Monday, May 28, 2018

A Short Tale of Two Henriettes

Way back in September of 2013, Kidz 'n' Cats released a special limited edition doll, Henriette, who could be ordered with a variety of hair and eye combinations.  I fell in love with Henriette's face mold (I liked it much better than the Evita mold I already owned) and figured it was the perfect chance to order a Kidz doll with exactly the coloring I wanted.  I actually ended up ordering two of these dolls because...well, because I couldn't make up my mind between two different variations and also because I got caught up in the potential collectibility of the dolls given their limited release (300 pieces) and unique customization feature.

Only now, as I'm getting the two dolls ready for eBay, did I bother to de-box one of them and tell the story of disappointment that surrounded both of their arrivals.

Kidz 'n' Cats Henriette, $176.
Henriette was offered with three different eye colors and three different wigs.  That makes nine possible dolls.

Here's a snippet from one of the ads:

I found the gray-green eye color to be the most detailed and realistic.  It was also the most popular eye choice, at least from what I could tell as I tracked the dolls' sales.  I was tempted by that eye color paired with dark hair, and also a blonde-haired, brown-eyed girl like my niece's Grace doll.

I ended up pre-ordering a gray-green/brown doll from Samantha's Dolls and a brown/blonde doll from The Toy Shoppe (utilizing their AMC monthly payment plan).  I ordered both dolls in September of 2013, hoping they'd arrive in time to be a Christmas present.

By mid December, I still hadn't heard anything from either shop, so I sent a few inquiries.  Apparently the dolls were experiencing some weather-related delays during their trans-Atlantic journey, and might not arrive in time for the holidays.

My Samantha's Dolls doll arrived in late December.  I can't quite remember if it was in time for Christmas, but I think it was.  She arrived in a scruffy-looking box and had come loose from many of her box ties.  All I did for this picture was remove the plastic lid from the box.  Otherwise, this is exactly how she looked on the day she arrived:

It looked for all the world like this Henriette had been removed from her box and played with. Her purse was on her shoulder (not attached to the backdrop) and her certificate was turned around backwards.  Her feet were completely free from their wire ties, and the cable tie around her neck was ripped out of the cardboard.  

Meanwhile, my doll from the Toy Shoppe didn't show up at all in December.  In mid January, I emailed to see what was going on and was told that the dolls had been damaged during shipment and had been sent back to Germany for repairs.  By April 2014, the dolls were headed to the United States for the second time, and I think I got my Henriette in May or June of that year--six months after I'd received the Samantha's doll.  

This Henriette looked much better on initial inspection, with all of her ties intact and her purse and certificate neatly positioned in the box:

The wrinkled zip-top bag that's holding the purse isn't very classy, but at least the purse was secured.

Here's a little comparison of the different presentations:

Because the blonde doll is still technically mint in box, I'm not going to remove her for photographs.  Let's take a quick look at her, though:

I really love the blonde hair and brown eye combination.  This coloring reminds me of both my niece and my niece's lovely Kidz 'n' Cats Grace doll.

I'm not crazy about the lip color, though:

It's way too pink and looks carelessly applied:

The lip paint might seem like a minor detail, but the color really cheapens the overall appearance of the doll.  And it was clearly an avoidable error--compare the color to my other Henriette's (much more translucent and natural) lips:

This doll also has two scratches on her chin.  The one on the right is deeper and more noticeable than the one on the left:

The worst flaw is the hairline crack that this Henriette has in her left eye, though:

Here's a closer look without the black arrows:

As hard as this crack is to photograph, it's pretty obvious in real life.

A broken eye seriously reduces the value of this doll.  She's certainly not worth her original $180 price.  I know I could have sent Henriette back to The Toy Shoppe back in 2014 with no issues, and I should have done exactly that.  However, at the time, I was tired of dealing with the delays and hassles of this doll's arrival, and figured I would use her for a review some day.  As it turned out, my emotions paralyzed me from doing anything, and I simply pushed her to the back of the shelf for five years.

Let's take a closer look at the Samantha's Dolls version of Henriette:

I find it very strange that this doll came with her purse on her shoulder.  There are little holes on the side of the box where the pure is supposed to be displayed, but they don't look like they've ever been used.  To be fair, the plastic zip bag that was holding the other Henriette's purse didn't look great, either.

