Monday, March 28, 2011

Introducing Stacey McBride Irby’s Prettie Girls! OWP


Super-talented doll designer, Stacey McBride-Irby


After amicably ending a several-year career with one of the leading manufacturers of dolls, Stacey McBride-Irby’s contribution to the doll world will continue as I excitedly reported in my blog: Stacey McBride-Irby + One World Doll Project.

In an effort to gain full details about The One World Doll Project and The Prettie Girls! OWP, I immediately contacted Ms. McBride-Irby with an interview request. She and the company’s chief marketing officer, Ms. Bettie DeBruhl, graciously granted the following interview.

Note: My questions are preceded by the initials, BDC (Black Doll Collecting), and SMI (Stacey McBride-Irby) precedes Stacey’s answers. OWP abbreviates One World Prettie.

BDC: Stacey, how important was it for you to create an inclusive doll line that represents more than one ethnicity?

SMI: It's more than important; it's the impetus for The One World Doll Project. What will begin as a focus on filling a market niche in the Multi-cultural doll category that has largely gone unsupported by the three major toy manufacturers, will eventually become the worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of the most diverse and innovative dolls and doll products. That's our plan!

BDC: Your plan sounds exciting! Does each doll have a name? If so, are you able to share these?

SMI: I'd be very excited to share with you and your readers the name of the very first doll in the Prettie Girls! OWP line. Her name is Sophia; and because she is the first, we are making her the most special!

We are celebrating the "one world" ideals that were ushered in by the Obama administration in 2008 and commemorating the historical president's run for re-election in 2012 by introducing Sophia as a Commemorative Obama 2012 Collector Doll! Unlike the other Prettie Girls! that will be introduced early next year as fashion playline dolls for the online retail segment, Sophia will be introduced as a Limited Edition Collector’s Doll, in two styles: Casual, ready for the campaign trail in her Obama 2012 T-shirt, stylish cuffed Capri jeans and trendy stiletto heels; and Formal, ready for the White House Ball, with a beautiful electric royal blue gown, trimmed in sparkling silver, accented by encrusted jewels and garnet stones. Both dolls will be offered for $49.99 and are available for pre-sale on the website at http://www.obama2012dolls.com/.   There will also be 2,012 signature edition collector dolls available, hand-signed by me, numbered and certified, with a commemorative Obama 2012 pin and Obama 2012 T-Shirt. These dolls will retail for $149.99 each and are also available for pre-sale today.

BDC:  Wow!  I just viewed the images of Sophia.  She is fabulously special!  Stacey, please tell me more about the other dolls.  Describe their overall characteristics to include their height, hair type (rooted or wigged), eyes (inset or painted), material from which they are made, and any other information that parents or collectors would appreciate regarding their appearance?

SMI: Prettie Girls! OWP are 11.5-inch (29.21cm) fashion dolls. They will have rooted hair of different colors and unique styles to match their personalities. The dolls will come in 4 different skin tones, molded in PVC. Each doll will have a One World Prettie message that girls can connect with. Let's meet our Prettie Girls!

The Prettie Girls! are more than just a name. We wanted to make sure their names would represent the true character and ethnicity of how we wanted each girl to be perceived.
  • Lena is African American and is smart and sophisticated.
  • Kimani is from Africa; she's beautiful and sweet.
  • Valencia’s name means health and strong; she's from the Dominican Republic.
  • Dahlia is from India; she is gentle and considerate. Readers can go to http://www.prettiegirlsowp.com/ to get their full bios, to connect and fall in love with each Prettie Girl! OWP.
  • Our Collector’s Doll, Sophia is the role model to the girls and is "The Wise One." Collectors can go to http://www.obama2012dolls.com/ to read more about Sophia.

BDC: I’m in love with the dolls already. Collectors and little girls love pose-ability. Are the dolls jointed, if so where?

SMI: Yes, The Prettie Girls! will be jointed at the neck, shoulders, elbow, under the breasts, and at the knees for complete play and pose-ability.

BDC: You did say the dolls are fashion dolls, right?

SMI: Yes, The Prettie Girls! OWP are playline fashion dolls that will be introduced early next year for the online retail market—styled for play yet full of soul and rich with diversity! The first Prettie Girl! Sophia, the Obama 2012 Collector's Doll, available for pre-sale today, is also 11.5 inches (29.21 cm) in height.

BDC: What demographic is your target market?

