|Legend of Yesterday, Promise of Tomorrow|
It may be the 85th anniversary of Alexander Doll Co., but for company president Gale Jarvis and vice president of sales David Morgenstern, 2008 has been another year to challenge themselves—building on the quality tradition that is synonymous with the company’s name while pushing into new territories. “You have to outdo yourself every single year or else your collectors are disappointed. It’s nice that it’s the 85th year, but we didn’t work any harder this year because [of that],” Morgenstern says. “We have to work harder because our collectors are expecting more and more of us every single year.”
“Everyday is a challenge to maintain that history, yet create the future,” Jarvis adds.
Alexander Doll Co. works hard to maintain brand authenticity by using high quality materials and production standards. Quality issues once a problem aren’t now, Jarvis says.
“We do not take shortcuts,” Morgenstern adds. “Take a look at the underneath of the clothing, the hems and double-hems and the types of materials used. There’s attention to detail where you normally wouldn’t see it.”
The doll company’s hospital has also sustained Alexander’s excellence through the years. “We have a huge vintage business and reputation, so we know we can’t just send anything out there. … If [a doll] is not good quality and we have problems, we either have to repair it or take it back,” Jarvis says.
When the Alexander designers—currently a team of seven—begin interpreting an idea, they actually make a physical mockup, another reason Alexander dolls are top-notch. “Like you would expect from Madame Alexander, they start from scratch making dolls … from pinups, and we take a look at actual handmade samples. We develop a bill of materials, and the designers and those we outsource to get together and cost out materials. Ultimately, about six or seven months later, you see a final product,” Morgenstern explains. “It’s a very long process because the attention to detail and materials takes that long.”
While faithfully continuing Alexander’s legendary quality and authenticity, the team pushes the company forward into new territories. Jarvis and Morgenstern have been leading the company for nearly a decade now, and since they’ve been at the helm, Jarvis says it has “evolved tremendously.” Once a company that focused almost entirely on a narrow collector base, the firm has become a multi-pronged enterprise using many channels to distribute product. “We looked at our market, and we’ve broadened it and expanded,” Jarvis says. “When we started, we had no cloth dolls; now we have cloth dolls. We had no porcelain dolls; now we have porcelain dolls. We have vinyl babies, and we have babies from $8 to $45 that are washable and playable; we never had those before. We never had zero-age grade; we now have zero-age grade on our babies.
Partnering programs with big names like McDonald’s, Costco and Toys “R” Us, as well as distribution channels available through the Internet, have helped broaden and create the Alexander Doll Co. brand name.
“The idea … is to get young girls invested in the brand [so they collect when they get older]. Without the cloth dolls, the play dolls and the opportunities at Toys “R” Us, they’re not going to know what Madame Alexander is,” Morgenstern says.
The 2008 fall line is a prime example of the modern Alexander’s multi-faceted approach. Funky and fun “Fancy Nancy Bonjour Butterfly” graces the cover of the Fall Preview catalog, for example. She is a 9-inch cloth doll with a molded face who appeals to both young people and collectors. The first page flips open to “Little Black Dress Cissette Trunk Set”—a classic yet chic and stylish wardrobe accompanies the doll and trunk. Opposite the set is the Radio City Rockettes collection, including a Swarovski-crystal bedecked “Cissy.” More pages reveal show licensed products with promise to be collector favorites, such as country yet elegant “Opening Night at the Grand Ole Opry” and Alexander’s first take on Elvis. Another page-flip yields holiday occasion “Wendy” dolls, recently reintroduced “Tiny Betty” dolls and another Cissette trunk set—this one Christmas-themed.
The remainder of the catalog is mostly dedicated to cloth dolls, such as Fancy Nancy, “Eloise,” “Madeline” and new this fall, the “Wicked Witch of the West,” “Glinda the Good Witch,” “Dorothy” and “Alice in Wonderland.” “They’re of extraordinary quality. Although they’re a play product, they’re collectible, too. For example, most of these dolls have molded faces,” Morgenstern says. “There was a void in the marketplace for a long time. … Nobody made a quality cloth doll or hasn’t for many, many years.”
