Shelf Talk

Barbie like me...
December 1, 1998

Barbie like me

Never mind that she has a wardrobe collection that could make Imelda Marcos envious, or that she changes her appearance more often than Madonna, admit it, you’ve become bored with Barbie’s look. She’s become too predictable. If only she was a little more. . .what? Now you can fill in the blank. On November 3, Mattel launched My Design (, a site that enables users to make Barbie over into an image of their own liking. For US$39.99 (plus shipping and handling), consumers can choose the eye color, hair color, hairstyle, fashions, accessories and personality of their Barbie, by e-mailing their specs to Mattel. After Mattel receives the order information, it takes it six to eight weeks to create and ship you your Barbie. In addition to the doll, consumers also receive a custom designed box, featuring a biography of their Barbie friend. While ordering the dolls is restricted to people 18 years of age and older, My Design does have an option that allows girls to go through the process of creating their own Barbie, and to print out a photo of the finished version of their doll.

Eau de pig

Buoyed by the sales strength of its Kermit the Frog-inspired cologne, Amphibia, which came out in 1995, The Jim Henson Company is trying its luck with a fragrance that packs more porcine pungency. Moi, the appropriately titled handle for Miss Piggy’s first line of perfume, recalls ‘a bouquet of seductive flowers accented by `come-hither’ notes of warm blonde woods,’ or so promises the breathy ad copy in the Moi release. The Miss Piggy perfume, which comes in an elegantly sculpted glass bottle wrapped in a black velvet pouch, was developed by International Flavors and Fragrances, who also created the scent for Calvin Klein’s Eternity.

Although the previous decade is littered with examples of celebrities (Mikhail Baryshnikov, Luciano Pavarotti, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jordan, Sophia Loren and Cher, for example) who lent their names to scents, most of which consumers turned up their noses at, few U.S. kids entertainment properties have entered into this olfactory category.

Topper Schroeder, CEO of Gendarme Fragrances, whose subsidiary company, Maraczek, distributes Moi, expects that trend to change. Gendarme has had great success selling a Gummy Bears fragrance for kids, based on the popular candy of the same name, and is currently developing new fragrances for Kermit (to be released for Christmas 1999) and for another Henson property, Animal (to be released on Father’s Day 1999). Moi, which The Jim Henson Company says targets women, not girls, is currently available for a limited time only at Bloomingdales stores and via mail order, at 1-800-555-7467.

Time to update your bookmarks. . .

Purple Moon is the latest kids entertainment company to hop on the e-commerce train. The creator of the Rockett Movado CD-ROM series recently added a shopping section to its Web site ( Hailing itself as the only e-commerce destination created specifically for preteen girls, The Purple Moon Store will offer a bevy of Purple Moon products, including CD-ROMs, PM-branded watches, backpacks and sweatshirts. Additionally, Purple Moon will be running special monthly promotional deals. The latest initiative, geared around the holidays, will see the company bundle three Rockett CD-ROM titles for the discounted price of US$29.95. In order to use the Purple Moon Store, girls are required to register at the site with a parent.

Dragon Ball Z bonanza

A swarm of Dragon Ball Z merchandise will be swooping down on retailers this holiday season. Leading the charge is a new Dragon Ball Z home video from Funimation Productions entitled Sleeping Beauty in Devil’s Castle (US$19.95). Released late last month, the 43-minute tape is an English-language version of Akira Toriyama’s anime series Dragon Ball, and can also be purchased on Funimation’s Web site ( Other companies producing Dragon Ball Z merchandise, which will be available at select retailers this month, include Irwin Toy (action figures, US$5.99 each); Great Eastern (posters); Japan Printing Products (trading cards, stickers, gliders, standees); Creative OnLine (mousepads); LaMode Shoes (shoes); Pioneer (collectible card games); TriMark (seven-pack box set of videos); Dorda (skateboards with figures, sunglasses, bubble buddies); Anza Festival Art (party goods); and Editorial Navarrette (sticker albums). The show Dragon Ball Z is currently airing on Cartoon Network from Monday to Friday.

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