Sindy Doll - History of Barbie's Main Rival

Creation of the popular British doll maker, Pedigree Dolls and Toys, Cindy is a fashion puppet that made her debut in the year 1963 and was the bestselling toy in the United Kingdom until around 1970.

For a while, Sindy was a major rival to Mattel’s ace fashion doll Barbie and was even more successful than Barbie at some point.

sindy doll

History and early years

Sindy was Pedigree’s attempt to extend its product range to include trendy fashion dolls. The company had rejected Mattel’s offer of a license to produce Barbie because market research showed that the product wasn’t quite popular in the British market.

Instead of going with the Barbie look, the British company opted for that of another American doll named Tammy. The company obtained permission from its manufacturer and based the design of their item on it choosing the name Sindy after a street pole.

The product was launched in September of the year 1963 and became an instant hit almost immediately. It turned out the Pedigree Toys had been right and toy buyers in the British Market preferred Cindy’s girl-next-door look to Barbie’s model appearance. Sindy was a bestselling toy for the year 1968 and also again in 1960.

More than 150 million Sindy dolls were sold worldwide. The company introduced a range of accessories and also created other companions for their product including a boyfriend, named Paul and also a younger sister called Patch among others.

The decline of Sindy

Marx Toy an American toy company attempted to introduce Sindy to the American toy market in 1978, that attempt was largely unsuccessful. Hasbro, another American company bought the rights to produce these dolls and after remodeling it to have a more American look, made an attempt to reintroduce the product again this attempt not only failed but Sindy’s American look lead to Mattel filing a lawsuit because the doll looked more like Barbie. Hasbro, later on, agreed to remodel the puppet's face and the case with Mattel was settled.

By the 1990s, Sindy’s share of the market diminished drastically while that of Barbie continued to soar. By 1997, the doll was delisted from major retailers and Hasbro returned license for it back to Pedigree.

Sindy has seen a number of relaunches since then but never quite achieved the same popularity as its early days. The latest being the 2016 relaunch in which the doll was given a complete overhaul and made to look like a pre-pubescent child rather than a tiny-waisted teenage girl that was the early version.

Sindy as a collectible item

The product is quite popular with collectors. Mint condition Sindy puppets are the most sought after by the collectors who prefer the original “girl next door” Sindy by pedigree to Hasbro American version. Outfits and other accessories are popular among collectors as well.

In December 2006 a version of the original Sindy doll which was named “classic Sindy” was launched targeted specifically at collectors.

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