Friday, January 25, 2013

Lottie Dolls "Autumn Leaves" and "Lottieville Festival" by Arklu

Update: For anyone interested, I have a newer Lottie review from 2021 (here's a link).

At the end of my last review, I was bemoaning the similarities in the first new play dolls of 2013.  There are a lot of glitzy, fashion-savvy, large-headed, scantily-clad dolls out there right now.  I like many of these dolls, to be sure, but it is nice to stumble upon something novel every once and a while.  I have a charming little doll named Lottie to introduce today, and I knew she was unique after it took me several hours to try and characterize her.  She has the innocent whimsy and high quality construction of the Only Hearts Club dolls, but her face is not very realistic and she is made out of vinyl.  She has a wide-eyed anime-style face almost like a Kurhn doll, and (like Kurhn) is roughly 1:12 scale, but she has the body proportions of a young child.  Her age-appropriate wardrobe and sweet backstories have the wholesome appeal of play dolls like Carpatina and American Girl...but she is only 7 inches tall.  Any connections I can make are tenuous because Lottie isn't really in a category with any of the other play dolls that I own.  Here she is:

Lottie "Autumn Leaves."
Lottie dolls are made by a relatively new British toy company called Arklu. The company got its start designing the Princess Catherine Engagement doll and the subsequent Royal Wedding doll set.  To me, these dolls stood out amidst all of the royal wedding paraphernalia because of their distinct character face molds.  After enjoying success with their royal dolls, Arklu decided to embark on a different kind of mission--to engineer a play doll line that would embody "all things girlish and lovely."  The Lottie line was designed to inspire creative play in younger children, with an eye for the 3-9 year-old market.

The dolls are available for sale on Amazon in the United Kingdom and in the United States.  A dressed doll costs $19.99 and there are a few $9.99 accessory sets.  At the moment, there are six dolls to choose from.  I found all of them appealing, but decided on "Autumn Leaves" and "Lottieville Festival" because of their colorful, multi-piece outfits.  The mix and match potential looks high:

I'll take a close look at Autumn Leaves and then show you Lottieville a bit later.  Autumn Leaves was my first choice because of the little dog on her shirt and her cute pink coat.  

This Lottie doll comes in cardboard window box carton with a little handle on top.  The carton is beautifully decorated with rich fall colors:

The plastic window in the front of the box reveals the actual Lottie doll, framed by a colorful woodland scene.  The back of the box has some graphic depictions of the other available Lottie items.  I have not seen the little beagle dog for sale anywhere, nor the horse, but I would be very interested in both of those sets.  In fact, if the horse had been available, I probably would have chosen to buy it and the Pony Flag Race Lottie.  These two remind me of the Only Hearts Club "Horse and Pony Club" sets, which I still regret not buying on clearance at Target.

There's a little story on the back of the box, describing how Lottie likes to get muddy and play in the leaves as she explores the forest with her dog, Biscuit.  It's not a very elaborate story, but it's nice to meet a doll who's personality doesn't revolve around shopping or fashion.

The picture of Lottie on the back of the box is really sweet.  I love the style of the box art.

The sides of the carton have little windows:

I didn't need any scissors to remove Lottie from this box.  I peeled the tape away from the top and sides of the outer box, and then slid the inner cardboard piece out.  I realized later that I could have just opened the very top of the box and slid the doll out, keeping the package completely intact for storage or transport.

Lottie is secured with two wire ties and a plastic band that holds her long hair.  Her two accessories are packaged in plastic bags and taped to the cardboard.

The tags that prevent the wire ties from pulling through the back of the box are made out of cardboard.  The wire ties were easy to remove with my bare hands.

The packaging is wonderful.  It is attractive, reusable, and almost completely recyclable.  
Here is everything that came in the box:

Lottie can stand on her own, but not very well.  This particular Lottie has one slightly warped boot, which contributes to her instability.

Lottie is such a cheery little presence.  She is also a nice doll to hold.  Her small sized body fits perfectly into my hand and her layers of clothing and smooth hair make her cuddly and soft.  I can picture a child toting her around all day.  