SMI: What's exciting about The One World Doll Project is that we'll be marketing dolls that everyone will love and cherish! The Prettie Girls! OWP dolls will be designed for children ages 6 - 12, but the collectors' dolls are for collectors of all ages.

Our collectors' dolls will be the most stylish works of art and a vital part of a valuable growing collectors' market that will appeal to the most sophisticated and serious collectors, as well as to the novice consumer.

Our fashion and play dolls will be competitively priced and readily available to purchase online and shipped anywhere in the world, so the sky is the limit!

BDC: Global shipping will certainly please international customers.  You've shared Sophia's price.  How much will the other dolls cost?

SMI: The Prettie Girls! OWP dolls will be competitively priced for the market ranging between $19.95 and $24.95, and as mentioned, the Collectors' dolls will start at $49.95.

BDC: When and where will The Prettie Girls! be available (major stores, your website, or other sources)?

The Prettie Girls! OWP Obama 2012 Collectors Doll will be available for pre-sale starting Monday, March 28, 2011, on our website: http://www.obama2012dolls.com/ and will ship to consumers the first week of December 2011, just in time for Christmas. Our playline dolls will be available on our site for purchase, Spring 2012.

BDC: Will additional products be sold separately (extra fashions, accessories, books, etc.)?

SMI: We will be developing a series of story books and fashion packs, as well as some limited school supply items, such as notebooks, pens, etc. As the line continues to grow, we will add accessories for the complete play experience.

BDC: Stacey, I've taken up enough of your time, but before we conclude, please share any additional information about The Prettie Girls! and/or other dolls planned for the future.

SMI: As there is a void in the marketplace for dolls of color, we will certainly be looking to fill that void as well in the TV space. The One World Doll Project wants to give girls a positive story to embrace in an animated series. We will also continue to nurture relationships and build our collector line by designing dolls for affinity groups, non-profit organizations, and celebrities.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I wish to personally thank, Stacey and Bettie for allowing me to conduct the first in-depth interview regarding The One World Doll Project and Prettie Girls! OWP. Stacey, I am delighted that your doll designs will continue and hope they continue for many years to come. The doll market needs more designers whose lines are inclusive of dolls representing the diversity of mankind for every child (young and old-er).

Readers, for more information about The One World Doll Project; their debut doll, Sophia; and the rest of The Prettie Girls! OWP, visit the websites listed below and please support the company’s endeavors!

One World Dolls:  http://www.oneworlddolls.com/
Obama Collector's Doll, Sophiahttp://www.obama2012dolls.com/
Prettie Girls! OWP:  http://www.prettiegirlsowp.com/

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Twinn Friend Reveal, From Her to Him


This is the doll I purchased earlier this week during the My Twinn Friend doll sale with the idea to transform her into a boy.  She is the last doll shown on the image collage I created to help me decide which doll to buy. The first doll on the image collage (first doll, first row, far left) was my first consideration, but I wanted a doll that I would only need to redress.  To become a boy, the first doll, first row would definitely need rewigging, which eliminated her.  The dolls (there are 2) in the Asian attire on the image collage were considerations because of their hair, but they share the same face mold as my lone-My Twinn boy.  I needed the second boy to have a different face.

The transformation is illustrated in the images that follow:


I removed the white dress, white tights, and blue and white Victorian-style shoes, underneath which were pink-trimmed undershirt and matching panties.  Obscured by the camera's flash is the My Twinn logo on front of the undershirt.


I removed the undies and photographed the doll without them to illustrate the extensive amount of cloth used for these dolls.  The cloth limits the clothing styles the dolls can wear, but it actually adds to their pose-ability due to the armature within.  


Redressing in this authentic My Twinn boy outfit of green polo-style shirt, denim jeans, real leather belt, white socks, and black sneakers transformed the pretty girl into to a handsome boy.  I named him after my brother Ronald's friend, Billy.  My former lone-My Twinn boy is named after my brother.


Pictured above are Ronald and his new friend, Billy.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Rosa Parks Sample Paper Doll...

...courtesy of Dover Publications in honor of National Women's History Month.


Sampled from Famous African American Women Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney, Dover Publications, 1994


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Catching a Case: Brown Girl with Yellow Hair


This 1970s Fashion Doll Case by Miner is a recent eBay acquisition.  It features a brown-skinned girl dressed in a yellow sweater, black shoes, and lime green:  pleated skirt, socks, tam,  and scarf.  Very colorful.  I didn't notice the obvious until after I placed my bid.  The girl has yellow hair.  Silly me... I thought.  Is this girl actually African American, as indicated in the auction's title?  Her yellow hair confused me, so I wrote the seller and asked her opinion.  "Well, you've got a point, but her skin is definitely brown," was her paraphrased reply.

