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ZHU ZHU Hamsters, a Unique Gift

Updated on January 2, 2012

Num Num

This Year's Must Have Toy

Ok..remember the "must haves" of Christmas past? There was Tickle Me Elmo, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Pet Rocks, Beanie Babies and various computer games. Well in 2009 this generation will not be out done ... enter Zhu Zhu Hamsters.

This cute little furry robotic creatures are the creation of Mattel veteran, Russell Hornsby, owner of Cepia. Mr. Hornsby runs a seven year old, sixteen man operation out of St. Louis that came up with the idea for the toy of the year. When deciding on the prototype for the toy, the company put their heads together to create a toy that in real life was the most disliked by parents...enter the hamster. The founder, finalized his decision while surfing YouTube and discovered a lot of videos featuring Hamsters doing funny things were posted.

In the spring of 2009 Toys "R" Us tested the Zhu Zhu Pets in the Phoenix area and the results were staggering. During the summer the company hawked their wares at major league baseball games hosting hamster demonstrations. The Zhu Zhu Pets attended games in Atlanta, Arizona, Philadelphia, Texas, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Cepia also sponsored 250 "Hamster Parties" at the homes of mommy bloggers around the country. This small entity did not have the resources to advertise via television shows, movie promotion as do toy giants Mattel and Hasbro.

Cepia estimates $70 millon in sales at years end. CEO Hornsby expanded his operation to China in an effort to keep up with the demand. It was during this time that the organization was blindsided by a news release from a San Francisco based, newly formed consumer advocate company. The December 5 press release stated that Cepia's electronic hamster line contained high levels of antimony, a metal that can cause cancer, lung, and heart problems. In the seconds after the release this small company was facing near collapse if their product became the subject of a recall. tested one product with the use of an X-ray gun to analyze the content of some of the toys. It's findings; antimony content of more than 93 parts per illion in Cepia's Mr. Squiggles toy. The federal standard is 60 parts per million.

This was not the veteran toymaker Hornsby's first ballgame. After release of the negative findings Cepia released it's own findings performed in April of 2009. This testing was done by a 189 year old organization called Bureau Veritas, a widely used product testing firm. These reports are paid for by the toymaker and required under new toy safety laws. With the assistance of Cepia's main ally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal agency that monitors product safety and the Bureau Veritas findings CEO Hornsby's company was able to dodge a recall bullet when their testing proved that the standard had been met.

It may creep some out to see a furry little thing zooming around your home, but they are adorable and pros out weigh the cons for example;

Pros-no daily feedings, cleaning of cages, putrid undescibable smells or dead bodies to dipose of when your child tires of the thing and forgets to feed it.

Cons - the accessories - there are cages of course, cars, sleeping bags, hamster wheels, sleep domes, funhouses, tunnels and carrier blankets.

These accessories come in every color of the rainbow, the hamesters go by the charming names of Monkey, Cupcake, Spiderman, Chunk, Pipsqueek, Num Num and Mr. Brown Squiggles. The simply delightful names go well with their adorable faces.

This gift is geared more to girls than boys, sorry Mom and Dad boys will probably want the real thing.


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    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Oh dear pmccray! I don't have one! God bless you dear.

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 7 years ago from Atlanta

      This is an excellent article on this toy. Very professionally written, I don't even have children, and I wanted to buy one! Great job on your article here. It is a joy reading your writing.