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.

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:

Please adhere to copyright notice (see bottom of blog).

*Images are courtesy of Trinity Designs, Inc.