What do Silly Bandz, emoji pillows, Beanie Babies, and fidget spinners have in common? They’ve all had their moment in the spotlight on a Mall of America cart. By the time a fad penetrates pop culture—or even before—you can be sure it’s available at the Mall. That’s been the beauty of the 60 kiosks placed throughout the corridors since the Mall’s early days: they provide a quick way for entrepreneurs to get a new product to market and an opportunity to shop trend items right as they’re coming on the scene.
At the moment, that hot item is fidget spinners. You’ll find them on three carts throughout the Mall: at the Fidget Spinners kiosk on Level 1, West, and on the two Fidget Toys kiosks, on Level 1, North + Level 3, East.
“We have a handful of cart operators who are always looking for the next hot item,” said Lisa Taylor, specialty leasing director. Taylor also attends a retail conference each year looking for ideas.
When “I Heart Justin Bieber” Silly Bandz Were Hot
But sometimes, a retail novice is the first to jump on a trend. When Silly Bandz became a must-have accessory in the summer of 2010, a local elementary teacher saw the interest building in time to open a Mall cart called Bandzilla. She and her husband rode the Silly Bandz wagon through the holiday season—when “I Heart Justin Bieber” bands were a hot stocking-stuffer.
What’s In Now
In 2015, hover boards were the hot cart. Likewise, drones and LED shoes each had a good run. Lately, mini gardens and air plants are selling well on carts, despite the fact that they’re widely available at stores and garden centers. Splat Ball carts have been going strong for a few years now. And it’s hard to remember a time when there wasn’t a cart selling hair straighteners and extensions.
Often a cart disappears as soon as an item hits it big and lands in stores—like Metabolife. But sometimes, the cart works even when the product is available elsewhere. Such is the case with My Pillow.
Hermit Crabs and Beyond…
And then there are quirky fads that just keep kicking, like hermit crabs, which far exceeded the Mall’s expectations, Taylor says, and lasted at MOA longer than at other malls. Meanwhile, other fads are brewing and old trends are looking to make a comeback.
Will Beanie Babies be back on kiosk shelves? Or will something new and inexplicable capture our imagination in the coming months? Anything is possible in the cart business.
Feature image photo credit: Melinda Shelton