Lottie has long, silky saran hair in a nice honey blonde color:

Lottie's face looks familiar to me.  I am not sure if she reminds me of another doll, or maybe she looks like an anime character?  She looks a little bit like Misty from Pokemon or maybe one of the kids in Avatar (The Last Airbender)

Lottie's facial features are very simple.  She has a tiny molded nose and molded lips painted with an monochromatic opaque pink.  All of the detail in and around her eyes is painted--there are no sculpted eye features.  Her eyes are bright blue with huge pupils.  She has a few white reflections in her eyes, including a white triangular slice in the lower right hand quadrant.  These "pie eyes" resemble Betty Boop or an early Mickey Mouse.  Lottie has four painted eyelashes on each side, and these are a medium brown color.  The same color continues in a fairly thick ring around all but the middle corner of her eyes.  Her eyes have a slightly owlish appearance to them.

Here is her facial profile:

Her hair is made out of high-quality saran fiber.  The rooting looks a bit sparse, but if the plugs were more densely spaced in a doll this size, there'd be way too much hair.  The doll's scalp is not visible at all during regular play--I actually had to work pretty hard to get the hair to stay parted for this picture: 

The hair feels thick and soft and looks great.  It is very easy to comb and doesn't seem at all prone to tangles.  You couldn't do much styling with this hair, but again, that's mostly because of the doll's size.

Lottie is wearing a multi-layered outfit that includes a pink fleece coat with red stitching and decorative plastic buttons.  The details in the coat are wonderful:

Peeking out from under the coat is a corduroy skirt, followed by colorful striped tights and a pair of brown boots.  You can see that the right boot is warped in the back:

The coat is secured to the underlying clothes with several plastic ties.  This is a bit of a pain.  I was worried that I would accidentally snip part of the outfit as I was trying to remove the coat.  I had to break out my tiny fingernail scissors for this job:

Lottie comes with two separately packaged clothing accessories--a orange striped scarf and a purple felt hat:

The hat has little ears on it and a brown paw print:

As cute as it looks, the hat doesn't fit Lottie very well.  It rides up pretty high on her head:

Pope hat.
It's a little better if I mash it down really hard over her head, but it won't stay like this for long:

Here she is with all of her clothing:

After I snipped all of the plastic ties and opened the coat, I could see that it has a periwinkle polka dot lining--what a wonderful surprise!

As an added treat, the polka dot lining peeks out from under the collar of the coat, too:

The sleeves aren't lined (they would be way too bulky) but the rest of the coat's interior is.  The stitching is very nice for a garment this tiny:

Underneath the coat, Lottie is wearing a green cotton long-sleeved shirt with a felt beagle head decoration:

The beagle is attached to the shirt with a square of white velcro:

The rust colored corduroy skirt is decorated with four plastic purple buttons.  Notice the two holes in the skirt--from those silly plastic ties.  This trend is becoming way too common.

Both the shirt and the skirt open and close in the back with a strip of velcro that runs the full length of the garment.  This makes dressing and undressing very easy.

Here are the skirt and shirt removed from the doll:

It's very cool that the beagle decoration is removable, but I wish the velcro was in a fun shape like a flower or a star so that the shirt would look good even if there was nothing stuck to it.  It's inevitable that those little felt decorations are going to get lost over time.

All of the edges are hemmed and look pretty sturdy:

The tights have an elastic waist:

The stitching here looks a little messy, but is quite durable.  None of those threads pull out the stitches or anything like that:

The brown boots are nice, and I think the flocked, textured finish is a brilliant idea.  They look like they're made out of suede:

The boots have wide slits in the back for easy removal, and they are decorated with little molded bows.  There are some darker spots on one of my boots, which I think are areas of extra pigment.  It's not dirt or mold (like it was on a certain other spooky doll):

Underneath all of those fun clothes, this is what the Lottie doll body looks like:

She has 7 points of articulation (neck, shoulders, hips and knees):

Her neck can only look from side-to-side--there's no up-and-down movement.  Her shoulders can rotate and hinge up and down.  Her hips have a ball and socket joint with a great range of motion.

Lottie's legs are made out of that slightly sticky rubbery material (like the older Disney Store dolls) in order to accommodate internal knee joints.  The texture of her legs makes it hard to take her tights off and even harder to put them back on.  This is a frustration to me, and so I imagine it would be a problem for some younger children.

Another problem with that rubbery leg material is that Lottie's feet leave little greasy spots on absorbant surfaces like paper or cardboard.  This is unnerving and might damage certain surfaces.


