Petalina has stocked traditional Petitcollin dolls for many years and with Sylvia Natterer's partnership we can see their range going from strength to strength.
The Kidz are back!
Well it’s certainly been a long wait but the Kidz ‘n’ Cats dolls are now back for good! These beautiful dolls that are loved by both children and collectors have been having such a rough ride over the last year that, but I’m pleased to say that we have them available at Petalina once again and the quality is top notch. So this is what has been happening (forgive me for repeating myself those of you who are familiar with this story) but so many of you have been asking questions over the last year that I thought a thorough update would be useful.
(Update 15 May 2017 - we will not be getting all of our order so customers may have to wait a little longer for Grace, Selina, Aylssa, Clarissa and Princess in Pink).
Kidz ‘n’ Cats are the brain child of Sonja Hartmann, the founder and doll designer behind With Heart & Soul, a company she created to help doll designers make their creations a reality. It is Sonja who is the artist behind the delightful Kidz ‘n’ Cats faces and also the designs of their amazing outfits. She is supported by her daughter and husband and for 6 years the business was very much a family affair. With the success of the dolls, more and more dolls were needing to be produced to keep up with demand which meant that Sonja was getting really bogged down with the day to day tasks of running a successful and growing business rather than having the time to do what she was passionate about – creating the dolls! Plus, keeping an eye on the production in China was essential and therefore Sonja was spending a lot of time doing this too. But despite all this effort, the factory sometimes still didn’t do as she asked which was frustrating for everyone. They tried bringing assembly of the dolls to Germany, but the effort involved in doing this was very demanding, and the supply of the dolls was not consistent enough either. With the popularity of the dolls still growing something had to be done.
In 2015 the Kidz ’n’ Cats company, With Heart & Soul, joined the Hape group, a large toy company based in Germany which also has Kathe Kruse under its wing. This merger has meant that the day to day operation of the business would be undertaken by Hape who would also oversee quality control in China. Gesa would remain the contact for retailers and Sonja would be able to concentrate on designing dolls. When we met with them at the Toy Fair in 2016 they were so excited about the future. With Hape’s buying power the colour of the vinyl was finally returned to the correct colour (for a short time their skin tone had been a little green). Availability of the dolls would also be much better, which was music to our ears as we always had so many customers waiting, and waiting….
So we placed our first order for the 2016 collection and waited for their arrival, which is always the case with stock being introduced by toy companies at the beginning of a new year. But the dolls didn’t arrive as planned. And we waited some more, and some more. And then they arrived in August 2016. The colour was great, their faces were exquisite, but the hair was terrible. The wigs were very poor quality and clearly too big so there were lumps, bumps and folds on the scalp, with bald and fraying edges around the faces or the most badly cut fringes. And so the wig catastrophe of 2016 unfurled. This was a complete shock to the Hartmanns and they set about finding out what had happened and why different wigs had been used in the production of the dolls without their knowledge. Someone in the buying chain based in China had ordered different wigs without consulting anyone. And the factory put them on and they were shipped across the ocean and sent to retailers, who like me sent them out to customers. Disaster!!
So the dolls have been sent back to Hape for re-wigging which has taken a few more months to complete. I was nervous of this because the last thing we wanted was for dolls to be sent back to us with glue everywhere. But, the dolls that we have received back so far have been very well done and we have checked every single one. The wigs are really beautiful and they have been applied very well with neat edges and no lumps – just as you would expect to find on a doll of this price and quality.
The other thing I was nervous about was the condition of the boxes because these were not going to be replaced. So, you can imagine how many times a box will have been opened by retailers to check them and take photos, then the repairs and then rechecking. But again, the boxes have been fine. There has been the odd one with a slight scratch on the top from where a blade was used to open the box, but nothing too major that I feel spoils the doll’s presentation. I think many of the boxes have been replaced. In addition, many of the dolls have arrived in new packaging and now sit inside the box in a piece of clear moulded plastic meaning that the dolls and the joints can’t move around in transit which is great. This will be used for all new dolls going forward.
So is the wig episode over? I would say it is pretty much, except when Hape decided to send us more supplies of the original faulty dolls that had not been repaired, so these have gone back for the wigs to be changed, hence the importance of checking every doll we receive until they are all being dispatched to us consistently in perfect condition.
Are we going to rush into buying lots and lots of stock? Not quite, because every time we receive faulty stock it has to be returned and this hasn’t been the fastest of processes to say the least. But we will persist and eventually the wig crisis will have ended completely and forever, and I think the dolls we receive will be the best Kidz ‘n’ Cats dolls ever made. Beautiful faces, sparkling eyes and high quality wigs that last. Good skin colour and joints that work well. Amazing outfits with so many little details using gorgeous fabrics and real notions. That’s what we expect from Kidz ‘n’ Cats and that is what we should have going forward. I would be very interested to hear feedback from any of you who have purchased the new dolls this year. Have you been pleased with them?
And of course we are expecting the 2017 dolls to arrive in July and these should be perfect. You can see the 2017 collection here:
If you would like to reserve any of the dolls you can do so just by sending in an email with your name, full address and phone number. That way you will be guaranteed a doll as soon as they arrive, personally checked by me.
So which dolls are going to be available this year?
Still included in the current collection are Lena and Jakob from the original 2009 collection.
Grace and Alister were first launched in 2011, although Alister’s hair was shorter then.
Laura was first introduced in 2012 with a fine version of Lena’s face. But later collections show her with a fuller face
Princess in Pink was first launched in 2009 with a fringe but made a reappearance in 2015 with no fringe
Also introduced in 2015 were Robert and Lauryn
Julika is still one of Petalina's favourites
Alyssa and Jennet
Rosie and Marina
2015 was also the year the mini dolls were introduced and we were blown away at Petalina by these cute girls
And the 2016 collection has only really been available this year due to the wig problem and we still haven't had very much stock available. But this is about to change!
Alice, Niko and Clarissa
Lucia and Selina
Mini Annie and Fredy
Don't forget that you can reserve any of the dolls from future deliveries, so do get in touch if you would like us to save one for you!