bon-bons for your brain
Release date: Apr 2, 2019
Are you craving something sweet?
Something that will make you laugh and think and feel like you made a new friend?
sneak peek essay: unboxing barbie
I’m not embarrassed to admit that I have long been a fan of Barbie. I worked in the fashion industry, and while that doesn’t make it a given, it doesn’t make it a surprise either. I have fond memories of sitting by the side of Crestwood pool, dressing up my dolls for whatever occasion were deemed the activities of the day. These are the clearest memories that demonstrate my early interest in apparel.
Several years ago, Mattel introduced a new line of collectible Barbies. I was the lingerie buyer for a high fashion specialty store at the time, and the first in the series was the Lingerie Barbie, and, well, I couldn’t NOT own her. In both blonde and brunette. It was the beginning of a collection.
Those two dolls were perfection, packaged in a long white box, nestled in filmy tissue paper that was secured with a gold ribbon (a shout out to designer Robert Best - genius!) and because of a typo on the front of the box that Mattel’s team didn’t catch before the production run, the dolls skyrocketed in value–shooting to upwards of ten times their purchase price within the first few months. I tucked them away in a closet, knowing they were there, but dared not look at them too often lest I somehow affect their intrinsic value. I occasionally added a new one in to the lot, but that’s where the collection remained for years. Tucked away in the closet.
Then one night, while I was packing for a trip, a pipe burst in that hall closet and icky, murky, smelly water from the air conditioning unit spilled down over my belongings. The Barbies got tsunamied. As fast as I could, I pulled things out to survey the damage. Sure enough, the boxes were destroyed.
I’m not gonna lie; tears were shed.
But then a small part of me remembered those days when Barbie went swimming in her super stylish late seventies bathing suit at Crestwood. Barbie was resilient. And I realized that the only thing that was ruined here was the box. Toys in their boxes are more valuable than not, and the only reason I cared about the box was the value it added because of the typo. But what was really valuable to me was the doll inside. So I did what every collector dreams of doing. I unboxed the Barbies.
It was going on two in the morning when I sat on the floor, surrounded by a small army of beauties. They’d been rinsed clean of any residual air conditioning leak, towel-dried as best as I could, and positioned on the doll stands that came with them. It was a moment of euphoria.
It was time to stop hiding that which I valued the most and start appreciating it. It was time to recognize that there were things that I had shoved in my own closet: talents, ideas, creativity, instincts, that I wanted to use more frequently. It was time to stop hiding the valuables and stick them out in the open where they became a part of my everyday life.
Now my Barbies sit on display shelves. Every once in awhile, but not too often, I buy a new one and unbox it. They remind me of the importance of appreciating what I have.