Sales of Tiger Merch Soaring as Brands Pounce on Success of ‘Tiger King’
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You and your friends aren’t the only ones obsessed with Tiger King. Retailers say sales of tiger-related toys and merch have soared since the now-infamous Netflix show was released two weeks ago.
A spokesperson for eBay says searches for “Tiger King” jumped 336% in the two days immediately following the release of the show on March 20th. Sales for “tiger-related apparel, toys and accessories,” meantime, have increased by 56% over the last two weeks, the spokesperson says.
Traditional retailers are seeing a similar trend as well. “Sales of stuffed tigers have tripled in the past week,” reports David Niggli, Chief Merchandising Officer at FAO Schwarz. The toy store’s flagship New York City location is closed due to coronavirus precautions, but Niggli says the company has seen a sharp increase in stuffed tiger sales online. “We, like everyone else, are definitely obsessed with this show right now,” he says.
FAO Schwarz 12-Inch Plush Tiger, $20.99, available at Amazon
Even deal site, Zulily, is getting in on the action, with a cat-themed toy event dubbed, “Hey Cool Cats and Kittens” (named after the signature greeting of Big Cat Rescue CEO and Tiger King star, Carole Baskin). A Zulily spokesperson says the sale will include big cat-themed toys at up to 50% off.
Netflix doesn’t do merch for Tiger King, but other established brands and clever creators have quickly jumped on the bandwagon with their own Tiger King-themed merch. From stuffed animals to T-shirts to Joe Exotic campaign merch, here’s what people are buying.
1. Melissa & Doug Stuffed Tiger Toy
The most popular items right now are plush tiger toys (especially the more “life-like” ones). This stuffed tiger from children’s brand Melissa & Doug has been part of their collection for years, but was suddenly sold out on Amazon over the weekend, as interest grew in the show. The stuffed animal is now back in stock as of this writing. The fuzzy feline measures almost six-feet in length, with surprisingly realistic features.
Melissa & Doug Stuffed Tiger, $65.99, available at Amazon
2. Adult Coloring Book
This big cat-themed coloring book is currently the number one best-seller in its category. The book features 60 illustrations that you can color-in. Art therapists say coloring is actually a great way to relieve stress, improve focus and pass the time during quarantine.
Adult Coloring Book, $7.99, available at Amazon
3. “Free Joe” T-Shirt
Trend-savvy artists and designers have quickly responded to the hype over Tiger King by releasing their own unofficial Tiger King merch. Case in point: this T-shirt, which shows support for Tiger King star Joe Exotic and his legal battles.
Joe is currently serving time behind bars for a number of violations, including trying to hire a hitman to take out his rival, Carole Baskin. But the man also known as Joseph Maldonado-Passage is fighting back, filing a lawsuit last month alleging false imprisonment, discrimination and malicious prosecution, among other things.
Wear this T-shirt to show support for Joe’s case. It’s printed-to-order and available in unisex sizing from XS to 3XL.
Free Joe Exotic T-Shirt, $22.99, available at Amazon
4. Joe Exotic 80s Tee
Much was made about Maldonado-Passage’s unique style, a hillbilly mix of country-western motifs with 80s rocker flair. This retro-inspired tee takes an iconic image of Joe, and juxtaposes it with an Eighties-inspired design.
Joe Exotic T-Shirt, $19.99, available at Amazon
5. Carole Baskin Tote Bag
Is Carole Baskin a gold-digging killer or an animal-loving, feminist icon? This cotton tote bag celebrates the carefree (big) cat lady in all her glory.
Carole Baskin Tote Bag, $15.52, available at Redbubble
6. Tiger King Poster
Nothing quite captures the oddity of Tiger King quite like this poster, which features Joe Exotic, a blow-up doll, a chimpanzee and an American flag, arranged collage-style onto a 33 x 33-inch wall hanging. And yes, all of those things are mentioned and/or appear on the show.
Tiger King Poster, $33.01, available on Redbubble
7. Joe Exotic Candle
A quick search online turns up things like this “Joe Exotic”-scented candle, which promises a scent of “fresh cut mullet, raw meat [and] AK-47s”… whatever that means. Most likely it just smells like vanilla.
Joe Exotic Candle, $20.99, available at Amazon
8. The Tiger King Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
Netflix meets Disney with this Tiger King shirt, which popped up over the past week on Redbubble, a site that lets independent creators upload and sell their designs. The unisex tee features the illustration on the front and back and is available in sizes XS to 2XL.
The Tiger King Long-Sleeve Tee, $24.78, available on Redbubble
9. “Carole Did It” T-Shirt
Did Carole Baskin feed her late husband to the tigers? This Redbubble designer seems to think so. Get this vintage-style tee in sizes XS to 2XL.
Carole Did It, T-Shirt, $26.78, available at Redbubble
10. Joe Exotic For Governor Merch
Joe Exotic ran for Governor of Oklahoma in 2018 and according to him, he was quite successful (the polls tell a different story). Interest in his gubernatorial run has shot up since Tiger King premiered on Netflix, with eBay listing posters and lawn signs from Joe’s campaign. The site even has the infamous condoms Joe handed out while on the campaign trail (our advice: best for collecting purposes only).
Joe Exotic For Governor Poster, $175, available on eBay
11. Joe Exotic CD
Joe Exotic’s now-iconic country song is available on CD. The track, which featured prominently in the documentary but was allegedly performed by two veteran musicians, has quickly shot to the top of Amazon’s country music charts, overtaking releases from Luke Combs, Kacey Musgraves and Garth Brooks, among others.
“I Saw a Tiger (CD),” $9.99, available at Amazon
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