Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Little Enabling

As doll collectors, we have all been encouraged, enticed, enabled at one time or another to add a doll to our respective collections after seeing something new to the market or seeing another collector's newly acquired doll.

Sometimes we even enable ourselves.

After ruling out the need to purchase the two new articulated So In Style doll sets, Skating Fun Kara and Kianna, and Tennis Fun Grace and Courtney, I had a change of heart for a few reasons.  Initially, I wasn't sure I would like the open/closed mouth smile with appearance of teeth.

The dolls' designer, Stephen Sumner, who is no longer with Mattel, mentioned in a Facebook comment that the dolls were given teeth because collectors had complained it felt as though they were buying the same dolls over and over again.  The open/closed mouth with the appearance of teeth is a different look, according to Sumner.  Kara's curly hairdo also changes her appearance.

So on second thought I concluded, "maybe I should buy Kara."  At the time this decision was made, the doll was sold out at Amazon.com where I am an Amazon.com Prime member.  Another website that had the doll in stock earlier, showed it as a discontinued product.  "Oh no!"  I thought.

Another reason I now wanted both sets is because, beyond the dolls Sumner has designed that are on the horizon, the life expectancy of the So In Style brand may be short.  Has Mattel assigned another designer to the line?  If so, what will that designer do with the dolls?  Will the new designer be as passionate about the line as the original designer, Stacey McBride-Irby; or will the dolls be discontinued?

With so many unanswered questions, I needed what I concluded are the first-of-the-last group of Sumner-designed dolls.  "Kara's curly hair is appealing, they are articulated, and that toothy smile probably isn't so bad," I thought.

With enough self-enabling, I found and purchased a deboxed Kara on eBay for $7.99, but postage bumped the final cost up to $13 and change.  Her little companion was not included.  Desperation will make a doll collector do strange things.


Deboxed Skating Fun Kara (?)

The doll arrived a few days later as a new Kara head on a non-articulated Barbie body, dressed in Skating Kara's outfit minus the skates!  What the bleep???  I immediately contacted the seller regarding my displeasure (the seller's poor quality, dark photos did not show the doll's feet and the arm and knee pads concealed what an unsuspecting buyer would believe were joints).

New Kara head on non-articulated body
This seller normally does not accept returns but allowed me to return the doll for a full refund.  I had to cough up the return postage, but it was only $1.90.  This, plus my frustration, was the price I paid for not following my own advice to ask sellers questions, questions, questions and hold on to their reply until the item is received.  Experience truly is the best teacher. 

Meanwhile,  Vanessa shared images of her deboxed Kara, making me want the doll even more.  I scurried on over to Amazon.com to check availability.  Much to my surprise, both sets (Kara/Kianna and Grace/Courtney) were available and eligible for free shipping to Amazon.com Prime members.

I ordered both and received a surprise bonus in the form of a $19.99 credit as part of their Shop with Points program.  So essentially, I purchased two dolls for the price of one!

I love this form of self-enabling and equally loathe people who try to take advantage of others.

Below are images of the boxed sets with a close-up of Grace, whose new name is Sloane, renamed for the young professional tennis player who recently defeated Serena Williams at the Australian Open (but was defeated herself one day later.)



Skating Fun Kara and Kianna and Tennis Fun Grace (Sloane) and Courtney

Sloane (Grace) and her two front teeth


I'm happy I found both sets, but I'm still not overly enthused with the painted teeth. This, however, may be something SIS collectors will have to accept.  The open mouth with appearance of teeth is repeated in the non-articulated Lipstick Jungle set, which includes Trichelle.


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26 comments:

  1. I do agree with those people who felt like they were buying the same doll! For me, my dolls are for play only and I need something new to excite me about play purchases. I would need to see a drastically different paint job and rooted lashes as something different! That is why I purchase the dolls for the bodies. But they gave the kids great new looks. The face and the hair of Kiana and Courney were different and cute! I had to keep the kids!

    I can only hope that going forward they really decide to develop these doll's storyline either as college students or high school students and give the type of development that they have given MH dolls! Lets see some college scene...SIS Stumps The Yard...Dorm Room SIS...College Intern SIS! Mattel always tries to get off cheap on any other doll than Barbie! Dolls are like reading a novel. You have to have a well developed character to create interest! Let’s learn more about each doll and their personalities.

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    1. More storylines would be nice for the So In Style Dolls, Ms. Leo, but I guess Mattel plans for us or for the intended market (little girls) to create our own. It's unfortunate that this line is not given the attention and focus that is directed toward other lines such as Monster High.

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  2. Hello from Spain: I am happy that in the end you get the doll you wanted. To me your Sloane is beautiful. You know that in my country, this collection is not for sale. So I really like the SIS. Keep in touch

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    1. Thanks, Marta. I am glad I was able to get the dolls I wanted, too.

