The world recently saw the debut of the “Average Barbie”, a doll that exhibits the normal bodily proportions of an average nineteen year old. The fact that something everyone describes as “normal” speaks volumes about everyone as consumers, especially on the issue of body image.

Averagers Assemble

Toys, especially the ones marketed to girls, have always fallen under heavy criticism that they promote unrealistic standards of beauty that contribute to poor self-image. Toy makers have heard all the talk and the criticism, and have tried to make their products more appealing to the new audience, short of actually changing anything. Fed up with such toys, Nickolay Lamm designed and started a fundraising campaign to create Lamilly, the doll with average proportions.

When creating Lamilly, Lamm explains that his inspiration comes from the fact that “Every one of our bodies is different, so we should not be aspiring to some idealized standard.”

What can we actually learn from the average sized doll?

The “Normal” Market

The biggest and probably most important point of all, there’s a definite market supporting the hype around the Lamilly doll. The initial target for making the doll a reality was around US$ 95,000 or around AUS$ 100,000 for manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. Eight months after the campaign went live, Lamm was able to raise more than five hundred thousand dollars, which he intends to reinvest into the doll.

This shows that big manufacturers literally had nothing to lose, and everything to gain by listening to the people that have been riding them for so long. There are many people willing to pay good money for a doll that doesn’t have the idealised proportions of a supermodel.

Any one of them could have taken the plunge and gained a significant market advantage over their competition. Instead, they’ll have to be content with riding the coat tails of an indie inventor that looks poised to make more moves to solidify his place in the market.

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