I love that Lottie has knee joints, though.  This was a surprise to me.  Her legs look like they are unarticulated.  I also think that the shape of Lottie's legs is really lovely.  They are graceful, perfectly sculpted child legs:

She can sit pretty well in the Kurhn chair:

One of the things I enjoy about a unique new doll is that I have to round up a different group of suspects to put in a lineup.  I struggled to come up with a group of dolls that would be comparable in some way to Lottie.  In terms of size, she is smaller than most of the fashion dolls I review, but larger than the little sister dolls like Barbie's Chelsea and Only Hearts Club's Jessica.

Let me show you the dolls I found for comparison.  First, here is a Tonner Kickit doll.  Kickits are 8 inch vinyl dolls.  Now discontinued, they originally retailed for around $90.   This one is called "Little Mischievy" and she is wearing the dress and boots from her original outfit:

Those are NOT perfectly sculpted child legs.
Helen Kish also makes a line of 8 inch "Riley"dolls.  This one is called Raggedy Riley and is from 2006.  She cost around $150.  She is made out of resin and has a mohair wig and is wearing a Bleuette outfit in this picture:

Here's Lottie with a similar Riley doll, Snow White.  

Here's a newer Kish doll, Mary (from "Mary and Her Little Lamb").  Mary is also 8" tall, but she is made out of plastic and has jointed limbs.  She was also in the $150 price range.  In this picture, she is wearing an outfit made for me by a very talented friend.

On the smaller side of things, I found a mini Madame Alexander doll, "Spring Morning."  She is about 5 inches tall, the same size as the popular Madame Alexander McDonald's toys (also the same size as Barbie's Chelsea).  I found her on clearance for around $4.  These little dolls are long discontinued, but they had a wonderful wardrobe. Look at the details in her tiny outfit!

Although Lottie is much taller than Chelsea, she's still shorter than Barbie's other sister, Stacie:

Last, I noticed that Lottie is about the same size as a Novi Star doll, although that's all these two have in common:'s my motley lineup.  I have thrown an Only Hearts Club doll into the mix, even though she is taller than Lottie and has a cloth body:

Barbie Chelsea, Madame Alexander, Tonner Kickit, Kish Riley, Lottie, Barbie Stacie, Only Hearts Club, Novi Stars Ali
Looking at this lineup, I really appreciate the lovely shapes and proportions in Lottie's body--some of the other dolls look downright strange in comparison!  

Can you guess which is the only one of these dolls that can share clothes with Lottie?  It's probably not the one you'd expect...

It's the tubby little Madame Alexander doll!

The coat and hat are way too big, but the skirt fits her pretty well and the shirt looks fine except for some slightly long sleeves.  Who would have thought?

The Madame Alexander doll's dress fits Lottie, too, but it is really short on her--more like a long blouse or an ultra mini dress.

Let me quickly show you my other Lottie doll, "Lottieville Festival."  I know she'll be able to share clothes with Autumn Leaves.

Here's her little story:

This Lottie comes with a more summery outfit.  Instead of a jacket, she has a fake fur vest.  Her two accessories are a plastic purse and a headband.

The cheerful felt sun on her bright blue shirt is attached with velcro and interchangeable with the other Lottie's beagle.

She is wearing (slightly saggy) pink corduroy shorts and blue striped stockings.  Stockings and shorts is an odd combination, but I am delighted to have the extra wardrobe pieces.

Lottie is wearing pink and white polkadot rain boots.  They share the same mold with the brown flocked boots, but they look very different:

The headband is made out of a shiny blue ribbon and has a cute pink felt flower decoration, but it is difficult to get it to stay on the doll's head.  It wants to sit like this:

If I push the headband waaay down close to Lottie's eyes, it stays on really well.  

The plastic purse is an attractive bright orange color, but it doesn't open:

This Lottie has darker skin and looks like she might be from India.  She has identical facial features to the other doll, the only difference being the color of her eyes, the color of her eyelash paint, and the color of her lips.

Here you can see the contrasting skin tones.  Both dolls have a nice color to their vinyl.

Here are all of the different outfit pieces that came with these two dolls.  There are a lot of re-dressing options!

