When two renowned dollmakers get together and focus their talents on creating play dolls, the result is extraordinary attention to detail and concept.
Stephanie Blythe’s and Linda Mason’s pet project, Itty Bitty Toy Co., is the result of plenty of persistence and hard work. “It’s been a five-year labor of love,” Blythe says. Every time a door closed and they began to question whether they should continue, another opened.
Although Blythe and Mason enjoy making dolls for adults, they’d always wanted to try their hands at play dolls for children. “Designing and working on them together became a fun adventure where the two of us had an excuse ‘to play together,’” Blythe says.
The fruits of Blythe’s and Mason’s labors have finally paid off with the debut of “Madi, the Magical Fairy” dolls and “Sneakaboo, the Mischievous Elf.”
Blythe and Mason clad their 12-inch vinyl darlings in nature-inspired clothes; their decision to do so was based on more than aesthetics. “We felt there was a lack of understanding and appreciation for nature in today’s children. We want learning about nature through our dolls to be fun and to raise children’s awareness about the workings of our fragile planet.”
Madi is dressed in four different ways, representing the forest, ocean, garden and sky. Sneakaboo, made specifically to appeal to boys, is dressed as a bee. Their costumes are designed for easy interchangeability among costumes, wig hats and wings. Additional outfits are also available to deck each doll in.
Included with the dolls are five Activity & Knowledge Collector Cards with facts, games, riddles, puzzles, art projects and recipes that teach about nature and relate to a specific costume.
Fairies instantly captivate children with their shimmer and shine, Blythe says, and children will further engage because of the variety of play the dolls offer to capture the imagination. “Children magically change the dolls’ personalities with costumes and wig hats that are easy to play with while learning about the natural inspiration for the costume through activity and knowledge cards,” she says.
Not only do their dolls serve to educate and entertain children, they also please parents. “Our products catch the wholesome, educational eye of the parent and the imaginative eye of the child,” Blythe says. “Fairies have an air of fantasy without any perceived threat to childhood innocence that many of the play dolls on the market today seem to possess.”