Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2001

Get Real Girls get ready to rock Barbie’s world

August 30, 2001


Barbie's buxom bod and fashion fripperies have long been under attack for setting unrealistic standards for girls.

So a decade ago, a new doll challenged her supremacy. With a more realistic body shape, the "Happy to Be Me" doll was widely applauded by adults.

But girls took to her like broccoli with liver sauce, and within months, Happy headed off to that great garage sale in the sky. Barbie never blinked.

Lesson: To challenge Barbie, you have to offer something more than just Not Being Barbie.

Now the six Get Real Girls are on the scene, with a buzz that has their inventors crossing their fingers that they have a hit.

They're all about Not Being Barbie. What they offer in return is fully jointed, highly accessorized adventure.

Claire is not a doll you'd fantasize taking to the mall, because her swim fins would get caught in the escalator.

The dolls' unprissy flat feet fit into cleats, sneakers and hiking boots. Their arms and legs can move into poses that Barbie can only dream of.

Each of the girls specializes in a particular sport Gabi the soccer player, Nini the mountaineer, Skylar the snowboarder, Corey the surfer, Nakia the basketball player and Claire the scuba diver.

The Get Real Girls are part of a wave of Not-Barbie dolls that recently hit the market. Smartees, for instance, come in a variety of careers, such as Ashley the attorney and Vicky the veterinarian (dog, syringe and bandages included). The Get Set Club dolls come in simple T-shirts, jeans and sneakers, with separately sold career outfits.

The Get Real Girls national debut occurs as a half-million of the dolls and their backpacks, sunglasses, watches, passports and sports gear hit specialty stores and Target with a $24.99 price tag.

The wide release follows months in which the dolls were available only at a few specialty stores and online dealers.

"It's been phenomenal," says Jana Machin, the company's chief executive officer. "We get so much feedback from girls and parents, both moms and dads: 'She's rock-climbing up the side of our couch.'"

Next year, the company plans to add two girls, Kadin (volleyball) and Zoe (skateboarding), and two Get Real Guys Piersin and Jack (skateboarding and surfing).

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