Zeenie Dollz are 13" articulated fashion dolls built around a theme of animal protection and environmental preservation. The dolls were designed by a mother and daughter team and introduced onto the market last year. At the moment, there are six characters to choose from, and they retail for a whopping $50 on the Zeenie Dollz website and for $40 or less on Amazon. The dolls are also available at Wayfair, Walmart (online), and a few other locations.
The Zeenie Dollz are called "Eco Warriors," and each has a character description focused on protecting some region of the environment. For example, the character named Kazumi is the steward of the polar regions. A portion of the purchase price of each doll is given to organizations like Heal the Bay, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and Greenpeace. The Zeenie line is manufactured with an effort to be ecologically friendly, which means that the dolls and packaging are made from non-toxic, recyclable materials. Initially, I thought that the dolls were made from recycled materials, which would have been awesome, but this is not the case.
A doll line with a nature-friendly, animal-loving theme is right up my alley, so I was eager to get my hands on a few of the Zeenie Dollz. In this review, I will de-box Yana (the protector of the oceans) and will also take a quick look at Evee (the protector of the skies):
|Zeenie Dollz Evee (L) and Yana (R).|
The box has a flat back, but is pleated twice at the top to create three front panels:
The folded top of the box is held in place with a long tab. Releasing this tab opens the box:
The doll is displayed against a colorful cardboard shell, and this slides easily out of the open box.
Yana's backdrop has an ocean theme and is accented with several cardboard pop-out messages. This doll comes with a dolphin pet, a silicone bracelet, a stand (yay!), an identification tag, and a tiny brush.
The bottom of the box has the Zeenie slogan: "saving the planet...that's our style!"
The box art is attractive. The Zeenie Dollz website explains how the idea for these dolls began with a single sketch. I'd love to see if that sketch resembles the drawings on the box, because these drawings are very pretty.
The back of the box has a short description of Yana and drawings of the other five dolls in the series:
If I had chosen my doll from these pictures alone, I would have picked Kazumi. I love her outfit and her hair, and she's in charge of protecting a very precarious region of the planet.
At the very bottom of the box is the statement that the dolls are made from recyclable plastics and a vague mention of the charitable donations.
The dolls are made in China:
|Join the club.|
The cardboard that supports Yana is folded into three pieces. The back flap unfolds to reveal several attachment sites and the base of the stand:
Both Yana and her stand are held in place with a large cable tie. This was actually the only thing I had to cut to get Yana out of her box. I was able to just slide the accessories free of their wire tie attachments.
There's a nice economy to this packaging. There is no tape anywhere. In addition to the cardboard, only three wire ties and one cable tie were used to secure the doll and all of her accessories. The de-boxing procedure was simple and stress-free.
The biodegradable packaging is fantastic. I love to see doll companies moving in this direction. The Our Generation dolls at Target are also making an effort to have environmentally-friendly packaging, and many dolls (like American Girl and Tonner) come in cardboard boxes that are easy to recycle.
The recyclable plastic in the doll is harder to appreciate. Are people actually going to put these dolls in the recycling bin? I certainly wouldn't--especially after meeting Licca-chan. Would the dolls even be accepted for recycling with all of their hair? I would have been much more impressed if the dolls were made out of already recycled materials.
Last, the environmental cost of importing dolls from China should not be ignored by a company striving to improve the planet.
Here's Yana with all of her goodies:
She comes with a tiny red brush that is shaped like a scallop shell:
It's pretty much useless, but has a cute design.
Yana also comes with a child-sized red silicone bracelet with the Zeenie Dollz slogan:
Yana has a small plush pet dolphin named Serena. This pet is way too small to be a real dolphin, of course, but is very cute nonetheless. I am not sure why Serena has a long loop of string attached to her back. Maybe she's meant to be used as a zipper-pull?
|I cut the string (and the large tag) right off.|
Serena's fins are made out of felt and her mouth is stitched with black thread. Her eyes are decals.
Yana comes with a cardboard Eco Warrior membership card designed to look like a luggage tag:
The back of the tag has a place to write a name and address. This is too fragile to actually be used as a luggage tag, but it would be fun for travel games.
Perhaps the best accessory is this waist-grip stand. It's sturdy, effective, and very easy to use. The base of this stand is so familiar, but I can't place it. Does anyone recognize this design from another doll line? Update: it's a Blythe stand! Thank you, Sharon and KiciaKocia!
Yana desperately needs a stand, because her ankles are wobbly and there's no way she'd be able to balance on her own.
