August 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 8
|August 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 8|
The New Baby Boom Is All About Cute
Over the past three to four months, a number of retailers have told TDmonthly Magazine that baby doll sales are up, and it’s all thanks to little girls. Although the trend in babes has been toward the realistic silicone-based collector dolls, the latest surge of interest from kids has focused on the cute and cuddly.
“I think children like pretty and sweet dolls instead of so much realism,” Collette Shockley, owner of The Littlest Princess Doll Shop in Norcross, Ga., told TDmonthly Magazine. Top sellers at her store include nonrealistic baby dolls by Corolle Dolls and Alexander Doll Company. “The silicone and silicone mixture babies are for adults.”
Beau James, North American director for Corolle, agreed that silicone is more of a collector’s market, which he said is a weak market right now.
Grandmother Ruth Mandt concurred: “My grandchildren Paige and Brielle like the cute dolls. Corolle and Middleton dolls have been a big hit here. … the silicone and too-realistic ones seem a bit scary.”
Despite the upswing in cute baby sales, some little girls prefer their babies “real.”
IS SILICONE SAFE?
Jerree Childers, owner of Dolls by Jerree, in Kingsport, Tenn., told TDmonthly that her best sellers are the silicone dolls by Ashton-Drake.
“It is good they are getting them in lower prices because the children love them,” she said. Other popular choices include Dolls by Berenguer by JC Toys and reborning kits from Secrist Doll Company.
But Barbara Smith, grandmother of Sydney, Savannah and London, was nervous about the safety of silicone and other new materials. “I think they would destruct easily,” she said, “They might not be safe for young children.”
For answers on safety, TDmonthly asked Ed Kang, the chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on toys.
“There have been no reports of any problems with children playing with these dolls,” he said. “These are new materials as far as toys are concerned, and my hope is that the manufacturers checked out the materials in their labs before putting the dolls on the market.”
However, some dolls are clearly hands-off for kids. Reborn artist Dee Young told TDmonthly, “We are aiming for adult collectors with reborn dolls. I think they are too expensive for children, and we are not sure the paints and varnishes used with these dolls would be safe if children chewed on the dolls.”
If the littlest girls in your shop are looking for even littler babes to nurture, here are a few choices, plus a couple for collectors, too:
Thanks to its cuddly soft beanbag body, Calin Cheerful Bright can be posed just like a real baby. The 12" doll has blue sleeping eyes, can wear fashion from the Mon Premier collection, and can have a number of accessories added to it from the Corolle line.
— "Probably any of my Calin from Corolle" serve as the best-selling items in dolls, according to Mary Sisson, owner of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash.
— “We sell different styles [of Calin]. About 30 a month,” Marilyn Walker, owner of PlayFair Toys in Boulder, Colo., told TDmonthly in January 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13485 (added 6/14/2007)
Berenguer Boutique - 2007 Mini La Newborns by DOLLS BY BERENGUER
Other products from DOLLS BY BERENGUER
Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
Although small in size, the Mini La Newborn is big in its true-to-life appearance. These all-vinyl baby dolls come packed in assortments of eight dolls which include three unique facial expressions. All dolls come in a cute pink or blue knitted romper with matching hat, diaper and receiving blanket.
— “Mini La Newborn from Dolls by Berenguer is only 9.5", yet … has the realistic features and wonderful detail found in larger dolls. In addition, Mini La Newborn is available two ways — as an anatomically correct doll or in a non-sexed version,” Mark Putinski of Dolls by Berenguer told TDmonthly. “This baby is especially popular because it is available in multiple ethnicities, including Caucasian, African American, Hispanic and Asian.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13969 (added 7/6/2007)
Taffy is a cute little preemie baby, and is just 17” long. She is one of the newest kits from the Secrist Dolls Reborn line. She comes as a blank, unfinished doll kit ready for a reborn artist to bring to life. Secrist also offers reborning supplies and an instructional DVD so that newcomers can learn to make their own lifelike newborns. Launch date: 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9959 (added 11/8/2006)
New Masterpiece Dolls artist Dawn has created an adorable little girl named Tamara, who has a twinkle in her eyes and wants to be picked up and loved. Tamara at 20” has arms sculpted above the elbow and legs sculpted above the knee that go into the hip joint on her cloth body. She has a brunet human hair blend and blue eyes. She is dressed in a pretty pink shirt accented with a floral design on the bodice. Her blue skirt has a pink rose design that coordinates with her shirt. Tamara comes with a little pink bunny and has a pink headband and no socks, as shown. This is a limited edition of 350 pieces.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13860 (added 6/29/2007)
Tiny Miracles - Emmy by ASHTON-DRAKE COLLECTIBLES
Other products from ASHTON-DRAKE COLLECTIBLES
Now little girls can cuddle one of the tiniest miracles ever with the captivating and exclusive Tiny Miracles Emmy doll. It's the first So Truly Real® doll ever created in a 10” size, brilliantly sculpted by renowned master doll artist, Linda Webb. It has RealTouch™ vinyl skin, micro-rooted hair, wispy eyelashes and hand-painted fingernails and toenails. Emmy was honored with the 2007 DOTY® award.
— "We sell a lot of the Ashton-Drake," said Gary Green, owner of Collector's United in Chatsworth, Ga., when asked about top-selling dolls.
— Two of 62 retailers named Ashton-Drake as a favorite collectible doll item for customers.
— "Tiny Miracles Emmy is a unique doll designed by Linda Webb. It's patented RealTouch vinyl is part of what gives Emmy her true-to-life look and feel," said Don Vaccarello, general manager for Ashton-Drake Collectibles.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13507 (added 6/15/2007)
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Writer's Bio: Virginia Davis is a freelance writer who is considered an expert in the area of dolls and collectibles. She has written hundreds of articles on dolls and toys, as well as other subjects, for numerous publications. She lives in Georgia. Read more articles by this author
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