FAO Schwarz Launches New Experiences In-Store & Online

Just in time for the holiday season, FAO Schwarz is launching new initiatives both in-store and online. The iconic toy store wants to allow fans to shop in the safely. With the addition of new brands, virtual personal shopping and the launch of FAO Schwarz: Academy of Wonder fans will be able to experience the store in a whole new way. 

FAO Schwarz

The In-Store Experience New “wow” moments now available, include:

  • Elmo’s Monster Factory: destined to become one of the most cherished new FAO Schwarz experiences for the young and young-at-heart is fashioning their very own plush inspired by everyone’s favorite furry red monster from Sesame Street, Elmo. With the introduction of the new Elmo’s Monster Factory, visitors to the store can now create their very own personal Monster with infinite design options, made before their very eyes.
  • Sharper Image: Sharper Image is quickly emerging as a leader in the future of toy robotics and remote control. In the new Sharper Image in-store studio drones are zipping overhead, remote cars are racing by and a robotic dinosaur stomps its way around. From live and animated product demonstrations to rich video content, the new Sharper Image shop at FAO is an experience in technology made clever, intriguing and always fun.
  • Steiff: new to the store’s Steiff showroom is a special collection of endangered species plush toys created in partnership with National Geographic. When children choose to purchase an at-risk animal figure, a portion of the proceeds is donated to wildlife conservation.
  • Iron Studios: known for their artful creation of extremely detailed collectible figures, super hero enthusiasts now have a new destination to shop exclusive Iron Studios’ replicas from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and more.
  • Funko: in time for the holidays, a brand new boutique within the flagship will offer the largest collection of Funko’s unique pop culture collectibles, accessories, toys and games in New York City. The selection of charming replicas includes favorite characters from DC Comics, Pokemon, music legends and more.
  • FAO Theatre:
    ○ In-Person: always having a sense of theatre, FAO Schwarz is adapting its approach to hands-on experiential retail. The flagship has become even more interactive, engaging and most importantly, safe. The everyday in-store demos have been refashioned for social distancing with live performances taking place in designated areas of the store, where characters are wearing masks and engaging with customers from behind a custom partition.○ Digital: There will also be digital video display screens throughout the store that are live-streaming shows, tricks and product demonstrations from FAO remote studios...imagine walking through the store past a magician peering from inside a vivid screen. Then, he speaks out to a customer directly, ready to engage in a bit of afternoon illusion in live, real time.

The FAO.com Experience

While the in-store experience at FAO is second to none, traveling to Midtown Manhattan isn’t a path that is currently available to everyone. FAO Schwarz is responding in a big way. They are launching new digital experiences to bring the magic of the Rockefeller Plaza store into the homes of Americans in every city:

  • FAO Schwarz Academy of Wonder: The wonder of the FAO New York City is now live online thanks to the newly launched Academy of Wonder. Professor Abracadabra and Professor Atlas lead eight fun and entertaining “courses” in magic and STEM for kids of all ages, including: “Magic 101: Abra-Apprentice,” complete with Marvin’s Magic Rabbit and Top Hat; “Magic 103: Lustrous Illuminations,” guides illusionists through the basics to be able to perform 60 hypnotic, included tricks; “STEM 102: Spectacular Slime,” includes five style of stretchy, slimy goo; “STEM 104: Circuit Tunes,” delivers 39 different experiments with its live experience.” Each class is $60, bookable at FAO.com and includes all required “course materials” needed to participate and video instruction.

Classes are now available to book on FAO.com with live instruction courses set to launch the weekend of Nov. 28 with Saturday and Sunday classes to continue thereafter.

  • Virtual Personal Shopping Live: shoppers can reserve a live, virtual and personalized experience within the store. A member of the FAO team escorts the virtual shoppers through different sections of the store as well as help them choose the perfect gift. Shopping sessions can take place as an individual or a family event - a grandparent can shop with their grandchildren for their holiday wish list or a special just-because treat.
  • New Brands on FAO.com: the online shopping experience has expanded to include a bevy of new brands, categories of toys and the best in specialty items, including products from: Candylab, Dough Parlour, Djeco, Madame Alexander, Micro Kickboard, Le Toy Van, RS Barcelona gaming tables, Stevenson Brothers Rocking Horses and more. FAO.com is also the place to shop for custom games, puzzles, dolls, ride-on vehicles and pretend play. For those who aren’t able to shop in person, there is also a selection of signature FAO Schwarz souvenirs and holiday decor available.

The launch of new in-store and digital offerings comes at the heels of two major announcements for the 160-year old toy retailer

  • Target: FAO unveiled an exclusive toy collection at nearly 1900 Target stores and online at Target.com bringing the magic and wonder of the world’s most famous toy store nationwide.
  • Jimmy Fallon: FAO Schwarz announced a holiday partnership with comedic celebrity Jimmy Fallon. Celebrating Jimmy’s new children’s book, 5 More Sleeps ‘til Christmas, FAO is donating a toy to St. Jude Children Research Hospital for every book sold at FAO and by offering “Fallon’s Favorites,” Jimmy’s top FAO toy picks for the season in stores and online.

“FAO Schwarz has always been synonymous with one-of-a-kind toys and interactive experiences. Our guests expect to be surprised and delighted at every turn. We continuously evolve our brand with new and international offerings to stay on the cutting edge of toy trends and in the hearts of kids everywhere,” said David Niggli, FAO Schwarz Chief Merchandising Officer.

The journey of discovery at FAO Schwarz and FAO.com comprises the best of nostalgia, FAO fan-favorites and classic products and experiences, such as: the famous FAO Giant Dance-On Piano, three-dimensional musical clock tower, the 27-foot tall rocketship, FAO Schwarz-branded toys, the FAO Baby Doll Adoption Center, Build Your Own RC Car, “styled by me Barbie; Doll Boutique as well as products from more than 15 popular toy brands including Brio trains, Ravensburger puzzles, Bunnies by the Bay, Build-a-Bear, Melissa & Doug, Transformers and more.

—Jennifer Swartvagher

Featured photo: FAO Schwarz



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