Sunday, October 14, 2012

Review: Pen Pal Girls Star Doll Dress

I found the PenPalGirls dolls on a random doll run through eBay, first encountering Cady from China, and realized I hadn't seen these exact doll faces before. A new doll company! How cool! I love discovering new dolls, and companies just starting out, and after looking through some of their listings and site, I shot them an email enquiry about their new venture.

In response, I got a lovely reply from Aileen Le, who is, according to her email signature, the Brand Ambassador for the company. Aileen offered to send me an outfit from their line for me to review, as their outfits are made to fit most 18" dolls like AG. I of course said "Of course!," and a few days later I got a little box in the mail from Pen Pal Girls.

And here's what was inside the box:

I do love when the packaging reflects the concept behind the product, and this really goes beautifully with the international pen pal theme that this doll company is going for.

And, of course, postcards! The company is also coming out with a line of 18" doll sized accessories, such as the candy box in the top postcard, and from the web site photos, the accessories appear to be high quality. Underneath the postcards is a very sparkly dress, which we'll see in a few moments.
 First, the shoes, a simple pair of open-toe slip ons with bows and sparkles that remind me of candy sprinkles. The sole is cardboard, I think, but the finishing is good; no loose threads or signs of sloppy workmanship. These shoes make me hungry for a cupcake.
The outfit is called Star Doll Dress, and the dress is, indeed, a sparkler! The stripes are reminiscent of zebra stripes, and the sequins aren't glued, they're sewn on by machine with clear nylon thread.

The interior is well finished, although instead of that neck and armhole facing, I wish I'd seen a lining. The velcro matches, huzzah, instead of just being a generic white or beige.
 The seams are serged, as well, which is a great detail, and here you can see the tag. The other side advises that the dress be wiped clean only, which is wise, given the abundance of sequins. I wouldn't advise a doll wear this dress to a tea party serving anything more colorful than water.
Here's the dress on my Madame Alexander Fashionista, Cecilia, who loves to be on the forefront of fashion and parties. The dress fits very well, hangs very nicely, and is just exactly the right hem length for my tastes.
And from the back. The velcro strip is obvious, and there's a noticeable visual break between the end of the velcro and the beginning of the seam, but Cecilia's hair is long enough to cover it, and it doesn't really bother me otherwise.

I'm impressed by the quality of the dress and the shoes. I do wish tights of some kind had been included, even just plain white or grey, to finish the outfit off. An accessory also seems to be called for, such as a glittery purse. Also, truth to tell, the shoes and the dress don't really seem to go together: the dress is more adult than the shoes. The only thing they seem to have in common is their party time sparkliness. The outfit retails for $28 on the Pen Pal Girls site.

I do wish I had one of the dolls to compare their quality to AG and MA. So far there are two available,  Emma from the UK, a suburban girl from London, and Cady from China, who lives near Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong. The price for each dressed doll is $85, and on eBay the shipping is only $5. The bodies are intended to be compatible with American Girl, Favorite Friends, Springfield, and other comparable dolls.

The Pen Pal Girls website is interactive, with games and "pen pals" with letters from some dolls and real girls as well. Aileen also sent me a couple of downloads of photos and a nice PDF media kit that Blogger and Adobe won't let me show you (grar!), but I've gotten a sense that this is a serious small company with a solid business plan and a real vision that intends to stay in the business for the long haul. I wish them all success.


  1. Charlie - I agree with you that of all the new, small and upcoming doll companies in this category, Pen Pal Girls seems to be one of the most "on track" for success ones. I have one of their dolls and two of their outfits on the docket for review this week. Stand by...

  2. Gildan is a marketer and globally low-cost vertically integrated manufacturer of branded basic apparel.

  3. This was purchased for my granddaughter AG doll. It fit perfectly and she loved it. The dress is very pretty and well made. Now my granddaughter insists me to buy some clothes for her and i`m looking at


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