Why Are American Girl Dolls So Expensive? Here’s Why…

Photo by InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you have ever purchased or considered purchasing an American Girl doll for your child, you may have wondered why they are so expensive. There are several reasons that factor into the higher cost of an American Girl doll.

The main reasons American Girl dolls are so expensive are 1) the actual quality of the dolls themselves; 2) their status as a highly customizable specialty item; and finally, 3) the vast variety of must-have accessories available.

If you’re thinking about purchasing an American Girl doll but you’re hesitant because of the high cost, you’ll want to know if they are worth the price. Continue reading to learn in further detail about the reasons these dolls cost more than others so you can make an informed decision.

You can check out the 2020 American Girl Doll available on Amazon, here.

American Girl Dolls Are High-Quality Dolls

The American Girl company creates their dolls using traditional practices no longer used by many dollmaking companies. Because of this, it takes a lot longer to build a doll and prepare it for sale. It can take three to five years to complete the entire design process for one doll, start to finish.

A lot of care goes into designing specific aspects of each American Girl doll, making them superior in quality, including:

  • The hair
  • The eyes
  • The face and skin
  • The body

Want to see what I mean? Check out this cute one on Amazon.

American Girl Dolls Have High-Quality Hair

Unlike most other dolls on the market, the hair on an American Girl doll is literally a doll-sized wig. The process of creating a wig is much more time-consuming than the standard practice of creating rooted hair for a doll. If you were to look closely at the scalp of most other dolls, you’ll notice small holes with hair coming through. Since the American Girl doll is wearing a wig, the hair will have a more realistic appearance.

Having a wig on the American Girl doll brings with it more benefits than just being more lifelike. Just as a woman who wears a wig can style her wig hair, a girl can style the hair on her American Girl doll. The hair can be washed, curled, and even straightened, as it can withstand styling that standard doll hair can not.

The Eyes of American Girl Dolls are Hand Painted

If you compare an American Girl doll to another doll with eyes that can close, you would notice a difference in how they move. The eyes on the American Girl doll have a more fluid movement and they do not produce a sound when they close. On another doll, there may be an audible clicking sound as the eyes close.

Upon closer inspection, you would notice the craftsmanship that goes into the appearance of the eyes on the American Girl doll. The eyes and the eyelids are hand painted; the eyelashes are created separately and hand curled before being attached to the eyes.

The Skin of American Girl Dolls is Specially Formulated

If you touch an American Girl doll’s face, you will notice how realistic the skin feels as opposed to other dolls. The company has created a formula that gives the dolls a skin texture that is just right, not too soft or hard. The significance of this can be likened to leather handbags. If you’ve ever felt the smooth, buttery feel of a genuine leather bag compared to faux leather, you understand why one would cost much more than the other.

The American Girl doll company has perfected the art of natural-looking doll faces by giving the dolls more human characteristics. One prime example is in the shape of the doll’s face. An American Girl doll does not have a perfectly symmetrical face, which is a subtle, yet significant, touch to reflect the lack of symmetry in the human face.

American Girl Dolls Have High-Quality Bodies

To ensure the high quality of the American Girl doll body, the company employs old-fashioned dollmaking techniques that many other companies no longer take the time to use. Each doll has “a neck cord (or zip tie in some cases) that secures her head to her body…” This style of dollmaking is sturdier and helps the doll’s limbs stand up better to movement, so she’ll last longer than the competitor’s dolls.

American Girl Dolls Are A Specialty Item

Photo credit: Scott Richard _ Torbakhopper https://www.flickr.com/photos/32029534@N00/25973402494/

You can customize your own American Girl doll and have it made to your specifications, kind of like a Build-a-Bear (another toy that is known to be pricey). On the doll creation webpage, you’re given an extensive variety of options so your child’s doll is highly likely to be different than any other American Girl doll one of their friends already has. This makes it feel more special, but it does raise the cost.

Specialty items can be found in most every category of things the people do. You see them in activities from Karate to Pen Pal writing. To see the vast array of specialty kicking bags in Karate follow this link to my husbands article. If you would like to see how this affects diaries click this link to read my article.

You Can Customize the American Girl Doll’s Hair

You can select your doll’s hair color, haircut, and hairstyle. The hair color range covers several shades of blond, red, and brunette, even including a light pink. The American Girl doll haircut options offer a variety of lengths and textures which can be topped off with a selected hairstyle such as:

  • Pigtails
  • Ponytails
  • Headbands
  • Different types of bangs

American Girl Doll’s Faces Can Be Customized

The American Girl doll faces don’t all come from the same mold. You can choose one of five face shapes, as well as picking out a skin tone for your doll. A handful of eye colors are offered and you can even choose to have each eye a different color. Dolls can be made with or without freckles, braces, and hearing aids.

You Can Even Change the Doll’s Personality

When creating your American Girl doll online, you get to choose the doll’s name along with other information, like:

  • Her favorite places
  • Her favorite items, like toys or keepsakes
  • What pets she may or may not own

Of course, this won’t affect the construction of the doll, but it’s an extra service they offer in order to help your child really bring the doll to life in their imagination. All of these extra lengths American Girl Dolls go to is part of what makes them a little pricey!

You Can Customize the American Girl Doll’s Outfits and Accessories

You’ll be given a handful of outfits and accessories to choose from when creating your own American Girl doll. Each set has its own theme. Glasses or sunglasses can be added, and you have your choice of whether or not your doll comes with pierced ears. 

Of course, a personalized creation such as the customized American Girl doll takes time to make. They aren’t readily available in mass quantities on store shelves. To get a high-customized American Girl doll like this, you must place your order three weeks before your desired delivery date.

There Are Many Accessories to Go with the American Girl Doll

Once you purchase an American Girl doll, you’ll most likely want to get additional outfits for her. To make the outfit buying experience more unique, American Girl has a Create Your Own Design page where you can design outfits for your doll. The range of accessories goes way beyond clothing though. 

Some of the additional accessories you can purchase for your American Girl doll are listed below, along with our affiliate link to Amazon for your convenience.

Purchasing these accessories to go with the American Girl doll will certainly increase the cost of owning the doll. However, they do enhance the child’s experience and the themed sets can also provide a learning opportunity to delve deeper into the doll’s story. 

American Girl Dolls: A Worthwhile Investment

Photo Credit: Prayitno; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:American_Girl_Place_(Doll_Store)_(4148534057).jpg

When deciding if an American Girl doll is worth the price, you need to consider why they are so expensive. Being aware of the craftsmanship that goes into creating these dolls helps to explain why they cost more than many other dolls. 

If you want a doll that is high-quality, long-lasting, and highly customizable, you probably understand that superior quality comes with a cost. If you decide to buy an American Girl doll, once you see her up close, you will surely be impressed with how well-made she is.

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