Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tenney: Country Blondes

The commonalities between Tenney Grant and Taylor Swift have been commented upon by many and there are some signals that Taylor Swift was on AG's mind while designing Tenney--but there are other interesting inspiration possibilities or coincidences.

Tenney's Book 3 features illustration of both Tenney and her friend Logan. Which has me thinking about another country duo, Scarlett and Gunnar from the show Nashville.

Scarlett and Gunnar from Nashville

The lovely parallels in looks and talents between fictional Scarlett and Gunnar as an aspirating singer-songwriter duo who both sing and play guitar and fictional Tenney and Logan has me putting "Scarlett" on a short list of names for my own Tenney.

So while Swift might be the well known inspiration for Tenney, the sweet curly headed blonde country singer-songwriter ingenue is a real life and fictional trope that has been around longer than even Dolly Parton.

Scarlett from Nashville

Tenney Country: Song Time

AG keeps hitting it out of the park with Tenney's collection and now a sneak peak of a song presumably for Tenney's movie.

The singer-songwriters are performing at the actual Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, the site that plays a big part in Tenney's own story.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Updates on Logan & New Doll Rumor

Be sure to check out an possible new doll rumor at end of post!

If one was quick and awake on social media Sunday they got to see several leaked images of Logan Everett. Some of his images can be found via the #tenneygrant tag on Instagram.

The two main images were the back of Logan's doll box and another photo of a cluster of Logan and Tenney dolls out of boxes standing next to each other.


Logan is real.

He has the Kaya mold (closed mouth instead of open mouth smile) in a light vinyl. His wig style is a short brown wig with side part and brushed back bangs. As noted by others, his wig is not the "Bieber" wig style of long hanging front bangs of most custom boys. Looks like brown eyes.

Logan appears to have the same modified hands that Tenney has and thus he will also be able to hold a guitar--though not sure if the teal with roses guitar is his style.

Logan stands next to his drum kit--a snare and base drum was visible.

His meet outfit his the Play Loud tee, plaid shirt, black jeans and grey sneakers. He probably also comes with the grey boy briefs that were found earlier.

Logan's box style is similar to Gabriela's and Tenney's new box style.

No official word on release date for Logan, but February 16th continues to be the most repeated rumor.


AG is considering creating Tenney's best friend, Jaya Mitra. This is a very unsubstantiated rumor at this time.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tenney in the Key of Friendship

Sighting of Tenney's first and second books in the wild!

Photo curtesy of Samantha Barker 

Tenney's first and second book picture above were located at a Meijer's store. Usually these are errors in pre-shelving of stock since the publication date I read was January 31st. One-two-three run!?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Co-Branding? A Taylor Guitar

It is so rare to see American Girl team up with co-branding that I was surprised to notice Tenney's guitar looks to be a Taylor Guitar!

For those not familiar with guitar manufacturers, Taylor Guitar is a leading guitar company in the United States. Also note that the "Taylor" imprinted on the head stock of Tenney's teal guitar has absolutely nothing to do with Taylor Swift although Swift does play and endorse the Taylor Guitar brand.

Left is Tenney's poppet-sized guitar. Right is an image of the head stock of an actual Taylor guitar.

This seems like extremely smart co-branding--how many young girls will become aware of the Taylor Guitar brand via the toy version and associate the early memories with a brand they wish to use in the future?

Tenney Country: Stock Images

I love her whole collection!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Tenney Country: Gorgeous Book Cover!

Gorgeous cover!

Photo shared with permission from @crackingthecover

I love this! I really hope she comes with a teal guitar and of course also a banjo.

One can see some of Tenney' major graphic motifs clearly on her cover--wild roses and vines in the background, roses on her guitar, and a hint of a wild rose inked or decal on the left shoulder of her blue jean vest.

I find it more and more plausible that the earring set sold for Gabriela (which includes an aqua/teal colored rose) was originally designed for Tenney. More on that in a separate post!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Ringlet for Tenney?

Tenney continues to surprise--is that a prominent ringlet feature with her wig?

While it is too early and too fuzzy to definitely claim a ringlet, note how the hair hanging out of her hairnet down her right brow looks to be a much tighter curl pattern.

Additionally, almost all the leaked frankendolls (a possible Tenney factory-seconds head + wig placed on an older doll body) seemed to have strong hints of a possible long ringlet. For example, the doll below is one such early frankendoll.

Some are comparing Tenney to Truly Me 24 but it looks like Tenney will have several differences from TM 24, and not just the ringlet.  

