Writing to Pleasant Company

If you are unhappy about the dicontinuations of accessories in the Historical American Girls line, especially AG's total lack of advanced notice, take action! Companies can only survive if they make and sell what their customers want. When customers write to a company, it tells them what people like and don't like about the company. If we want to see the discontinued items become available again, we have to let Pleasant Company know how we feel. Here are some tips for letter writing, and below is a sample letter written by me as well as some letters written by other members of the Society.

Here is the address to Pleasant Company:
Pleasant Company
P. O. Box 620190
Middleton, WI 53562-0190


Tips:


Sample Letter (written 2002):

Dear Pleasant Company,

I am a huge American Girl fan, and I especially love the Historical American Girls. I was a fan at age six, which was when Pleasant Company began. I loved the books and dearly wanted a Samantha doll. My parents encouraged me to save up my own money for the doll. That is what I did, and I was finally able to buy Samantha after a year and a half of saving. That was quite an accomplishment for an eight year old who only got 50 cents for an allowance! It took me eight more years, but I completed Samantha's collection, and now I am working on Addy's collection. I am excited every time new books, accessories, and historical characters are introduced. I hope to be able to share my love of American Girl with a daughter in the future.

Because I am such an avid fan and collector, I was extremely disappointed to find out in 2001 that many of the accessories for the Historical American Girls were being discontinued. All the dolls' outfits and accessories are lovely, and I had hoped to collect indefinitely, but I probably will not do so now. I will not be able to buy many of the accessories I loved and grew up dreaming about, and if I begin another doll's collection, I will never know if suddenly her accessories will be discontinued and I will not be able to complete her collection.

The secondary market for American Girl accessories is relatively slim. That makes sense when you consider that most of those who purchase American Girl dolls and accessories purchase them either for themselves to keep or for daughters, granddaughters, nieces, etc. who will also keep and treasure them for years to come. Unlike with Beanie Babies, few people buy American Girl accessories with the intention of reselling them. That means it will be nearly impossible to find these discontinued accessories in the future, and if they are found, they will be outrageously expensive. I recently found someone selling Felicity's Needlework Kit and Frame for $140.

Good companies listen to their customers. I'm sure I speak for many dedicated American Girl collectors when I say, "Please make these discontinued accessories available again." Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Ann K.

A good place to leave letters is planetfeedback.com. This is a great way to write to Pleasant Company, because it requires no stamps, it is quick, Pleasant Company still responds, and best of all, you can choose to make your letter a "shared" letter so that other people can read it, too.



Letter from Susan R:

Dear Pleasant Company,

I have had the priveledge of purchasing glorious items from your catalog since I was 8 when I received my first American Girls Collection doll, Samantha. I am now 21 and have just purchased Kit. She is my absolute favorite. I do hope there will be more added to her collection soon; I look forward to seeing more of Kit's unique items. Bravo to you all for making a doll with short hair and freckles!

Your products seem to be getting better and better all the time. There is such a selection to choose from; either from the American Girls Collection or the American Girl of Today collection. I am, however, disappointed that certain items are being discontinued from the historical American Girls collection. Such items that I wished to have collected one day are becoming hard to find and are selling for ridiculous prices on sites such as ebay. In the latest catalog I became especially worried when it was informed that Felicity would not be appearing in the catalog anymore, just on the website. Is this because there is a lack of space in the catalog or is SHE retiring? This indeed would be my greatest disappointment. My opinion is that the more items and dolls in the historical collection the better!

Please consider how the discontuation of certain items will effect your customers. So many of us love your company and we all hope to continue collecting.

Sincerely,

Susan R.



Letter from Meg:

Dear Pleasant Company,

I would like to begin by saying I have been an American Girl fan since the company was first formed so many years ago. I was only about seven years old when I saw your first catalog and I remember being so amazed that there could be such nice dolls. I grew up at a time when my only options for dolls were Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids, so I had My Little Ponies. Much of the charm I found within the American Girl dolls came from the attention to the little details in each of their collections. Everything was so nice and every possible item a doll could possibly want was included, from painting sets to pots of honey. However, now many of these items have been discontinued.

When I got my first doll, Molly, at age ten, I had so much fun playing with her clothes and little accessories to act out her stories. It makes me sad to think that little girls growing up today will never know that Addy had a puppet theater or that Felicity had a sampler (which I thought was great because girls had a chance to make the sampler themselves). When it comes to the retired school book sets, I especially feel that your company has made a drastic mistake. Pleasant Company talks about being an educative company that encourages reading and knowledge, yet these very items have been removed from some of the collections. As I flip through an old catalog from the late 90's I notice that many of the recently discontinued items relate to arts and craft activities as well as schooling.

