Meet Lottie – a doll to promote better body image

She’s very sweet – JD, 4

This is Lottie. She’s a pretty little thing, 18cm tall with long blonde hair, funky clothes and cute accessories. Aspirational in style she may be, and that’s fine with me, but what she isn’t, what makes her different to almost all the other little dolls on the market, is that her body is based on the proportions of a normal, healthy litle nine-year-old girl.

There are no boobs to be found here. No sexy clothes. No curvy hips and thighs. Her legs wouldn’t make her look like a freakish giraffe-girl hybrid should she be made life size. And I like that. A lot.

Granted, the head is larger than life, of course, but that’s what makes her doll-like and appealing.

Lottie comes in six different styles, each with an adventurous backstory and inquisitive character, from Autumn Lottie (as pictured), who likes “getting muddy, kicking leaves and building dens”, to Lottieville Festival Lottie, who likes “live music, face painting, storytelling, and arts and crafts”.

According to the makers, Arklu:

“Lottie has been developed with scientific expertise from leading British academics, alongside consumer research, to address parental concerns about other fashion dolls including negative body image, an increased perception of premature sexualisation as well as a desire for a return to good old-fashioned creative and imaginative play”

I caught up with Ian Harkin, Managing Director at Arklu to find out more.

A Mummy Too (AMT): Can you tell me a bit more about Arklu?

Ian Harkin (IH): “Arklu are based in London and is wholly owned by Lucie and myself.

“Arklu was formed in 2011. Our first product was the Princess Catherine Engagement doll, which we did as a limited edition 10,000 piece (retailing at £34.95). The doll sold through completely so we began work on the Royal Wedding Dolls as the wedding was taking place. We did another limited edition doll of 10,000 pieces which has practically sold through yet again (retailing at £99.95). We received global coverage on the dolls and had significant sales internationally specifically in the USA. We received a lot of positive feedback on the attention to detail and quality of finish.”

AM: What inspired the Lottie range?

IH: “We decided we wanted to focus Arklu on the fashion doll market. Having reviewed blogs, comments from retail sites, spoken with friends and retailers we realised there was a real gap in the market that wasn’t been served by the current dolls. To give specific direction ,we held focus groups which highlighted key issues such as body image/childhood being missed, products being overly sexual, girls’ products being saturated by the colour pink (we embrace pink but we have introduced many other vibrant colours) etc. Most of all we wanted a doll that embraced good old fashioned British values.”

AM: Can you tell me a bit more about the science behind the design?

IH: “When researching body image, we came across a journal by Dr Margaret Ashwell OBE (former Science Director of the British Nutrition Foundation) that highlighted the negative impact fashion dolls had on a child’s perception of body image. Dr Margaret then put us in touch with Professor David McCarthy (Professor of Nutrition and Health at the Institute for Health Research & Policy, London Metropolitan University) who provided us with the average measurements of a girl aged nine in the UK. We chose the age nine as we wanted our character to be doing activities of a nine year old, not mimicking that of a young adult.”

AM: Why are the dolls’ heads/faces a little larger than in real life?

IH: “Designing the eyes is the most difficult part of designing a doll. We really like Manga style eyes, cuteness is something girls really wanted in our design and the eyes are probably the single most important feature that identifies her character. There is no eyeliner, no extended eyelashes, her eyes are large for the purpose of cuteness but also they are wide open, Lottie wants to discover, use her imagination, be creative and enjoy the outdoors, having large eyes epitomises this.

“From a manufacturing point of view when stitching the hair into a doll the head needs a certain amount of coverage to be able to stitch, plus given the eyes are large the head needs to be increased to fit.”

What Ian told me rings really true. The creators have done a great job of creating a pretty, well-made doll that I would be more than happy to give to my kids. Would you?

Lottie Dolls retail at £16.99.

Disclosure: I was sent a Lottie for the purposes of this piece. No payment was received and all posts are 100% honest and unbiased. 

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  1. Katie says

    I really like the idea and the doll looks lovely, where can I purchase one, my daughters woud love to play with her.

  2. Ronisha says

    Lottie is a pretty doll, hopefully it will make a positive impact on young girls including my cousins who are 7 and 8 yrs old.