Before the auction ended, I Googled, "Miner Fashion Doll Case," or something to that effect, and found the white version of this case.  I attempted to locate that image to link to this blog, but failed.  By memory, the girl on the "Googled" case wore pink and another contrasting color, possibly yellow.  Like mine, the exterior of the other one was also white vinyl.  I do not remember the girl's hair color, possibly yellow, too.   

Miner was obviously quite progressive in their thinking as illustrated by another doll trunk they manufactured, circa 1970s, shown here. (Scroll down to view the image and read the seller's description.) 
There are still so few doll trunks or other doll-related items that feature Black dolls or graphics of dark-skinned people, that when I do find them, I am immediately interested... enthused.  Below are pictures of other accessories with melanin-rich graphics. 





Tonner Doll Fashion Trunk is covered in fabric with silhouetted dark-skinned fashion models.
 

1999 Barbie Trunk has head shot of Asha (friend of) Barbie.  Is this Mattel's first dark-skin doll-featured trunk?





Stila makeup paint can features #1 Black Barbie in celebration of the doll's 30th Anniversary.
 

Originally sold as a set of three, these vinyl clutches have a head shot of #1 Black Barbie.


Barbie tote bag: Using an ultra fine-tipped brown Sharpie marker, I colorized Barbie.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Twinn Adopt a Friend Sale


My Twinn dolls "Danielle" and "Ronald"

MyTwinn.com is currently offering an Adopt-a-My Twinn Friend* Doll sale for $59 for one Friend, or two for $99.  I viewed the available dolls, which numbered over 400 at the time.  My honest intention was to just browse.  I already own 14 My Twinn dolls, 13 girls and 1 boy.  Lord knows I don't need another 24-inch doll.

But... while browsing, I had an underlying goal of finding another boy, or a girl that I could transform into a boy.  After all, "Ronald needs a friend," I thought.

I saw several possibilities and decided to copy their head shots to study and help narrow my decision.  The copied head shots are below:



Click the image to enlarge. 

Which one do you think I chose to transform into a boy? 

To see more available My Twinn Friend dolls and to possibly add one or an additional one to your collection... or to buy one for a deserving little person, view the rest of the available dolls at the link below.  You'll have to scroll down to view the first set of available Friends.  Click "view all" to see them all on one page.   Here's the link.

*My Twinn Friend dolls are one-of-a-kind dolls created by the My Twinn Company, while My Twinn dolls (which are priced higher than the Friends) can be customized to look like a special little person by choosing the skin tone, eye color; hair texture, color, and hairstyle.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Prodigyrls Janelle, an Aspiring Chef


After visiting the Prodigyrls' website and deciding Janelle needed to join Nicole, I ordered Janelle this past Monday.  She promptly arrived yesterday.  I took several photos of this caramel-complexioned cutie with cinnamon-colored Shirley Temple-curled hair, and read her story on the back of the box.  The photos, story, and my opinion of Janelle follow: 

Janelle wearing chef's hat

Janelle without hat -- she has a pink T-shirt on underneath her chef's coat.
 
Janelle can "take off her chef hat" by literally removing it and the coat to nicely blend in as a casually dressed doll in the collection.

Janelle's Shirley Temple-curled hair

Back of box contains company info and Janelle's story, which reads:

Prodigyrls (pra-dee-girls) is a unique collection of African-American dolls with realistic facial features, skin tones, and hair.  Our dolls reflect the beauty of African-American girls.  Each doll tells the story of what she is passionate about and how she was inspired to pursue her dream.

♥ JANELLE ♥
Janelle lives with her grandparents and dreams of becoming a chef.  Janelle's family celebrates with food and her grandmother is an amazing cook.  When Janelle's grandmother is diagnosed with diabetes[,] Janelle sets out to create healthy alternatives to her grandmother's recipes.  Janelle dreams of owning a restaurant and serving her nutritious creations. 


In three words to describe my opinion of Janelle:  I love her... I'm glad I ordered Janelle... Nicole is too! (Oops... that's more than three words).

:-)

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Do You Remember Keisha...

...and the other Magic Attic Club dolls?

