This decision is surely based on low profits, so my question is--why weren't Liv dolls more successful? Well, I want to hear your thoughts on this, but here are mine for starters. First of all, the beauty of Liv dolls is that they are highly customizable. In theory, you could buy just one Liv doll and then change her wig and outfit every day for endless new looks. At most, it seems like you might want one of each character, and then you could focus your spending on accessories and new wigs. Two problems with this from a marketing standpoint--first, people don't feel the need to buy very many dolls, which is good for buyers but bad for business. Second, Spin Master didn't make enough outfits, wigs and accessories for these smaller items to carry people's enthusiasm or turn a profit on their own.
My second thought is related to the first. The earlier waves of Liv dolls were all very similar. Except for different outfits and wigs (and some small changes in face shape and eye color) the dolls were almost identical. This contributed to consumers feeling that they didn't need every single doll that came out. In addition, I can imagine some resentment in people who felt like they had to buy a whole new duplicate doll just to get a cute outfit or wig. Spin Master seems to have tried to remedy the sameness in their dolls by making some drastic changes to the most recent doll's bodies. In my opinion, these changes were a big mistake. The Twist and Dance dolls' gimmicky bodies are virtually impossible to play with, and the Liv for Color and Brites dolls, while not awful, have definitely lost the Liv magic.
My last hypothesis is much simpler--Monster High dolls came out right after Liv and these creative and seemingly rare creatures stole everyone's attention and allowance.
So. Whatever the reasons, the news is sad. The silver lining is that Liv merchandise is on clearance everywhere and I am taking advantage. I have always wanted the Toys R Us exclusive Hayden's house:
|Hayden's house playset|
I don't really have a lot of interest in Hayden's actual house, except perhaps out of curiosity. What I really love in this set is Hayden's dress and her wig. This is exactly what I was talking about before, though. All I want is that gorgeous flowered dress and maybe the wig and I have to pay $45 dollars to get it? I don't think so. The very idea makes me crabby.
However, apparently if this set is on clearance for $30 and you throw in the fact that Liv dolls are disappearing, it's enough to make me cave in and hand over some money.
Hayden and her house come in a large cardboard box with a plastic window over the doll. The back of the box has a colorful enhanced photograph of several of the Liv girls enjoying Hayden's modest home:
The photograph is strange to me for several reasons. First, look at Hayden's face. She's gone all seductive in this picture with that sly smile and those upturned eyes:
|Hey there, cowboy. You want some muffins?|
There's a cardboard insert inside the outer box that just slides out. The house isn't even attached to anything--it's just loose in there.
Hayden is secured to the box using all of the usual tricks. She has rubber ties at her wrists and ankles, tiny little plastic ties holding her dress in place, and larger plastic ties going through her wig and into the back of her head. There are also a few accessories taped to the box on one side:
|Hayden has a tea pot and a cup tied to her hands.|
|Hayden is practicing semaphore with the tea pot.|
Before I removed the rubber ties holding the teapot and cup to Haden's hands, I took a few pictures. She doesn't really hold these items very well without the ties, so this was my big chance:
|Try to ignore the fact that she's pouring imaginary tea all over the floor in this picture...|
The plastic bands actually leave lined marks on Hayden's hands. I am hoping these will go away after a while. Also, look at Hayden's right hand--the pinky finger is splayed out. I am guessing that this is because of the placement of the tight rubber bands, because none of the other Liv hands look like this. I suppose they could have made a special hand for this Hayden so she could hold her coffee cup, but that would be surprising.
|My coffee-drinking hand kinda looks like that, actually.|
|Her eyes are pretty wonk-o.|
The fabric of the dress is so pretty. I just love it. The colors and the simple, well-made style are so appealing. The dress has little gathered sleeves and a perfectly fitted princess-seamed bodice. The ribbon belt doesn't seem necessary to me, so that will probably come off. Hayden is also wearing a small pink bracelet, pink ballet-style shoes and orange star-shaped earrings.
|The tea pot coordinates well with the dress.|
The earrings don't really match the outfit...
|...or the tea pot.|
Hayden's wig is interesting. It has blonde hair on top and brunette hair underneath and is tied in a long, thick side ponytail:
|If this thing is gonna be permanently tied to my hand, |
at least it could have some coffee in it.
A strand of brunette hair comes up and wraps around the rubber band holding her ponytail:
|I love this effect.|
It is a very full wig, and has some serious volume when it's all combed out:
I took the ponytail down to see exactly what was going on with the hair:
The wig is actually even more complicated than I thought--the brunette hair in the front is rooted on the under side of the wig so that it flips up and covers the front of the clear wig cap:
With the ponytail down, this rooting technique looks weird. You can see the little braid that holds the brunette hair in place, and the center part in the blonde hair doesn't line up with the part in the brunette hair.
|It looks like a wig sitting on top of another wig.|
Back in a ponytail, though, everything looks fine and the wig cap is completely concealed. The rounded hairline seems a bit unnatural, but I still enjoy the color combination.
|I'm a little tea pot...|
The house is mostly plastic, with one wall made out of cardboard and decorated with colorful designs. The front door doesn't open...in fact, if it did, it would open right into the oven. Not very welcoming. There are two small bags of accessories and one sheet of decorative stickers that go with the house.