While I realize that these items may not be your best sellers, I know there are people out there who would still love to buy many of these items, I am one of them. Would it be possible to stock these items in limited quantities? I can assure you that people would buy them. If you check ebay.com you will see that people have been buying, for over one hundred dollars, the very items you thought were poor sellers and which originally sold for around just twenty dollars in your catalog. It seems to me that there is still a pretty good sized demand for these items.

Now, after ten years of happy experiences with your company there are a few things that begin to worry me since your merger with Mattel. I was very disappointed to see the new mini dolls that have so much of a Barbie influence to them. Fortunately I bought all of the pre-Kit mini dolls before the style change. My mini Kit, however, is very unsatisfying. Since her hair is rooted it sticks straight up and looks ridiculous and her eyes make her seem less like a mini American Girl and more like a Barbie. I do not think I am alone in saying that I would much rather pay a little extra for the original glass-eyed dolls with wig hair than pay less for the Barbie "wanna-be's."

While I intend to be a loyal customer for as long as this company is in business, hopefully long enough to enjoy with a daughter of my own someday, I also hope that this company is not loosing sight of what Ms. Rowland originally set out to do in the mid 80's when she created a doll company that for the first time spoke to young girls who wanted more out of their dolls than just a cheep clothing model. For many women, including myself, who were some of the first to purchase American Girl dolls the magic we experienced while gazing through the catalog and playing with our dolls has not yet worn off. Much of this magic also stems from the outstanding quality of your dolls and their accessories and if ensuring the continuation of that quality means paying a little extra, that's fine with me. I just hope that little girls today are experiencing this same magic. I feel that most of your products are well worth the price and I hope that I along with all of your many customers are not let down in the future. So in concluding I hope you will consider reinstating the retired items, which seem to leave many of the collections very empty looking, as well as improve the quality of the mini dolls.

Thank you for you time,

Meg



Letter from Angela:

Dear Pleasant Company,

Hello, my name is Angela, and I've been a faithful fan of the American Girls Collection since I was 8 years. I'm now 20, and the dolls and their items are still on my wantlist for birthdays and Hannukah. In fact, just last year, I got Kit, my 5th AG, for my 19th birthday. I adore her and her stories. I've written you many times in the past and have saved responses dating back to about 94. I remember when I was in my early teens, I wrote several times bemoaning that I had grown older than the target age. American Girls have fueled my love of historical American culture since third grade.

I just wanted to write again to say how much I still love the dolls, although admittedly, I sometimes miss the days when the collection wasn't quite so large and extensive. The older catalgues were classier. Like many others who have written you, I too am saddened by the discontination of items that have been with the collection since the beginning. I understand that there are now so many things that discontinuations are neccessary, but there are items that were on my wish list for a long time that I'll never be able to get.

I noticed a few years ago that all the illustrations in the Samantha books had been redone. Do you know why they did that? I much prefer the originals.

At any rate, I have continued to be pleased with the products I have purchased or received as gifts from American Girl. Thankfully, I haven't seen any slide in quality. I hope I get to go to American Girl Place one day, even if I'm the only 20 something year old carrying around a doll! hehe. Samantha accompanied me in the apartment I stayed in while on an internship at Walt Disney World last spring, and Kit joined me in my dorm room at college.

Is there anything you can tell me about what's in store for Anerican Girl in the coming years, or is it all top secret? I'm looking forward to "meeting" Kaya in the fall. (the dolls are taking over my room!) Fellow AG fans have snooped around places like Amazon.com and come up with Kaya book titles that don't follow the traditional format. I'm very curious about this. And there are rumors that all 6 of her books will be ready at the same time.

Will we get to see any activity books for Kit such as cookbooks, craftbooks, and theatre kits? Will there continue to be a new historical AG every few years? I'm still waiting for my Jewish girl from the past!

Now that the original American Girl fans are heading towards adulthood, it would be so nice to have some sort of commemorative item to celebrate that first generation.

Thanks for taking the time to read my letter.
Sincerely,

Angela



Letter from Greta H:

Dear Pleasant Company,

I had to write to you to tell you how my girls and I feel about the American Girl dolls - especially the historical dolls. We are fairly new to the line, having only learned about it 5 years ago from my sister-in-law who sent my then two-year-old daughter a Bitty Baby for Christmas. Since then, we have loved receiving the catalogs and pouring over the accessories and outfits and wishing for them all. After my next daughter was born and grew older, she joined us in drooling over the beautiful pictures and wishing for one of her own.

