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Annette Himstedt Dolls Pulls Back Production on The 2007 Doll Line

German Doll Company To Sell Directly to Collectors And Drop Most Retailers

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Nuala and Mava from the Annette Himstedt 2006 Collection at Toy Fair

Nuala and Mava from the Annette Himstedt 2006 Collection at Toy Fair

Denise Van Patten
Annette Himstedt Dolls has shocked the majority of their doll dealers and also its collectors with a major announcement about cutbacks in doll production and also its dealer roster. In a letter sent to their dealers this week, Annette Himstedt Puppenmanufaktur has announced that they will cut production down to 19 dolls a year from 34, or down to a total of only 7,600 dolls. Of these dolls, they have decided to sell half of the dolls themselves directly to collectors, and sell the other half (only 3,800 dolls) to a limited roster of only 36 retailers. The company also announced that they will no longer attend any toy fairs, including New York Toy Fair.

Increased Costs Blamed

The company blamed increased costs of operations for the change, including a doubling of their staff in recent years. Whatever the reasons, the decision amounts to a huge disappointment for many retailers that have supported the company and its dolls in recent years. The decision will most hurt collectors and doll shops in small towns and cities, since the dolls will no longer be represented or seen in most doll shops. Additionally, many collectors depend on the informal photos taken at Toy Fair to get a real feel for the dolls beyond the formal catalog photos to make a decision on which Himstedt dolls they want to purchase each year.

Only 9 US Dealers Remain; Many Collectors And Dealers Are Upset

The decision has caused quite a bit of controversy at Himstedt Heaven, a paid Himstedt-only Forum where many collectors have been upset to see their favorite dealers no longer carrying the dolls. Some collectors worry that dolls will not be delivered on a timely basis by Himstedt Dolls when sold directly, since collectors have reported long lags in repair times for dolls sent to Himstedt Dolls for repair. Many retailers were also distressed to find out about the new policies first from collectors who found out from a letter sent to doll club members or from Himstedt Heaven before they received any notification from Himstedt Dolls that they had been dropped. Only 9 US dealers will remain.

Some Former Dealers Are Closing Their Doors

Some larger Himstedt doll dealers who had their dealerships taken away are even closing their doors, including Les Dolls. Kathy of Les Dolls posted a letter to her collectors on Himstedt Heaven which said, in part: “…the reason I am closing is because of the way Himstedt went about doing what she had done. I have never said a bad thing about her company, but this was a slap in the face after all my hard work over the years.” Other dealers that were dropped, including Doll Market, have responded by drastically discounting any remaining inventory of Himstedt Dolls.

No Toy Fair Photos Or Coverage

In the interest of full disclosure, I own a doll shop that was dropped by Himstedt Dolls with this new policy; however, we sold a very limited number of their dolls each year so this decision will barely impact us fiscally or otherwise. It will, however, impact the local collectors of the dolls in my area who will no longer be able to see any of the dolls in person prior to purchase. Additionally, this new policy impacts my ability to bring you direct coverage and photos of Himstedt dolls at New York Toy Fair, as I have done for years.

New Policy Said To Prevent Production In Asia

Annette calls her reduction of retailers, the jettisoning of Toy Fairs and the decision to sell directly to her collectors “her new concept.” Annette in her letter to her former retailers said “If we’d carried on as usual, we’d have to drastically reduce the quality of my dolls, and I guess I don’t have to explain what that would imply. For example I’d have to reuse the same limbs for years and years and would have to refashion the same heads with different wigs and dresses to make up new dolls. Beyond that all items on the dolls would have to become a lot cheaper. Or I’d have to produce in Asia. And that is something I’d never even consider. Ultimately my aim is to produce dolls successfully for many years to come.” Annette said that due to this change she would produce only single use heads this year and “as many new limbs for the 34 dolls of the previous year.”

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