|"We're currently developing a line with Uneeda."— Dave Platel, Dion's Five Star Feeling Inc.
November 8, 2005 — Early in August, TDmonthly Magazine learned from Uneeda Inc.’s then-president Richard Flaxman (read article) that superstar singer Celine Dion was working with the company on a new line of realistic baby dolls. Now it’s official: Dave Platel, management associate at Dion’s Five Star Feeling/CDA confirmed the Dion/Uneeda association in an e-mail to TDmonthly Magazine, adding that “we're currently developing a line with Uneeda ... it is in the early stages.” Previews of the doll should be available at the Hong Kong Toy and Game Fair January 10 to 13, 2006. (See calendar of events).
The Lee Middleton Doll Company also hobnobs with celebrities. In late September, actress Denise Richards was spotted by People Magazine picking out a baby in an FAO Schwarz Lee Middleton Newborn Nursery; the photo was featured on the magazine’s Web site. And now the company is working with Stacy Offenberger, the current Miss Ohio, on a brand new baby doll to be released next year.
“[Ms. Offenberger] will be going to the Miss USA pageant next year and wanted to take something with her that represented Ohio. Since we're an Ohio-based company, she wanted to take a doll,” said Mark Putinski, vice president of marketing for the company. Ms. Offenberger’s interest in the dolls led her to become involved in designing a special baby.
Over at Adora Inc., vice president of sales and marketing Thomas Ames said that the company was planning a new realistic baby doll line though they had no tie-ins with a celebrity. When asked if the new dolls would incorporate silicone, Ames told TDmonthly, “We're working on something in that realm. We're not quite sure yet.”
Blackall Associates had worked on a doll line last year with Gloria Vanderbilt, but had no celebrity associations planned for this year, said president Shirley Blackall.
Here are a few dolls that could earn celebrity status of their own:
Uneeda’s new lifelike doll is intended for play and made with traditional materials. When asked why, Uneeda’s former president, Richard Flaxman, was blunt. “I like to get a jump on the competition. And no one has done this in the mass market or in the department stores at acceptable price points,” he said. He told TDmonthly that they would be “dolls that little girls can cuddle.” The line will include extremely detailed 13” and 16” infants and babies of approximately 3 to 6 months in “absolutely the most beautiful baby outfits.” Each size will come in three different facial types. The prototype dolls previewed at the American International Fall Toy Show in October 2005 and will be open for sale in January 2006.
Only 350 of Masterpiece Dolls’ first Hawaiian baby — Kailani, sculpted by Laura Tuzio-Ross — will be available. Her skin tone is a soft tan color that harmonizes with her dark brown eyes and straight black human-hair wig. Laura has sculpted full legs that go up into her cloth body, and her arms are sculpted above the elbows. She is made of silicon/ vinyl and her height is 22". She is wearing a pretty silk floral wreath in her hair and another one around her wrist. She holds one lavender orchid in her hand. Her outfit is a combination of sky blue and baby pink colors with matching sandals. She will weigh between 4 and 5 lbs.