A Reluctant Debut in Denver Drives Doll Collectors Wilde

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With boredom as her greatest foe, Ellowyne Wilde™, the first doll from the newly formed Wilde Imagination™, reluctantly debuted at the 3rd Annual Tonner Doll Convention in Denver, Colorado where “Her Reluctant Debut” a Limited Edition of 350, sold out in an unprecedented 24-hours.

The lighting was low and the anticipation was high. Over 200 collectors -- dressed in black lace and high expectations -- sat quietly buzzing in a room decorated in deep burgundy with antique-looking centerpieces set on elegant tables. A large screen loomed large in front of the room -- beckoning what was to come. It was the reason they were all there -- to witness the reluctant debut of the newest and most mysterious doll in town, Ellowyne Wilde™. As designer Robert Tonner approached the podium, the room went quiet and the screen lit up. Ellowyne Wilde’s image appeared and as her story unfolded, it was clear the sell-out crowd was not disappointed.

Welcome to Wilde Imagination™ -- a new doll company based in Mullica Hill, New Jersey founded to bring beautiful and unique collectible products to both doll and non-doll enthusiasts around the world. And with world-renowned doll artist Robert Tonner as the Creative Director and genius behind the first line, Ellowyne Wilde, the company is definitely poised for success.

“We wanted to bring something different to the doll world,” notes Debra DeForte, Marketing & Sales Director for Wilde Imagination. “To develop our first line, we knew we needed someone who was not only creative, but innovative and willing to take risks. There was no question it had to be Robert Tonner and we’re thrilled he agreed to team up with us.”

The doll world is ready to celebrate a new company that is not afraid to enter an industry that has seen the demise and downsizing of companies such as Georgetown Collection, Gotz, and The Franklin Mint. According to the NPD Group, overall doll sales were $2.7 billion in 2005, down 2 percent. But collectible doll sales generally represent no more than 10% to 15% of these total sales -- in the best of years, noted Playthings magazine.

Those figures didn’t stop the folks at Wilde Imagination. According to Tonner, who owns his own successful doll company, Tonner Doll Co., the doll world is ready for Ellowyne Wilde. “When I teamed up with the people at Wilde Imagination, we quickly found we had the same vision -- we wanted to create something totally different; something no one else was doing that would shake up the collectible doll world,” said Tonner. “Ellowyne is the perfect mix of beauty, fashion, and intrigue -- and wait until you hear her story!”

Like many fashion doll lines, Ellowyne has a story -- although it’s unlike anything collectors have heard before. Inspired by a combination of eclectic fashion art, anime characters, and designer shoe ads, Tonner designed Ellowyne with a look as unique as her personality. “This doll definitely has a personality and background all her own,” said Tonner. “She’s not quite depressed, but is eternally bored; she dresses differently than girls her age but doesn’t care. She eats whipped cream and edible flowers and lives on a fault line in San Francisco. Her story is a little dark, yet funny and intriguing. She’s definitely not the perfect fashion diva. I believe there are many people who will connect with her.” In fact, the company is exploring a possible book series based on Ellowyne’s life.

The entire Ellowyne Wilde line will make its official debut at the Doll & Teddy Bear Expo in Washington, D.C. August 18-20. And in a twist for the doll world, the company plans on selling the line direct to consumers via mailings and an e-commerce website (http://www.wildeimagination.com) scheduled to go live early Fall 2006. For now, consumers can join the company’s mailing list via the website. Specialty toy retailer FAO Schwarz will be the only retailer to carry the line.

“People have loved dolls for hundreds of years,” notes DeForte. “That’s not likely to change soon. Our plan is to be innovative and diverse, and to make a statement to the doll world -- that there’s room for everyone -- that this industry is definitely not dead, and in fact, we think it’s only just beginning.”

Headquartered in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, Wilde Imagination develops and markets exquisite dolls and collectibles, including the new Ellowyne Wilde™ line of dolls, fashions, and accessories. For more information, contact Debra DeForte at 856-467-9696 or visit http://www.wildeimagionation.com.

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