Seeing the first images of the Kidz n Cats 2015 dolls mid January was very exciting for us all. The promotional images are beautiful and the new dolls faces absolutely full of expression. For sure we have 18 little characters on our hands this year!
I was therefore very excited to be going to see Robert, Jennet, Julika, Lauryn, Marina and Rosie
plus the 4 brand new Mini dolls Gretchen, Lenchen, Lottchen and Finchen, at the Nuremberg Toy Fair.
The Kidz n Cats booth is literally a destination; even people intending to pass through the hall stop to look at the dolls. I glanced around for the friendly and familiar faces of doll artist Sonja Hartmann and husband Hagen, who always atttend the Toy Fair to show visitors the new dolls. As I've met them now many times, it's always a pleasure to catch up and something I look forward to. It is business for them but they are never afraid to be natural, attentive and completely themselves, even with a stand full of enquiring visitors. Unfortunately I'd caught a cold and I felt terrible that on the first day of the show I was turning up to see Sonja and Hagen full of germs - at the forefront of my mind was that they MUSTN'T catch it - they had 6 very important days ahead of them!!! They were very kind and hospitable to me giving me a bottle of water from their kitchenette and seeming not to mind too much. They'd brought their coffee machine from home too and it made the best coffee!
The dolls took my breath away - seeing them in the flesh they are every bit, if not more, as beautiful as I'd hoped they would be. That literally is the first thing I thought. The second was quite how much colour and diversity is in this year's collection with all detail in the outfits, and how much bigger and more exciting the collection looks than last year's. The new Mini dolls and the cats both with clothes definitely add an extra bit of fun and humour to the Kidz n Cats range.
The third thing I thought as my eyes flicked between and ultimately rested on three exquisitely dressed girl dolls was, 'ah, there they are - my dolls!'. Jennet, Julika and Alyssa (I want Lauryn too). I recognised them from their photos except now they were like real children who I'd grown familiar to from their catalogue photos, and they were exactly what in my mind I'd seen.
This year's collection looks more like a group of real children than ever. Posed very artistically each taking a very different position, because they can, because they have remarkable joints. There was so much to look at: the Kidz rode bicycles and scooters, pushed bicycles whilst chatting with other Kidz; the boy Kidz mended punctures together; they sat, stood, and held the hand of little ones. It was a beautiful playground of Kidz and an absolute feast for the eyes.
I think we can definitely say that the upheaval to a new factory last year has paid off. A great collaboration between Sonja and the new factory is clearly evident in the collection. It's interesting to hear that everything is still constantly evolving in Sonja's world and that she's feeling as enthusiastic, excited and creative as ever.
The cat for example is changed from previous years but what you see in the photos may not be what is finally made. Hagen likes this cat because it has little magnets in its hands and feet and can ride the metal bicycle as a result and I could see he enjoyed playfully arranging and re-arranging the cats on the bicycles! However, Sonja's creative mind still sees a more 'cartoon' version of this cat, so how it will finally be made is still unknown, to us anyway! Sonja and Hagen work really hard but they also have fun and you can see this when you meet them in so many different ways. I popped back to the stand later that day and they had a moment of quiet time with their assistant and all three were watching a You Tube clip on Sonja's smartphone, in stitches laughing. They showed me, and translated. It was funny, but what I observed was more interesting: how adapted to the minds of children the Kidz n Cats brand is if the creators of the brand can find two plush mice and a little bedtime role play story on film that funny! I love this.
Before I left I asked if Sonja wouldn't mind having her photo taken and she graciously agreed. She collected up Julika and said something to Hagen, who appeared at my side just as I was about to take the picture. Hagen evidently did something very funny because Sonja burst into laughter! I think maybe I got rabbit ears!!
Thank you so much to the Hartmanns for allowing me to take these photos which don't really do the dolls justice, they're just quick snaps at the fair in quite poor lighting (though we tried, didn't we Hagen?!). You can see the full range of Kidz n Cats dolls at My Doll Best Friend
. The bicycles are just props used at the fair and are not part of the collection.
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