The dolls are fairly easy to dress, the only problems being the sticky legs (as I mentioned before) and also the fact that some of the seams turn inside out when they are manipulated.  Here's a common occurrence:

The tights and tee shirts on their own make great pajamas:

Here are some other examples of the different combinations of outfit pieces:

As a bit of an aside, I think Lottie makes an excellent younger sister for the Kurhn dolls:

Here are a few more of my favorite pictures of Autumn Leaves Lottie.  

Bottom line?   If you are searching for a gift for a young child, and are drawn to toys like Madame Alexander, Only Hearts Club or Calico Critters, then Lottie dolls offer an excellent new option.  Lottie has the same wholesome feel as these other wonderful toys, but she has a slightly different set of features.  For example, I love the Only Hearts Club dolls, with their inset eyes and realistic faces, but Lottie's character face might be more appealing to some children.  Also, Lottie's all-vinyl body can hold poses and is more durable than the cloth bodies of the Only Heart Club girls.  The mini Madame Alexander dolls are adorable, but Lottie's slightly larger size makes her easier to handle and dress, and her articulated body can strike a better variety of poses.  If you know a creative child who really enjoys mixing different outfit pieces (or maybe just someone who relates better to a human than to a woodland squirrel...) then Lottie would be a better option than the Calico Critters.  In short, Lottie is a wonderful new addition to a market that doesn't have nearly enough choices.

Lottie's construction is excellent.  She has soft, rooted saran hair and a charming face.  Her body has a good range of articulation, and the proportions and shapes in her body sculpture are very appealing.  Her well-made clothes are fun, detailed, age-appropriate and have a pleasing mix of colors and textures.  This is the kind of clothing I'd love to see a real four-year-old wearing.  The only criticisms I have of the quality of this doll are that her hat doesn't fit very well and her legs are made out of a high-friction rubbery material that makes Lottie hard to dress and causes her to leave small greasy stains on some surfaces.  Also (and this is extremely picky), I wish that the shirts were designed so that they could be worn without the felt ornaments.

Lottie is a great doll.  The only things holding her back are a lack of diversity and limited availability.  The lack of diversity is totally understandable in a new line.  If a few more faces, hair colors and hairstyles start to appear in these dolls, and maybe some extra outfit sets, happy buyers like myself will be inspired to come back for more.  The limited availability is a harder problem.  Lottie would clearly fit in perfectly at the high-end toys stores.  Those shops should all be stocking this doll--and I assume they will catch on soon.  I would also love to see Lottie as an option on the shelves of Target or Toys R Us, but the fate of the Only Hearts Club in that realm doesn't bode well.  I have a feeling that there are many shoppers who walk the aisles of some of the larger stores, looking for a sweet, back-to-basic doll for an affordable price...and they go away empty-handed.  I, for one, would be delighted to see lovely Lottie step in and fill that void.

Age Level
3 and up per the box.  The doll is easy to dress, but younger children might still have difficulty with the tights and shoes. Her youthful style might not be as appealing to older children and collectors.
The $20 price is more than fair for a sturdy play doll made from high quality materials. Compare to Only Hearts Club and Calico Critters.
Very good quality.  This doll has soft, manageable rooted hair, a high degree of articulation for a 7” doll, and a multi-piece wardrobe made out of nice fabrics.   Sewing and design details are very well done.  Once concern: the legs are made out of a flexible rubbery material that can leave marks on porous surfaces.  
Outstanding.  The package is bright, colorful and beautifully designed.  It is highly reusable and almost completely recyclable. The doll can be removed efficiently without scissors.
No.  This is a play doll for younger children.
Lottie is a versatile doll in that she could be used for a huge variety of imaginary games.  She does not have a confining predetermined personality.  Lottie comes with a nice assortment of clothing, but she can’t share clothes with any other current doll lines that I am aware of.  Wonderful mix-and-match potential within the Lottie products. 
This little doll would make a charming, durable, portable companion for a younger child.  Parents will be delighted by the well-made, brightly colored wardrobe and the creative, wholesome image of the entire Lottie collection.  Recommended.


  1. Hi there, firstly I just want to say that I love your blog to pieces. I think it's amazing how thorough you are in your reviews; your photos are lovely and you're always funny in the greatest way. You never let your readers down. Thanks for running such an amazing blog!

    There is only one thing I'm missing in your reviews: sometimes I find it hard to visualize the scale of what you're reviewing. So I just thought that I'd throw it out there that you could begin to include a photo where you're holding the doll in your hand, for size reference.

