Here's Baby Velvet!

Baby Velvet? Yes you read that right! But did Ideal actually make this doll?

The simple answer is, no. The reason is...

Competition, good old-fashioned competition for the consumer’s dollar.

Ideal had entered an era where costs were everything in the 60’s. The mass production era demanded that all well-known toy and doll companies create inventory that was now less expensive to produce. In fact, Ideal had a “price point” of $9.95 in the late 70’s in order to remain competitive, therefore, their product needed to have a low cost-per-unit.

Production overseas was now in full swing. Their Hong Kong factory was producing parts and clothes, where labor was cheap. To this day, one might encounter a baggie with an entire issue outfit enclosed. This is how the clothes for a particular doll were assembled, shipped back to the States, so that the assembly line could finally put the doll together and dress it before boxing and packing.

In the 1974 buyer’s catalog, released by Ideal to store buyers, several of the items weren’t available. The time had come for them to reduce their costs significantly to stay in business. Some newly developed toys and dolls weren’t put into production that year.

It’s pretty clear… in order to compete and still end their fiscal year with a profit Ideal had to reduce spending, cut back, and figure out how to keep their dolls and toys under a certain price point. Like other companies, Ideal was feeling the pinch.

Ideal had a winner though, with Baby Crissy, a rather expensive doll to make. It would seem that simply changing the head to a new one for Baby Velvet would also be a winning product. But sadly, she was not put into production in 1974, the year she was planned for release. In fact, Baby Crissy was coming to a production close the very next year, with remaining stock sold to stores until the entire inventory was gone, right up through 1976.

Other reasons that would make Baby Velvet expensive to produce was the design of a new outfit (although the picture does show the prototype of the lavender diaper set), the cost and production of a new box, retooling the machinery, and new advertising. Clearly there just wasn’t enough room in the doll world for Baby Velvet in 1974.

Crissy & Beth

This picture can be found in Ideal literature.

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© June, 2006, by Beth-Ellen Colvin

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