Changes Based on Collectors' Input
The staff at Barbie® Collectibles has said that they have based the changes on input from the Barbie Collector Advisory Panel, doll dealers, and through collector interaction at conventions and doll shows. The staff has said that they ahve learned a lot about what Barbie doll collectors would like to see in the future. "They would like dolls to stay limited in production number yet reasonably available. They'd like us to make the collecting hobby more exciting. They'd like us to find innovative ways to feature the beauty of the dolls in packaging" said the release from Mattel this week. Overall, I think that the changes will please both collectors and Barbie dealers alike
Beginning with the Badgley Mischka Bride Barbie doll,(available mid-2004) the new look for Barbie Collectibled will be revealed. First, the name and logo - from Barbie Collectibles to Barbie Collector will be changed. This is the one change that makes little sense to me. It makes sense to talk about "Barbie Collectibles" since they are dolls. Why, exactly, is Mattel calling the line "Barbie Collector" which, to me, describes the consumer and not the product. Time will tell if this shift makes any sense to the collecting community.
Another major change will be a new four-tiered structure which will organize the dolls released by Barbie Collectibles....oh, wait, I mean Barbie Collector. This change makes good sense, and will help all collectors be on the "same page" when they purchase a doll. Barbie collectible dolls will no longer be designated as "Collector Edition" or "Limited Edition" as they have for many years. Instead, there is a color-coded system with each color level having its own per-doll production range, retail strategy, and new packaging. The packaging both tells a collector which color tier the doll belongs to, as well as lets the collector display the doll beautifully without having to de-box the doll. Since Barbie collectors mostly keep their dolls in boxes, this new packaging should be a huge hit.
How The Tiers Were Selected
The Barbie Collectibles staff explain the new collecting tiers as follows: "because Barbie has such a long and celebrated history with fashion, the names of the tiers have real fashion roots. Initially, the Barbie® Collector team looked at some of the most successful fashion designers currently on the market. We were inspired by their innovative approach to representing their fashion lines. For example, you can go into an upscale boutique and buy an outfit from a famous designer and you can also walk into a major department store and purchase something from the same designer's more mainstream line. In a way, our new label colors are our way of segmenting our collectible dolls and communicating to you where they might be found."
The Pink Tier
The first tier is pink--Barbie doll's signature color - and then the additional tiers add other colors representing even higher standards like silver, gold, and platinum. The Pink Label will include fun, keepsake dolls such as the Dolls of the World - The Princess Collection and the "I Love Lucy" celebrity dolls. Pink Label dolls will come packaged in a box with a clear acetate front trimmed in pink, which makes a nice display for NRFB (never removed from box) dolls.. The Pink Label dolls will not be limided in production numbers. Although all Barbie dealers can carry these dolls, shops such as Wal-Mart and WalMart.com are their main destination. This, I think, is the one detriment to the whole multi-tiered plan. Before, dolls like the "I Love Lucy" celebrity dolls WERE designated as "Collector" level dolls. Pink feels like a type of "demotion" for them. And, I know that my doll shop, for instance, really doesn't want any "collectible" dolls that are designated to mainly be found at Wal Mart. Dolls such as the Princess line have always been found everywhere, and the fact that they will be at the Pink level makes sense. Selected dolls from Pink to Gold will be available at the Barbie website and through their catalog as well.