The cloth dolls’ quality stitching, material and detail, Morgenstern says, is in line with that of their other dolls. “Nobody makes a better cloth doll than Madame Alexander,” he asserts.
Interestingly, as Jarvis points out, Alexander Doll Co. started out by making cloth dolls in 1923. On this level and many others, she is staying true to her ultimate goal—preserving the company’s celebrated past while creating an equally legendary future.
Free Casino GamesTrackBack URI for this entry
Free Casino Games
Free Casino Games
The winners of the 2013 Industry’s Choice DOLLS Awards of Excellence (DAEs) were announced April 12 at the Debut of Dolls Banquet held at IDEX in Orlando, Fla. Each entry in this year’s competition was evaluated by our panel of judges: Doll industry consultant Pat Burns, doll writer and historian Penny Herbst, Simon Farnworth of DollObservers.com, author and DOLLS contributor Stephanie Finnegan,
DOLLS editor-at-large Jill Jackson, and Modern Doll President Patsy Moyer. This year’s Industry’s Choice winners go on to become the nominees for the Public’s Choice awards voted on by DOLLS readers. Look for photos of all the nominees, ballot, and online voting instructions in the July 2013 issue of DOLLS.
Iola, Wis. – Jan. 9, 2013 – DOLLS magazine publisher and former editor Carie Ferg received a special VIP Award for Outstanding Achievement in the 2012 Colliii Awards. The Colliii Awards are the largest online dollmaking competition in the world.
“We wanted to present the 2012 VIP Award to Carie Ferg as a recognition of the dynamism and innovation she has brought to the doll industry over the past few years,” said Colliii Awards Director James Carlsson. “The VIP Award is presented every year to a person or organisation that has made a significant contribution to the doll world. It was Colliii.com’s pleasure to present this to Carie as a token of appreciation for her hard work.”
Past VIP Award winners include DOLLS’ Editor-at-Large Jill Jackson for her work with "Doll Reader," the Biemann family from Schildkröt dolls in Germany, and such atists as Stephanie Sullivan.Registration for the 2013 Colliii Awards will begin in July. For more information about the competition, go to www.colliii.com/en.
The winners of the 2012 ProSculpt Annual Sculpting Contest have been chosen by collectors and artists from around the world. Winners this year are from England, Italy, Japan, South America, and the United States. Photos of all the winners can be viewed at the Johnston Original Art Dolls website. The winners are:
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Haute Doll introduces its new exclusive by Horsman Ltd., the modern-style “Heart Chair” perfect for 16-inch fashion dolls. The design was inspired by Verner Panton’s 1959 full-scale contemporary chair design.
The fourth Pullip and Dal Doll Lovers Event (PUDDLE) drew 60 doll lovers from 10 different states and Canada to the Elk Grove Village Holiday Inn in June. This year’s theme, cranes, was inspired by the sandhill cranes at the group's charity organization, the Willowbrook Wildlife Center. Six custom dolls and other items donated by sponsors like The Sleeping Elf and Denise's Dolls were raffled off at the event, raising $500 for the center.
The weekend started Friday night with dinner at Mitsuwa Japanese Mall in Arlington Heights, followed by a tea party at the hotel. PUDDLE officially kicked off at 9 a.m. Saturday, starting with an organized buy-sell-trade opportunity, and dozens of fans milled around trading and buying doll wigs, eye chips, bodies, clothing, and more.
Every attendee received a door prize, thanks to generous donations from many sponsors. Distribution of the door prizes was followed by a secret gift swap and lunch break. Afterwards, an informal Q&A-format customizing workshop answered questions for many fans new to the hobby, followed by a display of fully customized and modified dolls entered in the customization contest. Winners of an online photo/art contest which was held and judged before the event were announced along with the customization contest winners. The photo and art entries can be seen at www.puddlestyle.com/photoart.html.
