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In Pictures: The Business of Barbie

As the Barbie Show is set to kick off this Thursday, here are 10 things you should know about Barbie.

June 20, 2012 4:09 by

  • During the Barbie’s first year in 1959, 351,000 Barbie dolls were sold priced at $3 each. Since then, it has been reported that more than a billion Barbie dolls have been sold. First launched by Ruth Marianna Handler, inventor and Mattel Toy Company co-founder at the American Toy Fair in New York City, the doll is named after her daughter Barbara. The first Barbie doll was marketed as a “teen-age fashion model,” and appeared in a zebra-striped one-piece swimsuit created by Charlotte Johnson, a fashion designer at Mattel Toy Company.

    *Image source - inc.com

  • Who is Barbie? Her full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts. She is from Willows, Wisconsin and schooled in Willows High School. She has had a world of pets, with 21 dogs, 12 horses, 6 cats, a parrot, a chimp, a panda, a lion cub, a giraffe and a zebra. Barbie’s boyfriend, the Kendoll made his debut two years after Barbie, in 1961.

    *Image source - lacma.wordpress.com

  • Sales: With sales of more than $1.5 billion (Dh5.509 billion) per year, Barbie doll has been one of the most successfully marketed dolls having a presence in more than 150 nations around the world and representing 45 different nationalities. It is estimated that two Barbie dolls are sold every second somewhere in the world.

    *Image source -

  • Barbie around the world: Did you know? If one was to place every Barbie doll and family member ever bought head to toe, the Barbie dolls would circle the earth more than seven times.

     

    *Image source - dixiedudesanddolls.blogspot.com

  • Top selling Barbie: The best selling Barbiedoll ever was Totally Hair Barbie with hair from the top of her head to her toes. It has been reported that more than 10 million Totally Hair Barbie dolls were sold worldwide generating total sales of over USD100 million (Dh367.3 million) between the year 1992 and 1995, setting a record for the ‘World’s longest successful Toy sale.’

    *Image source - images.businessweek.com

  • Celebrity Barbie dolls: Starting with the first every celebrity Barbie doll after fashion icon Twiggy in 1967, there have been a variety of celebrity inspired dolls including M.C. Hammer, Heidi Klum, Alexis, Cyndi Lauper, Grace Kelly, Lady Gaga, Linday Lohan, Nicki Minaj, Aishwarya Rai, Katy Perry, and Ami Winehouse. Pictured above are the Kardashian sisters-inspired Barbie dolls

    *Image source - uk.omg.yahoo.com

     

  • Vintage Barbie dolls: Vintage Barbies are highly valuable. A mint boxed Barbie from 1959 was sold for $3552.50 (Dh13, 050) on eBay in October 2004. A Barbie doll in a rare red version of “Midnight Blue” from 1965, a part of a private collection of 4,000 Barbie dolls sold by two Dutch women, Ietje Raebel and her daughter Marina, set a world record on September 26, 2006 when it was auctioned at Christie’s (London) for US $17,000 (Dh62,440.)

    *Image source - famp.moerstaal.nl

  • Fashion passion:  The Barbie Couture Collection includes designs by Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Vera Wang, Gucci Versace and Givenchy. She is also a proud owner of more than a billion pair of shoes. It should come as no surprise that Barbie takes fashion very seriously. In fact, the military uniforms of Army Barbie doll collection, prior its production, had to be approved by the pentagon.

    *Image source -

  • Cash from collectors: According to Mattel, there are over 100,000 adult collectors of Barbie dolls. Most of these are female with an average age of 40, purchasing at least 20 Barbie dolls per annum. More than half of them spend over $1000 per year on their collection.

    *Image source - bebarbie.net

  • Barbie in the Middle East: Barbie dolls at one time or another were banned in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Barbie has also come under harsh criticism in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar for their “destructive cultural and social consequences.”

    Instead an alternative, burka-clad Muslim ‘Fulla’ doll designed by UAE-based NewBoy Design Studio, has struck a chord with Middle Eastern fans. That being said, Barbie had a foray into the Muslim world when in 2009, Italian designer, Elian Lorena created the “Burka Barbie” in connection with Sotheby’s auction for Save the Children.

    *Image source - hediedformygrins.blogspot.com

     

     

     

     

     

 

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