Cabbage Patch Dolls - History of the Hit from The 80s

Cabbage Patch Kids are a popular North American brand that has been around since 1978. The company was created by Xavier Roberts who wanted to give to the world incredible soft sculpted toy dolls.

These dolls were especially popular during the 1980s and during this period, it was one of the biggest toy trends. Today, the brand long and characters are used for various products and multimedia ranging from cartoons, to record albums to board games.

cabbage patch dolls

How were they initially created?

Back in the 1970s, Roberts was an art student who had a great love for dolls as well as quilting. He learned these skills from his mother who was a crafty seamstress. In particular, he learned how to do needle molding for his own pieces. He was especially interested in hand-stitched products.

Roberts started experimenting with his line of dolls called “Little People”. This collection was not for sale in a traditional way. Instead, people could adopt them, give them a name and behave towards them as if they were real babies. So, instead of paying the price for a doll, a person would instead pay an adoption fee.

Like most other dolls at that time, Little People were sold during doll shows and conferences. After a while, he decided to start selling his dolls in Babyland General Hospital, an old medical facility turned into a toy store.

This is a story that Roberts used as an origin story for Little People:

"Xavier Roberts was a ten-year-old boy who discovered the Cabbage Patch Kids by following a BunnyBee behind a waterfall into a magical Cabbage Patch, where he found the Cabbage Patch babies being born. To help them find good homes he built BabyLand General in Cleveland, Georgia where the Cabbage Patch Kids could live and play until they were adopted.

BunnyBees are bee-like creatures with rabbit ears they use as wings. They pollinate cabbages with their magic crystals to make Cabbage Patch babies.

Colonel Casey is a large stork who oversees Babyland General Hospital. He's the narrator of the Cabbage Patch Kids' story.

Otis Lee is the leader of the gang of Cabbage Patch Kids that befriended Xavier."

As you can presume, this same story was later used for Cabbage Patch Kids.

Change of the name

In 1982, the product changed its name to Cabbage Patch Kids. This happened when the company started to license a smaller various to a toy company called Coleco. From that year onwards, Coleco started mass-producing Cabbage Patch Kids dolls but with several differences in comparison to the original item.

They had round big heads made from vinyl. At the same time, they had softer bodies. During the first 7 years of productions, there were 9 doll variations in total. The company started making them in the Far East where the costs were lower.

Cabbage Kids Dolls were extremely popular during the 80s and you were a bad parent if you didn’t buy one of these babies as a Christmas present for your kids. So much so that fights weren’t uncommon during this period of the year given that dolls were produced in a limited number. Later on, Coleco got back to the original formula of Little People.

International dolls

This trend was noticed by other international companies. Soon, Cabbage Patch Kids became a global phenomenon as it spawned lots of variations. For example, Jesmar Toy Company started producing them for the European market. They were especially popular in Germany, Italy, and Spain. Meanwhile, Lili Ledy started making a variation of them for South America and Mexico. There were also Tsukuda and Triang-Pedigree who made the dolls for Asia and South Africa respectively.

Keep in mind that all these items were not exactly the same as the originals; there was always some small variation to these international dolls. Because of this, international Cabbage Patch Kids were never considered as valuable as their North American counterparts (at least in collectors’ circles).

Today, people who are buying these collectible dolls always focus on getting the American versions. Nevertheless, Cabbage Patch Dolls are extremely popular worldwide and true collectors would give lots of money to have one in their home, regardless of where they were made.

Have you ever had a Cabbage Patch Doll? Tell us in the comments!

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