Switching companies can be jarring in one's career. However, in the Toy Industry, there's a striking familiarity of the work and always a familiar friendly face to ease the transition. Here is one of my favorite lines where Playmates Toys gave me a totally new experience. Toy Stories Chapter 14: iCarly! Shout out to Lori Rotter, Renata Harmati & Georgia Manolas Walker!
While Mattel gave me amazing experiences that shaped my career forever, Playmates gave me what Mattel never would: the chance to work on pure Girls Toys! The Studio Stuff like Sam’s Remote were the real winners of this line, and featured a pre-fame Zendaya in our Rotter Group commercial! (She was hilarious, & Ad Guru Tom McGrath said it was the best girl spot he’d ever seen) However, I really treasured just making beautiful fashion dolls. The licensor-directed first pass fizzled in market, so we knuckled down and applied all the key principles behind beauty in dolls that had been earlier refused. It was a tough sell to Nickelodeon. The key obstacles were that we had no likeness rights for the actors, and the approved official visage wasn’t pretty! Through it all, I learned that through shared tooling with different paint ops and skin tones, we could create beautiful dolls of Carly AND Sam, and no one would be the wiser. And in the end, retailers assumed those were the likenesses. Lori Rotter and Renata Harmati schooled me big time in the ways of girly doll beauty and fashion that fueled me with the design authority for fights with doll factories in the future. But that’s another Toy Story for another day…
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