As the days grow longer and tour buses start to arrive, one piece of merchandise that seems to fly out the door in the shopping bag of each grandparent is our Wildthings Snap-On T-shirt for kids. In hot pink, this shirt features butterflies. In navy blue, the focus is dinosaurs. With glow in the dark print – both shirts have Colorado National Monument emblazoned across the sleeve. A product as popular and irresistible as this, deserves a background story. Without further ado, here is CNMA’s buyer, Denise Hight with Meet the Vendor, the story behind the product.
Meet the Vendor – Wildthings Snap-On
In the early 1990s, Pat Phillips was a stay-at-home mom in California with two young children. She had a background in apparel design, and she wanted to find something she could do with her skills while working from home. She came up with the idea of making a children’s t-shirt with attached snap-on toys. She created a prototype and sent it off to a local store, hoping for an order of a few dozen to a few hundred t-shirts. To her shock, delight, and dismay, the store came back with an order for 3000 shirts, and Wildthings Snap-On was born! Pat and her husband set up an “assembly line” in their dining room and rented a storage unit to store the finished products. Initially fearful that the level of orders would drop off, they worked out of their house for a while, but eventually Pat ended up with a warehouse. Now, nearly 25 years later, Pat has several employees and a sales force. Her sales representatives attend most of the trade shows, but Pat always attends the annual APPL (Association for Partners in Public Lands) trade show because she believes so strongly in the mission of the national parks. Pat found her niche in creating children’s t-shirts with snap-on toys, and you can purchase her dinosaur and her butterfly shirts at the Colorado National Monument Visitor Center or online at rimrockshop.com. At the visitor center, they are displayed right next to the cash register, and they are especially popular with grandparents looking for gifts for their beloved grandchildren.