Yana's hair is unruly right out of the box and so it was hard to see her face at first:
She has a lot of hair for a 13" doll, and most of it is pulled back into a thick, messy ponytail:
Yana's ponytail is ornamented with two fabric flowers that are mounted on a tape-covered wire:
The wire wraps around the ponytail and is easy to coil on and off:
Here's the ponytail without the flowers:
I was having a hard time appreciating Yana with her hair this scraggly, so I decided to take the ponytail down to see if I could tame the mess.
Yana's thick hair is brown with a few streaks of light blue. The fiber is fairly soft and smooth at the top, but it's frizzy and coarse at the ends. The bangs are also quite puffy and difficult to manage. It is not my favorite hair fiber.
The hair is rooted nicely and the scalp is painted brown to hide any gaps:
The hair around Yana's face sits right next to what looks like a seam in her head. I didn't take the doll apart, but it appears that her head is made in two pieces, and the hair is rooted into the upper piece, which is then glued to the face.
In order to expose Yana's face a bit better, I re-tied the ponytail so that it incorporated all of the shorter strands of hair. Here's the before and after:
This hairstyle isn't great, but makes it easier to see Yana's face.
Yana has a broad forehead and enormous, slanted oval eyes. Her eyes seem even bigger because of the thick, elaborate makeup. In contrast, she has a narrow chin and a tiny nose and mouth. This face has features very similar to those of a stereotypical space alien. That sounds very critical, but I don't necessarily mean it that way. If Yana had been designed to represent a benevolent creature from another planet, sent down through the galaxies to help Earth, that would have been a very creative premise, and this face would fit perfectly. It's only when I imagine Yana as a regular girl that the features seem too otherworldly.
There's some marbled discoloration in Yana's face--you can just see it across her nose in the picture above. There is similar discoloration in one of her hands. It's not too noticeable, but again, it made me think the dolls must be made from recycled plastic.
Yana's eye makeup includes two dark bands of color, one teal and one pink. The bands get thicker towards the outside of Yana's face, and the pink bands crowd the edges of her eyebrows. Her upper and lower eyelashes are painted, and some of the bottom lashes have little green dots decorating their tips.
The plastic inset eyes are very pretty and realistic. They are a light amber brown color and have a lot of iris detail. I think I would prefer these eyes if they didn't have the extravagant makeup all around them--or maybe just if the eye paint was more translucent. The eyes are so large and fancy on their own that they don't need much adornment. The eyebrows are also very nicely drawn and detailed, but they get a little lost next to the gaudy eyeshadow.
The mouth has a little smirk and is painted opaque pink.
It may not be apparent from these pictures, but Yana's head is not hard plastic like most of the rest of her body. She has a soft, flexible head that appears to have a harder internal structure underneath it. The face feels like vinyl or a silicone/vinyl mix. It catches the light differently from the rest of the body and attracts a lot of dust and lint.
Yana is wearing plastic earrings that have a blue spherical base with little pink fish hanging down:
So, let's take a look at the outfit that won me over:
In addition to her amazing shorts, Yana is wearing a bright blue frayed jean jacket vest over a red mock turtleneck shirt:
The vest has wonderful stitched detail for being so small. There are even tiny little decorative silver buttons:
The sleeves and bottom of the jacket have trim that is intentionally frayed. This is a nice touch and is designed so that the unraveling edges do not compromise any other part of the garment.
All of the other edges are carefully sewn, but things get a little messy on the inside of the jacket where the frayed sides of the seams are hidden:
Under the jacket, Yana wears a red three-quarter sleeve shirt:
It is made out of a soft knit and is nicely constructed:
|It even has a tiny stitched "v" at the neck.|
The shirt closes down the back with velcro:
Now, let's take a look at the amazing shorts!
The attention to detail here is remarkable. The pockets are real and even the belt loops are separate sections of blue ribbon with a wider red ribbon belt strung through:
The red belt is accented with a tiny, but highly detailed, pink starfish:
|An excellent echinoderm.|
The print on these shorts is great--it has seahorses, scallops, starfish and a bunch of happy-looking true fish:
I love these shorts. They are among the best pieces of 12" doll clothing that I own.
When I removed the shorts, I discovered that Yana's shirt is actually a bodysuit:
|At least the shirt stays tucked in.|
Yana is wearing blue sandals. These appear to be made out of the same soft, bendable material that composes Yana's head.
The shoes are pretty basic, but they slide on and off very easily.
There are little toe impressions in the bottoms of these shoes!
Yana's body is made mostly out of hard plastic. She stands 13 inches tall (with her feet pointed...about 12.5 inches with her feet flat) and has 14 points of articulation.