    Stay excellent!

    1. Thank you so much, Frida! What an excellent suggestion for the pictures! I know exactly what you mean--I struggle with the scale of dolls in pictures, too, even if there are other dolls for reference. Photographs can be so funny! I have included a picture of Lottie in my hand towards the end of the review. Hope that helps! Thank you again for your great idea and your wonderful comments! :)

    2. Fantastic! Thank you, it's really helpful. Stay excellent! /Frida

  2. at first I didn't really like this doll, but she is kinda growing on me! I like the "indian" one better.

    1. I agree, Chloe. I slightly prefer the darker skinned doll. She's wonderful!

  3. You really know how to make me covet more dolls! I first saw a review of these dolls on the Confessions of a Doll Collector's Daughter blog, but seeing close ups of their joints and clothing really make me what them more! I think the darker doll is very pretty.

    1. I'll have to go look at that blog! Thank you for the tip. The clothes on these little dolls are great. I would be excited to see some extra outfit packs to add to the fun.
      Sorry about the coveting. ;)

  4. She's cute. This doll reminds of a Juku Couture doll with the layered fashion. By the way, I really like reading your blog. I am looking forward to seeing the next review.

    1. Thank you so much! That's an interesting comparison. I have a few Juku Couture dolls in my "review queue," so I'll be sure to compare them to Lottie!

  5. These are so sweet! I know my daughter would love them. We get so tired of trying to find non-shopping/fashion crazed dolls for our nine year old that will also fit her love of tiny mix-and-match bits. The Lottie dolls fit the bill! I'm going to our local toy store to recommend them today! Thank you for the heads up!

    1. It does sound like Lottie would be a great fit for your daughter! I like that it's hard to make a "bad" mix and match outfit with all of the bright colors. And, of course I think her cute face is just pleasant to have around. I hope your toy store is responsive--I think these little dolls would do very well at most smaller toy shops. I can picture them right in between Corolle dolls and Calico Critters. :)

  6. Wow, she looks like a slightly smaller Licca doll. I love her outfits.

    1. Oh, wow! You are spot-on. She definitely looks related to Licca! Good call. :)

  7. What a fun review!
    I like Lottie a lot(tie) and I'm certain she'd be very attractive for younger children. The colors used on these dolls are fun and the mix and match options are great! I wonder how the dog and horse look like!
    I like the felt decoration option and I think really creative people could make cute little decorations themselves.
    I like the look of the Lottieville Festival doll a bit more, just because I love her skin tone :)

    Also, I have to admit one thing. My heart almost stopped by the look of your Glamorous Kurhn. Sigh, maybe I should start saving now and start begging my parents to get Paypal because I don't think I can live any longer without one of those Glamorous Kurhn dolls! Thanks a lot(tie) Emily! xD

    One last thing: It's great that you mentioned TLA in this review, it's my number 1 favorite show (besides Winx Club of course) and it has a special place in my heart. Always nice to come across it ^^

    1. Isn't The Last Airbender great? My whole family watched it a year ago and we were all riveted. My kids were disappointed by the movie version, though. The cartoon is so much better!

      Eloise might have to come live with you. I don't think I appreciate her nearly enough! :)

    2. Are you kidding me Emily? Are you kidding me? :O
      Eloise was so expensive! Dear God, I'm gonna have to send you something back fast, I guess I'm going to try to get that doll I really wanted to get for you, with some extra's!
      I'd love to own Eloise, Emily. I really hope that one seller is going to respond, I really, really want to send you something back you're gonna love.
      You're amazing Emily, I really mean that.

  8. Hello from Spain: I did not know Lottie. I really like this collection. She is a very cute girl. I also like the clothes she wears. You perform a very detailed study. Keep in touch

  9. Wow, first time ever hearing of this doll. I love the layered clothes and her faces is adroable. I think she would pair well with Licca, Kurhn and Takara Jenny.

    1. You're so right about Licca. I can't believe I missed that. She has the same anime style as Jenny, too. I'll have to look into getting a Licca doll to see how Licca and Lottie look side-by-side! Sisters?

    2. Hello, I looove Lottie. She remains me a Spanish doll called Chabel, from the company Feber. Their faces, hair style, and body are almost the same. They were very popular years ago, and they used to have all kind of accesories.

