After its inception in March of 1959, Mattel Inc.’s Barbie doll dominated the fashion doll market. Barbie’s accessories — everything from play homes to cars to clothes — helped make Barbie worldwide phenomenon. Determined to keep her status, Barbie reinvented herself time and time again and beat out the competition … until 2001.
In June of that year, Barbie suffered her first major blow. MGA Entertainment released Bratz — a line of uber-trendy, sexy dolls with attitude. The Bratz quickly garnered an enthusiastic audience of pre-teen girls, a market relatively untapped by Barbie.
In attempts to win over Bratzs’ audience, Mattel released the Flava and My Scene lines, which featured guys and gals dressed in flashy urban clothes. (See Fashion Dolls Compete in Popularity Contest) However, slapping Bratz-like clothes on Barbie dolls failed, and both Mattel lines were discontinued shortly after their releases.
Despite the struggle, Barbie seemed to hold her own until last year, when CNNMoney.com reported that research conducted by the NPD Group Inc. revealed that “Bratz, for the first time, toppled Barbie as the No. 1 fashion-themed doll property during the final quarter of 2006.” 
But the battle didn’t stop there. Both Mattel and MGA created online worlds for girls, called Barbie Girls and Be-Bratz!. Girls can enter the virtual worlds by plugging a special USB key into their computers. The BETA sites offer safe chatting, games to play and plenty of opportunities to interact with their dolls in the virtual world. With Barbie Girls and Be-Bratz! recently launched in April and August of 2007, respectively, the winner of the virtual world popularity contest is yet to be determined.
Houda celebrates the beauty and richness of her French and Lebanese background. Her hobbies are baking, cooking, reading and exercise. Her friends describe her as giving, always the first to try new things and she tends to see the humorous side of life.
The Only Hearts Clubs dolls are based on real little girls, their friendships and their styles. Nine-inch Briana Joy says, “I love the heart-pumping action of sports. Soccer, basketball, gymnastics, rollerblading, surfing — you name it, I'm into it. I believe in team spirit. Put on your gear, join my team, and let's play!” She comes with her pet dog Longfellow™. Girls can read her storybook, “Teamwork Works,” to find out about her dilemma on the soccer field.
This exclusive collection of high-quality dolls is based on the biblical teaching of Proverbs 31. The P31 dolls were specifically designed to provide a Bible-based, Christian alternative to secular toys on the market, and to encourage young girls to pursue biblical womanhood. There are three different P31 dolls: Abigail, Elisabeth and Leah. Standing 18” tall, each doll has beautiful glass eyes, long rooted hair and a contemporary outfit. Each doll comes with an accessory kit, containing a Bible lesson (based on Proverbs 31:20), two cookie-cutters, a cookie recipe and a list of exciting activities. Launch date: December 12, 2006. — Josh Livingston of one2believe said, “It is our prayer that the Lord would use these dolls as a means to encourage the girls of today to become Proverbs 31 women of tomorrow.” — P31 Elisabeth is a daily play favorite for 6-year-old Savannah Forrest, a TDmonthly Dolls Roundtable participant, and so tied for third place as a toy with lasting value.
Adorable Girl Doll – The Social Girl by ADORABLE ORIGINALS INC.
This 18” Adorable Girl doll is one of six styles in the collection. She comes with an identity tag on her wrist that describes her physical features as well as something special about her inner character. She also wears a pearl necklace, signifying that “inside every girl is a pearl.” “This doll helps teach girls that there is great value to inner beauty and self-esteem,” CEO Melanie Corpstein of Adorable Originals told TDmonthly. Launch date: Spring 2007.
This doll features a huggable, soft body, moving eyes and long silky hair that can be brushed and styled in lots of different ways. Coralie is a quality, loveable addition to a young girl's doll collection, as well as her world of imagination and role play. — "I have seen the doll category grow significantly this year. Corolle has been a good brand," said Diane Gervais for Amato’s in Middletown, Conn. — "Dolls will do well for [the 4 to 8] age group. Probably Corolle," said Ginger Milligan, owner of Fantasy Island Toys in Fairhope, Ala., when predicting Christmas 2007 sales. Twelve of 54 retailers told TDmonthly Corolle would be a hot seller for girls during the 2007 holidays. — “The product is wonderful and they have a varied price-point,” Michelle Beyer, owner of Clever Kids in Rochester, Minn., told TDmonthly in late 2007 about this best seller in her store.
