Alex is an 18 inch doll that is very extraordinary, not only can she get wet but she can bend in ways other 18 inch dolls on the market can not!
Via E the company behind Alex and they have kindly agreed to my interview. Here are my questions and the answers Ellen of Via E shared with me....
"It’s a funny story. I was one of those who lost their job in the banking industry. As part of my participation in my son’s school’s PTA I created a few baskets for a silent auction. In them were 18” dolls and my hand-made clothing. Mom’s went crazy and the baskets were one of the top producers of funds. The moms urged me to create a company, so I did. I have always had a strong imagination and played with dolls when I was a girl, so now I just reach back to those days and try to create a world rich with “hooks” for girls to develop and enrich their imagination too. I am also an adjunct professor for the University California, Irvine – Extension were I teach sales and marketing. I have the honor of participating in the international program where post graduate students come from around the world to learn from this notable institution. The parent in me has grown quite alarmed with the sexy dolls being pushed out by the large toy manufactures and the teacher in me understands the depth of the developmental impact playing with such toys can create. What makes it worse is that these sexy toys are also turned into books, sexy music and cartoons so girls are completely surrounded in this imagery. Even writing about it now elevates my pulse. Statistics show that teen pregnancy is going down due to preventative measures, but pregnancy under the age of 15 is going up! This is just one statistic that shows a tragic trend growing in our society."
"Once the shipment arrives, we will open up our new website where you can purchase Alex, clothing, accessories, her books, her music, and participate in the educational systems. We publish the stories girls write, post their music performances, give discounts for A papers received in school and have support for home schooling. You can see there is so much for us to talk about!"
"We have a reseller in Europe and will ship to Canada and the U.S. out of California. Alex’s story takes her all around the world so we will be working to ship her where ever her story carries her—to any girl who wishes to be Alex’s friend. As a true startup company, we will grow as fast as we can sell. The RSVPs help me because I can immediately place another order with the factory for Alex so the supply can meet increasing demand as we get Alex’s story out to the public."
"This is a fun detail! Really her feet functionally work like the flat feet of the standard 18” dolls, their just cuter. I designed Alex like a collector’s dolls with 22 points of realism but kept her durable for play. I think it helps build the bond between Alex and her girlfriends. It is the joints in Alex’s arms and legs that make her easier to stand up and pose."
"All play doll hair is made out of a type of strung plastic. Alex’s hair is a very high quality with each strand being truly “hair-like.” She has lots of it too. To care for her hair you can use baby shampoo and conditioner. The conditioner will help comb the hair out—always start detangling by combing from the bottom and working your way up to the top of the head. The Aussie brand of hair products works really well. We will have Alex care instructions on our website and there are water play care instructions included in Alex’s box."
Is Alex fully articulated?
"I actually interviewed girls to determine what they want their dolls to be able to do and what type of joints would they accept. Girls do not like G.I. Joe type of joints. Because of this, full articulation would not work because it required for you to see the “ball” in the joint and a pin. There are those who use an internal wire to facilitate bending but I ruled this out due to the unnatural folding of the vinyl and possibility of injury if the internal wire broke. So I made some compromises to my original goal of full articulation. The quest became a balance of a fluid line yet movement for play. So Alex is strung like the existing 18” dolls but instead of string we use a thick gauge elastic which provides a natural resistance in the joints and accommodates rotation and soft bends. Only the elbows and knees are jointed—not as a cost savings but as a design decision. Girls don’t like joints but they want their dolls to be able to do more things so I analyzed movement and found that we could provide the best balance between action and beauty by having only these two jointed locations. I’m proud that Alex’s body looks athletic and very pleasingly natural."
"Oh yes! Every year we anticipate two new friends. Alex travels around the world with her family. So her friends will represent the girls she meets in each country. This is a way to connect girls from all around the world."
"This idea came to me when thinking like a parent. We spend a lot of money on our kids toys now days and it is upsetting when they get broken and thrown away. So we tend to limit what kids can do with these toys. But I don’t want Alex to be a toy—I want her to be a friend. So then how can I protect mom and dad’s investment while still allowing Alex to do anything girls want to do? Other doll hospitals charge almost as much as buying a new doll! Yikes. So I thought about it and came up with the My Kare™ health care policy. If she gets hurt in the first year, we will fix her for free. To extend the health care policy, we give health care points with every purchase of Alex’s books and accessories. This way, Alex can have health care for as long as she is played with and we are protecting our loyal extended family of moms and dads (calling them customers just doesn’t describe how I think of each family.) The idea is to keep health care coverage by purchasing things you would likely purchase anyway during the course of Alex’s play life. You can also extend her healthcare policy by purchasing a renewal at just $30.00."
I asked Ellen what she would like you my readers to know and I loved her answer!