sophie arrived in the US more than a decade ago in the suitcase of Helene Dumoulin-Montgomery. At first, the French expat couldn’t convince anyone to buy the imported animals – Toys R Us rejected it, saying it is too expensive! But for Teri Weiss, who sells $500 infant dresses at the Elegant Child boutique in Beverly Hills, the cost was not a problem. In 2002, Teri decided to place Sophie in the gift baskets she sends to celebrity mothers. Shortly after a Hollywood agent phoned her saying that Kate Hudson’s son Ryder LOVED the giraffe! In no time Teri was selling 125 giraffes per day. Now you can find Sophie almost everywhere!
∇ So what makes Sophie la Girafe so popular?
Well – parents love the fact that Sophie is of European descent – somehow knowing that she was made in the Alps gives them peace of mind. Sophie is 100 percent natural rubber derived from the sap of the Hevea tree. Her spots are rendered in food-grade paint, so no stress if baby manages to turn Sophie into an albino giraffe. Sophie La Girafe’s soft feel, like baby’s mother’s skin, stimulates emotional responses that soothe a baby and promote healthy growth and well-being – and off course – all the chewable parts are a huge relief for sore, teething gums! To this day, Sophie la Girafe is still traditionally produced with a process that involves more than 14 manual operations!
Does your baby have a Sophie?
Images via Pinterest , Kids Emporium, Amazon, PS Photo