American Girl, the brand known for dolls based on historic and contemporary girls, is taking a detour into construction.
The company, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. announced Monday that it will offer construction toys for girls age 8 and up.
The collaboration with Mega Bloks, features detailed building sets and mini-figures based on the Girl of the Year characters such as Grace, Isabelle and Saige. The new products are available exclusively at Toys “R” Us and will expand to other retailers on July 1.
It is an interesting move for a company that has been devoted to dolls, though not entirely surprising.
American Girl has made a big business of dolls. Branded retail stores, like the one in Alpharetta, offer a bistro where girls can enjoy tea and meals with their dolls. It has a salon where the dolls can have their hair styled. The store also hosts birthday parties while a neighboring Marriott offers American Girl packages for overnight stays.
However, this is a time when consumers and retailers are moving away from gender-based toys. Target, in particular, made a big decision to stop segregating toys by gender. Consumers have made it clear they want girls and boys to have the option of playing with any toy they choose. So for American Girl, it makes sense to create construction sets to avoid losing girls who are interested in building things.
“We know girls are makers, creators, and doers, and they are looking for activities that fuel their creative and imaginative spirit,” said Katy Dickson, President of American Girl in a statement. “Collaborating with another Mattel brand to create a premium and thoughtfully conceived construction line for girls allows for terrific synergy across the company and helps us encourage girls’ creativity and self-confidence in a whole new way.”
The sets include a 749-piece 2-in-1 Buildable Home for $69.99 which converts into a home, patisserie or slumber party for the American Girl character Grace. Other sets include, Isabelle’s Ballet Recital ($39.99), Nicki’s Horse Stables ($29.99), Saige’s Art Studio ($19.99) and McKenna’s Gymnastics Training ($9.99.)
Girls can also purchase mini figure collectible and mini figures with interchangeable clothing and accessories. Prices range from $3.99 to $69.99.