This 14” soft-sculpt doll is dressed in the latest trend-setting fashions that can be mixed and matched, and each Ty Girlz outfit comes with complementary accessories. The dolls have soft, realistic hair that can be easily combed and styled in numerous ways. Their clothes, hair and makeup are coordinated in monochromatic hues for a distinctive look, and the dolls are accompanied by a 3-D interactive virtual world. Launch date: July 2007.
Conceived as the Muslim answer to Barbie, Fulla comes dressed in Hijab, ready for modest jaunt outside. There are plenty of other fashions for her to wear, all available separately. Little girls in the Middle East are snatching up the doll and buying licensed items from clothing to swimming pools. She has large brown eyes and long, coal-black hair streaked with auburn. A doctor and teacher Fulla doll are coming soon.
Adoptable Kinder Evelyn (E) in a denim dress with red shoes and a red hair ribbon. Adorable, soft and washable! This doll is approximately 18 inches (45cm) tall and weighs less than 2 pounds (.45kg). Includes an internet key-code that may be used to register online at the “Adoptable Kinders School”.
This 13” vinyl doll was inspired by collector Jill Jackson during a 2004 story-writing contest. She comes complete with a storybook titled “Princess Berdina and Her Magic Tears,” written by Jackson. Featuring carrot curly mohair and brown eyes, she also comes with a tiara and a beautiful ball gown with matching shoes. Princess Berdina is a limited edition of only 130 pieces. Launch date: 2007.
Unlike most dolls, these dolls have embroidered eyes and are constructed of soft fabrics that make them huggable. The first four dolls in the Little Petals line are Lily, Blossom, Daisy and Rose. Corduroy trims, ribbon trims, functional pockets and detailed embroidery are a few of the special details featured on these 10” soft dolls. Launch date: May 2007.
This 16" charming little rag doll is an exact reproduction of Kathy Lennon's original doll hand sewn for her by her Mom and Nana. Kathy - brunette doll - wears a sweet yellow dress with a tiny Humpty Dumpty theme with matching pink silk bows in her braids.
Makeda™, The Queen of Sheba Doll/Book and CD Narration by ETHIDOLLS
Sixteen-inch-tall Makeda, The Queen of Sheba is the first doll in EthiDolls' African Signature Educational Doll Collection. Her authentic costume is hand woven in Ethiopia, and her dress features a traditional border design of gold, lapis lazuli, ruby red and emerald green. Makeda's lustrous hair is braided in a long natural wave, and she is adorned with gold-plated jewelry and a classic neck tattoo. Queen Makeda's beautifully illustrated storybook and CD narration portray her rise to the throne and her legendary journey to visit King Solomon. “EthiDolls has introduced the first authentic collector-quality educational doll based on African women leaders from antiquity, and has imbued the product with the principles of fair trade,” Patti Gindoff, SVP of marketing for EthiDolls, told TDmonthly. Launch date: December 6, 2006.
Sabine’s fairytale red hair hangs long and curly over her shoulders. Her green eyes look inquisitive and playful at the same time. Sabine wears a bright red floral dress and a coordinating patterned apron with a ruffled hem. Sabine belongs to the Käthe Kruse family of Toni. She stands 15” tall and represents a 6-year-old girl who is happy and full of joy. Her body is made of hard vinyl and her kanekalon wig is easy to style and brush. She debuted at the American International Toy Fair 2006.
This line merges traditional doll play with interactive technology, bringing dolls to life through animation on a handheld digital screen or TV. Three hip dolls have their own personality, power, mythology and voice. Each contains a computer chip that reacts to the chip of the individual fashions, cartridge and base stand, which signals the handheld unit, allowing the dolls to come to life on screen for hours of game play. Each purchase includes one fashion doll, two fashions, a base stand, a digital handheld, and a cartridge. “GoLive MystiKats are the first interactive fashion doll that incorporates traditional doll play with interactive technology, allowing little girls an unprecedented play experience and connection with their dolls,” Lia Brandligt, Director of Marketing at Playhut, Inc., told TDmonthly. Launch date: October 15, 2006.
Neva Dolls founder and chief designer Stacia McDonough created this raven-haired doll whose name means “beautiful hillside” in the Eskimo language. The latest addition to the Petites Fours Collection, she wears suede and genuine sable in the traditional dress of people from Russia’s Yakute region. Handcrafted of Russian porcelain and with hazel eyes made of hand-blown glass, Princess Kimira stands 17” tall. Launch date: Christmas 2006.
