Polly Pocket is a line of mini dolls and accessories released by Bluebird Toys in 1989.
Polly Pocket was first designed by Chris Wiggs in 1983 for his daughter. Using a powder compact, he fashioned a small house for the tiny doll.
Bluebird Toys licensed the concept and the first Polly Pocket toys appeared in stores.
The toys had big success in the UK and American toy company Mattel held a distribution arrangement with Bluebird Toys for Polly Pocket in the United States.
The compacts came in different sizes and themes. From houses to pool partys.
The line was so successful that two spin-offs called Lucy Locket and Mighty Max were released.
In 1997, Bluebird Toys released a unique addition to the Polly Pocket brand with the “Magical Movin” playsets.
Despite the toys’ success, Bluebird Toys endured several hostile take-over attempts until Mattel finally purchased them in 1998.
That same year, Mattel relaunched the brand and changes were made. The dolls were given more of a life-like and teenage look.
A year later, Mattel introduced a spin-off called “Fashion Polly!”. The dolls from the line were 3 3⁄4 inches (9.5 cm) and they used unique “Polly Stretch” garments, created by Genie Toys, rubbery plastic clothes that could be put on the dolls and removed, instead of traditional cloth clothing. There were also some boy dolls available.
Due to the huge success of the Fashion Polly! line, Mattel rebranded them as Polly Pocket and they discontinued the compacts.
In 2003, Mattel released another spin-off line called “Polly Place”.
During that same year, A 20-minute movie simply called “Polly Pocket” also known as “Polly’s First Movie” was released. It was released as a box prize whenever you bought Kellogg’s cereal. A video game called “Polly Pocket: Super Splash Island” which was released for the Game Boy Advance was also released that same year.
In 2004, Mattel introduced the “Quik Clik” Polly Pocket playsets. Instead of having rubbery clothes. The dolls had plastic clothes that would click together by magnets.
The next film that was released “Polly Pocket: 2 Cool At The Pocket Plaza” came out in 2005. It was packaged with the 2 Cool At the Pocket Plaza Polly and Pia doll pack.
The third (and final) movie to be released was PollyWorld. The film was released direct-to-DVD on November 14, 2006.
On November 22th of that same year, 4.4 million Polly Pocket playsets were recalled by Mattel after children in the United States swallowed loose magnetic parts.
This effected Polly Pocket’s sales and as a result, the brand started losing popularity.
In 2007, The “Sparklin’ Pets” line was introduced. This line was the first to introduce a new face and body mold on Polly and her friends. Some dolls from this line also had clothes made from real fabric.
A year later, The “Designables” and “Pretty Packets” dolls were introduced and lasted until 2010. Polly Pocket dolls from this era also had another new face mold
However, by 2010. Polly Pocket was going through a makeover.
Later that year, the new Polly Pocket dolls were released. The dolls were given more of a child-like appearance, changes include increasing feet size, head size and leg size, although the height remains approximately the same. Pets called “Cutants” were also added to the line. Webisodes were made to promote the new Polly dolls.
Despite negative reactions among fans, sales for the toy fairly increased.
More changes were given for the line in 2011. The dolls were once again given a new face mold and the Cutants were removed. Sales started to struggle.
In 2012, Polly Pocket toys were discontinued in the US, but remained available in Europe and South America. The brand dwindled, eventually only being sold in Brazil. By 2015, Polly Pocket was completely discontinued by Mattel.
No webisodes have been released since, dispite the fact the official website remains open.
On February 12th, 2018, Monster High creator Garrett Sander announced on his Instagram page that Polly Pocket would be making a comeback. It was also announced that there would be a Polly Pocket cartoon being produced by DHX Media to coincide with the dolls’ release.
The original Polly Pockets are popular collectors items and they go for expensive prices on eBay. As for the Polly Pocket lines from 1998-2015 they go for reasonable prices on eBay and Amazon.
A link to the official Polly Pocket website is here : http://play.pollypocket.com/en-us/
A link to the official Polly Pocket Youtube Channel is here : https://www.youtube.com/user/pollypocket/featured
(Updated on 2/18/2018)