First Issue Magic Attic Club Keisha 1995 by Georgetown Collection

I certainly do.  I fell in love with Magic Attic Club Keisha the year she was released, 1995, one year after the initial dolls were introduced to the market by Georgetown Collection. I recall receiving Georgetown's Magic Attic brochure, discovering that Keisha was added to the line, and immediately filling out the order form for her.  The 1994 debut dolls were:  Megan, Heather, and Allison

I was impressed with Keisha's quality and loved her Kanekalon wigged hair, which mimicks the texture of "warm combed" African American hair.  In the image above, Keisha's original hairstyle (one ponytail over loose hanging hair in back) has been restyled in three fat braids with ponytail holders and barrettes as accents. The book, Magic Attic the Adventure Begins featuring Keisha and the debut dolls was included with Keisha #1 along with a lavender brush and her floppy lavender hat. 

From 1994 through 2004 (their final year of release), Magic Attic Club dolls' ownership changed from Georgetown Collection, to L. L. Knickerbocker, to Marian LLC (now Charisma Brands) with each company releasing new versions of the dolls.


Magic Attic Rose - the fifth and final doll in the Magic Attic Club line

Georgetown's Keisha remained my only Magic Attic Club doll for several years; but by 2008, I owned all four Keishas as well as Rose in honor of a niece who succumbed to cancer in September 2007.  Rose and my niece have similar facial features.  I wanted a doll to perpetually remind me of La'Vinia. 

My four Keishas, are included in my second Black-doll reference book, Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion , pp. 182-183 (September 2008)The copyrighted illustrations and descriptions from the book are below:

Illustration 363 - Magic Attic Club™ Keisha #’s 1, 2, 3, and 4 from 1995, 1996, 2001, and 2004

Material: All vinyl

Height: 18in/45.72cm

Marks: None

Hair/Eyes/Mouths: Dolls 1-3 dark brown Kanekalon wigs; Doll 4 dark brown rooted/brown stationary/closed

Clothing: Doll 1 wears lavender jumper, white blouse, white socks, lavender lace-up sneakers. Doll 2 wears lavender overalls, lavender and white polka dot blouse, and white sneakers with purple laces. Doll 3 wears Keisha’s Fifth Avenue outfit – purple leopard-trimmed jacket, black T-shirt, leopard print pants, white sneakers with purple laces. Doll 4 wears Keisha’s African Princess outfit – a long African-print dress, gold headdress, necklace, sandals.

Other: Robert Tonner sculpted the face mold. Georgetown manufactured doll 1. L. L. Knickerbocker manufactured dolls 2 and 3; and Marian, LLC manufactured doll 4. Doll 1’s hair is coarser than the other wigged dolls’ hair and the original hairstyle is identical to Doll 2’s. Doll 3 is the only doll without bangs. Doll 3’s original outfit consists of a purple and white shirt, lavender T-shirt, denim skirt, and purple sandals. See Magic Attic Keisha #4 illustration for #4’s original outfit.

Value: $75 each



Illustration 364 - Marian – Magic Attic Keisha #4, 2004


Clothing: Lavender, purple and white striped blouse with matching scrunchie; tan pants with floral embroidery on leg and purple belt; lavender lace-up shoes

Value: $75



For additional information about the Magic Attic Club dolls, visit the Just Magic website for thorough details, which includes their history, face mold comparisons, accessories, and much more. 

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Three Smiths in Paper Doll Form



Jaden, Jada, and Will Smith are included in the new Celebrity Parents, Celebrity Kids Paper Dolls by Diana Zourelias (Dover Publications, 2010).  According to the information received from Dover, "This paper doll book proves that talent can run in a family!  Featured celebrity parents and children include Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus, Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight, Gwyneth Paltrow and Blythe Danner, Jennifer and John Aniston, plus four other famous families."  (The Smiths are among the four other famous families.)  "Dolls come with extra costumes, faces, and wigs from their movies and television shows.  32pp. 8-1/4 x 11.  $9.99"

I have not ordered "yet," but because the Smiths are included, I will.  Here's the ordering link.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

An eBay'd Baby

Photobucket
Thinning out babies... as they are no longer as near and as dear to my heart, this one needs love and a new home.  I have non-eBay plans for most of the others... just need to make that move and call. 


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Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Random Visit to Prodigyrls.com


Prodigyrls Nicole and Janelle

This morning, while still in the midst of the spring forward, sluggish effects of Daylight Saving Time, I decided to visit the Prodigyrls' website.  I was surprised to find the dolls discounted from $69 to $49.

