I am really loving that Natalie’s swim meets have been in fun places recently and have given us the opportunity to take in some extra doll goodness along with her swim. If you remember, a few weeks ago we ended up at the American Girl store at Tysons after one of her meets and Saturday we realized that The Toy Shoppe was only 15 minutes from the pool she was at.  The Toy Shoppe is a unique store that is owned by award winning doll retailers Danny and Barrie Shapiro and their family since 1975. Their store has collectible dolls and bears for every age and price range – from less than $50 to well into the thousands of dollars. However, that is not what makes The Toy Shoppe special – it is the incredible collection of dolls they select for their customers that is what sets them apart. They don’t work with just any doll maker or artist – they are very selective.

The Toy Shoppe gallery

When we arrived at The Toy Shoppe we were greeted by Kathy who welcomed us and instantly made us feel at home. She gave us the basic overview of the store and showed us the Gallery. The dolls in the gallery are so special and so expensive that I know for a fact I will never own one, but they were simply amazing to look at. Some were very life-like and others somewhat artistic and abstract, some you wanted to just scoop up and others Natalie thought were a little creepy, but that is the thing about dolls – their appeal is so individualized and there is something for everyone.

R. John Wright Paddington Bear

This is a Paddington Bear by R. John Wright that was made in 2000. He is 15″ tall and fully poseable. I have loved Paddington ever since I was a child and this has to be one of the most divine Paddington Bear’s I have seen yet. Most of R. John Wright’s creations are inspired by popular children’s books, illustrations and stories. They are licensed and R. John Wright goes to extreme lengths to capture every last detail in his work.

Madame Alexander Wizard of Oz

The Toy Shoppe carries quite a bit of Madame Alexander – from the play doll line up to the most collectible items. I just had to take a picture of the Madame Alexander Wizard of Oz dolls as Natalie just got the miniature versions of these from Aunt Kay last week.

Madame Alexander Cissy dolls

Some of the Madame Alexander Cissy dolls including A Dark Dream Cissy, Envy Cissy and Simply Irresistible Cissy – and of course, an 18″ Favorite Friends doll, too. While Natalie and I were checking out the Madame Alexander’s and the Steiff bears, we met Dana. Dana manages The Toy Shoppe Facebook page and I had left her a note the day before saying we would be down to visit. She was so much fun to talk to and so knowledgeable as well.

The Toy Shoppe

We continued to make our way around the store – completely overwhelmed by the diversity of dolls, bears and plush animals – as well as the incredible talent that went into making so many of the dolls. This photo shows that diversity.

Barrie - The Toy Shoppe

Barrie, one of the stores owners, also came out to talk with us and show us around the store. This is a photo of a small piece of Barrie’s desk. Her entire office was DOLLS, DOLL, BEARS, DOLLS, and more, you guessed it, DOLLS. I’m not sure I could work in there – I’d want to play all day, but it did actually inspire me to look at my own desk and how I can rearrange things to showcase more of my own growing collection and have all those sweet little faces keeping me company all day.

Helen Kish Flying Raven

Barrie introduced me to the dolls of Helen Kish. This is High Flying Raven, a 14″ ball jointed doll with 13 points of articulation. I just fell in love with this doll – especially her face, but Helen’s version of the aviator outfit on her is just adorable. High Flying Raven is $340, which is a bit out of my price range for the time being, but it is nice to know that The Toy Shoppe can do payment plans in case there is a doll you just have to add to your collection.

R. John Wright Alice in Wonderland

Barrie showed us more of the R. John Wright collection and they are truly lifelike renditions of the original – possibly even better. This is Alice in Wonderland. She is not the Disney-fied cartoony version, rather more like the original artist drawings. Every detail – down to the stripes in her socks – are created with care. Isn’t she something?

I forgot to get the name of this lifesize cutie – but she is just another example of what I mean by there is something for everyone at The Toy Shoppe.

Sonja Hartmann Tinka

The Toy Shoppe carries play dolls too – from the Adora 4 Ever Friends line to the jr. collector line by Sonja Hartmann called Kidz’nCats. This is Tinka from the Kidz’nCats line. They are 18″ slim body dolls very similar to the Carpatina slim body line. They have gorgeous facial features, including the longest eyelashes ever. The Carpatina slim body dolls can move their heads as well as their arms and legs, but the Kidz’nCats dolls are articulated so they can bend in many more places. We fell in love with one of Tinka’s friends – Galina – and brought her home. We will be doing a post just on Galina with some great side by sides of the other 18″ dolls, too.

You can see more photos from our visit on the DollDiaries Facebook page.

I would like to thank Barrie, Danny, Dana and especially Kathy (as she and Natalie did quite a bit of doll talk on their own) for such a warm welcome and tour of their gem of a store! I look forward to our next visit!