I love the idea of having dolls with stories from different time periods that my children can learn from as well as play with. I find the period accessories practically irresistible - especially Felicity's, since the Revolutionary time period is one of my personal favorites. My daughters love to pretend and I am glad that they have accurate stories on which to base their play. It also encourages them to read and to create even more stories for their dolls. This is unique among toys for children today.

For Christmas 2000, my daughters each received one after wanting them for so long - Josephina for the older and Felicity for the younger. For each successive birthday and holiday, they ask for and receive another outfit or accessory from each doll's collection. They spend long hours reading the catalogs, trying to decide which item they want next more than the others, because they want to have the entire collection. These items are treasured above all their other toys.

I was struck by the quality of the dolls and outfits when they arrived. I'd never seen such beautiful dolls before. I started to plan so that I could have my own set of the historical dolls - something that surprised me because I didn't play with dolls much as a child. I've also joined a couple of online clubs that collect, play with and enjoy historical and modern American Girl dolls. I'm becoming very attached to these dolls. I recently acquired a AG of Today and she is as wonderful as the others.

I am writing today because yesterday we received the fall catalog that introduced Kaya. My girls grabbed it out of my hands and sat on their bed until my 7 year-old had read the Kaya descriptions and story outlines out loud twice. They've even started discussing how they will tell each other's Kaya's apart after they get them for Christmas.

But then my 5-year-old went to find Felicity's page to see how the horses were different (she loves horses above all other animals). She started sobbing when I told her that Felicity wasn't in the catalog any more. There were all the other dolls, but not hers. It was as if Felicity had died. It broke her heart to not have Felicity there, to see the items she's been wishing for and to read about any new things had been made for her. She cried for a long time. The fact that we could still see her on the website made no difference. I didn't have the heart to tell her that some of the items she's been wishing and waiting for were no longer available - indeed, some of the items that are on my wish list are also on the retired list.

I've heard that Felicity is not in the catalog, and that various accessories from all the historical dolls are being retired because there is no room in the catalog or warehouses now that there are more items such as the AG mini's and the AG Gear. I'm extremely disappointed to see the items that I found unique and wonderful being crowded out of the line that made American Girl dolls famous. It was devastating to my girls. My older daughter is now wondering if Josephina will disappear next. What was once a source of dreams and wishes and valuable lessons of patience, saving, and anticipation has become a source of sorrow and concern as they see things that they are afraid won't be there when we can afford them.

Please consider bringing back the retired items, even in small quantities. They may not be big sellers, but I can assure you that they will be treasured when they arrive at our home. Also, please put Felicity back in the catalog - or make a separate historical girl catalog if the general catalog is getting unwieldy. I'm sure that my daughter was not the only heartbroken girl after the catalog came out. Please bring back the wonderful anticipation of the next catalog, the excitement of finding new historical friends while keeping up with the old friends and their accessories, and the dreaming of the next birthday or holiday when we know that a box from Pleasant Company awaits us with someone or something we've longed for.

Sincerely,

Greta H.



Letter from Elizabeth M:

Dear Pleasant Company,

I have been very dissappointed at your recent retirements of many Felicity items. Felicity is a huge part of history, and I feel that you will go as far as discontinuing the doll soon. This is upsetting many A.G. collectors. With adding on lines such as A.G. Minis and Angelina Ballerina, and retiring historical products, you are taking away from the educational goals that American Girl was founded on. Felicity is an important part of our past, please do not retire her completely.

Your loyal collector,

Elizabeth M.



Letter from Judy S:

Dear American Girl,

As someone who has enjoyed dolls since I was a little girl, I fell in love the first time I saw your catalog a year ago. Although I am the mother of three teen and preteen boys (who, needless to say, have given me no excuse to buy dolls!), last December I ordered my first American Girl doll -- Felicity.

I was delighted with Felicity. Her clothes are beautiful, and the fact that the clothes and accessories are historically researched and accurate made me want to collect them all. I decided that I would gradually buy all of her things, and then I would start collecting other American Girl historical dolls. I even arranged to visit American Girl Place while visiting a university in the area with my son.

