5.13.2011

just call me madame...

The daughter of immigrants, Madame Beatrice Alexander was born in Brooklyn & began the Alexander Doll Company in 1923 with a $1600 loan. During an era when women entrepreneurs were scarce, her story -- full of dedication & perseverance --  is what American dreams are all about. And that she began calling herself "Madame" because it sounded refined just makes her all the more fabulous in my book.


I've always known about Madame Alexander dolls. I didn't personally collect them, but I certainly knew people who did. While I was more of a Barbie girl growing up, I always loved the look of the Madame Alexander doll -- all at once classy & refined. Special. Yet I wasn't aware of the history behind the company, OR its deep NYC roots.


Not surprisingly, I was thrilled to be invited up to the Madame Alexander Doll Factory in Harlem for a tour earlier this week. All test dolls are dreamed up & created on West 131st Street and tours are free to the public. I had no idea! In a behind-the-scenes visit to the factory, you'll pass by the "doll hospital" where Alexander creations are mended, the space where the Design Team works their magic, & you'll go on a tour of the Heritage Gallery, which is worth a visit on its own. In this permanent showcase, you'll see the doll that Madame Alexander created in her likeness, and some of her more famous creations, like Scarlett from Gone With The Wind. The attention to detail -- everything SO perfect & SO miniature (!) is just such fun to see, whether you're a collector or not.


I had no idea the amount of licenses that Madame Alexander owns -- in addition to their established collectables, the company also manufactures lines from many recognizable children's figures: Olivia, Fancy Nancy, Peanuts, Eloise... (see here for a complete list).  Their Huggums line is pretty adorable, too.  Walking into the showroom and seeing all of these dolls in one place... my first thought after squealing out loud was, I cannot WAIT to bring Toddler S here one day!

After the tour, we got to "create" a doll of our own. Yes, the squealing continued. I went for this blond haired, blue eyed chick, & was able to pick from 5 different outfits in addition to a pair of shoes & accessory. She's kind of a cutie, I gotta say.

My masterpiece
Saving the best part for last, I learned you can have a birthday party or tea there at the factory (see details here). You will take part in everything I mentioned above & package prices range from $38 to $100 a person. For the little girl (or full-fledged adult) who loves dolls, this is truly a memorable event. I've been smiling all week.

Yes, that is me in a life size Madame Alexander doll box.
Lastly, while there's some discussion over girls & their fascination with dolls, princesses & the like, how about sharing with your child the history behind the company... about the Madame herself. Her remarkable career & legacy will no doubt live on forever, & that's one lesson only this doll can teach.


I was given a tour and products for consideration.  I was not compensated for this post.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

6 comments:

Gladys said...

Very interesting. I have come across some of her dolls in estate sales but didn't know the story. I was definitely a Barbie fan and have a small collection of the holiday series.

Sally said...

Wish I had known about this when I was in NYC! I just gave Louise my collection of MA dolls. My grandmother gave me one every year. Very special collection for me.

Jill said...

Loved sharing this experience with you! xo

Sonja said...

How strange that I haven't heard of these dolls! They're gorgeous though!

Alicia@ Mommy Delicious said...

You look so lovely standing as a life-sized doll! Love it! Looks like I missed a good event, but hopefully we'll catch each other at the next one?

Thanks for all this great info! I had no idea they offered so many things!

Jenny said...

I've only heard about her dolls and seen them online. I'm a doll collector (proof on my blog xD ) and her stuff seems pretty cool. I would never replace my Kloey though. She's my fav!

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