Whereas the world goes Barbie loopy, a a lot shorter and decidedly much less glamorous however equally magical doll has discovered a faithful new following some forty years after it dominated the toy world. Strawberry Shortcake began as a collection of greeting playing cards by American Greetings within the early Nineteen Seventies. It grew right into a merchandising behemoth that entranced younger ladies within the early Nineteen Eighties with its whimsical, fruit-themed characters and their pets. There was actually nothing prefer it on the time, due partly to the precise fruit scents of every doll. The themes of friendship and good deeds additionally resonated with its authentic viewers.
A type of authentic little ladies was Calla Dubois (@charmingvintagestore on Instagram), a diehard fan throughout her childhood within the early Nineteen Eighties. Nonetheless, as issues are likely to occur, youngsters finally develop out of previous pursuits. Dubois was an exception. Whereas her ardour for the toy cooled as she grew up, she at all times had a mushy spot for it. Her sentimental attachment to Strawberry Shortcake and her fruit-flavored pals reemerged in an enormous means as an grownup.
However first, some historical past of the “berry” standard doll…
STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
The primary iteration of Strawberry Shortcake was as a “Girl with a Daisy” on an American Greetings card drawn by Barbi Sargent in 1972. The character was renamed “Strawberry Shortcake” in 1977 with one other set of greeting playing cards. Finally, different characters in Shortcake’s interior circle have been fleshed out; these included Apple Dumplin’, Huckleberry Pie, and Blueberry Muffin. The deal with dessert as a theme—together with the doll names, the clothes they wore, and the fruity scent of their hair—was distinctive on the time.
Kenner licensed the character from American Greetings and debuted its first toy—a easy rag doll launched in 1979. It proved so standard that the fruity franchise expanded into smaller plastic dolls, clothes, textiles, a Parker Brothers online game, posters, glassware, crafts, kitchenware, furnishings, lamps, bicycles, and stuffed toys, amongst many different merchandise.
By 1985, curiosity waned, Kenner bailed, and Strawberry Shortcake went dormant till a number of reinventions years later. In the present day, collectors shell out big money for all issues classic Strawberry Shortcake. Among the many favorites are the unique, scented dolls, Strawberryland playsets just like the Berry Bake Shoppe, and the Berrykins line. When it got here to gathering, few may compete with über-fan Calla Dubois, who, as an grownup, started buying hundreds of merchandise—together with these she had as soon as owned—and turned her dwelling right into a digital Strawberry Shortcake paradise.
We had a number of questions for Calla, and she or he was variety sufficient to speak with us.
Q. First, why Strawberry Shortcake? What about her appealed to you nearly your whole life?
A. I liked Strawberry Shortcake dolls as a baby. They have been small, cute, and smelled nice! They captured my coronary heart and creativeness. The characters have been distinctive and charming. As an grownup, I’ve at all times liked classic décor, something cute with a face, classic toys, and enjoyable colours. I’ve at all times had a small assortment of Strawberry Shortcake dolls, however about ten or so years in the past, I discovered a big lot of Strawberry Shortcake toys and dolls at a neighborhood thrift retailer, and the gathering bug kicked in.
Q. What sort of merchandise have you ever purchased through the years?
A. I’ve purchased Strawberry Shortcake kitchen curtains, dish towels, pitchers, bowls, glasses, canisters, a spice rack, placemats, and so on., and so on. Earlier than I knew it, my kitchen turned a cross between Nineteen Fifties kitsch and Nineteen Eighties Strawberry Shortcake. I then started specializing in a Strawberry Shortcake bed room theme. To this present day, the gathering retains rising!
Q. What’s the holy grail piece you wished you owned? What’s the holy grail piece most collectors search out/pay probably the most for?
A. I want I owned the breadbox! It was a part of the Hortonville Rustics Pressed Wooden Grownup Kitchen Line that matches my picket canisters and spice rack. I really feel like my kitchen received’t be full till I lastly discover one.