However, I was startled to learn from your mailings that Felicity was no longer going to be featured in your catalog. By the time I went to your store last April, I had decided to skip my plan of acquiring all her things gradually and buy all of her dresses, since I was afraid that they would become unavailable. Sadly, many of her clothes were already unavailable. Since then, more and more of Felicity's clothing and accessories have gone out of circulation. My only choices are to have an incomplete collection or to pay astronomical prices for retired items on eBay.

I urge you to bring back all of Felicity's line. I have spoken with many other American Girl collectors, and there is a big market out there for Felicity's items. Even more significantly, I am beginning to lose faith in your company. I had planned to collect many more of your dolls, but I will not get myself into this position again - it changes a delightful hobby into a stressful one. So much of the magic of American Girl doll collecting is based on trust - that the items will remain available; that they will continue to be of exemplary quality; and that you will value your customers. Sadly, you have begun to lose my trust. Please restore it by standing behind your products.

Sincerely,

Judy S.



Letter From Molli Marshall:

Dear Pleasant T. Rowland,

I'd like to offer a suggestion about selection to help improve your relationship with consumers. As a retailer, I know you take consumer opinion seriously. I hope this will be of some benefit to your company. My suggestion concerns a purchase I made at this location: americangirl.com.

I have recently purchased American Girl dolls for my two daughters to receive for Christams this year. They will be getting Kaya and Kit. Along with the dolls, I purchased some accessories, both historical and from the American Girl of Today collection.

I am excited to be starting a collection for my children that is both educational and entertainment. The historical doll line, especially the books, is a fantastic way for them to learn about times that seem so unrealistic to them. Yet these times are critical in the history of our country.

As Americans we have found a new sense of patriotism after all that's happened in our country this past year. Now, more than ever, it's so important to share that with the next generation. And your company has a brillant way of doing so.

Please consider reemphasizing your historical collection. Based on the catalog contents, in which the historical line made up a mere 35%, I conclude your company projects growth in other lines. I urge you to reconsider this decision. Together we can give the children of our nation a wealth of valuable information.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Molli Marshall



Letter from Heather L:

Dear Ms. Rowland,

I discovered American Girl when I became ill in 2000. I had always been and continue to be a doll collector. These dolls were not toys to me, they were historical keys that opened the past.

My first doll was Molly McIntire and we were lucky. I was able to collect her wardrobe, but her accessories disappeared before my eyes. I long to have her ear drop medicine, tartan suitcase, and that coveted blue bicycle. My second doll was Kit. Again, I was lucky. This time, collecting was very stressful and not joyous as I kept a chart and ensured that her bed, nightstand, Robin Hood book, bathing suit, baseball outfit, and Hobo clothes and accessories were bought together even though I could not afford it at the time and lost some college tuition collecting her.

Still ill, I was drawn into the world of American Girl. Everything fascinated me and I yearned for Addy. As soon as I began, I lost her uniform, celebration dress, lunch pail, and school accessories, not to mention everything else that identified Addy Walker as a character. I am left with an incomplete collection. Same with Kirsten. The first lunchbox was solid wood, mine came in a cheap plastic. I am embarrassed to say as sick I was, I cried at the decline in quality. Kaya is incomplete. I never even touched her shawl or jingle dresses. They were available for only a blink. Josefina never will never have her cuaderno (notebook) or libra (pen).

Today, my disease is progressive and American Girl dolls, no doubt, have gotten me and my mom through the worst of it with comfort and joy. However, everything changed in 2011. Kanani was so popular, my father had to attach the price of the doll and clothes to medical bills. I HATE secrets and surprises. Marie-Grace and Cecile-Rey came upon our family with no warning, just a pre-order date. My parents, knowing I cherished even the photo of Marie-Grace, took advantage of something we'd never seen before. A sale! And I was able to own her collection. But, she is my last. When I bought Rebecca Rubin to celebrate our Jewish heritage, collecting was fun and slow, choosing what would be next, savoring each delivery. McKenna Brooks was such a backordered disaster that I returned the doll with no regrets. I cannot become that strung out. Now Caroline Abbott (a name possibly affiliated with the 2012 Historical release) is shown to me in a ghost form. Did this new marketing come from the beanie baby mentality? WHY can't we see her photo? If you cannot get in from the ground up and be wealthy enough in this economy to afford everything in the collection, don't bother. Too much emphasis is given to the MAG dolls from ear piercing to grand pianos and spa bathrooms. The effort in catalogs goes to the MAGS while the historicals barely get a half page. I never had a chance to own Samantha and the mini dolls look like Barbie's baby sister, Kelly.

This company has changed and not for the better. If Molly leaves this December, I leave with her.

Heather L.



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