No Naked Dolls!

Nobody sells a naked doll.

Seems obvious right? But have you ever given doll clothes a lot of thought?

I’m going to post some thoughts on this subject for the next few weeks… I hope you’ll find it interesting.

This week: The 12″ Baby Dolls.

The bane of just about every young mother’s existence is the naked baby doll. Most children’s first dolls are either one piece cloth dolls or 12 inch baby dolls. If the doll is a one piece of course the child can’t take the clothes off.

But with baby dolls the clothes do come off. Hence the naked baby doll. Because children from 12 months to about 2 years have no trouble taking things apart… in this case taking off the clothes.

Putting them back on is the problem!

(On the other hand, smart Mommies are always looking for ways to interact with their children in play time, and putting the clothes back on the doll for their child is a great way to get that… even if it is ten times a day! ☺)

Here’s another thought: Who designs the doll clothes that come on the baby dolls? (I myself don’t know, but I may research that in the future.) Is it a good paying job? Is it done in-house or hired out to a designer on contract? How much does it cost to have a doll’s outfit designed.

One thing I do know, is that many companies sell the same baby doll for years, but change the outfit each year. We used to sell a Black Baby Doll by Lee Middleton that went from being ‘Little Bailey’ to ‘Little Hailey’ to ‘Little Chloe!’ Same doll, different outfits, different year, different name.

Little Princess Brn LittleHaileyAA LittleBailey

One of the banes of my existence, especially as a doll company, is getting our customers (the adults) to realize that they really need to consider buying extra clothes to go along with their baby doll purchase.

You see, their daughters, if they are old enough to be playing – and nurturing – their baby dolls, they are not themselves still babies… they are toddlers. And they are not wearing baby clothes, they are wearing toddler clothes… and pretty soon they are going to ask for some clothes for their baby.

But the best reason ever to get pretty baby dresses for their baby dolls?

To encourage your toddler to want to dress like their doll. In pretty dresses. I’m saying that as a father of course. I loved to see my little girl in dresses. Sigh…

Candy Flowers by  Corolle

Candy Flowers 12 inch doll’s dress by Corolle

The cure for naked dolls.

Too many naked dolls in your house?

Three year old child running around gleefully shouting “nakey, nakey, nakey?”

'Naked 'Children's dolls

Do her dolls all look like this?!?

Do you know why?

  1. She is too young to dress her dolls, but not too young to undress them.
  2. You have taught her to change her clothes for cleanliness, but don’t have any extra ‘doll clothes’ for her to put on her dolls.
  3. She is playing with her older sister’s fashion dolls. (see #1 above)


Learn to dress doll

A learn to dress Pirate Puppy with button, zip etc.

  1. Get her a learn to dress doll.
  2. Spend more time ‘playing dolls’ with her and teach her to dress them.
  3. Buy doll clothes for her dolls that have removable outfits.
Doll clothes for 18" dolls

18″ Doll clothes for 18″ dolls

Dressing Dolls is Home Schooling

18 in doll's Chef Outfit

18 Inch doll in 18″ Doll’s Chef Outfit

What is a Chef’s Hat called?¹

An 18" Doll's Hanbok

An 18″ Doll’s Hanbok

In what country do women wear Hanboks?²

When I was young child in the decade after World War II, Europeans were still coming to America from the Displaced Persons camps, and one such girl was placed in my kindergarten class in NYC. She had a little doll dressed as a Dutch Girl wearing wooden shoes.

I didn’t know that there were children in the world who wore wooden shoes.

What other lessons can you teach your children with doll’s clothing? What possibilities might they explore?

I never saw a ‘chef’ until I was an adult. Now they’re on 15 different cooking and variety shows. Chefs make a great living, and many travel the world to study foods and cultures. Would you consider letting your daughter become a chef? Do you think buying her a chef’s outfit for her 18″ doll might be a great way to gently expose her to this fabulous career choice?

And finally, the point of this post… do you think they teach this in your children’s schools?

¹ Toque
² South Korea

Doll Clothes and Razor Blades

Doll clothes for 18" dolls

Doll clothes for 18″ dolls

Today I was thinking of the oft repeated story about King Gillette, (real name) who supposedly invented ‘freebie’ marketing – the old “Give them the razor free, then sell them a gazillion razor blades” concept.

(Popular as that story is, it’s wrong… not because freebie marketing wasn’t a great idea, but because in reality, King actually charged a pretty hefty price for his razors!)

OK then… what does this have to do with our Doll business?

Because whether you think of it as similar to ‘freebie marketing,’ or more like ‘McDonald’s® Marketing’ add on selling (“You want fries with that?”), doll clothes is a multi-multi-million dollar part of the doll business.

Barbie® comes closest to being a ‘freebie marketing’ model. You can buy a Barbie® doll in a basic swimsuit for $7.99 – delivered to your daughter’s front door. 11″ Barbie Clones at the Dollar stores are even less! On Amazon there are approx 3400 different clothing items that you can buy that fit Barbie® and her clones.

American Girl®, is more like McDonalds® add on selling. Only available through their own stores or pop-ups, the 18″ dolls cost approximately $110. Their clothing runs roughly $30 for most outfits… some more, some less. I’ve seen articles online that price the average American Girl® doll and accessories, or a trip to one of their stores (including lunch) between $400 – $600 depending on who wrote the article and what kind of experience they were pricing. That’s a 3 to 5 times multiple folks.

In either case don’t you think we should all be paying more attention to selling doll clothes in our stores!?

Most of the major doll lines that we carry at the Pattycake Doll Company’s store has clothing to go with their dolls, Adora, Corolle, Madame Alexander, North American Bear, Manhattan Toy (Baby Stella and Groovy Girls), etc.

So there, in brief, is the marketing concepts behind doll clothes. Freebie Marketing like Barbie® or McDonalds® selling like American Girl®

In next week’s post we’ll discuss why selling doll clothes is great idea for the consumer – both the parents and their children.

Door of Hope Dolls

A Door of Hope Doll

Learning a trade by sewing clothes for dolls

Male Door of Hope doll

A Male Door of Hope doll dressed in clothing of the times.











With all the beautiful dolls that come out of China today, I find it a bit ironical that some of the most beautiful dolls ever made came out of pre-industrial China, made one at a time by Chinese wood carvers, and dressed in the most beautiful doll costumes, hand-sewn and embroidered by rescued Chinese slave girls at the Door of Hope Mission school.

It was in the early 1900’s and the girls were being taught a trade. By learning to sew the clothing for the dolls, they were learning to sew the clothes for the people. So the dolls ended up being dressed in every conceivable outfit, from clothes for babies to clothes for mourners… everything. The girls were learning the skills that would enable them to support themselves after they left the rescue mission.

Imagine… rescued from slavery by Door of Hope’s Christian missionaries, being taught skills to support yourself in freedom… and dressing the dolls that would be sold by the missionaries to help fund the freeing of more slaves.

I think it’s one of the best stories ever in the history of dolls.