The first thing I noticed about Yana's body was its unusual color. She has a very faint greenish tint in her body and face. This color is the reason that I assumed Yana was made out of recycled materials--sometimes those plastics have a funny tinge or texture.
It's always hard to appreciate color nuances in photographs, but here is a picture with several of my other dark-skinned dolls so that you can see the relative shade of Yana's body:
|Queen of Hearts Alexis (Liv), Yana, Moxie Teenz Bijou, Barbie Fashionista Artsy,|
13 Wishes Clawdeen Wolf (Monster High).
Some of the other dolls have a pinkish tone to them, but Yana is more green. It's not awful, by any means, but it is noticeable.
Yana's hands and feet are made out of bendable vinyl. I like the feel of the soft hands, but they make dressing a little tricky, especially with the tight sleeves of the red shirt.
The flexible feet combined with hinged ankle joints make the doll unable to stand on her own.
Yana has a simple rotating neck joint. She cannot look up or down.
Yana has hinged ball-jointed shoulders with great flexibility. Her elbows are also rotating hinges, but their movement is limited by the shape of the upper arm--she can't flex her elbow much past a 120 degree angle. Yana's wrists have great movement, and her bendy hands add to her expressiveness.
Yana's torso joint can spin all of the way around, but it does not flex from side to side or front to back.
Yana has hinged, ball-jointed hips with great movement:
Her knee joints are hinges, and they do not have any rotation. She can kneel extraordinarily well, though:
The ankle joints can flex and rotate but they rotate a little too freely. They tend to spin around a lot.
Here's a sampling of Yana's wonderful posing repertoire:
To make this doll perfectly articulated, I would add some additional flexibility to her elbows, add rotation to her knees, allow her head to look up and down, and make her feet hard plastic. These are minor complaints, though, and I only mention them because she's already so close to perfection. She has fantastic articulation and is very, very fun to pose.
Yana's body reminds me strongly of a Moxie Teenz doll. Here she is next to Melrose:
At 14 inches high, Moxie Teenz are an inch taller than Zeenie Dollz, but these two have almost identical articulation and lots of similarities in their body shape. The torso joints are the biggest difference: Melrose can bend from side to side at the torso, but can't swivel around. Yana can swivel around but can't bend from side to side. The shapes of the two torso joints are notably different, too:
Melrose's hands and feet are hard plastic and larger than Yana's extremities, but the shapes are virtually identical:
The color difference between Yana's arm and hand is especially noticeable in these pictures, I think.
The biggest difference here is in the feet: Melrose has better molded detail in her toes:
Yana has an unconventional height. I couldn't find a single other doll that is exactly the same size as her, but I'll show you a few of the comparisons I looked at. First, here's Yana with two different sizes of Monster High doll:
|Headless Headmistress Bloodgood, Yana, Clawdeen Wolf.|
Yana is posed on her stand, which gives her a miniscule boost in height, but the stand base is very thin.
Here are the actual heights of these three dolls, just for reference:
Headless Headmistress Bloodgood: 11.5"
Yana: 13" with feet pointed
Clawdeen Wolf: 11"
Here's Yana next to my Bleeding Edge Goth Doll, Leda Swanson (she is 12.5" tall), who I thought might be a close match in size:
|BEGoth Leda Swanson, Yana|
My Once Upon a Zombie Rapunzel has a nice figure, and so even though she's shorter than Yana, clothes sharing starts to become an option.
While Rapunzel's dress is too small for Yana, the Zeenie clothes work fine on Rapunzel...
|But that doesn't make it a good idea.|
Here's Yana next to Liv Hayden and Disney Store Rapunzel (both 12" tall). Yana is taller, but the torso proportions of these dolls are very close:
Disney Store dolls and Zeenie Dollz can share clothes extremely well. I did not notice any problems in fit.
Liv dolls also wear Zeenie clothes beautifully. Yana's shorts are amazing on Hayden. Unfortunately, Liv clothes don't work as consistently on Yana. For example, Hayden's shorts are way too tight and her cami top has an awkward, lopsided fit:
On the other hand, loose-fitting or stretchy Liv outfits look great on Yana. This blue Liv dress seems like it was made for her--it even matches the blue sandals:
For some reason I wondered if My Scene Fab Faces Kennedy might be a good match in size for Yana, but she's a little thicker through the ribcage area:
Not to mention a little creepy...
While the Fab Faces dress is tight (and very short) on Yana, I found that regular Barbie clothes actually fit well. Here is Yana in the Fab Faces dress (L) and in Barbie Midge's dress (R):
And Midge can wear Yana's clothes nicely, too:
Despite the Zeenie Dollz atypical height, there's huge clothes-sharing potential with this line. I am especially excited about how many of my dolls can wear those fabulous ocean shorts!
