Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Morality Police

In Iran, the police are enforcing a Barbie ban that began in 1996, in what may be a crackdown on cultural influences from the West, according to reports.

From Reuters:

Iran's religious rulers first declared Barbie, made by U.S. company Mattel Inc, un-Islamic in 1996, citing its "destructive cultural and social consequences." Despite the ban, the doll has until recently been openly on sale in Tehran shops.

Read the full article here, here and here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Karda$hian Doll$

Well, thank goodness for this:

A rep for Mattel told MTV News, "As popular as the Kardashian sisters are, at this point in time we are not manufacturing Barbie-branded Kardashian dolls."

Read about it here.

I was a little horrified by reports that the can't-get-away-from-them-fame-whores Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Karda$hian would soon have Barbies in their likeness.

Go ahead. I'll wait while you throw up a little bit, too.

According to the early reports:

"The dolls will reflect the girls' measurements and may even (come) in Kardashian-designed outfits," an unnamed source told Us Weekly.

Read about it here, here, here, here, and here.

I've made it pretty clear I'm not a fan of some of Mattel's sell-out choices that pair Barbie with whatever flash-in-the-pan celebrity is hot at the moment. So I'm pretty happy these particular dolls are in the works.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Investment 101

The popularity of Mattel's recent release Tokidoki Barbie seems to be the impetus for a recent article on doll collecting.

The Tokidoki doll, which was controversial, sold out quickly and then started fetching higher prices in the resale market.

But as the article points out:

Typically, though, the money to be made collecting Barbie dolls revolves around acquiring vintage dolls that are, optimally, still in the box with all their accessories, including the stand. Barbie was launched in 1959 and that original version, where she's wearing a black-and-white striped bathing suit, can fetch between $7,000 and $27,000 depending upon the condition.

Read the full article here.

The article is fine and all, but I wish it explored the flip side of collecting: While there are some dolls that will net thousands, the majority of Barbies (in or out of the box) are not worth all that much. The problem with articles like these is they give a false sense to people that they'll find a doll in a relative's attic and suddenly hit the big time.

No, really. The article actually mentions an attic:

Whether trying to assess the value of a doll found in an old attic or if it's worth buying the latest model of Barbie, Holder said it's worth consulting an expert. She felt it particularly gratifying to be able to give a retired couple $27,000 for a doll they brought to have appraised. They were astounded.

"They set out to buy a motor home and see the world," Holder said. "It was a very beautiful story."

It's this sort of thing that gives people false hope. And not to be the Gloomy Gus in the room, but I know firsthand about people's misaligned expectations when it comes to the value of their dolls. I would say 90 percent of the e-mails I get from people are about asking how to sell dolls for top value. Some of the people are collectors and some have acquired an assortment of dolls for whatever reason.

Most of the dolls they describe are basic, mass-produced, non-limited-edition Barbies. In short, not the type of dolls being described in that article. Yet the hope remains.
Personally, I collect to own dolls that make me happy--and not to "flip" them in the market. So I'm not an expert on all things resale. I do like that the article recommends research and time commitment, which is what people need to put in so they can better align their price expectations with the reality of the dolls in their possession.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

For A Good Cause

Bald is beautiful.

That's the message being conveyed to Mattel through different social media websites. There's a campaign underway to convince the company to create and distribute a bald Barbie for women and children with hair loss, whether it's from cancer treatment or other ailments.

Mattel already created a one-of-a-kind doll for a young cancer patient.

A Facebook campaign has made national news and received more than 100,000 "likes."

The company has yet to issue a public response to the campaign, which some believe is a lost opportunity for Mattel and the Barbie brand.

According to a Forbes article:
In the process, Mattel has lost a huge opportunity for Barbie; the chance to actively engage with the fans that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have empowered. Mattel might argue that shelf space is precious and a proliferation of limited-appeal Barbies would dilute the brand, but the opposite is true. Shelf space is irrelevant in a world with virtual stores and scarcity is the most precious brand attribute. Companies still mired in a command-and-control model from the 1950’s imagine that “caving” to the demands of special interest groups would necessitate big changes to the lineup and complex long-lead account sell-in process are missing the point.

Read the full article here. Read more about the bald-and-beautiful campaign here, here, and here.

It seems to me that creating an original doll like this in support of a good cause would be more unique, more interesting and far better than any of the celebrity tie-in dolls Mattel loves to spread in the market.

What do you think? Would you buy this or another Twilight doll?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Good Reading

Here's another article about everyone's favorite doll that includes quotes from a certain Barbie blogger.

(Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.)

Oh, and it's an interesting article, too.

Read it here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Vant to Drink Your Blood

I'm not one of those vampire-obsessed people. I haven't read any of the Twilight books or even seen the movies. I was a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the day (the ultimate vampire/human romance, if you ask me), but I'm totally not obsessed.

No, really.

OK, so technically, I still get the most-current Buffy calender each year. Did you know they still make them? They do. 2012 is hanging on my fridge right now.

But I digress.

Bob Mackie's latest Barbie is Countess Dracula. I think my favorite part of the doll is her tiny fangs. So dainty. As for the outfit, I'm not so sure.

Take away the fangs, and she could be called the Queen of Hearts. (Not that she looks like Mackie's 90s doll of the same name.) Maybe her look reminds of something out of Alice in Wonderland.

In terms of Mackie dolls she reminds me of, I immediately thought of Le Papillon, another 90s creation. It's the dark colors and winged fabric. Clearly, the dolls are different when you get down to the details, but c'mon. I can't be the only one who sees some similarities?