Frances Cain, founder of A Girl For All Time, has taken to Kickstarter to launch the company’s latest doll line, Your Modern Girl. Designed to make play more creative, Cain tells Jade Burke why the range boasts limitless potential, how further expansion is on the cards and why representing diversity is key to the firm’s ethos.
Campaign status: Funded
Can you tell me a bit about the new Your Modern Girl range?
We are really excited about Your Modern Girl – it’s the perfect bridge between our two lines: the historical range and the contemporary range.
While the historical line has been all about following the adventures of a single family tree through the generations. Your Modern Girl is all about a group of friends living in modern day London, going to school, being with each other and exploring what their futures are going to be.
With this natural continuation of the A Girl for All Time storyline, we now have almost limitless potential for a great range of diverse, contemporary dolls with different ethnic backgrounds, interests, hobbies and family life.
Why was it important for you to demonstrate diversity with this new doll line?
In the toy industry, dolls closely represent real people and are the easiest toys for our children to identify with, yet in general they don’t really reflect the diversity of the children that they are supposed to be representing.
There is an amazing acceptance of different ethnicities, beliefs and lifestyles in the upcoming generation that is so inspirational, and we want to represent that ethos for today’s children in the world of dolls.
What has reception for the doll line been like so far?
It’s been really great. I think the fact that the Kickstarter campaign is now fully funded is a good indication of how the range is going to do.
We received so many emails, messages and texts about the new range from our fan base and from people who have discovered the range through Kickstarter that I feel we have tapped into a gap in the market that has not yet been fully addressed.
What are your thoughts on crowdfunding platforms?
Kickstarter is an amazing platform but there are quite a few pitfalls associated with it too. Fewer than 40 per cent of campaigns actually receive funding, as Kickstarter is an all or nothing proposition, so it’s definitely a nail-biting month while it’s running.
Having said that, for a lot of smaller companies – and even some of the big ones too – Kickstarter is a great way to test the market and gauge a product’s potential success.
And, of course, all of the subsequent new visitors, new registrants, fans and customers that engage with the brand via Kickstarter definitely make it worth the months of prep, research and work that it takes to build and promote a successful campaign.
Why did you choose to use a crowdfunding platform to launch Your Modern Girl?
Kickstarter is a great way to gauge the desirability of a new line with your target market without having to invest in an entire production run that may, or may not, sell through successfully.
For us as a small company, that really has been key to our hopefully continued success this year.
We already know that the new line is going to sell – Kickstarter has showed us that – so it takes some of the pressure off for the new launch.
How can toy retailers benefit from a company’s crowdfunding campaign?
Kickstarter is a great tool that retailers can use to support the brands that work for them in their shops. Helping to promote the campaign through their own social media, or even hosting a demonstration in their shop of products that are being promoted on Kickstarter are good ways for retailers to get involved.
It can help generate traffic to the shop’s website or bricks and mortar shop and it can also help retailers engage with customers and present themselves as an expert on upcoming new products.
What’s next for you?
Expansion of the historical line, expansion of the publishing arm, and expansion of the contemporary doll line. And then a holiday.