Monday, August 18, 2008

Gosh...It's Been Awhile!

I knew it had been awhile since I'd posted a blog, but I had no idea it had been THAT long!

Basically, we had started looking for a new location for Katherine's Cottage last year, found a location, then squeezed 10 months of renovations into 1 month to open in time for last year's holiday season!

The good news is that we've been happily located at the new location (1360 E. First Avenue) for nearly a year! The bad news (well, there really is no bad news here) is that I've been so busy ever since we moved that I've hardly had time to sit and think, much less blog.

If you haven't stopped by to see the new store, now is a good time--we're chock full of great products going into the holiday selling season. Plus, you should just stop by and say hello; most of my old customers moved with us, but a few are still AWOL and I'd love to see them too!

The big events coming up right now are the 7th Anniversary Sale (starts September 4th, 2008) and the Make Your Own Baby Doll days (October 18th and 24th). We were also planning a Half-Blood Prince Harry Potter party, but with the movie moved to next summer, we are a bit in limbo with those plans (stay tuned...we are still expecting delivery of our Snape and Kreacher figures by Tonner Dolls any minute!)

And, of course we are still your number ONE location for Webkinz in Chico.

If you are an online customer, we've improved plenty of things on as well.

And, if you are curious to know more about me beyond that of a shop owner and doll expert, then please visit my MySpace page, and be sure to add me as a friend! You might be surprised at what you find there!

My best to all my friends, customers, and assorted hangers-on...Denise

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Webkinz: Why the Craze?

I'm not ever really sure what creates a craze for a new product, but I am sure that there is a craze right now for the Webkinz by Ganz!

I've been a retailer for over 10 years now, which means I hit the tail end of the Beanie Baby craze. This isn't as crazy as that (yet) but my store just started carrying Webkinz, and already our phone is ringing off the hook for them!

So, the question is...why? Well, Webkinz is the first plush toy with their own online world to hit it big. There are others (Neopets) and there will be more hitting the market (Ty Girlz, Shining Stars) but Webkinz is the must have interactive plush toy for kids of all ages (and some adults who never grew up!).

After a bit of a slow start for the web site (Webkinz have acutally been available for nearly 2 years!) the interactive Webkinz site is now tons of fun. Kids can dress their Webkinz pet, decorate its house, play games, earn Kinz Cash, chat (safely) with their friends, and do all sorts of other very addictive, fun things. The ONLY way to get to play on the Webkinz site is to have a Webkinz plush with its secret online code. When you buy a Webkinz, you get to play, free, on the site with your pet for a full year. love the site, and to have a particular animal they want to play with online, they have to find the corresponding plush. You would think this would be easy, but it's not! Due to Webkinz catching on slowly, retailers and the manufacturer, Ganz, were hit by surprise when Wenkinz finally caught on this year. SO, the manufacturer is short on product to deliver, and many retailers are either sold out or cannot get product.

Add the fact that many of the early retired pets and current hard to get ones sell for outrageous prices on eBay, and you have, well, a craze!

Let's just say I'm glad to be a Webkinz dealer!

Monday, January 15, 2007

ANOTHER year of dolls is here!

I'm sitting here shaking my head in wonderment that its 2007 and I'm off to all the shows to see the best in dolls for 2007! Already there have been some great lines debuting on line including Tonner Dolls, but there's so much left to see including Madame Alexander, Marie Osmond, Lee Middleton and Adora Dolls and so much more!

I always think that it's better to see the dolls in person since photos online don't always tell the full story, both good and bad. By seeing the dolls in person, I'm able to bring my customers truly the best of the best. So, this year, I'm attending BOTH IDEX in Orlando, FL and then Toy Fair in NY, only a few short weeks apart.

I'll be at IDEX at the end of this week, so be sure to stop by here and at for information and photos of all the latest dolls.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Less Than 60 Shopping Days To Christmas...