The original TM 24 (left) has no ringlet, line eyebrows, and brown eyes with pinwheel design. In contrast, Tenney appears to have a ringlet, her eyebrows are the new feathered design, her freckle pattern appears to be new, she is likely to have brown eyes with the iris decal pattern rather than pinwheel pattern, and of course her hand molds are completely new. 

Not your average TM 24.

First Look: Tenney Grant

Leaked on Facebook Marketplace in Madison, Wisconsin.

She comes in the hideous new box style that debuted with Gabriela.

Tenney's meet is her Sing Your Story tee, which I am so pleased about, primarily because it means I won't have to hunt it down on the secondary market if it had been a giveaway tee. She also is wearing the fabulous ankle boots and embossed pleather skirt, two more of my favorite separates. While not in love with the sleeveless denim jacket, it does seem to add mix-and-match value to Tenney's meet outfit.

New hands! I think AG got it right--subtle change in mold without adding joints to her arm or wrist.

The poppet's left hand looks to be slightly more open than the classic hand mold to accommodate the neck of a banjo or guitar and her right hand mold is slightly more closed to imitate strumming fingers or perhaps even hold a pick. If you look closely at the book images (left of front box inset pix and her full-sized book cover peaking out from behind her legs) you can see her right hand posed in the strumming/picking position.

Her guitar color on the cover of her book is teal. Oh I hope and wish!!!

My quick assessment is I absolutely detest the box and I can't forgive AG for what they have done to Gabriela and Tenney with the awful box. I hope Tenney's other clothing is not ruined by being sewn into terrible boxes. However, because of Tenney's unique hands and what is rumored to be her unique musical accessories to fit in those hands--banjo and guitar--I am a gonner.

I can imagine Tenney's body might become a hit to use as a base for new custom dolls....

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Poppets & Pets: A GOTY Infographic

Perhaps for the first time anywhere, all the GOTY poppets and their major pets and animals.

New year, new resolution--I am organizing my AG collection using as many KonMari principles as possible.

I already know all my poppets themselves "spark joy" but the entire hoard of accessories does not necessarily spark joy for me-- but how to reduce? After literally a year pondering my AG "komono" category I have sparked upon the idea to let my poppet characters decide if they want to claim an item or not. If an item is not claimed or assigned to a specific poppet it will go in the sell or donate pile. I am sure a few items will stay just because I love it and not because it will be assigned to a specific poppet.

First up is gathering the pets to see who will claim them! The infographic chart above will help me connect my GOTY pets to the GOTY characters. Note I do not own all of the GOTY dolls!

Next up I will need to make a BeForever infographic with poppets and pets. However, after that I still have many TM pets and animals that will be looking to be officially claimed by my core set of dolls.

How do you handle your collection once it outgrows your walls?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Gabriela's Meet Outfit for Separate Purchase!

Did you already have a TM 46 which is Gabriela's doppleganger? Now an easy way to make your own Gabriela or get her outfit for any of your own poppets.

Poppet Peeks: Updates on Felicity

BeForever Felicity in just 5 more weeks!

All images curtesy of Rachel Koppleberger

The current set of unconfirmed information for Felicity remains largely the same.

* Felicity is to debut on February 9th
* She will be available online and in flagship stores Chicago, NYC and LA
* She will have some launch events, presumably just at the flagship stores (perhaps a craft or small give away?)

No word yet if she or her collection will be offered in the new box styles but the rumor is that ALL AG dolls and doll lines will eventually be moved to the new box styles.

An alternative rumor is that only Felicity's book/s will be released on the 9th and the doll debut delayed until August. 

The rumored meet dress has a wonderful brocade pattern stitched into the fabric.

The underskirt is an attached panel and not separate from the overdress, which is a move away from the more realistic two-piece construction some of Felicity's earlier outfits.

The shoes are definitely left-shoe and right-shoe constructed and seem very similar in construction quality to Felicity's original meet shoes.

Overall, Felicity's meet outfit seems to be a strong effort with striking fabric choices. The dress seems quite grand for a daughter of a general store merchant but I am more than willing to give it narrative leeway. There has not been any other leaked outfits yet, so it does leave me wondering if it will be Felicity + a Collection or perhaps just a "special edition" doll without any extra outfits.

At this point I am mostly on pins and needles wondering if American Girl will mar BeForever Felicity' launch with the new box style.

Thank you again to Rachel Koppleberger for sharing her glorious find with us at Poppets & Posies!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Where's the Wow?

