Toy World speaks to a selection of leaders in the Dolls space to find out how their brands represent and resonate with today’s kids.
Welcome to the Year of Dolls. With Barbie ready to enjoy her biggest moment in the spotlight for decades, and Monster High: The Movie 2, The Little Mermaid, Trolls 3 plus other major movie releases slated for the coming months, front cover star Mattel is understandably excited about its burgeoning Dolls portfolio.
Although the category didn’t enjoy the strongest of years in 2022, there’s no denying that this year heralds an even wider raft of exciting new toys and a groundbreaking content slate that promises to bolster demand in the months ahead, across the entire market.
Flair GP’s animated Trotties series is now airing on Pop! and supported by a dedicated app, while Bandai’s licensed Miraculous doll range will benefit from an animated feature length Miraculous film, Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie, slated to hit screens in July. IMC Toys, the company behind the Cry Babies and Cry Babies Magic Tears doll brands, says a strong focus on content is built into the company’s DNA and therefore steers product development.
At Zapf Creation, it’s Baby Annabell’s 25th anniversary, to be celebrated by the launch of a new Baby Annabell Interactive Doll in autumn, while MGA is likewise driving its doll brands forward by tapping into trends and crazes. Recent launches include the new L.O.L. Sooo Mini! Range and the new Sunshine Makeover collection, with colour change transformations powered by sunlight. Rainbow High has inclusivity and representation at its core, and an animated series and toy line go hand-inhand.
Zuru has recently unveiled enhanced diversity within its Sparkle Girlz brand, which now offers kids a wider choice of skin tones, while smaller companies are making waves in the Dolls space with their own inclusive and representative lines; step forward Bibinee Dolls – a range of charming plush characters in black and brown skin tones with hairstyles including afro – and The Desi Doll Company which addresses a growing need within the category: dolls representing Muslim children.
Elsewhere in the category, we’re seeing new role play lines from Simba Smoby, collectible introductions to the Dolls aisle in the form of Character Options’ new Jelli Crush range, on trend fantasy dolls with Magicbox’s KookyLoos Mermaids and homes for discerning dolls from KidKraft.
Readers can find out more as we take a look at the latest additions to this evergreen category, in this article from the May issue of Toy World.