The story of A Girl For All Time: 9 years down the road
We’re a small business that prides itself on creating thoughtful, educational and beautiful toys. We love the AGAT community of collectors and parents who have supported us tirelessly throughout the last nine years. Where did the time go?
In this blog post, our founder Frances reflects on our journey, her inspirations and what she’s learnt along the way as a female founder starting her first business. Keep reading for a peek behind the scenes.
Where it all began
We launched at the London Toy Fair all the way back in 2012. I wanted to start making dolls after seeing the discrepancy in quality between what my daughter was playing with versus my son. I firmly believe in all toys for all children. However, the toys that my daughter happened to be leaning towards were probably considered more traditional ‘girl toys’ - dressing up, arts and crafts, and dolls.
The toys within this category just didn’t have the same educational or active play qualities that I thought were important for a child’s development. The market didn’t seem to present as much of a learning opportunity for my daughter, which I wanted to change. That's why Your Historical Girl was launched with learning in mind, so that every child who enjoys this type of play can have the same opportunities as others.
Since our launch, it’s been a whirlwind of ups (such as our nine Oppenheim Toyportfolio awards) and downs (COVID -19 and Brexit in the same year has undoubtedly been a challenge!). However, I wouldn’t have our story any other way.
My family has always been my biggest inspiration. The original driver behind our launch was my daughter, but my grandmother also played a big part.
I very much wanted my daughter to have a toy that could inspire and educate but also one that would also last a lifetime and be passed down to her own children.
My love of family history was instilled in me by my grandmother - she would tell me stories of when she and my grandfather emigrated from Sicily to the US in the 1920s. I also loved hearing about her own mother and grandmother, connecting me to my Sicilian roots as a young girl.
The Marchmont family and the secrets passed down from mother to daughter reflect this tradition in my upbringing.
The values we kept close
For me, designing and developing high-quality toys that show strong female characters was absolutely key. That was our goal - and if we could manage that, whilst hopefully teaching children that history is interesting and fun, then I felt that we really could create something beautiful and unique.
In 2016 we also expanded to include our Modern Range. It had always frustrated me that many dolls looked the same when the children playing with them did not. Therefore, creating a more diverse contemporary line was very close to my heart and an essential step in our development. The feedback from this range has also been fantastic. It’s so wonderful to see families enjoying our new dolls and learning about other cultures.
My favourite launch
I have to say that my favourite launch has been our most recent with Helena, Your Regency Girl.
This year was tricky for us. COVID-19, Brexit (for our EU shoppers) and countless manufacturing setbacks have been tough for small businesses like us. Therefore, it was terrific to launch Helena at the beginning of 2021 to such a supportive reception. I can’t wait for you all to meet her properly! Check out our social media for the first peak at Helena.
It’s also great to see all of you embracing the pre-order model. By using this method, we’re able to reduce our carbon footprint and wastage as a company. Each doll pre-ordered is guaranteed to have a home rather than living in our warehouse.
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