Saturday, September 29, 2012

Madame Alexander's Friends Boutique from WalMart

A few days ago I posted a review of the Madame Alexander Favorite Friends 18" play doll, and was asked if I'd take a look at another version of the doll in the MA 18" play doll line, the Friends Boutique dolls made by Madame Alexander for WalMart.

I chose a doll on clearance, because she's super-cute and---well, because she's on clearance. I paid $21, against a list price of $29.97, and the usual shelf price is $27.97. Madame Alexander Favorite Friends, by comparison, have a list price of $49.99, and can be had for $24.97 to $59.99, depending on where they're sold.

So what did I get for my $21, and how does this doll compare to that one?

According to the box, which conveniently has her name sticker removed, the doll has soft bendable arms and legs, which the pricier MA dolls do not. The face mold is also different: the Favorite Friends have a more neutral expression, and this girl has a cautious smile, still close-mouthed. I think she looks like a good friend to a child.

And look who's missing from the collection photos! This is a mystery girl for now (edited to add: I've just found out that her box name is "Emily"). I've decided to name her Mary Anne. Yes, from "Gilligan's Island." Hush up, you. I love the Sophia listed here, with a navy blue jacket; her hair is TDF. I also bought Sadie on clearance at the same price, but haven't deboxed her yet.
Mary Anne is attached to the box with easy-to-cut string instead of the wires on the Favorite Friends, and her head is cushioned with a plastic bubble insert, which the FF dolls don't have.
Check this out: there's a stitched piece of flannel covering the string around her neck, protecting the doll from shelf wear. What a nice packaging extra! Her clothing is also very nice, visually appealing, and well made.
Her arms and legs are made of a much softer vinyl, and there's some sort of armature inside. The arms don't bend all that far, because they're chubby and shortish, and they don't hold a pose for very long.
As you can see despite the messy table, the bending leg feature is actually cuter and more effective. She has nice little jelly sandals, too, which are the same quality and weight as FF shoes.

The hair is just as full and well-done as the FF dolls. Here it looks black, but it's really a dark brown.
 Here she is cheerfully nekkid. Note the nicely tilted head. I love those aqua eyes.
I decided that this girl needed some jammies, so looked a shelf over and found these. This isn't the same brand at all, but for $9.99 and with a sleep mask, a good buy.
 Looks nice with her aqua eyes, wouldn't you say?
And good night!

Overall: GREAT buy for a play doll. The quality is as good as the Favorite Friends, although time will tell how well those bendy arms hold up. The packaging is actually a little nicer, which surprised me. I'd definitely buy one of these, even spending more, before I'd buy another Springfield Collections doll, even with a Joann's coupon, and even with the Friends Boutique at full price.

1 comment:

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