I own Nicole and later purchased Janelle as a gift for a friend.  Both were purchased at their original retail price of $69.   Perhaps I should enable myself and purchase Janelle before quantities are exhausted.

Prior to Nicole's purchase in December 2009, I wrote the company's founder, Dr. Daniela Wiggins, who shared the inspiration behind the dolls and her then plans for them.   Ms. Wiggins allowed me to share the results of our communication in blog form.  At that time, I was a blogger for DOLLS Magazine, which is where I documented our communication.  It can be read here.

Nicole and Janelle

If you would like to add one or both of these adorable, 18-inch, vinyl-with-cloth-bodied dolls that have ethnically correct facial features, skin tones, and hair texture/styles to your collection, or would like to present one as a gift to a deserving girl, visit the Prodigyrls' website now.  The need to support manufacturers of dolls that inspire continues. 

(By the way, my Nicole looks adorable in other fashions designed for 18-inch, slim-bodied dolls.  An Emily Rose yellow cheerleader fashion, is one. See her in it here.)


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Saturday, March 12, 2011

'02 and '03 Retro Barbie Fashions


2002 Barbie Fashion Avenue B3366

While rearranging doll boxes, I stumbled upon three boxed Barbie fashions purchased several years ago that I had long forgotten.  The pants of the fashion above have a mock patchwork pattern -- so 1970s.


2003 Barbie "Style" B8268

The above denim fashion is modeled by Generation Girl Nikki on the back of the box, which includes illustrations of other fashions in this line. 

  Generation Girl Nikki models Barbie "Style" fashion


2003 Barbie "Trend" B8251

The third and final fashion above is reminiscent of the 1960s-1970s flower power craze and includes bell bottom pants, a brown faux suede jacket, a hobo purse, and brown platform shoes.  More flower power and bell-bottomed fashions are illustrated on the back of the "Trend" box.


These fashions are a bit of fashion history recaptured by Mattel in 2002 and 2003, and re-recaptured by me  today. 

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Ken, Celebrating 50 and 30 Years!


Flocked hair Ken 1961

In 1962 (market-entry date) my mother added blonde, flocked hair Ken to my non-Black Barbie and friends doll collection. This was Mattel's first Ken, copyright/box date 1961,which is the reason 50th anniversary/birthday celebrations are being held by collectors and Mattel for Ken.

My #1 Ken arrived wearing red swim trunks.  I still have those trunks.  I do not recall if I received the outfit Ken wears now at the same time I received the doll.  Knowing my mother, she purchased at least one Fashion Pak at the time the doll was purchased.  I can visualize myself tossing Ken's red trunks aside and storing them in my light blue double Barbie trunk in exchange for the fashion he wears now or one of his others.  I vaguely remember a tennis outfit.  As a child, Ken offered me little interest except for the periodic physical examinations I conducted on his non-working parts.  I was curious. 

After reading Jorge Ramiro's blog about Ken's 50th birthday, I wondered when the first Black Ken was introduced into the Barbie and friends family.  Christie's boyfriend, Brad was introduced in 1969; Cara's boyfriend Curtis, was introduced in 1974, and there have been other dark-skinned male friends in the Barbie line since then.  Steven (the name given Christie's boyfriend in the 1980s) and Jamal (originally Shani's boyfriend) are two of the others.  But I wanted to know when-the-first-Black-doll-was-given-the name, Ken.

I found my answer in The Ultimate Barbie Doll Book by Marcie Melillo, (Krause Publications, November 1996).  In my opinion, this is the most comprehensive reference for Barbie dolls made from 1959 through 1995.  I would love for the author to write a followup. 

Sunsational Malibu Ken, also known as "Afro" Ken because of his curly Afro

According to the section in Melillo's book devoted to "Ken Dolls and Other Like-Sized Friends Regular Issue 1961-1995," the first African American (AA) Ken was introduced in 1981 (box date) with a market date of 1982. 

While the original 1961 Ken, like the one from my childhood, celebrates his 50th birthday, Sunsational Malibu Ken, a.k.a. "Afro Ken" celebrates his
30th.  Will there be a reproduction "Afro" Ken to commemorate three decades of Black Ken?  Oh but wait... there has already been a 40th Anniversary AA Ken.  So I suppose there will not be any fanfare for the first Black Ken's true anniversary.  Oh well...
Happy birthday anyway, Ken and Ken.  