I feel most collectors search out Berrykins or items to the Enjoyable Room for the Berry Completely happy Residence. They are often fairly dear. I’m fortunate I may add these issues to my assortment early on earlier than the costs went loopy.
Q. What number of Strawberry Shortcake merchandise do you’re feeling you personal? Tons of? Hundreds? What are the predominant merchandise?
A. Hundreds! I’ve a big assortment of the porcelain items, with many from different international locations that weren’t bought in North America. I’ve a number of binders filled with classic greeting playing cards, a big sticker assortment, plenty of jewellery, a full linen cupboard full of classic Strawberry Shortcake textiles, all variations of the dolls, Berrykins, playsets, plush animals, rag dolls, and child-size furnishings. There have been so many merchandise made then that there’s at all times one thing extra to hunt for.
Q. Describe the thought of Strawberry Shortcake. What’s the story behind these dolls?
A. Strawberry Shortcake is a conscious, caring character who likes to assist her pals. She is good and optimistic. To me, the primary story behind the dolls is to showcase totally different personalities, talents, and variety in a group—Strawberryland simply occurs to be cute and fruity! The imagery is good and normally has a optimistic phrase or sentiment to it. Classic Strawberry Shortcake is healthful.
Q. What’s the most costly piece you’ve purchased?
A. The most costly single piece I purchased was an obnoxious flashing-light, loud, musical determine of Strawberry Shortcake holding a basket of strawberries. It’s a uncommon toy. I don’t assume in all my time gathering that I’ve seen one other come up on the market.
Q. How do you deal with individuals who would possibly query why you’re so dedicated to gathering Strawberry Shortcake?
A. I’m certain some folks should query it, however nobody has ever outright requested me why earlier than. I suppose my reply can be, why not? I’m shocked that everybody wouldn’t need to gather Strawberry Shortcake! The enjoyment of gathering is one thing that fills your coronary heart. I encompass myself with different collectors so that they assist and recognize my efforts.
Q. At what level did you determine to create total rooms across the toy?
A. I knew I needed to show my stuff, so creating themed rooms was one of the simplest ways to see my assortment every day in my house. With Strawberry Shortcake already having kitchen décor and bed room décor out there within the Nineteen Eighties, it was enjoyable discovering these nostalgic objects and bringing them again to life in my dwelling.
Q. Who’re your favourite characters? Why?
A. Apart from Strawberry Shortcake and her cat Custard, my second favourite character is Apricot and her pet bunny named Hopsalot. She is so cute, little, and I like her platinum hair.
Q. The place do you predominantly discover Strawberry Shortcake toys? eBay? Thrift? Property? Flea markets?
A. Sure, to all the above. I desire to seek out them at thrift shops or native property gross sales to save lots of on transport, however eBay is unquestionably a spot I search for harder-to-find objects for my assortment.
Q. What’s the furthest you’ve traveled to purchase Strawberry Shortcake merchandise?
A. Three hours to select up a child-sized desk and one other three hours to return dwelling. Transport-wise, I’ve obtained stuff from Peru, Argentina, the UK, Mexico, and Australia.
Q. What does Strawberry Shortcake have that different toy worlds like Barbie lack?
A. The aesthetics of Strawberry Shortcake simply swimsuit me. I very a lot love the colours, imagery, and the general fashion; it makes me comfortable and glad. It’s additionally simple to include into my every day life. You can transfer past the toys and accomplish that way more. You are able to do that with another toy manufacturers as properly, however Strawberry Shortcake has a really distinct attraction in terms of merchandise and non-toy collectibles.
Jenna Girard has been a contract author and duplicate editor for over 25 years, with a deal with characteristic writing. A lifelong collector of antiques and collectibles, Jenna has amassed a outstanding assortment of leisure ephemera, classic materials, head vases, and mid-century artwork and residential décor. After 16 years of residing in Los Angeles and dealing within the leisure business, Jenna now resides in her dwelling state of Michigan, the place she continues to write down/copy edit for LA-based media retailers.
WorthPoint—Uncover. Worth. Protect.