November 4, 1998 5:15 PM PST
Build your own Barbie online
Toy giant Mattel, manufacturer of Barbie dolls, is offering a customizable version of the blond bombshell, called "Friend of Barbie," via a new Web site.
Users can order a Barbie doll tailored to their personal preferences. They can decide what color hair, eyes, and skin Barbie will have, and choose her hairstyle, clothing, and accessories.
They also can pick from among several Barbie personality options.
Barbie buyers visiting the site can create a profile for the icon doll by choosing where she lives, her career, her hobbies, and her birthday. Their final selections are detailed on an ownership certificate included with their order.
Such details might seem insignificant to those who don't understand The Barbie Mystique. But they are not lost on collectors of America's favorite plastic girl, who shell out big bucks for her many incarnations.
Just last month, for example, a Baltimore woman filed a $200,000 lawsuit over a Barbie she had purchased from an Internet-based doll business. Apparently the doll's hair did not meet the woman's standards. In the end, the $1,800 she paid for the doll was not refunded, nor was she awarded any damages.
Mattel's new service is limited to Barbie fans who are at least 18 years of age. Barbies ordered on the site are shipped within six to eight weeks, and cost $39.95.
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