After I finished looking at Yana, I started to wish that I had a second Zeenie doll to examine, especially since I found Yana's coloring so odd. In particular (surprise, surprise) I was wishing that I had Evee (the redhead). I'll quickly show you some of Evee's features so you can get some idea of the range in this line.
Evee is the protector of the skies and she comes with a pet parrot (a macaw) named Lulu.
|I think they mean to say she "defends all avian species." An aviary is a bird house.|
It's strange that the picture of Evee on the box does not have red hair. She actually looks very little like the doll:
Evee's accessories are equivalent to what came with Yana:
Evee's brush is even smaller than Yana's and is in the shape of a wing...? Or maybe a swirl of wind?
It is equally useless for brushing hair.
Lulu the macaw also comes with a long string attached to the top of her head:
Her crest, feet and beak are made out of felt. My bird's beak is twisted a little bit to one side, so it looks like she's whispering out of the corner of her mouth. It's really cute. Her wings are made out of a spongy material that might be painted felt. I can't tell for sure.
Her eyes are decals, just like Serena the dolphin's, but they have funny white borders:
Scarlet macaws do have white around their eyes, but these white patches look funny to me.
Evee has red hair with purple streaks. It is styled into two pigtails and, like Yana, she has a lot of longer strands of hair framing her face:
Evee's eyes are brilliantly colorful:
I love the orange jacket, but the high collar made it difficult to get a good picture of Evee's hair and face. Here she is without the jacket:
|I want this shirt in my size.|
She has wispy bangs and two longer tendrils of hair at either side of her face:
She has a rooted center part in the back of her head:
Evee's hair was also quite messy and tangled right out of the box. It feels slightly smoother than Yana's hair, but is essentially the same texture.
I took the hair down to try and brush it out thoroughly and get it away from the doll's face.
Again, this is very thick hair with coarse, frizzy ends.
The rooting pattern on this doll is different from what I saw on Yana. Presumably this is to accommodate the pigtail hairstyle. Evee has densely-spaced hair plugs all along her midline part and a similar row of hair along the equator of her head. In between these two thick rows, she has a row of much sparser rooting. The alternating density of the rows probably helps keep the hair from being too thick and poofy.
I pulled Evee's hair back into a single ponytail and tried to get the bangs out of her face.
All of the Zeenie Dollz have the same face mold. Evee has eye makeup very similar to Yana's, but she's missing the second thick band of eyeshadow. Instead, she has a thin line of gold paint just above her eyes. I prefer this slightly simpler look, and the gold brings out the yellow in Evee's irises.
|That's quite a profile!|
My doll has a lot of brownish discoloration along one side of her head. I am not sure if this is dust that has adhered to the soft vinyl, or dirt from the manufacturing process. The high-friction surface of the face makes it hard to wipe away dust and dirt. This makes me worry about how difficult it will be to keep these dolls clean through the years.
Evee has purple eyebrows and highly detailed blue eyes:
I love the color combination in this doll's eyes--it's beautiful and realistic:
Her lips are painted bright red:
I like Evee's outfit--I actually covet it for myself. The mix of purple and orange is striking, and I like the longer shirt with the cropped jacket worn over it. Evee has simple purple earrings, but she also has a black choker necklace and a chain of five individual black bangles. The bracelets are a bit of a pain to manage during dressing and undressing, but they look good with the outfit:
This jacket is similar in construction to Yana's jean jacket vest, but it has long sleeves and far fewer loose threads and frayed edges. It looks very well made and I love the color.
The purple shirt underneath the jacket is made out of a thin jersey knit and has a pretty bird design. There's also a sprinkling of applied rhinestone accents:
The shirt is not finished as carefully as some of the other items of clothing. For instance, the edge of the shirt next to the velcro strip looks a little ragged:
Also, the narrow hems tend to invert, exposing the rough inside edges of the fabric:
Evee is wearing wonderful black and purple striped socks and shoes that remind me of ski boots:
As an aside, the Zeenie Dollz feet tend to look like this with the ankle joints collapsed and the feet pointed upwards:
And Evee's legs often looked something like this when I was getting ready to pose her:
Anyway, here are the shoes up close:
I don't know that I've ever seen doll shoes like these before. I like their unique, sporty style.
They even have some serious treads on the bottom:
While Yana had a greenish tinge to her body, Evee has more of a creamy yellow cast.
Her lower body is moderately stained from the black leggings:
Here's Evee with Liv Hayden and Rapunzel, mostly so that you can see the difference in coloring.
