The age of pencils, erasers, band-aids are gone. Welcome to Hello Kitty 2.0, LOVE Kitty. Everything is new. She has shining eyes as well as shining accessories: pins, rings, and necklaces. We salute you.
The 'character' business, including Hello Kitty, has a huge advantage over other toy-related merchandise. The customers (and their wallets) not only stick to the same brand but also upgrade as they mature. Even the mighty Mcdonald cannot compete with this business model: sure they also keep their customers for decades, providing entertainment for all ages starting from playgrounds -> cheap dating -> parent-child bonding field, but a $2 hamburger is always a $2 hamburger.
As we mature slower than ever, we keep the same habit longer with incremental changes. Why not capture the market opportunity? Disney is the obvious king in this field – Swalovmickey.