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We all like something a little special. That’s why the elves at Annalee have been busy creating extra-special designs for the Annalee Exclusives Collection. These limited editions designs have become prized among collectors for their unique and detailed designs and creative themes and concepts.
Creating new exclusives has become a labor of love for the design elves. They spend extra time and care planning, designing, and assembling each exclusive release. They really get excited selecting the faces, fabrics, clothing, poses, and every component of each exclusive. The goal is to create unexpected and detailed designs that are diverse and distinctly different from other Annalee dolls. The elves also want these limited editions to be something really special that you’ll love and cherish for many years to come. “We want Annalee collectors to be excited by the release of each new exclusive,” says one bright and cheery elf. “We try our best to always make each exclusive feel like an “a-ha” moment that will leave you smiling.”
To give you a little behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in creating exclusive designs, we posed a few questions to the Annalee elves. Here’s what they had to say:
Q. The limited edition exclusives are an exciting and growing segment of Annalee dolls. How do the designs of the exclusives differ from the regular line of Annalee dolls?
A. The exclusives tend to be a little “outside the box” and are made especially with the serious collector in mind. We take into consideration the wants of our customers. Many send in design suggestions. Overall, we look at the line as a whole to see what might be missing and try to never present designs that are too similar to those in the regular line. We choose designs that are unique and slightly more intricate, and that might have specific positioning that we only feel comfortable doing at our headquarters.
Q. What new and innovative designs, concepts, or themes are being employed for the exclusives collection?
A. We can’t give away too many secrets, but we like to follow trends in the gift market as well as current events. These things help build out the exclusive collection. We also like the idea of a multi-year collection, similar to that of our Nativity designs.
Q. What types of details, such as styling, faces, fabrics, and accessories are being included with the exclusives?
A. We like to bring back older artwork that Annalee created—faces and body art that hasn’t been seen in recent years. Our recent Bengal Tiger is a good example. We also, whenever possible, like to create the accessories in-house, like the slice of watermelon that we made for the recent Slice of Summer piece.
Q. How does the theme or subject matter of the exclusives differ from other Annalee dolls?
A. The core/non-exclusive line typically follows the seasons and holiday calendar while the exclusive collection celebrates moments like a child having tea with a grandparent or a boy playing in a leaf pile with his dog. They also celebrate holidays and festivals that are not so mainstream or that we haven’t showcased in our core line before, like Day of the Dead. We also incorporate more people figures as well as new and different animals, such as the Gargoyle! It’s really about telling a story.
Q. How long does it take to create an Annalee exclusive from initial concept to completion?
A. It really varies per design. Some take many revisions until we feel satisfied. Others hit the mark as soon as they’re on the table. So a single design may take anywhere between one week to three or more to physically produce! The planning, sourcing of materials, and scheduling add considerable time. Most designs are generally a year in the making. And remember, we hand assemble each exclusive at Annalee headquarters in Meredith, NH.
Q. Annalee exclusives sell out fast! Several dolls have sold out in less than an hour after being released. Why do you think people, especially collectors, love the exclusives so much?A. The loyal collectors really go crazy over these designs! We feel that it’s partly due to the fact that they’re limited editions and partly because these dolls are new and different from anything else in the collection. Of course, it could be because each design also comes with a little Annalee magic!
Q. What have been some favorite exclusive designs?
A. We’re thrilled that there was such a great response to the Haunted Mouse House and Harvest Moon Wolf. We loved those pieces! There is one design in the works for Spring 2021 that we’re very excited about, several actually, but one in particular that we think will sell out very quickly! But we can’t tell you about it yet! Currently, we’re crazy about Hansel and Gretel and Little Miss Muffet. We love telling stories within the designs and these two were the perfect canvas to bring to life as an Annalee creation. What most people don’t realize is that these types of designs take as much or more time to create than larger designs. There are many intricate details, such as tiny buttons and bows, that have to be placed just so!
Q. Are there any dream design ideas for new exclusives?
One of our hardcore fans has requested a Venus fly trap design. Is it on our short list? You’ll have to wait and see. But we always have our eyes and ears open for good ideas! So please share your ideas with us and maybe we’ll create it.
Submit a design idea to the elves at Annalee. Please only submit one idea per entry. We will be reviewing every submissions and determining a design or maybe two!