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Schwarz store for Barefoot
19.03.08 | Caroline Horn
Publisher Barefoot Books is in negotiations to clinch the concession for a dedicated bookshop at the iconic FAO Schwarz toy store on New York's Fifth Avenue. The Barefoot Books shop is expected to take a prominent position in the store, and to be in place by the summer.
Barefoot Books has offices in the UK and US. It is also exploring options for a London-based book store and concessions with UK-based retailers.
The publisher caught the eye of the specialist US toy store at last year's New York Gift Show. Nancy Traversy, co-founder of Barefoot Books, said: "FAO Schwarz responded to our books because they are high end, high quality, and they want to create a distinct offer with products that people might not be able to find elsewhere." Four million people visit the toy store every year.
Traversy believes that creating Barefoot Books as a brand through its ethos and products was what captured FAO Schwarz's interest. "People say you can’t brand a publisher, but that is exactly what we have done." Barefoot offers distinct, multicultural books with environmental and educational elements, as well as a line of products including puppets, games and puzzles. The company has also relaunched its website, emphasising its brand.
Barefoot's entire range of books and products are likely to be made available in the store. "FAO Schwarz is looking for unique products and services that will reflect its positioning as a store that supports the imagination, is good for the environment and has positive educational benefits," Traversy said.
Barefoot Books, which already has its own store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is also looking to create a number of distinctive features for the FAO Schwarz toy store, including a storyteller's throne and possibly a large caravan where children can go to read books. It will offer customers story-telling sessions for at least two hours every day, as well as arts and crafts sessions.