The house opens up to reveal two walls--one very plain white and green wall with a window and a shelf, and another wall with a small kitchen and the fake window with the horse peeking in. There's also a plastic headboard for the bed.
The bed is a long piece of pink plastic. It is very low to the ground and a bit flimsy.
The kitchen is pretty cute. It is made of silver and turquoise plastic and all of the doors open, which was a nice surprise:
The other wall is meant to be decorated with stickers, making it look like a small study area.
I am going to leave the stickers off for now. I like the simple green wall with its white wainscoting.
Here are all of the accessories removed from the bags. It's an odd assortment:
There's a pan of undercooked muffins (the muffins don't come out):
In addition to the tea pot and mug, there's also one copper-colored cooking pot, one plate, one fork, one knife, two spoons and what looks like an egg carton attached to a milk carton. There are two hooks that can be used to hang the cup and pot on a rack over the kitchen cupboards. Hayden doesn't really seem like she's expecting any guests.
There's also a cloth blanket for the bed and a hard plastic pillow.
Here's everything all set up in the kitchen:
If you look at one of the pictures on the side of the box, it looks like the roof of the house is way above Hayden's head, even at its lowest point:
In reality, though, Hayden towers above her house:
Although the bed is very low to the ground...
...it has the right length for her to comfortably lie down:
Now, let's go back and look at this picture again, and this time notice how tall Hayden is next to the counter. She's reaching out and resting her hand casually on the oven:
She can't do this quite as gracefully in real life--the counter is too low.
|Yep, this is relaxing. I am relaxed.|
Hayden can't really pour tea for her friends, either...
...because the tea pot is hollow on the bottom:
Despite some enhanced advertising, the set is better than I thought it would be. The plastic is pretty sturdy and the fact that all of the kitchen doors open is an unexpected perk. I might be more impressed with this house than I'd usually be because of my recent purchase of a Barbie kitchen. Let me tell you quickly about that. I bought the Barbie kitchen set because I needed a chair for my 12" dolls. I also just really like kitchen sets. This is the set I'm talking about:
I can't believe I bought this set for the chair. I think the whole set was $33, which is a lot, and the chair is so flimsy and slippery, I rarely use it. It looks nice, though:
Anyway, this set was such a disappointment, I packed it off to the Goodwill before I even finished taking pictures of it. The plastic is incredibly flimsy. The whole back of the kitchen is really thin plastic and cardboard, and so it literally teeters every time you touch it. I wish I had thought to save the accessories, though, because they would be great with the Liv kitchen. Oh, well.
Even the doll is cheap. She has a cute dress, but there's nothing else special or interesting about her. Anyway, I am getting off topic. The point is, compared to this set, the Liv house playset is great. The kitchen is sturdy, the doll is wonderful and there's a ton of play potential.
Hayden with the ribbon belt removed from her dress:
I try to use the Barbie chair as often as possible, just so I don't feel so bad about spending $30 on that set. It took me about eight minutes to get Hayden posed like this, though:
So I took two pictures:
|Brown Horse is watching you...|
I don't own all of the Hayden dolls, but I do have four different versions, and they're all slightly different:
|Twist and Dance, House, Wonderland, It's My Nature|
The dancing Hayden has very dark, night club makeup. I like her eyeshadow, but I am not crazy about her pearlescent lips.
|Twist and Dance with House|
|House and Wonderland|
|House and It's My Nature|
Bottom line? Despite the fact that all Hayden dolls are fairly similar, this version of Hayden is probably my favorite. Her face paint is subtle and natural and she has great eyebrows. I adore her simple, well-made flower print dress. The wig is not as versatile or attractive as some of the other wigs, but it works fine in a ponytail style and it is thick and nicely rooted. The house is better than I thought it would be, but with the flimsy bed and cardboard wall, it is not a top-notch toy. It could definitely use more accessories. With all of the Liv accessory sets on sale for $0.98 right now, adding something like the breakfast set or the barbecue set to the kitchen would really help. I really enjoyed using the house as a photo background, and so for those who film or photograph their Liv dolls, this could be a welcome addition. A basic Liv doll generally costs $14, so with the in-store sale price, the house part of this set cost me about $16. I'd say that is extremely fair, especially given the price of the poor-quality Barbie set.
If you're looking for a kitchen set, or you don't have just the right Hayden in your collection, this might be a good purchase....especially as it gets cheaper. It would also make a great gift for a child who is new to Liv dolls, although, sadly, getting someone hooked on these awesome toys might not be the best idea right now.
5 and up
Overpriced at $44, a good deal on sale for $30.
The doll is highly articulated and nicely made. Watch for poorly set eyes. The house is mostly plastic and is fairly sturdy. The back wall is cardboard, and this might not wear as well as the rest of the house. Scant accessories.
Great packaging. Almost all cardboard, very easy to remove house, not too bad getting the doll out.
No. Although the discontinuation of the Liv line might make some items increase in value.
Hayden is extremely versatile. She has the older, highly articulated body and her clothes and hair can be changed. She has a friendly, neutral expression. She can share clothes with Barbie, Disney princesses and many other 12” dolls.
If you’re buying this set just for the doll, $30-39 is still too much. If you have an interest in the house, the sale price makes this a nice purchase and an excellent alternative to the similarly-priced Barbie sets.