Last year, Bakersfield native Adam Reed’s Christmas book and plush toy combination, Reindeer in Here, sold out on Amazon in less than two hours. This year, Reed hopes to make an even bigger splash.
“It’s just surreal to see it all take off,” he said in a phone interview. “No one has done what Reindeer in Here has done as a brand pretty much ever.”
Reed came up with the idea for Reindeer in Here about two years ago. He pictured it as an alternative to the popular Elf on the Shelf picture book and toy, in which parents move a toy elf each night, who reports back to Santa Clause about the child’s behavior.
“It wasn’t positive,” Reed said about the elf. “For me it wasn’t right. So I really went home and set out to create a positive tradition for children.”
The result of his efforts was Reindeer in Here, a cheerful book about a reindeer sent by Santa to a child’s home to get to know him or her, and report back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve so Santa can give the child the best presents possible. The book comes with a reindeer plush toy that children can carry around with them wherever they go, unlike the elf from Elf on the Shelf, which is supposed to be untouched by kids throughout the holiday season.
“The true message of the book is that every child is different, and that being different is normal,” Reed said. “If you look at the pictures with kids, they literally fall in love with this reindeer.”
Last year, the book and toy were only available on Amazon. The combo debuted on Black Friday, completely selling out in less than two hours, and becoming a Number 1 bestseller on the biggest retail website in the world.
Now Reed hopes to make the product, which sells for around $32 on Amazon, the largest Christmas brand on the planet.
He has expanded to 1,200 independent retailers and has visited several states as part of a national book tour.
He will host a book signing event in Bakersfield as part of the tour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, at Bobbi's Hallmark located at 8200 Stockdale Hwy.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “I’m proud to be from Bakersfield. It’s why I am who I am. I grew up a small town boy and I’m still in my heart a small town boy with traditional values.”
Following this holiday season, Reed hopes to make the brand even bigger by introducing new elements to the story. He hopes to expand into big box stores soon, and take the product international.
Despite the success of the product, Reed cannot devote all his time to Reindeer in Here. He has a full time job as CEO of the television production company ThinkFactory Media, which has produced programs like History’s “Hatfields & McCoys” and Bravo’s “Million Dollar Matchmaker.”
Reed has two young children at home, including a three-year-old daughter, Peyton, whom he wrote the book for in order to create a Christmas tradition with her.
“It’s magical how she reacts to it,” he said. “Sometimes I don’t just take a moment to enjoy it, but it really is magical, and I’m so lucky and blessed to have kids this age to see it all unfold.”
He said he has only reached a tenth of the brand strategy that he had planned, and he hopes to build on the success the product has already generated.
If the past is any indication, much more could be to come from the reindeer with the Bakersfield origins.
“If you look at the gift and toy industry you will be hard pressed to find any children’s brand or holiday brand that went from being online one year and 1,200 stores the next year,” Reed said. “I knew it was going to resonate. I didn’t know it was going to resonate so quickly and at this level.”