Q: Why Boy Story and not something more gender-neutral?
A: You have to break down the barriers before you can share the sandbox! We chose the name Boy Story to emphasize to boys that there's a doll that is cool and acceptable for them to play with. We believe that no child should ever feel ashamed for playing and using his or her imagination, and our goal (in part) is to change some of the current social stigma against boys playing with dolls. The decision was not an easy one for us. We don't want to make a toy exclusively for boys or girls. But our focus was to introduce something to the market that just isn't there now: A cool and well-engineered boy doll. Thus, Boy Story was born. The name and the brand is designed to appeal to boys, precisely to get over the stigma of the word "doll," and to diminish and hopefully make a dent in some old-school stereotypes that keep kids from developing traits that both genders should have the opportunity and ability to develop. While the name is Boy Story, these dolls are most certainly appropriate for both boys and girls, and not to worry, we will be including some girls in a future expansion phase!
Q: Aren't you excluding girls by making dolls for boys?
A: Not at all! These are actually dolls for all kids. They are boy dolls because in the doll market, boys have been largely missing. But we expect that all kids who want to play will dolls will enjoy our Action Dolls. We try to avoid the notion that toys are "for boys" or "for girls" - it's all about play here at Boy Story, and we hope to encourage more pretend play with dolls by offering something different.
Q: Why is your doll so expensive?
A: Our basic Action Doll retails for $99. This pricing is based on the quality of the doll, the intricacy of the vinyl molds, ball joints, and clothing, and the other costs to produce the doll. Our dolls are made to last through years of play and love. As a small business, we manufacture our toys in small batches. We aren't a mega-company that can pump out 1000's of products and drive prices down. We do everything we can to keep the price reasonable. It falls beneath the cost of many mainstream 18" dolls, but is higher cost than some cheaper dolls you might find in superstores.
Q: I noticed Boy Story dolls are made in China. Why not make them in the U.S.?
A: Boy Story Action Dolls are very high quality, made with injection mold joints that enable them to hold poses much like your favorite action figure. Although we would have loved to have our factories in the U.S., the resources just weren't available to make a U.S. product within a reasonable cost. We needed to make the dolls both unique and very durable to hold up to all the rumbling and tumbling that boys tend to do. In order to achieve this level of quality and still offer an economical retail price to our customers, we had to manufacture overseas. We have been very careful to select a manufacturer well-known for quality products and that adheres to the highest labor and product safety standards. Our products also pass rigorous third-party safety testing. We make sure that all our products pass safety tests (with flying colors) for not only sales in the U.S., but also in Europe and Canada. If it's not something we want our children playing with, we won't sell it. Period. We support the U.S. market as much as possible, by growing our business here to hire U.S. employees and provide a fun and reliable workplace.
Q: Tell us about what you do to make sure your products are safe?
A: Children's safety comes first here at Boy Story. We expect kids to spend a lot of time with our toys, and we want only the absolute best for our kids. We take every possible precautionary step to make sure that our toys contain no harmful chemicals, that our products are made with the safest possible and best quality materials, and that they are safe for children to play with. We demand that our products either meet or exceed U.S. federal safety requirements, as well as pass safety requirements for sales in Canada and Europe. Boy Story is also very strict to ensure that all our vendors abide by International Labor Standards. Our manufacturer is under an obligation to notify us if any potential violations of safety or labor standards are detected. We not only have reports sent to us in regard to ILO practices being followed, but we also personally visit our factories to see that the working conditions are fair and safe.
Q: What is special about the design of Boy Story Action Dolls?
A: Where to begin...? Boy Story Action Dolls are easily wiped down should they get dirty (which we planned on!). They have sculpted hair which makes them easier to clean and much more durable. Standard doll hair (either wigged or rooted) does not typically do well if washed. Most importantly, Boy Story dolls aren't just dolls, they're ACTION DOLLS! The arms and legs do not have typical strung joints you will see in most other dolls, these are separate ball joints. Just pose one of our Action Dolls next to another 18" standard doll and see who can do the cooler poses! And we went the extra mile to make sure that even though he was cool like an action figure, he was also lovable with a soft plush belly.
Q: Why did you make the doll 18"?
A: Although Boy Story Action Dolls are unique in a multitude of ways, we chose to make the doll at a standard doll height so that it could easily interact with other dolls and use standard doll accessories. Our dolls are also collectable, and will fit in with 18" doll collections. These dolls are a great compliment to other 18" dolls and can join easily in the fun.
Q: Why do you think it’s so important for kids have an alternative male doll to the superheroes we currently see everywhere?
A: Don’t get us wrong, superheroes are awesome! But they fill a different pretend-play role. With dolls, we interact on a more social level. Our kids relate to dolls, they take care of dolls (compared to superheroes that are usually the ones flying in to solve problems), they cook for dolls, they use dolls as companions, they read books to dolls, and they interact on a human level. Superheroes are just that: super-human. They emphasize powers, muscles, imagination, and adulthood. But they don’t really emphasize relationships. Kids sometimes just need that little doll friend of their own to tote around and maybe take care of while daddy or mommy are busy. Maybe they need someone to talk to. Maybe they need someone to be a leader for. There are all sorts of experiences that come with dolls that don’t necessarily come with superheroes. For all the reasons girls have been encouraged to play with dolls for years – those are the same reasons ALL kids should be encouraged to play with dolls!
Q: What age kids are your Action Dolls designed for?
A: Our dolls are great for kids ages 3-8. Kids tend to enjoy pretend role play with dolls throughout these years, but their play styles do change as they mature.
Q: Have you done any market studies to show whether boy dolls really make sense?
A: Of course! We do our homework, but there's also a glaring gap in the world of dolls when it comes to diversity in selection. We are filling that gap. As far as studies, we had the dolls in a classroom recently of 4-5 year olds. First, we asked all the kids to bring in their favorite people toys to share with us. The boys had action figures and the girls had dolls. It was a straight split. We showed them our dolls and let the kids play with them. Hearing from the kids was both validating and heartbreaking. They had never seen a boy doll. They didn’t know why. They wanted to play soccer and basketball with them. The girls wanted to add them to their doll collections. The boys seemed shy at first but loved touching their cool hair, playing with their clothes, and moving their joints. And after a few minutes of play, none of the kids seemed to think having a boy doll was boring or strange – the boy dolls were included immediately in their play. In the end, kids just want to play. They are largely accepting of the toys they are presented with. We have a responsibility as adults to present them with fair and equal choice in their playthings.
Q: Are there plans to expand the range of Boy Story dolls available anytime soon?
A: We have two more dolls in development now that should be out early next year. Aspen is a Caucasian doll with blonde hair and blue eyes and Kenji is Japanese with black hair and dark brown eyes. All our face molds are unique to capture diverse facial features, which lengthens our average development time per doll. We also are producing richly illustrated chapter books with adventure stories to accompany each doll. After we have four boy dolls, we will be taking customer polls for the next dolls, and may even include a girl doll in the mix. We like to introduce our dolls in pairs.