Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Target-Exclusive 18-inch and 5-inch Minis

Vanessa and Vanessa by Collector's Lane as seen in a "vintage" photo because I was too lazy to take an updated one. :-)
Before They were Our Generation Girls

One of Target's answers to the 18-inch doll craze brought on by the American Girl folks in the mid-1980s resulted in a line of dolls called Collector's Lane Kids manufactured by Dayton Hudson Company, circa 1999. The line included 18-inch dolls with a variety of brightly colored fashions and accessories. There were also 5-inch, all-vinyl, exact replicas of the 18-inch dolls. The black doll's name was Vanessa, shown above with her mini-me.

From this line, during the early 2000s, I also purchased a doll trunk, which is very well constructed of heavy wood covered with burgundy fabric.  I use it for the doll shown at the link.

What I enjoyed about the Collector's Lane dolls is the uniqueness of Vanessa's head sculpt.  Instead of using one sculpt for the white and African American dolls, the company created a separate head sculpt with ethnically correct features for Vanessa.

For the past several years, Target's 18-inch doll line has been sold under the name Our Generation Girls (OGG).  The dark-skinned dolls use the same head sculpt as Collector's Lane Kids Vanessa. The name Vanessa has been retired and different shades of brown are used for the six different dolls with African American skin tones.  Unless things have changed in countrywide Targets, all dolls may not be available at all stores.

This was a known fact in the past based on a 2013 video that went viral because a Deluxe African American OGG doll with book and other accessories was not available at a Target store in Staten Island, New York.  On the day of the video, only the Basic African American package was in stock which includes the 18-inch doll and a hairbrush priced the same as the Deluxe dolls that were all white.  A year later, in another video, a different parent pointed out the same scenario.  She stated, "If I were to purchase the [Regular] Abriana doll, I would have to spend $12 extra in order for me to have accessories.  Something isn't right with the picture."

Someone brought this disparity to my attention in 2013.  I checked the company's website where I found Deluxe versions of the African American doll that did, in fact, include a book.  So the fault must have been with the buyers at Target.  While Deluxe dolls were at the OGG website at the time I researched the issue, even Target.com did not offer the Deluxe African American doll.  So something definitely was askew.  

~*~*~*~*~*

Specialty and Deluxe offerings of Our Generation Girls Maeva and Nahla seen in Maryland recently

Fast-forward to 2015.  There seems to have been some improvement in the Our Generation Girls buying department at some Target stores.   Did those online videos help?  Probably.  Bad press usually results in positive change.

At the OGG website, currently there are five categories of 18-inch dolls:  Regular, Deluxe, Specialties, Hair Play, and Retro.  African American and/or Hispanic dolls are offered in all categories except Retro.

At Stores Now
I recently saw photos of OGG dolls and accessories taken by another Debbie.  Her photos included a Deluxe package of the dark-skinned doll, Nahla, shown above with Maeva.   Maeva is a Specialty OGG that comes with jewelry for accessorizing.  Nahla's Deluxe package includes the doll,  her jumpsuit, underpants, apron, two pairs of shoes, gardening gloves, hair bow, knee pads, small rake, small shovel, bucket, garden markers, tomato, pepper, zucchini, three seed envelopes, storybook, and bookmark.  (I understand why customers voiced complaints that Deluxe black dolls were not on shelves in the past.  Who wants to pay the same amount or almost the same amount for a Regular doll when the Deluxe package comes with so much more?)

Debbie V. took the following additional photos of items available at her Maryland Target.

Abriana is the Regular doll that was usually the only OGG doll available at Target stores when Deluxe versions of non-black dolls were usually plentiful.  This one was seen in a Maryland Target.
Before proceeding to additional photos, here is a video of a beyond adorable little girl offering a review of her Abriana. (The video is over 5 minutes long.  You might want to watch it later, but do watch.)


These mini dolls were seen in Maryland along with their fashions and accessories.  The piano and stool are too cute!  The backdrop is a ballet studio complete with mirrored wall (which I blurred to remove the reflection of the photographer that was captured by the camera).  The mirror has an attached balance rail.  I am uncertain if this was just a store display or actual merchandise.
While shopping at Target a few weeks ago myself, I noticed the presence of several new mini dolls and fashions and was surprised to see a dark-skinned mini.  I have been browsing the OGG section for over a year looking for the black mini that was always absent. I had almost come to the conclusion that she was nonexistent.  The minis I saw locally are shown below.


Poor resolution phone camera image of Our Generation Girls mini dolls recently seen at my local Target.

Cyarra (the dark-skinned mini OGG) is accompanied by a redhead, Zarya.