Sasha is part of the Signature Series, best known for glossy, white porcelain faces. She wears authentic 17th- and 18th-Century Russian folk costumes, which include embroidered velvet, mink and silk. The doll stands 19” tall and is handcrafted in Russia. Launch date: 2008.
Monika Levenig has sculpted an incredibly beautiful face for Madison. She is our largest size doll at 40” and is done in vinyl that has a life like glow to it. For those who loved the size of Rebecca you will surely enjoy Madison as well. Madison has fully sculpted arms that extend into her shoulder plate. Her legs are sculpted way above her knees so she can easily wear dresses that go above her knee.
Madison has beautiful shoulder length brunette hair and pretty blue eyes. Monika made Madison a beautiful dress with a petaled style sleeve and stylish hem for her dress. She also has a pretty necklace, bracelet, and headpiece. Her shoes are specially made to complement her outfit. She comes with a brown wooden doll stand. (Flowers in her hand not included). Limited Edition 350 pieces
Niecey, a soft and huggable adventure doll, is all fabric and stands 12" tall. She comes with a soft-cover storybook that gives parents and children an opportunity to bond while helping to build children's attention spans and sharpen their listening skills. In "Niecey’s Surprise Pie," readers witness an entire town’s transformation from grumpy to joyous as Niecey’s Surprise Pie puts a smile on everyone’s face.
Rumor is a 16” ball jointed doll. It comes with face up and eyes, but no wig. She’s available in resin ($310) or hard-weighted vinyl ($125). Extra hands, jointed feet, face plates, etc. will be offered in the future. Launch date: June 2007. These dolls are temporarily sold out. — The concept of ball-jointed dolls (BJDs) is most popular in East Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan and China. — Goodreau’s BJD line also includes Innuendo, Secret and Whisper. — These dolls are American-designed.
Tracy Turnblad "HairSpray" Doll (Basic) by PLAY ALONG INC.
This 10.5", full-figured doll is dressed in '60s-style clothing with a '60s hairstyle. It is modeled after the character played by Nikki Blonsky, who dreams of being a dancer on a local TV dance show. The doll comes with her own can of hairspray and a transistor radio, as well as an exclusive "Hairspray" poster. “This year’s remake of the Hairspray film had an amazing cast and the characters are perfect for a fun, collectible niche dolls line. Along with the fun music, inspiring messages of acceptance and droves of long-time fans who saw the original film and the long-running Broadway show, it’s truly become a classic franchise,” Genna Rosenberg, SVP of Corporate Communications for JAKKS Pacific, told TDmonthly. Launch date: July 17, 2007.
These dolls come in their fun and colorful pajamas. Prisi has a shimmering white organza nightgown complete with fuzzy slippers. Maya has yellow and raspberry floral Capri jammies. A mandarin set of green and white pajamas is the look for Skye, and MaiTae is both cozy and comfortable in her black-and-white raspberry-trimmed pajamas. All dolls come with matching slippers and white chenille logo-embroidered robes.
Isabella’s shimmering gown is fashioned by moonlight. The green chiffon gown is lined with satin and sprinkled with silver and rhinestones. She has green velvet shoes and a gauzy choker. There is a cape of multi-colored chiffon, with an organza ribbon choker. She has a floral head wreath and an enchanting butterfly and flower wand.
Poblana Mexican Ethnic Dress Dolls by ENY DOLL GROUP
To date, ENY dolls has launched the following Mexican regional dressed dolls: Jalisco, Guerrero, Veracruz, Garibaldi, Huichol & Huichola, Puebla (feaured), Yucatan, Chiapas. More will be available every month. The dolls are handmade by communal ethnic women of every state of Mexico.
Ty Girlz have a new, more wholesome look that should appeal to worried moms everywhere. Though they’re still eye-shadowed, their general expression says more “girl next door” than “girl on the corner.” They still come with an access code for good, clean online fun. — “We carry Ty Girlz, but they don’t do well,” sighed Joyce Hoover, owner of Doll and Gift Gallery in Rogers, Ariz., in January 2008. She hoped the new line of clothes she’d received recently would improve sales. — Tricia Cooper, buyer at Le Jouet in Metairie, La., was looking forward to the dolls’ revamped non-vamp look: “They’re more wholesome-looking girls and I think they’ll do much better,” she said. Ty has also just released new poseable Girlz. — Ty Girlz are one of the three most popular dolls at Playville in Covington, La., according to Owner Stephanie Dupuy.