Mattel Announces BTS Dolls

Heads up, K-Pop fans! Mattel recently announced that the incredibly popular world-renowned boy band BTS is headed to toy shelves this summer!

Per the official press release, “Under this multi-category license with BTS under its label, Big Hit Entertainment, Mattel will create dolls, collectible figures, games, and more. In the wake of sold out tours across the globe, the collaboration launches this summer with a first-ever BTS-inspired toy line created around the likenesses of the band’s seven members: RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook. The dolls will be fashioned in the looks from the BTS’ iconic and YouTube record-breaking “IDOL” music video.” Note, the image below is just an image of BTS that I thought looked cool and may not reflect what they wear in IDOL. (I’m more of a k-drama fan than a k-pop fan!)

According to Billboard, Mattel stock increased by 8.26% following the announcement of this new line. Mattel VP and global brand general manager Sejal Shah Miller had this to say, “The cornerstone of our strategy is to partner with established franchises that have global appeal, and we believe that Mattel’s creative expertise will create a product that properly celebrates BTS.”

What do you think of this brand new collaboration? Are you excited?  Let us know in the comment area!

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January 7, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. 10 comments.

Madame Alexander Makes Grand Return in 2019

For most of 2018, Madame Alexander Doll Company was dark. Their social media accounts were left untouched. They were no-shows at one of the biggest toy events of the year, New York Toy Fair. And besides stock that ended up at discount stores like Tuesday Morning, the releases were few and far between. For most of the year, there was speculation that the company was sold to a new buyer, but online searches revealed nothing. I was worried that we were going to lose this iconic doll maker, but thankfully, it looks like that isn’t the case.

Madame Alexander Bride

Back in October of 2018, after months of nothing on their various outlets, the Madame Alexander Doll Company re-emerged and has been posting regularly on social media ever since. The website also got a bit of an update, as well. According to an article posted to ToyBook, the company is now, in fact, under new management. The new owners and their partners are looking to “improve marketing, customer service, production, and fulfillment capacity while expanding its 2019 product catalog.”

Madame Alexander Victoria

They’ve hired a pr/branding company to help move the company forward as their 100th anniversary (2023) is quickly approaching, with a “new digital campaign focused on activating the next generation of moms through social media, digital influencers, content marketing, and PR programs.”

Madame Alexander Travel Friends

According to VP Tom Neville, 2019 will bring us “Newborn Nursery dolls in more ethnicities, meaningful updates to the classic Huggums line, some great collectibles, new play dolls, and much more!” He goes on to say that there will be a “much wider variety of multicultural dolls to the line in 2019… to allow kids to have dolls that reflect themselves and the world around them.”

Neville also mentions that they haven’t forgotten about the classics and will be “offering the classic Wendy and Huggums dolls and reintroducing a number of other classic dolls. We love and value the collector community!” Neville says the new owners aim to “get back to the values of the family-led business and Madame Alexander’s original vision.” Reading statements like this make me think this change may be a positive one for the company, as the previous owners never really ‘got’ the brand and it’s ideals, in my opinion. I can’t wait to see what the new owners have up their sleeves!

For instant updates on the company, make sure to follow them on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter)!

What do you think of the (slightly cryptic?) sale of Madame Alexander Doll Company? What would you like to see the new owners change? What staples do you want them to keep? Let us know in the comment area!

January 4, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. 11 comments.

Tonner Doll Company No More

As of December 31st, 2018, the Tonner Doll Company shuttered it’s doors. Here’s what we know, in Robert Tonner’s own words, from an e-mail to those on the mailing list for the doll company.

“I was lucky enough to start Tonner Doll at a point when it seemed that everyone was collecting, making, buying or selling dolls. At the same time, the Far East was willing and eager to produce whatever we wanted at a price that couldn’t be beat. High demand and inexpensive, quality production led to the golden age of collectible dolls and great success for Tonner Doll.

It’s often said that the only thing you can count on is change; I whole heartedly agree with that statement. I could go on and on about the changes in the collectible doll industry, but in short, the business model that I used to build Tonner Doll is no longer viable or sustainable. Therefore, Tonner Doll Company (including the Tonner Doll web site, doll hospital, phones and emails) was closed as of December 31, 2018.”

He goes on to say that Phyn and Aero, his current brainchild, isn’t going anywhere and that he will still be very active in the doll world.

“Through Phyn and Aero, I’ll be working directly with our favorite retailers to create unique and exclusive dolls (look for the first Ellowyne out this Spring). I will continue to design for and attend events throughout the year (Dollology, Shaker Doll Club, Doll Circle and UFDC to name a few). At Phyn and Aero I will also continue to develop new product; we’ll be doing small batch, design driven products. Rayne, a new character with unique (and I mean unique) accessories will debut around Toy Fair. In addition, I am working on design projects with other companies (I just did a huge amount of work for FAO; that was both a challenge and a delight). I think it’s going to be a very busy, very exciting 2019!”

