So, you ask, “Why Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls?”
The past couple of years have brought many changes to the doll business; the way collectors purchase, how and where collectibles are made and talented doll artists entering the market from all over the world are just a few of those changes. As an artist and businessman, I love progress and the development of the new—but at the same time, I love combing thru the history of the business of dolls. I find it fascinating to study company cultures as well as their life spans. Which brings me to the Nancy Ann Storybook Doll Company.
First, some history. The Nancy Ann Storybook Doll company was incorporated in early 1938. Its owner was Nancy Ann Abbot, an actress and dress designer. She started making dolls to supplement her income during the depression. However, her doll sales began to take on a life of their own and began doing very well during the forties and by the fifties, it’s been reported that her company was making nearly 12,000 dolls a day! Unfortunately, Nancy Ann was diagnosed with cancer in the late fifties and she passed in 1964. The loss of a founder is always a blow to business as it was with Nancy Ann Storybook dolls. In the sixties, the company was purchased by Albert Bourla and the doll production was taken to China. After a few attempts to resurrect the company, it eventually ended up for sale on, of all places—eBay. Although not purchased through eBay, sisters Claudette Buehler and Darlene Budd, Nancy Ann fans, contacted Mr. Bourla and purchased the company in 2003.
History shows that rarely is a doll company able to return from near extinction. However, Claudette and Darlene did everything right. They started with a new sculpt from the immensely talented Dianna Effner. The little six-inch doll is as sweet and delightful as one would expect from Dianna. In addition to the wonderful sculpt, the sisters hired the talented costume designer, Londie Phillips. The result was a lovely little collectible made of porcelain dressed in the finest tiny storybook fashion. Like so many others, I was an immediate fan of the dolls (and of Claudette and Darlene!).
So, fast forward to 2016. Claudette contacted me and, due to personal obligations, advised she was no longer able to give NASD the time nor attention she felt it deserved and asked if I was interested to purchasing the company. Well, suffice to say, I didn’t have to think too long!
Without going into too much detail, I will say that I will continue with the little doll that Dianna sculpted as well as new interpretations of NASD deluxe Style dolls. I can’t wait!
It may seem odd that Nancy Ann is added to our portfolio of dolls for Phyn & Aero. But to me, a new take on a classic is just what P&A needs to round out its selection of collectibles for now and for the future. Stay tuned—it’s going to be fun!