Hehe, do I have you in a panic yet? I'm in a good panic this year about holiday shopping and decorating already, since my family is heavily involved in Community Theater, and we're all involved in shows this November/December! My daughter and I are going to be in The Sound of Music from mid-November to mid-December. Don't can expect the same, great Katherine's Cottage customer service and fast shipping during the holidays (Russ, my husband, is the shipping department and I'll still be working hard to bring you all the best in dolls, bears and classic toys this holiday season.

That said..I'm in a panic about holiday shopping. Unfortunately, I don't do a "small Christmas." My whole family gets seriously into decorating, and besides our outside display at home, we do two Christmas trees at the house, plus a North Pole village. Did I mention the six trees at the doll shop, too?? You'd think I'd be sick of it by Christmas day, but I never am. But, this year I DO wonder when I will have the time--ahem, lets just say that there might be some early November decorating this year. As for shopping, I'm not a big-box shopper, so I'll be hitting the smaller stores in my town, plus also online favorites.

If you're one of our online shoppers at Katherine's Cottage then you need to know that we have more dolls than ever. We literally have over 1,000 choices in stock. Which explains why we are (happily) drowning in dolls. We offer nearly all of our dolls online, plus selected bears, gifts, classic toys and more. Its quite the job...but also quite fun, too.

Also, we're inaugurating a fantastic NEW Katherine's Cottage Online Newsletter. If you'd like to sign up, go here: Sign Up For The Katherine's Cottage E-Mail Newsletter.

I'll be checking in and blogging frequently this holiday season. If you're already deep in thought about the upcoming holidays, then a happy (premature) holidays to you, too!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Welcome To All Our New Online Store and eBay Customers!

I'm not sure exactly why, but Katherine's Cottage online and Katherine's Cottage of Dolls on eBay have really expanded in 2006. Of course, we also continue to get new customers in our bricks and mortar store, but the pace has been greater online. Whatever the reason, thank you!

At Katherine's Cottage, we pride ourselves on personal service. Please always feel free to pick up the phone if you have a question, or if you would rather order by speaking to a real, live person!

As for the new dolls that we've gotten so far in 2006, they are truly spectacular. Tonner Dolls continues to evolve to bring you the best of fashion dolls, and Madame Alexander dolls seem to get cuter and cuter each year. Plus, Marie Osmond Dolls is celebrating their 15th anniversary this year, and the quality and quantity of the dolls from this company is exceptional for 2006. We also can't wait to get our first Himstedt dolls in this year, all dressed for their wedding in Atlantis!

As for special events, look for our annual Adora Make Your Own Baby Doll days, Madame Alexander day, and much more.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Wow! Its Hard To Believe We Are Nearly A Month Into 2006!

As I sit here surrounded by new doll catalogs showcasing the 2006 dolls, its hard to believe we are already nearly finished with January, 2006! I feel like I just finished wishing all my customers and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I'll be at Toy Fair in early February, finding the best of the dolls, bears and classic toys for my shop. I find that going and seeing the new dolls and toys in person cannot be beat--you get to see the very latest items, and you can see reactions to them as well. It helps me bring the best products to my customers.

However, many companies that I already buy from have already premiered their 2006 lines on the Internet. We already have all the new Tonner Doll items on the web site,, for viewing and pre-order, and by next week, we'll have the new Madame Alexander dolls as well. After that, look for Lee Middleton and Adora Dolls. We have a harder time obtaining photos from some of our other doll companies, but as soon as we obtain the images we'll make them available, too.

This is a hectic time of year for a doll store owner. Not quite as busy as Christmas, but between trade shows, ordering, customer pre-orders and web site updating, it keeps me (and my staff) pretty busy. However, its also an exciting time for doll collectors, and since I collect dolls myself I enjoy being in the store with customers pouring over the latest catalogs (and manufacturer web sites!) and deciding what to add to my collection!

I'll post some live updates here from Toy Fair this year. I'm looking forward to another great year at Katherine's Cottage and with all my doll collecting friends!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Happy Holidays To All!