While I was happy to see the availability of Cyarra, I was not happy that her head sculpt is identical to the other dolls'.  Unlike Collector's Lane Kids, Vanessa, nothing sets Cyarra apart from the others except her slightly darker complexion. Another unfortunate feature about the minis in general is they are no longer all vinyl.  They have vinyl heads, arms, and legs but the bodies are cloth!

I do love the fashions that all the minis wear as well as the extra boxed fashions shown next.

OGG mini denim fashion

OGG mini winter fashion

Two additional OGG mini winter fashions

I did not bring any OGG items home.  Will I do this at anytime in the future?  Only time will tell.

For those who create doll stories, I do think the possibility exists for the minis to be incorporated in dioramas as children or other family members of playscale dolls.


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19 comments:

  1. Thank you Debbie G for those awesome as I call them " little known black doll history facts". Next time I go to target I will try to display better pics. A lot of the 18" dolls were on the bottom self or hidden in the back of the white dolls . I really enjoyed your blog and you did an excellent job displaying those pics.

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    1. You're welcome, Lady Rose. I am glad you enjoyed this post.

      I have noticed on multiple occasions while shopping locally that the black dolls are hidden. Are shoppers doing this? Probably not. It happens too frequently. I have done some rearranging by placing the black dolls where they can be seen on the shelves when I find them hidden.

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  2. I saw these new Lori dolls a couple months ago. I wasn't impressed enough to buy any of them. I like the outfits on last years dolls much better. The extra cost wasn't working in their favor either. The AA doll didn't grab me at all. Maybe if she had a cuter outfit, I would have considered her. Seems like they broke the dolls down into basic (ballet for $9.99), dressed for $11.99, and with pet for $15.99. The recital studio is purchasable. They also have the cutest loft that would be perfect for 1:12 scale. The cloth bodies are much better for play. You can get better posing that you can't get with an all vinyl doll. I think they probably did that to stay in line with their competition American Girl minis.

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    1. In addition to not like the facial features of the mini that I would have considered purchasing, the price was a deterrent for me as well. The clothes are also a tad bit pricey.

      I didn't realize you could get better posing with cloth bodied dolls. The cloth bodies make them look truly "stuffed" to me.

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    2. That's another thing about this new version. They are more "stuffed" than last year's version. They are a little out of proportion to me.

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  3. I don't pay attention to larger dolls as that's not my cup of tea, but I do always check their isle in case an accessory might work for 1:6. I've seen the 5 inch dolls but none of them have made me want one. Their clothing looks nice though.

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    1. I can understand why none of the minis appealed to you, Muff.

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  4. Interesting to read some OG history! I haven't particularly followed the line (I wasn't drawn to their faces, I think), but those new Lori minis have been catching my attention whenever I pass them these days. I know they're not to everyone's tastes, but I find myself charmed by them - and I appreciate that they seem to have a wider range of looks to them this time around.

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    1. I like the minis fashions. I am sure there are others like you, jSarie who find the minis appealing. All vinyl would be my preference for them. If they ever place the clothes on sale, I might buy an outfit or two and find someone else to wear it.

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  5. They are pretty! Nice outfits! This is so nice, the "mini me" also has a "mini me" *o*

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  6. Hi Debbie! Thanks for the insight on OGG dolls. Things are evolving slowly but in a nice direction. One day maybe there will be a new edition of the ethnically accurate mini-me African-American doll.

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    1. That would be wonderful if the Vanessa/Abriana head sculpt is reproduced as a mini.

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  7. I purchased the minis and turned them into boys!

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  8. Great post! I was always pretty disappointed in the lack of diversity of these OG dolls. I am glad to see that they are improving in this area. The last time I went to Target, I saw both Abrianna and Nahla, but I have yet to see the Asian face mold in person. Hopefully they will continue to expand their line. :)

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it Farrah. I have never seen the Asian face mold in person either.

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  9. I own mini Vanessa, and she also has a cloth body. I actually MUCH prefer cloth-bodied mini dolls to vinyl ones. They are more expensive to make (hence why American Girl recently switched to all-vinyl minis from the cloth-bodied ones they've had for 20 years) and are more accurate to the large-size dolls they represent. Plus, they are "huggable" and find that more endearing than a hard-bodied doll.

    I also did not realise until now that Vanessa's face mold was being used for the Black OG dolls. I always found their faces to be much more engaging than the white dolls, whose faces seem vacant to me. Now it all makes sense!

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    1. I still prefer all vinyl over the cloth bodied dolls. I like Vanessa's sculpt better than the other sculpts OGG uses, too.

      Have you seen the new mini My Life As dolls at Walmart stores or online at Walmart.com? I would love to purchase the AA school girl. I don't own the 18-inch dolls in this line and have no plans to own any, but I can always add a mini or two.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!