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  3. Awww man. I'm sorry you went through that ordeal. I can imagine your disappointment when you opened that box and say an unarticulated doll. I would have been ticked, too. In the end you got a great deal with the two sets of dolls. My Karla (Kara)is waving to you with her new articulated hands.

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa. After this ordeal was resolved and learning about the Lipstick Jungle dolls, it made me wonder if the Kara dressed as the skating doll was not a Lipstick Jungle Kara. It's interesting that the beginning bid was $7.99 (the retail cost of the LJ dolls). I am speculating, but it's possible the seller wanted the LJ fashion for the articulated Kara.

      My Kara and Sloane are waving back at Karla.

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  4. Hi,Debbie!!
    We are passionate ones about dolls!
    There's no way about this...LOL!!
    I recently made a posting on my Facebook group DOLL PASSION (Culture Club),commenting, exactly about the overexposure of Mbili mold.
    In my opinion this facemold is absolutely outworn...
    And from here, is hard to understand why Mattel is so addicted to this mold when think about afro dolls.So many designers,so many possibilities of creation for a new afro mold, and Mattel insist to sounds as a poor factory,repeting always and always the same molds..
    Mbili is probably the most used mold to represent afro american dolls(and african dolls),and we have great versions of this head sculpt.But as a collector I need diversity...and I'm still looking foward,waiting for the future of the afro american dolls
    by Mattel.And always not understanding why not create new molds to represent a people so beautiful and diverse as the american black people...
    But,anyway I think is important for your job and collection, have "everything" possible to tell the history of THE BLACK DOLL COLLECTING...
    Congrats,Debbie!!

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    1. Hi Jorge,

      It does get rather boring to keep adding what feels like the same dolls to a collection or doll family. This is one reason why for years Barbie was of no interest to me whatsoever, particularly dolls in the playline.

      Mattel has the unfavorable tendency to use the same Black doll in the Barbie playline for what seems to be an eternity before introducing a new head sculpt. Just like real people, not all Black dolls should look alike, and more than one at a time should be included in each or at least some lines. Variety is always an added plus.

      Hopefully they will do better; and if they do not, we know what to do with our $'s.

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  5. The lipstick jungle girls look like they could be starring in a Flintstones episode as a singing group. I was quite taken aback at seeing Trichelle. I guess that the lip change is effective because they sure look different.

    Man, I would have been hopping mad at getting an unarticulated doll from the seller!

    Talk about enabling, I recently got Amazon Prime and I keep buying stuff with the thought that "shipping is free!," except it's not because I already paid for it, lol. The stories we tell ourselves.

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  6. Hey Muff: RE: Amazon.com Prime's "free shipping," I guess if you order enough throughout the year before your membership expires, the shipping will eventually be free and the membership pay for itself.

    I have found, however, that sometimes the cost of items from Amazon.com sellers plus shipping can be less expensive than ordering the Prime-eligible item. Also, if you are not signed in, you're able to see items that qualify for free shipping with the purchase of $25 or more. As a Prime member, you cannot always see this when you're signed in.

    Do you take advantage of the "free" movies, although limited in selection?

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    1. DBG, when I search for something I make sure the Prime Only options is not checked so I can see every thing available. More times than not though, the Prime item is cheaper.

      I'm getting my use of Prime really through the instant "free videos." I have been watching movies like crazy on my Kindle. I don't know that I will extend my membership after the year but I know I could not watch all those movies within the 30 day trial. I don't have cable and the Prime is cheaper than HULU and I love that their is no commercials. That alone makes it worth it to me.

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    2. Okay Muff. It sounds like you're making it work for you.

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    3. Muff and Debbie - Thanks for the additional info about AmazonPrime. I signed up for my free trial two days ago. I don't have cable. Haven't since 2003. I've had Hulu+ for a couple of months, and Netflix in the past. I just canceled my Hulu+ and will more than likely sign up for Prime after the trial. I didn't know what Prime was, and would never have signed up just for the shipping aspect. But TV and movies? Count me in. With all that you get, the price is really good! And no commercials, too?! I don't like the interface on Amazon, but maybe I can fix that. You know what I always say, "If Muff is buying, it's worth taking a look, cause Muff only buys bargains." Thanks again!

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    4. You're welcome, Vanessa. I signed up with Amazon Prime after another frugal person mentioned it. After reading that Muff is a member, I knew I had not made the wrong decision. I have already purchased and had shipped free, countless items. I don't watch many of their movies, but I did enjoy watching the Bad Seed -- a free movie from the late 1950s that I remember watching on TV as a child during the early 1960s. "Give me those shoes!"

