Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Doll Brokers by Hal Ross, a great read for anyone interested in the Toy Industry!

I just read an awesome book, The Doll Brokers by Toy Industry vet Hal Ross.

The book is a romance/thriller/adventure set in the Toy Industry! Hal's story revolves around a businesswoman, Anne, who is the head honcho of a small toy company. Ann works hard to bring an exciting new baby doll laden with features (she laughs, she reacts, she's aliiiive!!) to the market, while a man from her past tries to mess everything up for her in numerous creepy, violent ways.

Let me add a disclaimer, there are dolls involved, but this book is not for kids! There are lots of racy "adult" moments, especially those between Ann and her love interest Jonathan.

The most interesting part of the book for me was how in-depth Hal Ross got with the Toy Industry setting. He gives a real insider's description of everything from meeting with Walmart Buyers, to Toy Fair to the realities of doing business in Hong Kong. I commend him for writing frankly about many of the difficult truths about the industry, the stress, the nepotism, the huge sums of money it takes to launch a doll, the sad side of child models, and even how Chinese designers get cheated and used! And he aptly incorporates the gossipy, close-knit nature of the industry.

I found the main characters, Ann, to be a very true to the Toy Industry (as I know it), she reminded me very much of many 0f the slick corporate women I have worked with. A workaholic, hard-drinking, sexy power-bitch.

Here is an excerpt from the book that sums the attitude of these types of ladies up;
" This was a crazy, crazy business she was in, she thought.
Full of backstabbing, lying and cheating.

......Despite it all, the toy industry was in her blood. Yes, kids were forsaking traditional playthings at an earlier and earlier age, choosing cell phones, i-Pods and video games instead, But she was in it for the long haul, and no matter what other bastard got in her way, she would never go down without a fight."
Amen, sister!

If you want to know what the business side of making dolls is really like, read this book!

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