October 23, 2019
December 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 12
Dolls Roundtable: Dancing With Terri Lee
Affordable Ballerina Spins Into Modern Age
TDmonthly Magazine’s Dolls Roundtable participants were delighted with the price point and playability of the Prima Princess Ballerina Doll by Terri Lee Associates. The 16” doll is based on the beloved Terri Lee Doll from the 1940s and 1950s. “Born to love and be loved” was the heartfelt slogan of Terri Lee’s creator, Violet Lee Gradwohl, a creative mother with little business experience, and a vision.
| “I know she is a princess. She is so beautiful.” — 6-year-old Savannah
Terri Lee bore the name of Violet’s own daughter, and from its inception in 1946, the doll became a fashion icon for little girls across the country. The ballerina, which received 5 TD (for TDmonthly!) stars from four reviewers and 4 stars from one reviewer, is part of the company’s play doll line.
Roundtable participants included Ruth Mandt with granddaughter Paige (6); Barbara Smith with granddaughters Sydney (7) and Savannah (6); Collette Shockley, owner of The Littlest Princess Doll Shop in Norcross, Ga.; Kim Hobbs, owner of Hobbs House of Dolls in Marietta, Ga.; and doll collector Virginia Davis.
Princess Ballerina by Terri Lee Associates
Age: 3 and up
Ruth, who thought the doll’s face beautiful, said, “Paige is always making her doll dance. … The little accessories (crown, flowers, compact and lip stick) were an added plus in allowing interaction with the doll.”
While Sydney liked the doll, she thought her sister Savannah, who is really into fashion dolls, would play with it more.
“The doll looks like Cinderella,” Savannah said. “I love that she has a crown. I know she is a princess. She is so beautiful.”
“What little girl couldn’t have a ball with these four dolls?” asked Virginia, noting that there are three other styles of the play doll: Pajama Party (redhead), School Days (blonde) and Birthday Party (brunette). “Even an old little girl like me would enjoy playing with them. The party doll looks so much like the Teri Lee I remember from the 1950s.”
The two storeowners agreed that this doll would be perfect to try out over the holidays.
“My customers remember Terri Lee, and I would buy this for my 7-year-old granddaughter,” Collette told TDmonthly. “I want to stock this doll in my shop. I think it would be a great seller for the holidays.”
“Grandmothers will love her because they remember the wonderful Terri Lee dolls of their youth. The doll has a sweet expression, and it even comes in a box (with a handle) designed to look like a trunk so you can keep up with all the doll’s clothes and accessories.”
“I can’t believe the price is so good,” commented Virginia, reflecting the sentiment of all the Roundtable participants.
“I know I can sell this doll for this price,” Collette confidently told TDmonthly. Likewise, Kim thinks “the economical price will really please parents.”
“The doll would make a great holiday or birthday gift for all the little girls in the family,” Ruth added.
Barbara Smith thought her granddaughters were satisfied with the doll as is, but a few reviewers had some ideas for improvement.
“It would be wonderful if additional outfits were sold packaged separately so that the doll could have more clothes. Paige likes the doll, but not as well as she has some of the others,” Ruth offered.
Kim made a suggestion based on recent safety concerns in the toy industry: “Since it is made, painted and packaged in China, it would be nice if it came with a tag saying it had been safety tested by the company.”
“I think the Terri Lee story is a very beautiful one, and it would be nice if the dolls came with a little booklet telling the story behind the doll,” Virginia concluded.
Here are some Terri Lee offerings:
Bonnie Lou Double Dutch by TERRI LEE ASSOCIATES
Bonnie Lou wears her favorite jumper in lime green. She’s meeting all her friends at the playground for a game of jump rope. Her accessories include her pink backpack, her favorite rope and pink hair scrunches, along with her very own hairbrush. Bonnie Lou has long beautiful hair for hours of styling fun. “Terri Lee is recognized by grandmothers who remember her and loved by moms who find her wholesomeness appealing,” Gretchen McGinnis of Terri Lee Associates told TDmonthly. THIS PRODUCT IS SOLD OUT (11.09). Launch date: August 2007. 6/5/2007 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 3 and Up)
Patty-Jo Sunday Best by TERRI LEE ASSOCIATES
Patty-Jo is all dressed up for Sunday church in her gingham, daisy-print dress. Her accessories include a special daisy hat and matching purse, compact and lipstick, and her very own hairbrush. Patty-Jo has long, beautiful hair for hours of styling fun. “Terri Lee is a toddler doll that is age-appropriate for the toddler market, which is largely underserved,” Gretchen McGinnis of Terri Lee Associates told TDmonthly. “Terri Lee was also the first doll company to manufacture African-American dolls in the United States.” Launch date: August 2007. 6/5/2007 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 3 and Up)
Ella Princess Ballerina by TERRI LEE ASSOCIATES
Ella has an important ballet recital to attend. She is dressed in her favorite pink leotard and tutu with matching ballet slippers. Her accessories include a rhinestone crown, bouquet of roses, special compact and lipstick and her very own hairbrush. Ella Princess Ballerina has long, beautiful, brown hair for hours of styling fun! 8/23/2006 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 3 to Adult)
Terri Lee Birthday Fun by TERRI LEE ASSOCIATES
Terri Lee is all dressed up in her fancy lavender dress for a special birthday party! Her accessories include a special daisy-charm necklace, birthday cupcakes and plates for two and party favors that include a birthday crown and gift box. She also has her very own hairbrush. She recently won an iParenting Media Award. 10/19/2005 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 3 to Adult)
Terri Lee Pajama Party by TERRI LEE ASSOCIATES
Terri Lee is dressed in her favorite pink pajamas with bunny slippers. She has a pajama party to go to so she will need to pack her accessories, which include her very own satin, monogrammed pillow, her favorite stuffed bunny, toothbrush, toothpaste and her hairbrush. 10/19/2005 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 3 and Up)
Terri Lee Princess Ballerina by TERRI LEE ASSOCIATES
Terri Lee has an important ballet recital to attend. She is dressed in favorite blue leotard and tutu with matching ballet slippers. Her accessories include a rhinestone crown, bouquet of roses, special compact and lipstick and her very own hairbrush. ( Watch Video) 10/19/2005 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 3 to Adult)
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