(Back to regular blogging, after all the recent unpleasantness. Whew. Hope you never have to deal with the Daily Mail, a paper I find to be utterly vile and spiteful in all its dealings. Anyway, done.)
I'll be adding more about Dolls and Toys to the various things I blog about here, as I go about my business of research, development, and the like, as we go through our phase one. Maybe even bits about startup stuff that I come across, as the volume of advice kicking about regarding startups and business-running is, well, staggering. (And often brilliantly contradictory \o/).
As we work through our first product, a doll line aimed at the 8+ group, a few things we've noted, thought I'd share. We've chosen the 8+group for a number of reasons.
Pretty much all "fashion" (as opposed to "baby") dolls are designed for the under-8s. Barbie is marketed at 3+, and Bratz/Moxie at 6+. Liv, Disney Princesses, Monster High - all for under-8s, and all under $25 too (for the basic doll). They're all pink, with the single exception of the newest, Monster High, which is pink, purple - and black. Tokyo-influence, very nice.
But 8 is an interesting age. It's the age around which point girls tend to start to become identity aware. They're a person, with tastes. They spot Facebook, and want in. Toys are becoming childish, and adult things like makeup and driving and clothes are becoming interesting. Toys stick around for a while longer, but this age is the beginning of the transition, from kid to teen.
There's only one doll line for the 8+ that I've found, American Girl, officially 8-12 (but in practice, more like 8-9, and conservative, too). An American Girl is $99, and by the time you've bought her jeans, glasses, and spa kit (!), she's more like $200+. American Girl is a $450m-a-year business for Mattel.
After 12, there's everyone else. No age limit. Here, it's a niche market of collectors, enthusiasts, modders, customisers. The niche is pretty big, globally, although not compared to the billion Polly Pockets sold, or the 18bn Barbies (3 per person on the planet, goes the legend). This group, however, are the big spenders. Dolls here start at around $99 but are more familiarly in the $300+ bracket, dolls like Blythe, Pullip and Delilah Noir, a new entrant (and a western one, too). The dolls are all BJDs, a (poseable, very photographable) style creeping west as the popularity in the east continues to spread. This is where personality really comes out.
Going for the Twilight crowd, I think.