I just love the holidays! Its my favorite time of the year to own a store--and, no, its not just my favorite because we are so busy this time of year! I've always loved Christmas--the deocrations, the music, the holiday spirit, the gift giving. I think that Katherine's Cottage reflects this--we beauifully decorate the store (we have 8 decorated trees, and icicle lights in the front windows), carefully chosen Christmas music playing, and display after display of carefully selected gift items.

Its harder to convey this holiday spirit on our Katherine's Cottage, web site, but we hope that this blog helps our online customers to know a little bit more about us, including our love of the holidyas and our joy in helping our customers find just the right gift.

The store will be open seven days a week through Christmas Eve, and, of course, our online shoppihng is available 24 hours a day. We have over 800 items for sale at, and, this year for added convenience and for our eBay addicted customers, a Katherine's Cottage of Dolls store at with over 300 items. We accept Paypal this year as well as most major credit cards.

We hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukah, and very Happy Holidays!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

4th Anniversary of The Store; Reflections on 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina

We had a wonderful 4th Anniversary Sale at the store which just ended on Labor Day--the sale was a big hit with our local customers, who recieved advance notice via our shop Newsletter. We sold lots of our older doll and toy mechandise so we would have room for the Fall and Holiday items, as well as the Fall doll releases from all the major companies.

Our anniversary is always a bit bittersweet--we opened our store on September 10, 2001. That's right--our brand new business opened one day before 9/11. Not an auspicious time--the world changed the day after we opened the store, and we spent the next few months wondering if Katherine's Cottage would survive. In fact, I think the entire doll industry wondered if it would survive, with many major doll manufacturers closing their doors in the two year period after 9/11.

In 2002, we decided to move the time we celebrated our anniversary (and the anniversary sale) to the end of August/beginning of September, and we've kept the anniversary there ever since. we have Katrina during that time period. Our business for the sale definitely dropped off as citizens had more pressing issues on their mind--dolls and toys were not really on their radar screens as they considered the fate of New Orleans and its people.

We won't move our Anniversary and our sale again--perhaps next year, we will collect money during the sale for the ongoing relief of the Katrina victims and evacuees. But, we've certainly learned our lesson that you can't run from history and world events, even in our small corner of the economy and the world.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

We're Now a Premiere Tonner Dolls dealer!

We just got word today that Katherine's Cottage is now a Premiere Tonner Dolls dealer. This is wonderful news--we love the dolls from this company, and we enjoy working with them to bring the best in modern dolls to our customers! Its hard to believe that our doll shop in a small city has become a Platinum Madame Alexander Dolls dealer and a Premiere Tonner Dolls dealer in just three short years--who says you need to have a business located in a large city to be successful?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Its Summer! Can Conventions be too far behind?

I can hardly believe that summer is already here! Spring was a very busy time in the doll shop, with Mother's Day and also with many doll pre-orders being delivered for customers from Robert Tonner, Effanbee, Madame Alexander and Ashton Drake. I've been traveling quite a bit, so mea culpa on the neglect I've given this poor blog. In about a month, I've been to Las Vegas, Seattle, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Las Vegas get the idea. Some of the travel has been to promote my new book, the Official Price Guide to Dolls, which has been fantastic. I've had a great reception to the book.

In the shop, we are finally getting the new, lovely Annette Himstedt dolls in, good portions (as mentioned) of the Robert Tonner line, new Only Hearts Club dolls, and just truckloads of the beautiful 2005 Madame Alexander dolls as well. Sometimes I think the back of my store is like a clown car--I don't know how all the dolls keep fitting in!

If you're going to eBay Live! In two weeks, look for me! I'll be the very harried curly-haired human with my store shipping department (husband) in tow. In July, I'll be at the UFDC Doll convetion in Philadelphia, and you can meet me at the Publisher's preview on Thursday night.

If you haven't checked out my Doll Collecting at page lately, don't miss it--we have tons of new content up about dolls in the last few months