One problem with the purse being free to swing around it that it has heavy metal decorations that could easily scuff Henriette's hands or face:

Her face looked ok, although I did notice a few shiny areas and something funny about her eyelashes: 

The booklet that come with Henriette was positioned backwards and was slipping off of its sticky mount:

It was super easy to de-box Henriette since her legs were already free and the cable tie around her neck wasn't doing anything except keeping the purse attached:

Here she is:

She's really lovely, although that scarf tends to stick up and get in the way of her face.

This doll has some shiny areas on her cheeks and eyebrows and one yellow stain on her left cheek:

Also, her eyelashes are mismatched.  One is auburn (her right eye) and the other is dark brown:

Here's a better look:

I did call to report this to Samantha's, but they told me it would be easiest to just fix it myself.  I agreed.

The eye are a gorgeous color.  They remind me of outer space.  

Henriette's left eye has a lot of glue residue around it and something that might be a crack along the outer edge at the bottom.  I can't tell if this is a crack or just some more glue:

Even if it's a crack, it's not as obvious as the crack on the blonde doll's eye.

Little flaws aside, I think this Henriette is gorgeous.  I took her scarf off so that I could get a clearer picture of her head:

She has some poseability, but her joints are fairly stiff for the most part.  This allows her to stand on her own in several different poses.  Here she is walking with her purse:

The purse is a cute little microsuede pouch that's decorated with sequins and a ball chain:

The chain is accented with a tarnished heart charm:

One of the best features of this doll is her wig.  It's silky and smooth with a gorgeous sheen and a rich, deep brown color.  My pictures don't do it justice:

I also love how Henriette can pose better than most 18-inch dolls.

Despite her flaws, I've had several moments of hesitation about selling this cutie now that she's out of her box.

I took her outside to see if I could get some photos that show off her actual coloring a little better:

This photo shows the richness of her brown hair and the beauty of her also makes that yellow stain on her face stand out, though:

Against the plain backdrop of my deck stairs, I got the best representation of Henriette's coloring (and sweetness!):

I found it interesting how the two doll stores--The Toy Shoppe and Samantha's Dolls--handled the complications surrounding this doll's shipment.  The Toy Shoppe took responsibility for the sloppy packaging and had the dolls fixed up before they made it into collectors' homes.  The doll I ordered looked good in her box, but was significantly delayed.  This approach probably disrupted many holiday gift-giving plans.  At the other extreme, Samantha's Dolls shipped the dolls out just as they were, which created a really disappointing initial impression...but at least they arrived on time.

I've also noticed that The Toy Shoppe no longer carries the Kidz 'n' Cats line while Samantha's Dolls does.  The Toy Shoppe does carry the full line of Sonja Hartman's Kruselings, though, which are a much better deal!

I have a lot of respect for The Toy Shoppe's careful customer service and attention to detail in this matter.  But the strange thing is, both dolls have fairly equivalent defects.  In fact the Samantha's Henriette's defects bother me the least.  The blonde doll's cracked eye and facial scratches are things I cannot fix.  In the end, it was mostly a cosmetic difference in how the dolls were presented, and this is the kind of thing that doesn't matter much over time.

I like Henriette quite a lot, but after this fiasco and after seeing the poor quality of the Kidz 'n' Cats mini doll, Annie, I--like The Toy Shoppe--am done with this brand.


  1. Hi Emily! This is a nice informative little post, and I think that those gorgeous-faced dollies don't deserve to have such glaring flaws. Sigh.
    I also have a doll suggestion for you:taking into account your rather good collection of Emma Watson dolls, you may be interested in knowing that Mattel's made new Harry Potter dolls this year and they look pretty similar to the actors.
    By the way, in your last review you mentioned that you've been looking at Equestria Girls recently, I wondered what's your opinion on them? I haven't gotten one yet, but hope to, even though here they're ridiculously overpriced.
    Have a nice day

    1. I got two of the reboot Equestria Girls on sale an few months ago. I got my first reboot Equestria Girl at regular price.

    2. Thank you for the tip! I searched for pics of the Harry Potter dolls online and they look great (but not for sale yet?). I bought several new (and older) Equestria dolls before I decided to stop buying dolls for the blog, so I'll either re-sell those immediately or try and do a review of them at some point. The new ones look ok, but they have very little articulation!