Now, I would be lying to say that I was shocked by this news. For the past year, there’s been a lot of question marks surrounding the Tonner Doll Company and production was noticeably lighter than in their heyday. I’m not a Tonner collector and never really have been, though I own a few of them. The prices were always too high for me to warrant buying most of them and ‘high fashion’ dolls aren’t my thing.

Reading his statement, I feel like the changes in manufacturing aren’t what’s really to blame for the closing of his company of 28 years. (I’d rather the people making my dolls be paid fair wages than have my dolls be made in places that don’t pay fairly, so if that’s why prices went up for production, seems like something that shouldn’t be used as an excuse, in my opinion.) Of course, that’s just my opinion and an assumption, having no knowledge of the inner-workings of the company.

Looking at the company from a collectors perspective, I think the real downfall of Tonner Doll Company is that they didn’t change with the times and trends in the doll world quick enough and when they did, the dolls were too expensive for the majority of us collectors. While I’m excited Tonner mentioned (briefly) in his memo that Ellowyne will be re-emerging in the spring from Phyn and Aero, I’m fairly convinced she’ll be out of my price range. But, maybe this means one day we can get some friends for my favorite Tonner doll Maudlynne Macabre?

Will you miss Tonner Doll Company? Is this announcement a surprise to you? Share your thoughts in the comment area.

January 3, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. 8 comments.

Review: Instant Glam Styling Head Dolls

As mentioned in the most recent ChiTAG report, at the show, I met the creator of a new and innovative styling head doll called Instant Glam. With three styling heads available in different skin tones and looks, there’s bound to be an Instant Glam doll for you or for the children in your life. Usually styling heads are pretty simple. Hair is permanently attached, whether it’s rooted or wigged, allowing you to style the hair.

Instant Glam takes that concept one step further by allowing you to change the color and texture of the hair whenever you’d like through the use of an innovative fastening technology. The styling heads essentially have velcro strips lining the head. The strips are secured well to the dolls head and don’t come off as you apply and remove hair to them.

They come with hair that’s cut in short strips of varying lengths that you can fasten to the velcro. After adding a few strips of hair, mixing and matching however you’d like to, you’ve got your very own 100% unique look.

I like the concept of this styling head and see imaginative kids and collectors of styling heads finding Instant Glam dolls fun! The variety of hair colors and textures is nice, as well. Now, I know what some of you are going to say– and I agree– one of the faces looks very similar to another doll brand. We asked about this. While there is a striking resemblance between a certain popular doll line and Instant Glam’s Fashionista styling head, it’s just a coincidence.

Watch the video review below!

You can purchase an Instant Glam Doll for yourself online. I would recommend picking up some extra hair packets, because the basic doll comes with limited styling options. What do you think of Instant Glam Dolls? Let us know in the comment area!

December 3, 2018. Tags: . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Christmas Tree Decorations- Dolls Galore!

It’s that time of the year again– the Christmas tree is up and decorated! Over the many Christmases I’ve been on this earth, I’ve gathered quite the collection of doll and toy themed ornaments. Here’s a few of the ones you’ll spot on the tree this year, including the 2018 Skipper doll limited release ornament from Hallmark.

Let’s talk about this limited release for a moment. Hallmark did a wonderful job on their 2018 Skipper Doll ornament, which was first made available at the 2018 Keepsake Ornament Premiere event held at Gold Crown stores. I adore it. They captured the innocence of the original 1964 Skipper doll so well. The ornament itself comes with the a (plastic) blonde reproduction Skipper doll and reproduction box. You can hang them together, with Skipper in her box as seen below, or separately. At 1.46″ (width) x 4.68″ (height), Skipper will not  be going back into the Christmas ornament box once the holiday season ends, but instead will be placed in my case, just in case I need a doll sized Skipper for a photo or two! Now, if only Hallmark had released her in brunette and titian, as well!

Many of my ornaments continue the doll theme. Did you know that Hallmark has been making Madame Alexander ornaments since 1996? I don’t have all of them, but over the years I have received or picked up quite a few!

There’s a certain charm to the Madame Alexander ornaments, don’t you think? Here’s just a few more ornaments that I put on the tree this year! If it wasn’t apparent that I was a product of the 80’s (who ‘grew up’ in the 90’s), well, it is now!

Do you have doll themed ornaments on your Christmas tree? Do you have a favorite ornament (doll or otherwise)? Share it in the comment area!

November 29, 2018. Tags: . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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