A BRIEF HISTORY OF BLUEBIRD TOYS
In 1980 London businessman, Torquil Norman, founded Bluebird Toys, Ltd. locating in Swindon, England. The company achieved a huge success with the Big Yellow Teapot and a number of other innovative and unique new toys. In 1985 the company expanded its operations and moved to a larger site in Wales. In 1987 Bluebird acquired the license to produce our own Polly Pocket from Origin Products, Ltd., the company founded by her inventors Chris Wiggs and Chris Taylor. By then the company had become a major force in the toy industry, reaping several prestigious awards along the way. In the following years Bluebird Toys made some prime acquisitions and signed with Disney in 1995. But, alas, fortune turned tail in 1997 and reduced profits prompted a major shareholder, Guiness Peat Group, to attempt an hostile takeover. GPG was outbid by the giant Mattel, Inc. and in May/June of 1998 Bluebird became a part of Mattel. Mattel, Inc. still produces Polly Pocket as a part of its ongoing line.
AND NOW ABOUT POLLY POCKET
Polly actually started life as a small wooden doll in a lady’s powder compact. She was presented to Bluebird Toys, Ltd. (now in a decorated box) as a potential product by her creator, Chris Wiggs. He explained that he had made the item for his daughter, Kate, six years prior when she was three years old, and she was so taken with it that he felt that it might have commercial possibilities. The Bluebird executive was interested but asked if he could find a way to make the doll bend at the waist. Mr. Wiggs could and did. He and his partner, Chris Taylor, in Origin Products, Ltd. along with Bluebird developed Polly into the wonderfully clever sets that we have today. Origin still owns the rights to Polly Pocket. They licensed Bluebird Toys to manufacture Polly from the outset which they did until Mattel, Inc. acquired the license in 1998. Now Origin and Mattel develop many exciting new toys from playsets to little houses to fantasy palaces.
So far there have been about 100 million little girls (and big girls, too) who have thrilled to the intricate detail and wonderful secrets and surprises. No doubt, Polly will continue to amuse and amaze for many years to come.