Sorry...for some reason I got the dolls positioned so that it looks like Evee is patting Haden and Rapunzel on their bottoms.
|I think she got Rapunzel's attention....|
Even next to a pale doll like Bratzillaz Meygana, Evee ends up looking pallid.
|Hands to yourself, stranger.|
After I took most of the pictures for the review, I boil-washed Yana and Evee's hair and cut off the last inch or two of length--which was the only way to get rid of the worst frizzy zones. The hair feels better now, but the new ends will eventually become frizzy themselves.
Here's Evee with her new style:
And here is Yana with her shorter ponytail (and trimmed bangs). Her hair is still pretty messy and coarse, but at least I can see her face.
In some pictures, Yana reminds me of A Bug's Life character. I love that movie.
Here are some final shots of these two girls with their makeovers:
Of the two pets, Yana's dolphin Serena is my favorite. She has a lot of personality for a simple little plush.
With all of the bright colors and fun styles, I figured that mixing and matching clothes would be a lot of fun with these dolls. In the end, there aren't too many pieces that can be mixed. Evee's orange jacket doesn't fit very well over Yana's long sleeved shirt...
...and Evee's long shirt hides too much of Yana's fabulous shorts.
Still, the dolls look great in each others outfits, and so sharing clothes is great fun. Here's Yana in Evee's outfit:
The orange jacket looks amazing with Yana's eyes:
And the colors in Yana's outfit are great for Evee:
Bottom line? There's a lot to love with this new doll line. Even before I saw the dolls, I appreciated the theme of environmental awareness, and I especially admire the message about compassion towards other creatures. I also like that the dolls' stories help kids think outside of their own lives to the greater world surrounding them. I am always happy to see small, family-based companies that are producing dolls with special, heartfelt meaning. I usually don't mind paying higher-than-normal prices to support companies like this, either, so the $40-$50 tag on these dolls didn't scare me away. The price is way too high to be practical in the long run, though.
Beyond sharing the message of compassion and environmental awareness, the Zeenie company is also trying to practice what they preach. A portion of the hefty purchase price of each doll goes towards charity, and the dolls themselves are manufactured with an eye towards being ecologically low-impact. The packaging on these dolls is great. It is colorful and attractive, yet composed almost entirely out of cardboard and biodegradable plastic. The idea of having a recyclable doll is not as impressive to me. I just don't know how practical it is. I wish that the dolls were made out of recycled materials instead.
All of the Zeenie Dollz have unusual coloring, but Yana's is the most unnatural. It's not always apparent in pictures, but it was the first thing I noticed about the dolls when I saw them in person. Yana has a slightly greenish tone and Evee is very pale with a yellow cast. The odd coloring is exacerbated in the dolls' faces because of the appearance of the matte-finish soft vinyl.
These dolls have beautiful, detailed, plastic inset eyes. Yana's eyes are amber brown and Evee's are a brilliant turquoise mixed with yellow. However, the size and shape of these eyes, along with their extravagant ornamentation, is a little over the top. I have certainly grown more accustomed to the Zeenie faces over the last few days, and I know many people will enjoy their exaggerated look, but it's a style that probably won't appeal to everyone. I would love to see how these dolls would look with simpler face paint and maybe a broader mouth to balance their top-heavy features.
The hair is nicely rooted I like the colorful highlights that coordinate with each doll's outfit. The hair fiber is not great, though. Both of these dolls came out of their boxes with messy, frizzy hair that was hard to tame and tangled at the ends. The hair is much nicer after a quick wash and cut, but it is still prone to frizzies and flyaways.
Yana and Evee have wonderful articulation. They have joints that are very similar to those of the Moxie Teenz dolls--only the torso joints are different. In a perfect world, there are a few minor things that I would change, but my only real complaint is that I don't care for the soft vinyl hands and feet. The feet make the doll unstable and the hands make dressing a little harder than it needs to be. Also, the color match isn't always great between these two areas.
One of the best things about these dolls are their clothes. The clothing is nicely made across the board, but a few of the pieces are exceptional. Yana's shorts are incredible, and both of the jackets are highly detailed and well-constructed. I love that these colorful, versatile clothes can be shared around with Liv dolls, Barbies, Disney Store dolls, Once Upon a Zombie dolls, and probably many others.
A doll with a worthwhile message, beautiful eyes, great articulation, wonderful clothes, and a reduced environmental impact should be a grand slam in my book. While I don't feel like these dolls have reached their full potential, there are enough good qualities here to keep my interest. I very much hope that the Zeenie company will stick around to produce a second wave of dolls. With a few edits, this line could really become something special.