Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My American Girl = Gymboree:
The Youthening of AG

We were going to let our photo contest reminder post 
sit at the top of the blog for awhile.

Then we got an email from American Girl.

The newest release at the end of June
told us that AG was going in the direction of Gymboree.

Now Gymbo carries items for girls up to 12, but really -- 

How many 12 year olds are wearing Gymbo????

If you are 12 and wear Gymbo, 
please feel free to tell me I am wrong in the comments section.

To us the style of clothing now being offered says young girls -- like 8-ish.

And this new email from American Girl confirms this.

Suddenly the girl models are looking much much younger.

Hence -- the youthening of AG.

Now that's all fine and good to market to 8 year olds --

But what about the 14, 15, 16 year olds 
who still want to use their dolls, dress them up, and gasp -- 
even buy stuff from AG?

Apparently they are SOL.

For those of you who are 8 year olds, 
that means Sorry Out of Luck.

For those of you who are 16 year olds, 
you know what that actually means.

And yes, there are still 16 year olds playing with AG.

Just go on Youtube sometime and check out the AG vids.
Or flickr, or instagram.
You can tell some of these girls are in high school.
And of course some of them are in college.

And also there is a growing part of the AG fandom 
which is now post-post-college.
I won't say any ages -- 
but we exist and we grow stronger by the day.
Like a parasitic disease. ;-)

Many Moms have larger AG and doll collections 
than their daughters.
Especially those who started collecting back in the 80s like us.
When dinosaurs still roamed the Earth.

Now if you want Gymbo - 8 year old's outfits -- that is fine and dandy.

But we don't.

We didn't see a single thing we are dying 
to have in this new release.

At first we thought it was some sort of malaise on our part.
We just weren't that into AG anymore or something.

But no, that wasn't it.

It was the clothing styles.
And we went on the Gymbo site, 
and saw them again there.

(That is one powerful walking stance.)

All that is missing is that bizarre belt.

Not to say we are disgusted by this shift.
But it is telling of where the company is going.
And we are disappointed by it.

And so we are going to be buying our AG goods 
from Etsy and not from AG.

Etsy is just the better option now.
Usually it was, maybe 75% of the time.
But now it is more like 95% of the time.

But anyways, we'll talk more about why Etsy is awesome later.

For now, see the My American Girl emails through the ages.
Or the last 6 years.

You can tell that the girls have suddenly gotten much younger.
And in comparison to back in ol' 2008,
there is a huge difference in the age of these girls,
 and also how they have been styled for the camera.

Today, 2pm -- July 29, 2014.

July 24, 2014

July 1, 2014

^ This image also appeared with this one below on June 5, 2014.

So that email showed a sort of mix and match of age groups.

And also that Isabelle, the GOTY, 
and her style was geared toward older girls.

Meanwhile most of the MyAG stuff was put on younger girls, 
more of the age that used to be shown with Bittys.
And of course the Bitty stuff is being shown with even younger girls.

But back to MyAG line images....

May 8, 2014

"Oh Dad, your Dad jokes are so funny!
You are buying me another doll today, right Dad?
Have I told you that your jokes are hysterical?
Because they are!"

April 3, 2014

(AG stores are beginning to look like arts and crafts sweatshops.)

Even the May 8th and April 3rd girls above 
seem older than, say the July 24th girl. 
See below.

(She really is psychotically staring at that doll.)

And jumping further back, even just last year many of the girl models 
seemed older, for the MyAG line.



And then a quantum leap back to 2010, 2009 and 2008 
for those of you wondering what these emails looked like 
when they first started bombarding your inbox with them.

4/22/09 and 4/20/10






And today's email again.

What are your thoughts on this shift?

Do you see what we see?

Or is it just crazy us?

Thanks for visiting us today!


Please check out our current photography contest:

Entries due August 1st.

And our Summer Fashion Design Challenge:

Entries due August 15th.


Anonymous said...

Lol! My sister is 12 and still wears a few Gymboree items! She refuses to listen to my fashion advice! I'm 16 and I photograph my dolls and I enjoy making things for them, but I don't "play" with them. And I totally agree on the clothing! The new items really look like a little kid would wear them! The only item I like from the new release that I like is the one with the peach skirt and the coconut shirt. Everyone's like "Oh! So cute!" And I'm like "those are something a five year old would wear". So, yeah! I'm glad I finally found someone who I agree with!

Addy and Emma said...

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU! Everything is changing drastically!

Steph said...

I agree! I couldn't quite put my finger on what had changed, but you are exactly right. Pffft. I don't like a single one of the new MyAG clothing releases. At all.

Carol Greer said...

Interesting that Gymboree fans are complaining about new lines looking older.

Anonymous said...