Today I received a small package from Ebay--a replacement for Isabelle's Legwarmers Set. I opened the package and I GASPED!

A small little BOX! TISSUE PAPER! I totally forgot I had bought the set NIB. 

The tissue paper crinkled quietly as I touched it reverently. I was astonished and excited all over again like a little kid.

I totally forgot I had bought the legwarmers and tights set NIB. 

I can't believe how quickly I have come to really miss the old AG style boxes for GOTY and how excited I was to handle one of what will now be known as the "classic" little boxes.

As beautiful as Gabriela the poppet is with her sublime Sonali mold face and her lux curly wig, as interesting and as lauded a story she has to share (I have only read a synopsis so far), it has become viscerally real to me how the "Whole World" collection experience for GOTY 2017 is truly missing the Wow.

Today I rotated my Isabelle collection into play and simply re-opening her Studio was magical even four years later.

Large mirrored armoire doors that open, two little drawers for storage, the little sewing basket and hat box, the drop arm sewing surface, pockets and ribbon holders in the inside doors, cubby holes, a place to hang things, and a sewing machine that whirs and moves! Truly magical.

The special debut day giveaway tee celebrating the girl and the year, even more special now.

And a quick pix of my super cranky Tutu with her glam collar who doesn't look like any cat before her or since.

Detail. Quality. Uniqueness. Designed for Wow every step of the way.

And it all begins with a little box and some crinkly tissue.

I really think AG messed this one up...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Budget Boxing: Sewed Bad

 Ut oh.

Image used with permission.

Today began actual customer interaction with AG's new packaging for the 18" poppet line and not all was well. Note the prominent holes in the lower right of the pajamas tank.

Apparently Gabriela's clothing in the new large front window style boxes is secured in part with a sewn stitch--and at least for one customer the threads left large holes in the tiny garment.

Photo curtesy of Aryn Bedrick

Gabriela's PJs are secured in place in part by the cardboard internal sleeves but also by a thread which goes through the slippers and several layers of the pajamas fabric.

Photo curtesy of Aryn Bedrick

While inevitably there will be some issues that arise with any launch of new products and new packaging, these unsightly and damaging holes in the doll clothing are a known and predictable issue when using this method of securing contents with stitching.

Photo curtesy of Aryn Bedrick

For this kind of "ordinary" large box-store packaging and the potential damage caused by the stitch method of securing the clothing inside the box, the question I am forced to ask is how does American Girl continue to defend its premium pricing?

Gabriela's Pajamas above are priced at $24. For about half that amount one can purchase the Our Generation brand Counting Puppies pajamas. The OG pajamas retail for $12.99 and the set comes with a bonus stuffed puppy.

American Girl is probably holding its breath with Gabriela's world of budget Barbie boxes and wondering if it can get away with sewing its items into budget packaging and selling it at premium prices. 

GOTY Gabriela: More Than a Year!

Are these images from Gabriela's Play Pages a teaser for her mid-year release items?

Sleuth Credit: @theagdollbunch

I love the bright outfit and fuzzy purple chair more than anything else in Gabriela's initial release. If these are to be part of Gabriela's release it is a shame they did not debut on January 1st!

My hope is they will be released in February so we don't have to wait so long!

A word about AG's news about Gabriela being around for more than a year. I love it. She's still special because of her GOTY 2017 designation but she and/or her collection also becomes accessible for an extended period of time. A win-win in my book.

House of Straw: Box Debacle is a Flimsy Foundation

A Poppets & Posies Editorial

American Girl has a plan. It did not start with the box nor will it end with the box.

Photo curtesy of Tara Hays

Gabriela's debut with her radical new box design was a shock to many long time customers, but we should have seen the architecture of this change many months ago.

Unfortunately, Gabriela is the poppet who will be most associated with this atrocious new box style with the large flimsy window and slide-out style whereas technically the WellieWishers box made the change first by a few weeks.

Over the past few weeks the WellieWishers' doll box quietly and without fanfare was changed from the two piece lift-out box style to the large window and slide-out style. But the general concept of a large window box was already introduced last summer--WellieWishers debuted using the new large window style box for its clothing and accessories having some remark unfavorably about the Barbie-style packaging. However the new box style for the clothing was met with little resistance most likely because it was a new line and thus customers had less built up expectations.