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Stacey McBride-Irby + One World Doll Project!

I am so excited! I was recently informed about former Mattel doll designer, Stacey McBride-Irby's new doll-designing venture.

Well known for the very popular So In Style dolls, Stacey has broadened her horizons further in the doll arena.  She will be designing the Prettie Girls Dolls for THE ONE WORLD DOLL PROJECT.  According to their website:

Stacey joins entrepreneurial success trainer, author and “activational” speaker Trent T. Daniel; Bettie DeBruhl, former public relations senior vice president and general manager of one of the largest ad agencies in the Southwest; Gene Insley, former Mattel™ senior vice president; and Joanne Melton, former banking vice president, in forming a new company that will revolutionize the way mainstream dolls are designed, marketed, and integrated into the fabric of America. THE ONE WORLD DOLL PROJECT promises to make one of the most significant positive cultural impacts on play and in the doll category in recent history.
If you are as excited as I am and desire to learn more about OWDP's Prettie Girls Dolls  and the other dolls and community work they have planned, read more here!

Congratulations, Stacey (and thanks Janice for the heads-up!)

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Collection of Unique Black Dolls For Sale

Christina G. Weaver, author of What You Lose on the Roundabout You Gain on the Swings, is selling her museum-quality black doll collection.




The collection includes:
  • Replica of last slave house in Goochland, VA by Jacqueline Andrews (commissioned by noted collector) with 40 nut-head dolls depicting African-American life in the 1800s.
  • 30 predominantly rag dolls dating from the 1860s through early 20th Century, including one from the Smithsonian Field to Factory Exhibition.
Christina's desire is to sell the collection as a whole.  Interested parties may contact Ms. Weaver via email at Christina@cgweaver.com

Or via mail:
PO Box 262
Bethany Beach, DE  19930


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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

S.I.S. Grace Celebrates International Women's Day

Today marks the centennial of International Women's Day, a day that celebrates the economic, political, and social accomplishments of women globally.

As a list-group activity participant, I redressed a So In Style doll to represent an accomplished woman from my country. I chose to honor the first African American First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. 


So In Style Grace shadows First Lady Michelle Obama in a reinterpretation of the gold strapless dress and shawl worn by the First Lady during her first White House State Dinner on November 24, 2009. Indian Prime Minister,  Manmohan Singh and his wife, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, were the guests of honor.  First Lady Obama's glittery gold, strapless dress was designed by Indian-born Naeem Khan and was made in India.  Her accessories included beautiful drop earrings and several bangle bracelets. 

So In Style Grace as First Lady Michelle Obama


Grace also wears a glittery gold dress with halter neckline and accessories "similar" to those worn by First Lady Obama.  Grace's dress, however, was designed by someone at Mattel and made in China.  Her shawl is borrowed from the Mixis Indian Outfit, also made in China. 

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

An Interview with the President...

... of Trinity Designs, Inc.


"The Essence of" Collection by Trinity Designs, Inc., L-R:  The Essence of Lady Ivy, The Essence of a Zeta, The Essence of Lady Sigma, and The Essence of a Delta

I contacted Niccole Graves, President and CEO of Trinity Designs Inc. with a request for an interview after reading the company’s 2011 press release, which had been shared with me by fellow collector, E. J. Ferebee. I wanted to know more about this interesting line of fashion dolls and share that information with others who may not be aware of its existence.  Ms. Graves kindly agreed to participate in an in-depth interview and also shared images* of the company’s dolls. The interview results follow.

Note that my questions are preceded by the initials, BDC (Black Doll Collecting), and TDI (Trinity Designs, Inc.) precedes Ms. Graves’s answers.


BDC: What was the inspiration behind the creation of your dolls?

TDI: I wanted a "Delta" doll for myself years ago but was unable to find one that was not in statue or rag doll form. I wanted a fashion doll so I decided to create one myself.

BDC: Congratulations for taking the initiative to design the dolls yourself.  What medium is used for your dolls, vinyl or porcelain?

TDI: Vinyl and hard plastic.

BDC: If you are able to disclose this information, who created the dolls' sculpts?

TDI: I'm sorry; I'm unable to disclose that info.

BDC: Okay, I understand. How long have the dolls been in production?