      Anyway... my son, the filmologist, enjoys Amazon Prime. We have yet to pay for a movie and I don't plan on it. I hope your membership pays for itself long before it expires.

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    5. LOL, Y'all act like I'm Scrooge McDuck or something! Vanessa, I have the Kindle Fire HD and watch/read all my content on that. I only get the free videos, books and apps, of course. You can only use the Kindle with wifi but I still think it's worth it. If your TV has HDMI you can also hook your Kindle to it. The one time I tried to use the Amazon player on my laptop it didn't work at all so I still don't know what it looks like.

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    6. Admit it, Muff -- you know you are an expert at squeezing some dead presidents to death before you let them go. LOL!

      Oh and by the way, memory recall: My husband purchased my Kindle Fire for me last Christmas (2011), which is how I was introduced to Amazon Prime. After the free trial that came with the Kindle purchase expired, I waited about a month before I became a Prime member.

      I know how to squeeze 'em, but you're the queen!


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    7. Muff - Oh no you aren't acting like you aren't frugal. LOL! I can honestly say, to date, you are the most frugal person I know. I watch the tv and movies on my laptop. It looks great. No complaints about getting it to work on my laptop. I just want to find a better way of browsing the shows. I always browsed by Network on Hulu+. No plans to buy a Kindle. I'll be buying an Android based tablet this weekend. I may eventually buy a Wii system or Playstation, which also allows you to show it on the TV. I can't forget about the free books. I can also read those on my laptop without having a Kindle.

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  7. I am so glad you were able to return the doll get your refund and buy the real thing. I had my husband and my mother looking all over the place for Tara when amazon sold out of the new doll. The even Funnier thing about all this is I don't like Tara's new hair or the mouth I just wanted her body. After a week of searching my husband found Tara and got two to make sure I was happy. I wonder how long it will take him to realize I ripped the dolls clothes and head off the moment I got her and have plans to use anything else that was included in the box besides her body. I wonder if he left the receipt in the bag then I could return the other one for something I can use. LOL

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    1. Hi Mustiwait,

      Your husband is a keeper. I'm glad he found two Kara's for you. What he doesn't know, won't hurt him. Let him continue to think he did good so more of that behavior will follow. I just love it when our men participate in our addic... I mean doll play.

      :-)


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  9. I am very glad to have found your blog, Debbie! I find it so informative and helpful. After reading your first blog on these new SIS dolls, I was able to find both sets at my local Walmart ($19.99 plus sales tax each). I do not like that open mouth toothy look on either doll - it makes them look as though they have buck teeth which definitely detracts from any sex appeal they might have. I can't understand why Mattel couldn't have created an appealing open-mouthed look as they've done on other dolls (I have Christie in mind for one). The mouths seem even less attractive on the new LIPSTICK trio that was mentioned above - they've got an almost vampirish look! I do agree that the redesigned little sisters are totally adorable - they probably were worth the purchase price alone! Thanks again for creating this wonderful, informative blog which I thoroughly enjoy!

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    1. Welcome Fiery Dragon Lady! I am so glad you found me and were able to locate the new SIS dolls locally. Yes, those teeth do give the dolls a buck-toothed appearance. I was going to write that in my post, but I did not want to sway anyone's opinion. I knew those who were in agreement could see this for themselves. If you plan to debox the dolls, the buck-toothed appearance can be remedied by painting over the teeth with acrylic paint or fingernail polish in the desired color.

      Be on the lookout for an additional SIS post from me. I just love sharing Black-doll news.

      Again, welcome and thanks for posting your comment. I enjoy hearing from readers.

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  10. Hi, I ran across an interesting doll at a yard sale. It's a barbis size doll, with a figure much like that of Barbie, but she's black, articulated at the joints, and in a skater's costume with skates on her feet. Has a "natural" style hairdo pulled back with a band. the body and limbs are hard plastic, the head and face is soft rubber like material. Found a date I can't make out, ad Mattel on her lower back. Date might be 1963, 1965 or 66, or maybe the six is an eight. Need a loupe and don't have one.

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  11. took close up pix, says copyright logo, 1966, Mattel inc. China. Okay, so now we know when she was made, but what was she called?

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    1. No, you really don't know when the doll was made by looking at the date on the back of the doll's body. That date indicates the body is from that year. With Mattel, they often use the same body from prior years. What you have is probably a more modern friend of Barbie doll, especially if she has an Afro or natural hairstyle that was styled by the manufacturer and not the previous owner. Without seeing a picture of your doll, I cannot help you with the ID. She sounds nice. If you have an image host account, like Flickr or Shutterfly where you can upload the image and provide the link, I'd be happy to view the doll.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!