Member Perspective: How Madame Alexander Doll Co. Is Re-Inventing Itself to Appeal to Millennial Parents

October 29, 2018 | Madame Alexander Doll Company, the 95-year-old doll maker, recently embarked on a major brand investment as it approaches its 100th anniversary. The company, now under new ownership, is looking to refresh its marketing, customer service, production, and fulfillment capacity while expanding its 2019 product catalog.

Toy News Tuesday caught up with Tom Neville, vice president of Madame Alexander Doll Co., who shared details on the changes the company is making to appeal to millennial parents and how classic doll play still resonates with kids today.

Dolls are among the most classic forms of toys – have today’s kids changed how they play with dolls and is there still room in the market for dolls? 

Neville: The core of doll play has remained the same, but with updates: dolls help very young children learn motor skills and give them comfort. As they grow, dolls help children learn to communicate, nurture, and have empathy for others, which is critical as the world becomes more digital and individuals are more socially isolated. Finally, dolls give children opportunities to create in real time and lets their imaginations have free rein ... and every child needs more time for that!

Can you share some of the changes the company is making to appeal to millennial parents? 

Neville: We're bringing our social media presence up to date and making our product available online where millennials “live,” including on our own brand page with exclusive product. Madame Alexander is launching a new digital campaign focused on appealing to the next generation of moms through social media, digital influencers, content marketing, and PR programs. Additionally, we're creating new dolls that address the needs of children today, but that still retain the values Madame Alexander founded the company upon – making quality dolls with beautiful detail that inspire imaginative play, and the belief that kids that play with dolls become better, more caring adults. We make dolls that have "love in the details," and we want to make sure millennials know about them!

What message can Madame Alexander Doll Co. and its dolls send to young girls today who are growing up in a world that is very different than when the company was first started? 

Neville: That they can do and be anything, and do it with kindness, empathy, and creativity. Madame Alexander herself was an excellent role model in this regard – she founded her own company and made it thrive, despite the business being in a world dominated by men.  We want to continue to empower girls to achieve their dreams and make the world a better place. 

Madame Alexander’s new product line is launching at Toy Fair, can you give us a sneak peek at some of the dolls coming in 2019? 

Neville: We'll have Newborn Nursery dolls in more ethnicities, meaningful updates to the classic Huggums line, some great collectibles, new play dolls, and much more! We are focusing on bringing a much wider variety of multicultural dolls to the line in 2019. It's important to allow kids to have dolls that reflect themselves and the world around them.

Will we still see the classic dolls and collectibles the company is known for? 

Neville: Yes, we will be offering the classic Wendy and Huggums dolls and reintroducing a number of other classic dolls. We love and value the collector community!

What is the biggest challenge for a doll company today? 

 Competing with the constant barrage of digital content that faces kids daily: it's important to help parents understand the value of kids engaging in play that doesn't always involve electronics and media, in order to cultivate their own imagination and write their own story. Doll play is fun, meaningful, creative, and builds better adults!

Any other thoughts to share? 

Neville: We are looking forward to the company's 100th anniversary in 2023 and are planning lots of surprises! Follow us for exciting developments!

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