I sort of agree but I also think it depends on the person I am 13 and no one my grade has worn what looked to be gymboree in 3 years. The only thing in terms of outfits I liked was the Coconut one due to the fact that I have a Coconut type of dog and the skirt looks like a tutu so it could be used for Isabelle. The blazer outfit looks waaaayyy to gymboree though but what 8yr old would wear a blazer.

Anonymous said...

Your right! I'm an adult collector and am quite disapointed with the newest offerings.

Robin McCall said...

I wholeheartedly agree! The stuff AG is making for the 18" dolls is getting closer and closer to the stuff for the Bitty Twins with each release. It's so similar already that we're starting to see people regularly dressing their 18" dolls in Bitty clothes, because there isn't enough of a significant difference in styles to make you think, "Oh, right, the Bitty stuff is for toddlers and the AG stuff is for, say, 11-year-olds."

I haven't bought any clothes from AG's modern line in the last, I think, three releases. Each release is a bigger disappointment. On the other hand, my mailman is getting annoyed with me because he's constantly delivering packages from Etsy. :) The more juvenile and craptastic AG's stuff gets, the more the talented artisans on Etsy step up to the plate to create awesome stuff for my 12- to 14-year-old dolls to rock.

Now if only someone would come up with a line of doll clothes and patterns comparable in style to Liberty Jane, but for boy dolls! Not play clothes or kid stuff. I'm talking about pinstripe suits, hipster-plaid sport shirts, tweedy vests, suspenders, bow ties and neckties (that are actually in scale, please!) and skinny guy-style cardigans. I have a 16-year-old boy doll, a 13-year-old girl doll whose style is totally androgynous, and several girls who would love to incorporate some stylish menswear accents into their outfits. This is my biggest doll-wardrobe wish these days.

Evie said...

I'm 12, and I haven't even heard of Gymboree! I mostly just buy stuff at Hot Topic and Target.

Marisa AG said...

I totally agree! The only item I like is the Coconut Cutie outfit, mostly for the skirt! Also, AG's prices are getting WAY too high, and I'm thinking about starting a boycott! there are enough of us online here to make a difference!

Kiki's Korner said...

It's funny to read the above comments because I'm an adult collector and the only thing I got from the new release is the Coconut Cutie outfit. I do like some of Isabelle's things. I am hoping to get back to sewing and selling on Etsy and have been taking note of what the fashion wants/needs are.

Ann Van Doren said...

I have a theory - maybe AG is planning on coming out with another line of dolls, like a teen doll. AG dolls have the figure of an 8 year old so it doesn't seem too weird to me that they dress like an 8 year old. Maybe they want to compete with Monster High type dolls and will introduce a doll with a waist and "chest" and teen type clothing, so are redirecting the existing AG dolls towards the younger girls. It's just a theory, but who knows? Anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. There might be something to this but it's hard to tell which came first. I don't know what kind of demographic data AG follows, but whenever I've been in the area of an AG store it seems like the average doll owner is around 8ish or less. Maybe AG is just catering to that. That, and there were articles floating around about how older/tween girls "just don't play with dolls anymore". It seems to be just the way of the world in general.


Anonymous said...

I know a person in their 20s who is the size of a 10-12 year old and occasionally gets Gymboree items.

Alexandra said...

This is the first time I actually like almost all the modern clothes. I love the colors and design; there's a lot of mix and match potential.

American Girl's target age is 8+. So I'm fine with it. I'd love it if they could come up with something like LJ, but they never did so...I guess we'll have to wait, meanwhile there's Etsy. :-)

Melody Silverleaf said...

From Xyra (Melody's momma or human).

I'm an adult collector. I've always enjoyed looking at the catalogs and making wishlists. As the different bloggers review their wish list items from the new releases my own opinions will shift. As the others noted my favorite is the Coconut Cutie outfit - mostly for the mix and match-ability of the pieces.

Your review did mirror quite a few who noted they would never wear the striped outfits because they are too young looking. Your Gymoboree photo gave us proof.

Thank you for the food for thought.

Susan D. said...

I only follow the AG doll peripherally, but I have to say, I believe the dolls are really appealing to younger girls now. And the more vintage Gymboree clothing lines fit that demographic very well. So I would say the clothing offered now by AG, and the ones that are handmade from Gymboree clothing are perfect for this age group and these dolls. Think about how 8-12 year olds started wearing brands geared for 13-16 year olds, and how the teens then started rejecting those brands. So now younger girls are desiring to collect and dress the AG dolls, and the pattern continues. Yes, Gymboree clothing is now starting to look "older", and that is why they are losing a majority of their customers. These customers WANT their children to continue to look like little kids, not teenagers!

itsadollworld said...

I'm 11 and wear some Gymboree clothes, but those pieces are pajamas and a dress. :P But I see where you're going!

Anonymous said...

I always thought the gymboree sizing was more for us with larger sized kids who still want age appropriate clothing. My 5 year old is tall for his age and isn't interested in skinny jeans and tops with brand names written on them.

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