Breaking the Mould – The Story of Lottie Dolls, and their fight for inclusivity, so far!
Wildlife Photographer Mia is a doll on a mission! When she’s not peering through her lens at some fantastic creature, Mia is inciting a very important change. Since her debut, Mia has proven something that we at Lottie Dolls have suspected for a while, that the time is rife for an evolution. The people have spoken and are continuing to speak and they are all saying the same thing – it is time to break the mould!
As we approach the end of 2017, inclusivity as an ideal is fast becoming one of the more important issues of the day. Words like inclusion and diversity are forming the basis of many of our dialogues and debates. Arklu, creator of Lottie Dolls has recognised that and consistently widened our scope for inclusion since the dolls were launched in 2012. After all, difference is only different if it remains an unknown.
The original concept of Lottie Dolls remains the same – to accurately represent a 9-year old child, and back in 2012 this was a welcome induction into a dolls market that was brimming with overly sexualised, made-up, career focused dolls. Arklu’s vision was simple, a relatable doll with childlike hobbies, created to help preserve those precious childhood years.
During Arklu’s second year of business, a new release brought us Pandora’s Box Lottie and Robot Girl – both dolls wearing glasses. In fact, now 25% of Lottie Dolls wear glasses, a fact that may be overlooked by the average adult consumer but which, like most things, did not go unnoticed by children, not least of all those who wear glasses. Both dolls presented children with a positive influence and a subsequent confidence boost in something that can occasionally carry negative connotations.
Kite Flyer Finn, Lottie’s new friend, a companion aimed at BOTH boys and girls, was released in 2014 and the mould was broken again. The subsequent release that same year of the Gone Fishing Outfit set, designed by Cadence, spoke to girls telling them that they could enjoy all of the same outdoor activities as boys and of course their heroes, Lottie and Finn.
2015 saw Lottie going were no doll had gone before when Stargazer Lottie Doll voyaged alongside British Astronaut, Tim Peak, and spent 264 days aboard the International Space Station. It may have been one small step for doll-kind but it was certainly one giant leap for the dreams and aspirations of children everywhere.
Now in their 5th year, Arklu has released a whole host of new characters, including another boy doll, Junior Reporter Sammi. The Lottie, Finn & Friends range now encompasses 6 defined characters – Lottie, Finn, Mia, Sammi, Sophia & Emily. Each of the 6 characters is an individual, and they host a variety of hair, eyes and skin colours.
Also in 2017, seeking the advice and consul of ‘Toy Like Me’ – a British non-profit organisation who aim for greater representation in the toy box – Arklu decided to take another step towards our vision of inclusivity in the toyverse, Wildlife Photographer Mia was added to the range and is the first ever mass-produced fashion doll with a cochlear implant – but most importantly to Lottie fans, her implant is just a small part of her story, and not her focal point.
“When I was growing up in the ’80s, I never saw any deaf characters in toys, books, or on TV. When I became a mum myself, I decided it was time things changed. I wanted the global toy industry to act, to better represent the 150 million children worldwide with disability and difference.” – Rebecca Atkinson, Founder of Toy Like Me
“The doll makers have stood behind the findings of psychologist Dr. Sian Jones of Goldsmiths, University of London, who has propagated the findings that playing with dolls that seem different do indeed translate over into actual-world understanding and compassion. Dr. Jones interviewed hundreds of children and revealed that the consensus was that a doll like Mia - a doll, for example, that has a cochlear implant, which is visible - leads to children becoming more tolerant and understanding.”
– Extract taken from Stephanie Finnegan, DOLLS Magazine
Moving forward, we have made a company commitment that going forward all of their future dolls, accessories and playsets will be directly designed or influenced by the kids that play with them. Through our Inspired by Real Kids Competitions every month, we can fully centre the company in childhood. Lottie truly is Inspired by Real Kids.
We firmly believe that Lottie is leading the way in terms of inclusion and representation, and we hope that more companies follow suit is our quest to empower ALL children!