You’ve all heard me mention the Fresh Dolls. Now I’m writing a piece on them pre-reviewing the dolls I bought from them. This is in no way sponsored by them, so expect to hear bad as well as good.
Dr. Lisa is the CEO The World of EPI. She founded this company to make dolls that children, specifically black children, could see themselves in. She made some adorable baby dolls that did just that. More recently, she moved on to fashion dolls. She funds this company herself. Her, and some Patreons. She only has four employees and some interns. And some drama with one intern, but thankfully that’s over with. She has a vision for her dolls and I admire the lengths she’s gone to seeing it through. There is one problem with her vision; she’s a bit out of touch. I realized this talking to a doll friend earlier, she said it, and she was absolutely right. I don’t mean that in a bad way or as an insult to her. I admire her greatly, but the fashions of the first wave show how out of touch she is. The second wave was a fantastic improvement, but the faces still need some help too. But she does try. More than I have ever seen any other business try. And although many of us have been frustrated by all the preorder drama(more on that later), all in all, we love our dolls and we love Dr. Lisa. She genuinely wants to show people their beauty. She clearly isn’t in it for money. She just cares. It isn’t pushy, or insincere to make her look good or to pull on your heart strings to get you to buy her dolls. She also really wants to give the people what we want.
Dr. Lisa truly cares and wants to give us what we want. And that’s how this year’s problems started… She did something truly amazing earlier this year; She unveiled the illustrations of what felt like the first black articulated male dolls ever! For the record, they are not the first ever. But it IS fair to say they are the first this widely available. Their articulation was at the neck, elbows, shoulders, hips, and knees. But could people just be happy with that? NOPE. So people begged and begged, and Dr. Lisa moved mountains to give us ankles and wrists too. And that my friends, is where the problems started. It delayed the male dolls, and eventually all the dolls, months. There were many other last minute changes made, but that was the biggest, and the first domino to start the chain. They did things in a few months that take bigger companies years. So, way to go Dr. Lisa, you did that! But the very same people who begged got very annoyed at the consequences of getting their way. *Insert eye roll here* Which brings me to one of my main points: You can’t please everyone, so don’t try. Please, do not try. That being said, people are still happy. You came through Doc.
The fashions. Oh boy the fashions. There were some good pieces in the first wave. But as whole… Not so good. The second wave was a huge improvement. There’s still room for more improvement, but that’s also a matter of taste. It’s stable for now. Going back to the intern that was mentioned before, they had some fashions that people weren’t happy to see leave with them. I honestly won’t miss them, but I completely understand why people do. The intern was definitely in touch with what people wanted. But so is MyFroggyStuff. So is Howlvin. And so are the Fresh Family, who Dr. Lisa constantly asks the opinions of. So, I think we’ll be fine. One request I would like to make is for more ethnic clothing like Aria’s main outfit. I don’t just mean African tribal prints, there’s a Latina doll coming too. I want to see dolls embrace their cultures some.
The faces. This is where the criticism is usually aimed. But half the criticism comes from people who would never buy a playline doll anyway, so it can seem like not many of the customers actually care. That isn’t actually the case. Even I, queen of not caring is something is cartoony as long as it isn’t wonky, am not really a fan. People want more accurate representation. I understand it isn’t in the budget right now. But as Integrity Toys and Barbie have greatly evolved in their faces, I have faith that the Fresh Dolls will too. I don’t mind the faces much, but I’m not the one being represented here, so I understand that people want more realism.
The bodies. Not much to say here. I love my Fresh Squad bodies. I like my Fresh Dolls’ bodies too. They actually fit all that pesky one size fits all(that’s a lie LOL) clothing Barbie makes really well.
The characters themselves. Stuff has been changed in their bios. Whoever mentioned their Grandma, please add that back in. And since so many characters are related, please put that in their bios so that I don’t have to hunt through Instagram looking for all those separate posts about who is related to who. I like the family direction they’re taking with the characters. Kids can add couples if they want, but I’m beginning to see the positives of leaving romances out of kid’s dolls. Dating doesn’t need to have a prominent place in EVERY story after all. I like that they’re in college together. I like how much Aria reminds me of Freddie Brooks, and I would love if they took a kid-friendly ‘A Different World’ type of approach to this story. I also love the inclusion of Froggy aka MyFroggyStuff. She’s one of the most popular doll influencers. We all love her, and she’s very family friendly.
What’s coming for the Fresh Dolls? Hopefully, success. And most likely. We weren’t happy with the shipping fiasco. But we are happy with our dolls. And in the end, that’s what’s most important for the company. They will have a lot of return customers, and they overall still have a good reputation. Doll wise, Skylar, a special doll that they have yet to reveal how we will be able to purchase, is coming in 2019. She’s on my Instagram. In the fashion show scene in their TV spot, you can see a hint of her sweater. Thank you Howlvin(Creative Director for The Fresh Dolls) for showing me that! And I have been informed by him personally that if you think 2018 was amazing, just you wait until 2019! Big stuff is coming! Including their first fully Latina doll. Aleyna and Victoria are Afro-Latina. And eventually, I’m not sure if next year or not, they will make a Blasian doll. You can check my Instagram for even more of what Dr. Lisa has planned to produce for the Fresh Dolls.
A special thanks to everyone whose opinions factored into this article. And to Howlvin for that peek at Skylar that I wouldn’t have noticed! I really do love this company. I love what Dr. Lisa stands for, and I love seeing a woman succeed in an industry I’d like to be in. I look forward to seeing what the future holds, and to reviewing the six Fresh Dolls I bought. They are home, just not reviewed.