If you’ve got daughters or granddaughters or nieces, you’ve probably been pestered to buy them something from American Girl Dolls — a collectible doll that comes with a backstory about their “life.”
Now a company that got its backing via Kickstarter is bringing some gender equality to the collectible doll market. Boy Story LLC currently has two “action dolls,” named Mason and Billy, with vinyl limbs and head with molded hair and specially designed injection molded joints, with more on the way.
Boy Story dolls eased into the market late last year, but the Tampa, Fla.-based company made its big time debut at the North American International Toy Fair in New York this month.
Co-founder Kristen Jarvis Johnson, who created the company with her sister, Katie Jarvis, told Ad Age, a sister publication of Plastics News, that the dolls are being marketed for all kids — not just boys — although the pair came up with the idea because Johnson was having problems finding boy dolls beyond smaller action figures.
As she noted in the company’s Kickstarter video, Johnson was pregnant with her second son, and wanted her older son to have a boy doll to play with, but she couldn’t find one. She talked about it with her sister, and Katie Jarvis — a designer by trade — jumped in to help bring the dolls to life.
That included designing the injection molded ball joints which would allow the dolls to be fully poseable, but still hold up to heavy play. Wear and tear also played a part in deciding to make the dolls’ hair part of the molded head, because vinyl is much easier to clean than the artificial hair on similar girl dolls.
In addition to Mason and Billy, Boy Story has molds already developed to introduce Aspen — with blond hair and blue eyes — and Kenji, who represents a Japanese boy with black hair and dark brown eyes. (Mason’s back story gives him Hispanic heritage.)
Boy Story comes to market, though, just as American Girl brings out its first boy model, Luke.
Boy Story dolls typically retail for $99, or $20 less than American Girl, but the company sells a pricier $120 doll where 35 percent of the proceeds go to United Nation Women's HeForShe initiative for gender equality.