Pete Laudin and, his wife Adrienne, are the founders of one of America’s oldest ‘Doll Only’ e-commerce stores: The Pattycake Doll Co., currently located at https://BestDollsForKids.com.
Picture a beloved cloth doll, the left leg stretched slightly longer and squeezed slightly slimmer, a sure sign that this leg was the ‘handle’ by which that doll has journeyed, dangling upside down through a young girl’s childhood. Or perhaps a different doll, frumpled and lumpy, with the cupid’s bow shadow of a thousand kisses gracing its cheeks.
Just like your favorite jeans, often worn and softly formed to fit perfectly to your curves, so do HABA dolls soften and conform to the shape of a child’s love and affection by play.
At their core, HABA dolls are simply well designed, well crafted, and well-made rag dolls, but we feel that they are also the current ‘Best of Breed’ in the Rag Doll world.
Every child needs at least two dolls: a Baby Doll to parent and nurture, and a Rag Doll to carry, cuddle, and play with. We realize that those are two really, really wide brushes to paint the entire doll world into but to simplify, let us just say that Baby Dolls are bald, and Rag Dolls usually have hair. We can quibble about the exceptions later, please.
HABA makes Rag Dolls, and the hair is made of soft, colorful chenille. Raspberry colored chenille. Orange peel and lemon rind colored chenille. Colors found in Jello boxes and fingerpaint sets. Children’s colors. And those dolls wear hair accessories like bows and ribbons and headbands and hats. HABA makes Rag Dolls with Hats. Hats! How Dr. Seussian of them.
Dolls with hats must, of course, have clothes to match. Although only those of us in the industry might ever pay attention to the clothing of dolls, it is still an art form, and as important as the doll designs themselves.
In the last decade or so, we’ve seen several famous designers take a shot at dressing dolls… with disappointing results. They should have looked to HABA’s Ines Frömelt for inspiration – now here’s a woman who understands how to dress a rag doll!
Lest you think this is a simple task, let me ask you: Do you think children have opinions? Have you never heard a two-year-old declare decisively: “No!! That’s for babies!!” Two years old!
HABA dolls are designed and dressed like the big kids your toddler wants to be. Two-year-olds may love being babied, but they are already fast-tracking themselves in their imaginations into pre-school, maybe even… kindergarten!
Ines and her designers get ‘that.’ First, they shape their dolls to a toddler’s proportions, then they dress the dolls to the aspirational age that those toddlers want to be. Babies wear onesies. Big kids wear blue jeans with belts and dresses with leggings!
And the expressions! Yes, we mustn’t forget that HABA dolls have expressions! Friendly smiles, flirty eyes, and freckles. Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!
Speaking of kids, we should also be speaking to their parent’s doll needs. Toddlers do not play with ‘light’ hands. Nonstop ‘pedal to the metal’ play machines, from morning mud to midday mattress that doll goes where the child goes. So, sturdy stitches. Removable clothes and machine washable. Don’t be surprised if that doll goes off to college with them. Yes, HABA dolls are built that well.
But most important of all, HABA Dolls are inclusive: There are Girl Dolls and Boy Dolls. There are dolls for Tomboys and dolls for Girly Girls. There are Big Sister Dolls and Big Brother Dolls and Dolls for Children of Color. HABA makes dolls for every kind of kid.
Doll making is a serious business and an important one. In a world where all their decisions are made for them by adults, doll play is one area where your child is in control, and it is essential to a child's development. Doll Play helps a child learn how he or she fits into the world and build there imaginations and story telling skills. Doll play is the most open-ended and imaginative play there is. There are no rules about doll play, and there are no right or wrong ways to play with dolls.
Doll play positively affects your child’s future, and you can look to HABA to get this most important ‘toy,’ right.