    3. You're welcome! The HP gang's probably gonna be more widely available a bit later, because I could only find them on a German website for 22euros each. Or were those on preorder too? Not sure.
      I really hope that you're gonna do at least a super short post on EG someday. There are not a lot of reviews on the EG overall, and the ones I could find are mostly useless (you write the longest doll reviews in the internet, you know:)). Your blog has always been really helpful, I sometimes find new dolls and thanks to you I know whether they're worth the price. I can only imagine how many dolls you have at this point. Have you ever tried counting them? Or are there too many to count;)?
      Have a nice day

  2. It's too bad that these dolls turned out the way they did. They had so much potential!

    As you sell some of your collection, I was wondering if you're planning to sell any of your Makies, or your Tonner Rapunzel? I have been trying to find my own copies of them (partially because of your reviews, lol) and thought it couldn't hurt to ask.

    1. That's a very good question! I'm curious to see which dolls end up staying after all of these years. Maybe that'll make for an interesting post after I get everything sorted out. You have good taste, though, because the dolls you mentioned are among my all-time favorites. I'll always keep the Makies--they're priceless to me--but Rapunzel's fate is not as certain. I'll let you know if she goes up for sale. :)

    2. Hihi, everyone is after your Rapunzel since you‘ve reviewed her :D I remember that I annoyed you with my question if you sell her years ago :)

      Would you post a link to your ebay account? So we could check and see which of your dollies need a new home?

      Have a grear day


  3. I really love their outfits, those skirts and boots are so pretty.
    but how in the hell did the mismatched lashes even happen?

  4. Usually when I read your reviews, I end up wanting the doll you are reviewing. I was initially interested in this doll and she was available for pre-order. I wanted to get the brown hair and blue eyes combination. I ultimately decided not to because the dimensions were two different from American Girl dolls. I'm really glad I didn't get one of these! The brunette you have not only has mismatched colors of eyelashes but the length of the eyelashes varies greatly as well. I don't know if the lashes are just pushed further into the eye socket on one of the dolls or if they are actually longer. This company charged way too much money for dolls that had some of the same quality issues that the Journey Girl dolls have. If I'm going to pay almost $200 for a doll I don't want it to have some of the same quality control problems that a $40 doll has.

  5. I can see why you disappointed, they don't feel special and at that price you want special.

  6. Thats such a disappointment!I think the brunette doll could be pretty cute if fixed up though. I would give her new lashes, oxy the stain on her cheek, repaint the lips and blush to be more realistic, and darken those eyebrows (they really wash out her face and throw off her whole appearance in my opinion). At that price, you shouldn't have to fix her up though. I'm sorry you had to deal with this frustrating line :(


  7. It is sad the dolls came with so many defects; they are both beautiful. I think someone will truly love the blonde even with her flaws. Thank you for the review.

  8. Maybe you could do a couple of mini reviews that are group photos of each genre of doll you have, like a group pic of all your Cinderellas, or all your Ever After Highs, or Tonners? You could include links to the reviews you've already done, or even the eBay listings of the ones you're selling. Just the side-by-side comparison that a group photo could provide would be very helpful for us readers, and not nearly as much work for you as your older, hyper-detailed reviews. Just an idea :-).

  9. I splurged on a KnC Bobo when he first came out. Not sad that I did. All the newer KnC pale in comparison. Interesting to see the changes in quality including packing. I think it took 20 minutes to debox Bobo.

  10. KNC are beautiful dolls. I have two, purchased 2-4 years ago. They are perfect, nicely painted,were boxed well, with nicely made clothes. However I know the company has been having major quality control issues. I believe the troubles began shortly after sending production to China (the dolls used to be made completely in Europe and personally overseen by the company). In order to expand production and cut costs, they outsourced, and the results were disastrous. Dolls came back with poor quality wigs and other issues. KNC is working on resolving the problems, and even chose not to create any new doll characters this year. I am personally hoping that given time they can work out the bugs and produce dolls of the original quality again. (I won't be buying any more in the meantime.) I'm sorry you had such a negative experience.

  11. Just curious... what is your eBay user/store/page name? Thanks!

  12. They look gorgeous, but yeah, a bad experience can turn a doll into something you don't want around, probably because of the memories it brings.
    I'm sure if one of these ladies didn't have any flaw, and was perfect, you would have kept at least one, but with crack in their eyes, messy presentation and uneven face paint.... I don't think it would be worth keeping both of them.

    I would keep at least one, the brunette maybe, to have some doll history for the future. That's what I'm kinda doing now: after getting so many dolls, I'm selling some and keeping at least one or two of each collection, so in the future I can remember how they were (and maybe show them to my grandchildren).

  13. I know you said you aren't taking requests, but have you heard of youdolls?