I personally was lulled into thinking the large window style of the WW clothing boxes was just a one-off thing for the WW line alone. But AG using a new box style for WW clothing and eventually for the doll boxes as well was likely always in the works from the very start. Why do I think this? Because the WellieWisher new doll box style launched within a few weeks of GOTY Gabriela's shocking new doll box style.

The new box style for WellieWishers and GOTY and beyond has been slowly planned and rolled out for many many months now.

Photo curtesy of Tara Hays

The new box on the right shows a terrific use colorful graphics and text on of the back side of the box--but I am convinced AG could have come up with a better solution to add visual punch without sacrificing the sturdiness and reusability of the box itself.

This is not an either/or situation. We can love our American Girl poppets and still have criticism and feedback for the company that makes our girls. But will AG listen?

Robo-answer #1

This was the robo-answer being supplied yesterday on AG's Facebook page to Addison, Leigh and others who expressed dislike for the new box styles for poppets being rolled out in both the WellieWishers line and now GOTY Gabriela.

Let's break this down:

"effort to reach more girls in more places"

This means the partnerships with Costco, Kohls, TRU. The pro for AG is additional outreach which means more brand and product exposure, more customers, more sales. However, I see AG is using this expansion as an excuse to launch their flimsy and cheaper box as if they had no other design possibilities to solve the issues of expanding into different retail markets.

"better meet the needs and requirements of our domestic and international retail partners"

Understood. Bigger windows, more text and graphics on the box to better explain contents of box, more tamper resistant to discourage loss/theft of small accessories. What is not understood is how that translates to a cheaper and flimsier box. How about redesigning the box to meet all these "needs and requirements" and at the same time improve the overall quality of the box for the customer?

"easier way to open the box and remove the doll"

Removing an AG doll from her classic box is a special rite of passage. The people who prioritize their desire for an ultra-hasty quick-release doll box do not care if the doll box is sturdy and gorgeous or if it is flimsy and easily destroyed. These quick-release fans have managed the classic box style at least once to go on to imagine a world where they could save an extra 72 seconds IF ONLY there was a box that disintegrated upon the slightest touch of a hand. Recall there has never been a case of a doll permanently trapped inside the classic AG box. 

However, those who do care about keeping the classic box REALLY CARE. I highly doubt AG lost sales because customers struggled to remove the doll from its sturdy, well-made, protective box which had remained in essence the same box the entire 30 year history of the company. Two pieces, open-and-lift style.


Many AG customers expect high quality in the doll, her clothing, accessories, books and that expected quality begins with the box that houses the poppet. Imagine if Tiffany's began to box their rings in anything other than their high quality robin's egg blue luxurious but sturdy box. Or if Apple decided to do away with their beautiful unboxing experience and just shrink wrapped all their phones instead. The Tiffany's ring would still be an American classic and the Apple phone still a slick piece of modern technology. But the customer experience would be tarnished and so would be the brand.

Adding further insult is that many customers preserve their AG dolls in the classic doll boxes. The classic box is like a quality brick house that withstands the buffets of the years to provide decades of protection and preserving a cherished playmate or in some cases a poppet who has become a family heirloom. While the new box style looks to have some limited reusability it also looks to be a serious decline in construction and durability. The cardboard exterior of the new box is so flimsy it billows like a little house made straw.  

Poppets & Posies says: Normally I unabashedly and perhaps even over enthusiastically praise AG and its products. I often give the company a lot of leeway and temper my criticism of changes AG has made to stay competitive and profitable. However, I see the new box style as primarily an over-reaching cost-cutting effort being covered up by their real need to compete directly on-the-shelf against other doll company offerings and toys in giant box-stores like TRU. The classic AG box is relatively plain and uniform from doll to doll with a small window for viewing--many dolls and toys in stores like TRU have the large front window and their boxes are colorfully and dynamically splashed with texts and graphics on all available sides of their boxes. A change was needed, but considering the many creative ways to meet these new requirements, AG has made an off-brand and disappointing decision in its new doll box design.

A final thought for this blog entry but probably not the last word on the new box style--and this may haunt a few of us as we contemplate the future of AG boxes:

Will all the 18" dolls be evicted from their classic homes and moved into the new box style? First WellieWishers, then GOTY Gabriela. Surely the new Contemporary Series poppets Tenney and Logan will be housed in these flimsy boxes of straw. And then the Truly Me dolls. BeForever Samantha already has been sold in a flimsy large window mega box monstrosity at Costco... can you imagine a world where all the BeForever dolls are housed in flimsy boxes?

Be wise, AG. Customers are huffing.