Things you may or may not know about Sasha dolls and their clothes. If you have information that we don't know about then send me an e-mail with the subject of "New Information" so that we can share with others.
The shirt that was made for the Gregor Hiker may or may not have the Pocket sewn on the front. What I was told: There were two people that were given 250 shirts to be sewn. One got the pockets and the other did not. So look at your Hiker and see which one you have..
The Hiker info is right - although I don't have the exact number, I believe we made just under 400 each of the Wintersport and Hiker - and around 350 of Princess. I sold off quite a number of spare Hiker sets, in the cellophane window packets, as did my friend - from the finished goods stock that I bought up at the end of production. Brenda Walton
There were over 12,000 NP dolls
made at Stockport. I have documentation on hand, which gives more exact figures,
but I am not prepared to disclose more details.
Having worked at the Sasha
Factory in Stockport from 1st July 1963 until I retired in June 1998, I was
lucky to be very closely involved with the Sasha Doll from our first trials in
1965 to the closing down of the Sasha production in January 1986.
During this time I had the good fortune and pleasure to meet Sasha
Morgenthaler many times - she was a really nice lady - enjoyed a joke - and
loved sitting down between the girls and chatting to them about their lives and
their families. Sasha was also very
generous with her time when people wanted information from her, and I was
extremely fortunate to have her paint a number of dolls for me in 1966, which
initially sat on my shelving units in the office, so that I could show them off
to everyone who visited.
As Worldwide Sales Administrator I was involved very closely with the day-to-day production of Sasha Dolls, as it was very important to know what was being made and what was scheduled to be made, so that I could advise accordingly.
When the Sasha Doll was
introduced in the UK it was not particularly well received - the owners of
Rosebud Dolls (the largest UK doll manufacturer at the time) more or less
"wished us the best luck" as they did not think a doll with THAT SKIN
COLOUR would ever sell. People were
so used to seeing pink dolls, a legacy from dolls being made of wax.
So initially selling Sasha was not an easy task.
However, Bob Marchant at
Harrods, Scott Young at Kendal Milne, Cliff Metcalf of Rackhams, Penny at
Hamleys and especially Mrs Abbatt of Paul & Marjorie Abbatt, took a chance
with Sasha and they continued to sell Sasha up to the Sasha factory closing.
When Frido started to sell Sasha
in 1968 through Creative Playthings it was a big step, as it almost doubled our
market. The USA became our biggest
market, followed by Switzerland in second position, the UK and Germany virtually
tied for third spot. The one person
I looked forward to seeing at Toy Fairs each year was Yvonne - the owner of
Dolls and Dreams - the fabulous toy shop in New
With regards Sasha Studio Dolls, which Sasha personally painted and generally supervised - they were really made in far fewer numbers, there was so much handwork involved, although latterly Sasha did employ more home workers on the clothing to meet an increased demand, the numbers made were never sky high - the course dolls made the Sasha Doll more affordable to many. Brenda Walton
5-102 Gregor Shorts:
The 5-102 Gregor Shorts was officially introduced to the range at the British Toy Fair in January 1968 and remained in the range until the end of 1969 (two full years). However, it is possible that Gregor Shorts was available outside of this two year time frame, due to the following:
As anyone involved in the manufacturing industry will know, it is not possible
for manufacturers to “conjure up” stock overnight, so we would start making
new item stock 3/4 months before official introduction.
Sometimes, because of the longer transit time 40 years ago, I would send
out new stock a couple of months before the official introduction date, so it
would have been possible for Sasha fans to have purchased the new Gregor Shorts
overseas, prior to January 1968, but not in the UK.
As anyone involved in the manufacturing industry will know, it is not possible for manufacturers to “conjure up” stock overnight, so we would start making new item stock 3/4 months before official introduction. Sometimes, because of the longer transit time 40 years ago, I would send out new stock a couple of months before the official introduction date, so it would have been possible for Sasha fans to have purchased the new Gregor Shorts overseas, prior to January 1968, but not in the UK.
As it was our practice to introduce new items at Toy Fair time in January each year, we would decide some 8/9 months prior, which of our current items would remain in the range and which would be discontinued. In the case of 5-102 Gregor Shorts, it was decided that he would be discontinued from the range at the end of 1969. Therefore, Gregor Shorts was no longer included in the new brochures for 1970, but he was included on the price list for 1970 with the note “available whilst stocks last” and so we shipped out until all stock on deck was cleared. It was a continuing practice to do this each year. Brenda Walton
Sasha Babies were first shown at the Harrogate Toy Fair in the middle of January 1970, and then at the British Toy Fair in Brighton at the beginning of February 1970. They were not shown anywhere prior to that time.
All brunette babies were made as girls and all blonde babies as boys and it was decided that the bodies indicated gender accordingly. At that time Sasha was making anatomically correct babies for nursing lessons in the field of midwifery and post-natal clinic work.
The reason we discontinued gender marking in June 1978 was purely to assist in manufacturing. With a plain torso, it didn't matter which colour baby head was being rooted, the torso was acceptable. Before that of course, we had to time the rooting of brunette heads to tie up with the moulding of girl torsos and similarly, blonde heads to tie up with the moulding of boy torsos. Brenda Walton
The lightening of the skin tone of the black dolls was definitely at the request of customers in the USA, as it was felt that the introductory colour was too dark to be acceptable by the Black population. The black dolls were introduced to the range, not only to complement it, but to fit in with laws which I believe required a certain percentage of black dolls to be available in doll ranges, so as to be representative of the country. Sorry I don't have figures for this ratio. Hope this info is of help. Brenda Walton
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