I’m just back and processing everything from Toy Fair. I always enjoy wandering the halls and seeing so many wonderful toys, games, dolls, and accessories. But what I like best about Toy Fair is the People I Meet. It’s easy, in the toy aisles of whatever massive store we’re shopping in, to forget the people. After all, the toys are mass-produced, and often over-packaged. They’re licensed and heavily marketed. There is little reminder that behind each and every toy on those shelves is at least one person – often many – with a story. So that’s what I love most. I love hearing the stories and meeting the people and seeing the love and passion behind some really wonderful toys.
I met Rita in the massive lobby of the Javits Center. She was going one way and I was going another. She paused as she walked by and looked at me as if we knew each other. I felt the same way and, uncharacteristically, asked if we had met before. As far as either of us know, we haven’t, but sometimes you just recognize a kindred spirit in passing.
I was with a fellow blogger, who introduced us and explained Rita’s story. Through the long process of recovering from cancer, Rita began sewing “Pocket People,” small dolls made from socks and found bits of cloth. Each one was different and special and she told me that people who requested one didn’t get to choose what they got. I loved her story and the idea of adopting whatever Pocket People came your way long before I ever saw any of her creations.
The Pocket People booth was small, but colorful and fun. When I arrived, Rita handed me a Pocket People… her namesake. With wild hair, the doll reminded me of my LadyBug, full of personality and life. She showed me the full line of dolls, explaining many of their stories, and then I got to look at some of the original Pocket People. You can see that they are made with love. When another booth visitor suggested that she employ more green materials to reach the eco-friendly crowd, Rita mentioned that although she strongly believes in being eco-conscious, the line is really about people loving each other. Indeed, each of the dolls is embroidered with a heart and the phrase, “Love Wins.”
Rita asked me to keep the little Rita Pocket People, which is good, because I had become pretty attached to her! Pocket People retail between $10-12. They’re still a new company and may not be easy to find, but I’m hoping that will change after Toy Fair. You can find more info about the company at Pocket People Avenue.
Here’s my little Rita on the train ride home…