In the world of children’s toys, everything is the same as with adult designers and brands – there are also hits and trends. Pop-its, slimes, other tactilely pleasing objects, or certain plush toys are going viral. Last year’s tops included stuffed avocados and monster-like Kissy-Missy toys that resemble Sesame Street characters at their worst, as well as the anthropomorphic Lalafanfan duck.
The latter has gone far beyond toy stores – and while children do like plush ducklings, you can find them most often in TikTok, where hyaluronic ducklings have their accounts.
That said, finding information about the ubiquitous toy is almost impossible – the duckling has no single official retailer or even an official website or online store for the manufacturer. We’ll tell you where the meme toy came from.
What is Lalafanfan?
Even if you do not have children, you have probably seen the toy in the form of a cheeky duck with a blush and an anthropomorphic body – they make Tik-Toks about it (over 110 million videos on the hashtag #lalafanfan), they sell it in the still surviving stalls in underground passages, they offer it on large marketplaces and, of course, on AliExpress. It was the international company with a large share of goods from Asian countries that was the first to note the growing popularity of the duck.
In China, South Korea, and Japan, the toy became a hit back in the summer; Americans began to buy up Lalafanfan in the fall. According to AliExpress, in October and November, U.S. users searched more than 100,000 times for products on the request “Lalafanfan duckling”.
In November, the duckling led the top category of soft toys in terms of sales. In December, toy sales retained the top position along with toys based on the “Squid Game” series and Huggy Wuggy. The popularity of the plush duck is confirmed by the data of the main sale of 2021 “11.11” on AliExpress: Americans bought the toy duck more than 20 thousand times in two days.
Lalafanfan did not decrease in sales during the winter months either – the peak was in January.
Where did the duckling Lalafanfan Cafe Mimi come from?
Originally the image was created by the Korean puppet studio Lalafanfan Cafe Mimi, which produces a variety of children’s toys. But in 2021 it was hyaluronic duckling that made the shot. All because of its unusual, puffy design the toy was nicknamed in Korea, where it first became popular. Gradually, other manufacturers picked up the trend, and the duckling began to change sizes and was produced in the format of key chains, covers for wireless headphones, nightstands, pillows and slippers, cases for phones, purses, notebooks, and pencil cases in the form of a duckling.
Korean clothing brand Chuu with Lalafanfan Cafe Mimi even has a collaboration – it includes fur slippers and pajamas with ducks, hand mirrors, fluffy analogs of slimes, and, of course, hats for toy ducks.
But the greatest interest children (and adults) still show to the soft toy, which separately can be doping outfits and jewelry. The Lalafanfan duckling for kids of the 2020s became something like Barbie for girls of the 90s – it is hard to say which of these toys looks more realistic to the human body, but both can be dressed up in beautiful dresses, jeans, and cropped tops, buying clothes as needed.
What is the reason for the toy’s popularity with children and adults? First, the doll studio has taken care of the kawaii design of the duckling, which is very kind. All the successor manufacturers stick to it. It can’t scare a child (like, for example, the same stuffed toys Huggy-Wuggy and no less popular Kissy-Missy, which most resemble monsters from horror movies) or cause him aggression, and adults like its simplicity.
Second, it is a tactilely pleasant plush object, which fits into the concept of anti-stress toys like pop-its and slimes. A certain principle of absurdity worked here as well – usually plush toys become understandable, comfortable animals like bears, bunnies, or mice, but not a pet bird.
And while for children Lalafanfan simply became a coveted toy that everyone owns, teenagers and adults turned the duckling into a Tik-Tok meme. The app features challenges on how to dress up the toy in as little time as possible, the obligatory unpacking, sketches with the duckling and other Cafe Mimi toys, instructions on how to cut a feathered figure out of paper, and reviews of new costumes. And, of course, whole accounts devoted to the life of the Lalafanfan duck in town.
Okay, I want one too! Where can I get one?
First, you have to decide what is it exactly what you need – the stuffed duckling itself or something with the image of Lalafanfan (you can limit yourself to the case for wireless headphones). In any case, it is better to search for your favorite things on large marketplaces (AliExpress – above all, because the choice is much greater). Buying a toy in the transition or on a dubious site is not the best idea, it may be poorly assembled and look very different in reality than in the picture.
On YouTube, you can find detailed instructions on how to distinguish the real duckling Cafe Mimi from low-quality copies of third-party manufacturers. Spoiler: look for the neck wide ribbon with the inscription “Cafe Mimi”, compare the beak (the original has a muted matte plastic, fakes – reddish acid), feel the cheeks (should be tightly stuffed and soft), check the back (no buckles and pockets) and weigh (real Lalafanfan well stuffed and weighs over 200 grams).
At the same time, you’ll have to decide on the coloring: the classic Lalafan is a traditional yellow-chicken color, but there are toys in white and pink shades. Then you have to choose a basic costume. As a rule, the duck is dressed up in a hat with ears (mouse, rabbit, whatever) and a knitted sweater, jumpsuit, or dress. If you wish – buy a replacement outfit.
And then – start a Tik-Tok for your ward and tell everybody about his difficult life as a duck.