Top-Bottom:  The Essence of Lady Sigma, The Essence of a Delta

TDI: The dolls have been in production since 2010. We launched the first doll, “The Essence of a Delta” in summer 2010 and they were delivered in January 2011. Our next 3 dolls are currently in a preorder campaign and will be shipped out late spring 2011.

BDC: I was able to tell from the images on your website that the dolls’ arms are articulated. Are their legs also articulated, if so, where? Are they jointed elsewhere?

TDI: The legs are articulated as well at the knee. The doll is a mix of injection molded and rotational molded joints and limbs.

BDC: Will other doll categories or sizes larger or smaller than 16 inches be included in your line; If so, when?

TDI: We are adding several other dolls to our Signature line, “The Essence of…” series.  We hope to be able to design a series of dolls that targets many of the various organizations and associations. People enjoy a collectible that really captures the essence of something they are a part of. The current Signature series of sorority collectibles are 16 inches.

We also have in design phase our first annual 12-inch Holiday doll and a collection of children's 12-inch dolls. I hope to have them in production by winter 2011.

BDC: What is the price of your Signature dolls?

TDI: The retail price is $149.99 which includes doll, doll stand, and shipping and handling.

BDC: What are the preordering specifics and do you offer layaway?

TDI: Preorder campaigns are typically 60 days and delivery is generally scheduled for 8-10 weeks following the close of preorders. We offer layaway for Special Edition dolls, which are a Limited Edition item and retail for $300 and we also offer layaway for larger orders. We accept credit cards online and mail orders with a cashier's check or money order.

BDC: Which doll or dolls are produced as a Limited Edition and are these dolls still available?

TDI: The only doll produced in a Limited Edition was “The Special Edition Essence of a Delta.” We produced 100 of that particular doll because she was our premier debut product. Quantities are still available.

BDC: Noting that the images you shared are of the prototypes, will the manufactured dolls differ much from the prototype images?

TDI: There are some slight differences in the manufactured dolls.
  • The prototypes are initially bald so creating a hairstyle from scratch limits the different hairstyles that you can design.   The production dolls have rooted hair; styling them is much easier. So the hair on all the dolls is typically different.
  • The makeup is different as well.  Full makeup on a prototype versus full makeup on a production doll is extremely different.  The production dolls have a more polished, smoother appearance because the heads are injection molded vinyl.
  • The overall attire and accessories do not change much at all.

The Essence of a Zeta
  • The skin tones of the dolls may change as well. We are trying to offer a range of complexions on our dolls ranging from light to a darker brown skin tone. We aren't able to offer different skin tones per individual doll but we are offering varying skin tones within the series.
BDC: Who are your main customers; doll collectors, sorority members, or both?

TDI: Our Signature series which is our line of Sorority dolls are targeted mainly for women of African American Greek lettered sororities although we have many collectors that are not in these organizations who purchase her because she above all is a collectible doll. I hope to capture the audience of doll collectors as well as sorority members looking for that special item to add to their collection of sorority paraphernalia.

BDC: What would you like potential customers to know about your dolls and your company?

 The Essence of Lady Ivy

TDI: My dolls are made with extreme detail in mind. We attempt to capture the essence and individual beauty in every doll that we design. The fabrics we select are excellent quality; the accessories include purses, jewelry and fur capes. Our Signature sorority dolls are also equipped with audio, so yes, they sing. The audio is housed in the doll stands that we provide for each doll. Our dolls also have custom sculpted hands. For example, “The Essence of a Delta” doll can be posed to hold up a pyramid and “The Essence of Lady Ivy” holds up her pinky finger. These special details really capture the essence of the doll it celebrates.

My mission is to produce designs that capture the beauty and essence of minority women and girls. Trinity Designs, Inc. endeavors to be the largest designer and manufacturer of minority inspired dolls for play and for collectors.
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I would like to thank Ms. Graves for this very informative interview. Special thanks to Ellen Ferebee for sharing the company’s 2011 press release. 

For further information about the unique and quite lovely dolls produced by Trinity Designs, Inc. or to place a preorder, please visit their website:

http://www.trinitydesignsinc.com/

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*Images are courtesy of Trinity Designs, Inc.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Nicki Minaj Inspired, Maybe?



Cosmic Love Amelie from the Color Infusion Collection, Integrity Toys (my image of an image)

I immediately thought, "Nicki Minaj" when I saw Cosmic Love Amelie's image at Vogue Collectibles, Inc.  The doll has a proposed arrival date of July 2011 and a $125 US price.  

Do you see the same resemblance or inspiration?

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