In what may be the perfect mash-up of retro-nostalgia with modern-day reality TV mania, you can now grow a "Duck Dynasty" beard via Chia Pet.
We caught a blurb about the Chia Willie and Chia Uncle Si handmade decorative planters on NBC's "Today" show Thursday morning and, since we couldn't stop chuckling about the genius pop-culture collaboration all the way to work, we decided to get some details from the folks at Chia central -- San Francisco-based Joseph Enterprises Inc., which has been making Chia Pets since 1980.
According to Joseph Enterprises Vice President Michael Hirsch, the A&E licensed "Duck Dynasty" duo, which came out this fall, has been quite popular. "We came out in October," he told us, "but the majority of the retail has been there for November and December.
"The Chia 'Duck Dynasty' collection is our latest and greatest," he said. "Sales are terrific. Of course, last-minute gifts are the biggest scenario for Chia Pets anyway -- the next 10 to 12 days are crucial." (Who knew the Chia was a last-minute go-to?)
Though Hirsch wouldn't divulge specific sales of the "Duck" duo (which sell in the $15.99-to-$19.99 range depending on retailer), he will say they're selling "four-to-one" better than the rest of the Chia roster (which, he helpfully pointed out, includes the Chia Herb Garden, Chia Chef's Garden and Chia Catgrass, among others).
"We knew the show and the characters had a following so we knew it was going to be popular," Hirsch said. "It's the perfect Chia Pet as far as the Chia beard is concerned."
It's noteworthy that these two versions represent the first full-blown beards to get the Chia treatment at retail. "We've done some special promotions of various characters but not at retail," Hirsch said. "And we do have the Chia Gnome who has a beard as well who was new last year. But this is iconic with iconic."
The company has had success tapping into other characters over the years, and Hirsch name-checks Chia Shrek and Chia SpongeBob as two pop culture properties that have been about as popular.
"The great thing is, the show will come back with a new season in the spring and these will still be available," Hirsch said. "And maybe we'll even add to it."
And don't despair if at first the "Duck Dynasty" Chia hair isn't there. Hirsch says they continue to ship them.
"We keep getting requests for additional stock daily," he said.