  10. She's definitely a Licca-chan type of doll. Very cute though! Lottie looks like she could be Licca's friend!

    1. You guys are way smarter than me! :P I totally missed the Licca resemblance. I don't know much about Licca-chan dolls, actually, but it seems like she'd be a perfect older sister for Lottie. Isn't Licca about 8 inches tall?

      A friend also mentioned that Lottie looks a bit like the older Sindy dolls--and I definitely see a resemblance between Licca and Sindy.

  11. I felt asleep at 5 AM tonight because I was reading your wonderful blog. It's great!!! Thank you for your photos, funny text and interesting items!

    I agree with Frida: it's a good idea with photos in hand. Such photos are both informative and attractive.

    From Russia with love! ;)

    1. Ah! Sorry I played a role in keeping you up so late (early!). It's wonderful to have you here--all the way from Russia! Thank you so much for your nice comment. :)

  12. WHERE DID YOU FIND HER!? I adore her. Gosh she's just so cute. :)

    1. Amazon dot com! You can get her with FREE Super Saver Shipping, too, which I always enjoy. ;)
      She is super-cute, isn't she?

  13. what a little pretty face!loving the dark one!cute face,nice clothing :)

  14. Oh no! Another doll I'll have to buy! So cute!

  15. I love the way you make your blog, do not think there's another one like the doll is very cute.

  16. What a cute little doll. I noticed that Amazon are also selling a ballet one which is adorable. Please please please let my daughter be interested in dolls when she is older, and then I will have an excuse to buy a lot more than I do at the moment :) It is so nice to see age appropriate alternatives to Barbie and Monster High Dolls.

  17. Now I want one too . Always been a sucker for the smaller Skipper-sized dolls.

  18. This is such a cute doll my little sister would probally like her alot more than i do though but i find the darker one my fave out of the two!! They are quite adorable and i wonder why i have never heard of them before.

  19. The "Lottie" sets (including her beagle) are now on "Amazon" in the USA, for
    $10.00. The picnic set is also available at the SAME price. I didn't see a
    horse for "Lottie".

    I like the Asian Indian girl and may eventually break down and buy her!
    Being that these are British dolls, I believe your assumption that she's
    South Asian, is correct. Since South Asians are the largest minority
    group in the U.K. At this time, Lottie is one of the MOST popular dolls in the United Kingdom!

  20. I am over the moon about these dolls. My mother-in-law just got my daughter all six of the Lottie dolls and they are so cute. My almost 4 year old daughter loves them and instantly stripped them down then rearranged the clothes to make all new outfits. Wondering if there are any shoes from other dolls (Chelsea, Kelly, Skipper, or Stacy) that would fit her. Would love to have some more options for her to play with.
    Any other info on clothes sharing too...even things like Chelsea's dresses fitting as shirts and such.
    Looking forward to hearing back from you :)

  21. This is the first review that pulled me over to your blog, love it. I've been looking for more clothes for Lottie, and found a licca doll who looks mighty familiar.

  22. I just realised that $20 is about £13 yet in England Lottie costs from £17 to £20. :/ (thats $27.82 to $32.73) I find this odd since Lottie is from England, why would she be more expensive in her own country? It kind of put's me off buying her.

    1. Its because of VAT and import duties in the UK, the USA has neither of these.

  23. Love your site and so wish Lottie was in our shops. I adore the pink clothes on Lottieville but would love any doll. I have always favoured smaller dolls as they are more affordable. I can see the logic of buying 2 dolls as then you get outfits to match...but 2 Lotties give so many outfit choices. Lasty their career choices have some original ideas.

  24. Do you know if by any chance they can share clothes with the new mini AG dolls?

  25. They are great - but prefer the more educational dolls from SmartGurlzUK

  26. I'm doing research for a new "Elf on the Shelf" doll (that I'll craft) and have been considering the Lottie doll. Thank you for your review. I'm going to feature this blog on my post about how I created the new doll. Great work. Thank you!

  27. I love Lottie dolls! I have compared the body size to Azone Pure Neemo XS ; the arms and legs are slightly longer but the clothes fit :-) I assume Azone clothing is available to buy, but I make it all myself :-) The Lottie face is quite similar to Azone dolls I think, but Lottie has a mouth and smiles!