Many fans continued the fun over dinner in the hotel restaurant and in the hotel lobby until the wee hours. Krista Farmer, who traveled from Toronto for the event, said “It was a crazy cool day.” Although the event officially ended Saturday night, 11 fans stayed for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Willowbrook Wildlife Center Sunday. — Jane EasterlyFor information on PUDDLE 2012, visit www.puddlestyle.com.read more
Attendees at the third annual R. John Wright Convention enjoyed the festivities of several major holidays coupled with outstanding dolls, all rolled into four fun-filled days! R. John and Susan Wright chose “Celebrations!” as the theme for their 2011 event held at the historic Desmond Hotel in Albany, N.Y., which was co-chaired by Loretta Nardone and Lillian Wright.
The convention opened with St. Patrick’s Day reception Wednesday evening, where everyone laid claim to being a wee bit Irish while enjoying a scrumptious dessert buffet. The sales room opened immediately after this kick-off event, with conventioneers hoping the “luck of the Irish” would help them find that perfect doll or dolls.
Thursday began early with the Easter Morning Breakfast; those attending this ticketed event didn’t have to search for large, beautifully decorated baskets serving as table centerpieces. They were filled with molded felt eggs in pastel colors. At the end of the breakfast, the eggs were distributed and the happy new owners opened them to find “Peep,” a 3-inch yellow mohair chick as their event souvenir. His companion, “Posey,” was available for sale. After breakfast the special and competitive exhibits opened, along with the helper room. This year’s special exhibit, arranged by John and Susan Wright’s daughter Emily, was titled “Happy Holidays” and showcased R. John Wright dolls and animal characters and the traditional holidays that inspired them.
That afternoon, attendees boarded buses for the short trip to Bennington, Vt., for a tour of the R. John Wright facility along with other local activities. The Wrights explained the development of their creations from concept through completion before everyone had the opportunity to visit with their employees as they made various doll parts and accessories and shopped in the R. John Wright store. The day culminated with a Fourth of July BBQ followed by fireworks at dusk.
Workshops by dollmaker Gail Wilson and a program by Alan Pate, a leading American expert on Japanese dolls, were offered on Friday, along with several roundtable discussions on various topics. Attendees dressed up for the frightfully fabulous costume parade leading into the Halloween Masquerade luncheon, with prizes awarded in five categories. After lunch, the newest piece from R. John Wright’s Wizard of Oz collection, “Wicked Witch of the West,” made her debut in front of an enthusiastic audience.
The ticketed Victorian Yuletide Dinner featured traditional table decorations and an enchanting program, “A Victorian Christmas,” presented by Nardone. The event souvenir was the 10-inch “Mary Frances,” the latest addition to the Victorian Children Collection. Available for purchase was her 7-inch little sister, “Baby Grace.”
Saturday morning’s activities included another program by Pate and a workshop conducted by Emily Wright. That afternoon, a Valentine’s Day High Tea charmed conventioneers with fine teas and delicacies. The newest addition to the Flower Fairies series, “Rose Fairy,” was available for purchase. The evening’s closing event was a New Year’s Eve Gala Celebration. This elegant banquet featured another entertaining program produced and presented by Nardone. When the souvenir dolls were distributed, delighted attendees found the adorable 12½-inch “Celebration Scootles” would be going home with them. As an added bonus, her delightful twin brother was available for purchase.As the convention ended, attendees were already making plans for next year’s “Around the World” event, which will be held at the same location June 20-23, 2012 and will celebrate the magic of children around the globe. There will also be an added treat as the first bear event held at an R. John Wright convention will be incorporated into the excursion to the Wrights’ facility in Vermont. For more information, visit www.rjohnwright.com or call (802) 447-7072. — Pat Burnsread more