What Happened To Polly Pocket?

If you grew up in the late '80s to the early '90s, you might remember the pocket-sized playsets that allowed little girls to create their own little world and run away with their imagination. Polly Pocket was a big hit back then, with children dreaming of owning every playset. It was a new concept that allowed kids to play with a mini dollhouse that they can bring with them wherever they go.

Today, Polly Pocket still exists, although its design is quite different from the original playsets that first came out. As years passed, Polly and the rest of her friends received makeovers that made them more appealing to the next generation. For a while, the toy line was discontinued, but it was relaunched in 2018. To this day, Polly Pocket remains a favorite among little girls. Adults who grew up playing with Polly also collect playsets for the nostalgia they bring.

The history of Polly Pocket

Polly Pocket made its toy store debut in 1989, but it was first created in 1983. A man named Chris Wiggs wanted to create a toy for his 3-year-old daughter Kate, so he made use of a few items available at home to make a tiny dollhouse. Wiggs made use of a makeup powder compact and removed the pressed powder and mirror inside. He then made use of a few materials to create tiny divisions for the rooms of the dollhouse and created a tiny doll to go with it. Kate loved her new dollhouse and best of all, it was small enough to put in her pocket and bring it with her wherever she went (via Love to Know).

Seeing how his daughter enjoyed his creation, Wiggs decided to license the concept years later. That was when Polly Pocket was born. The pocket-sized dollhouses were sold by the England-based toy company called Bluebird Toys and hit toy shelves in 1989.

The original Polly Pocket

The original series of Polly Pocket playsets came in basic shapes, such as the circle, heart, square, and clamshell. They came in vibrant colors and the central character — Polly Pocket — was characterized by her simple smile and her short and curly blond hair. She stood at less than an inch in height and had a circular base for easy attachment on playsets, per Darling Dollz. Children had different sets to choose from, with Polly appearing in various environments, including a house, a ski lodge, a beach hut, and a chapel, among many others.

Polly Pocket had massive sales in its first year, and American toy company Mattel acquired a contract for distribution in the United States. More designs for playsets were added over the years, and eventually, Polly Pocket was expanded to include bigger sets, such as mansions and malls with battery-operated lights and moving parts. Polly Pocket was more successful than ever, and according to 90s Toys, there were more than 300 unique playsets that were released.

Mattel acquired Bluebird Toys

For years, Polly Pocket was one of the best-selling toys for young girls. However, sales dipped in 1997, and Mattel acquired Bluebird Toys the following year. The toy giant made some changes to Polly Pocket's appearance; the characters were made bigger and were created with more details. Collectible items were released as well, according to Love to Know. Furthermore, the option to change clothing was also added, but instead of fabric, the clothes were made of soft rubber that can easily be attached to the dolls.

Later on, Mattel redesigned the clothes and came up with Quik-Clik that included tiny magnets on the clothing for easy attachment to the dolls. However, the new design posed problems for the toy company, as there were reports of children accidentally swallowing the small magnets. This resulted in Mattel recalling 4.4 million Polly Pocket playsets, as reported by CBS News in 2006. More changes were made to the toy line throughout the years, but Mattel eventually decided to discontinue sales in the United States in 2012. It was six years later in 2018 when Polly Pocket was revamped and released once again.

Polly Pocket expansion

The 2018 version of Polly Pocket went back to its roots, but the playsets and dolls were created with more details. The dolls were a bit larger than the original ones and were made of soft plastic that could be bent to different poses and positions (via Mattel).

Apart from the toy collection, Polly Pocket was also expanded to include movies. Three direct-to-video movies were released from 2004 to 2006: "Polly Pocket: Lunar Eclipse," "Polly Pocket 2: Cool at the Pocket Plaza," and "Pollyworld." When Mattel re-released Polly Pocket in 2018, the company also came up with a TV series to accompany the toy line. Episodes are available on the official Polly Pocket YouTube account as well as on Netflix. In the series, Polly Pocket is an inventor who uses a locket that her grandmother gave her in order to shrink to a smaller size and go on countless adventures with her friends.

Polly Pocket collectors

Some girls who grew up playing with Polly Pocket playsets make it a mission to collect the toys that once sparked their imagination. However, most collectors seek the original Polly Pocket sets that were created by Bluebird Toys, which can be difficult to find. There are plenty of sellers who want to get rid of their old Polly Pocket sets, and they may come at a hefty price. That doesn't stop collectors from adding to their collection, though. As reported by Today, several eBay users were able to sell their old Polly Pocket sets for hundreds of dollars. There are even rare sets that fetched thousands of dollars, such as the 1992 Polly Pocket Partytime Stampers playset that was part of the Party 'N Play Collection that was sold for $5,000 (via 7 News).

In 2020, Toy Wizards, Mattel released Polly Pocket Partytime Surprise Keepsake to celebrate the toy's 30th anniversary. The playset was created in its original version, complete with the micro Polly Pocket doll, and as an added treat, a small commemorative magazine was included in the set.