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Brands have made a mad dash to curry the tastes of Millennials and Generation Z shoppers. But TownleyGirl’s sales growth suggests an even younger age is the demographic controlling the purse strings — preteen girls and even boys.

The company has the licensing rights to an arsenal of some of the buzziest names in the youth market like Vampirina, Minnie Mouse, My Little Pony, Disney Princess, Frozen, Trolls and Emoji. “Vampirina has just taken off for us. She is our most popular Disney Junior property since Doc McStuffins came along,” said Daina Finn, vice president of product development at Townley Inc., of the recently renewed kids’ show based on a vampire living in the human world. At January’s Golden Globes, in fact, celebrities queued up at the gift suite for a bag of Townley goodies. One of the most coveted was the Minnie Mouse nail dryer and soaker.

With the power of social media behind it, the company is fortifying its own brand name, in addition to being the firm delivering popular licenses to the market. “We’re trying to gain massive brand awareness,” said Carissa Rossi, digital acquisitions manager, who has helped broaden the social reach, including more than 25,000 followers on Instagram.

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Trolls are popular with young consumers. 

Parent company Townley was founded in 1952, but social platforms such as its own web site (TownleyGirl.com); its blog called Princess Tips; Facebook; Twitter; Instagram, and Pinterest extend its reach, placing it on an even playing field with behemoths of the juvenile toiletries business like Johnson & Johnson.

“We’re really transforming into a lifestyle brand,” said Rossi, who noted the timing couldn’t be better as original Townley fans who snapped up its Disney Princess products now have offspring of their own. “There is a squad of loyal fans who follow the brand and post amazing content with our products. We’re going to start launching larger contests to get feedback on what our fans want and even design their own products,” said Rossi. Added Finn, “We want to be a brand made by girls. We’ve always been a great gift for moms to give girls, but we want to be a day-in, day-out business. Girls just want to own something…we want them to own our product.”

The pipeline of products for 2018 is one of its strongest, according to Finn, especially in the bath category, which is having a resurgence among all ages. IRI data has been tracking category gains exceeding 25 percent since last summer in the bath category. It’s a sweet spot for Townley which endeavors to take its launches beyond traditional bubble baths with unique packaging and play value. A case in point was last year’s launch of Play-Doh bath items that resembled the modeling clay.

This year’s model is a product housed in replicas of the legendary Little Tykes Cozy Coupe (it will bow this spring at Walmart) along with a Transformers and Incredibles license for fall. Company executives noted bath products appeal to boys and girls.

“The bath market is exploding. Because of the success of adult bath this year, our kids’ bath also tripled in sales this year,” Finn said. A Care Bear license is in the works for the year. The company is branching into categories within bath including a bath bomb set to debut at Walmart. “We’re making sure we’re on trend or one step ahead,” said Finn.

TownleyGirl has a strong presence on Amazon, its own web site and big-box players like Walmart and Dollar General with a goal to further build bricks and mortar this year. Its international business has also tripled, especially for the Disney licenses.