Graduating high school was no big deal. Turning eighteen didn’t phase me. Even moving 2,000 miles across the country and starting a new life was oddly easier than I anticipated…but realizing that I am now an adult and it’s no longer acceptable to spend hours watching Disney movies was when the harsh reality of growing up sunk in. In the spirit of reminiscing and my love for public relations, here are the three brands that ultimately ruled my childhood.
1. American Girl Doll
American Girl knows exactly who their target audience is: four to ten-year-old girls. And boy, did they know how to appeal to me! Customers have the choice between a historical doll with a story, a look-alike doll, or the special edition “doll of the year.” All sit at a pricy $100+, not including extra outfits and accessories. Personally, I had three dolls: Molly, Jess (doll of the year 2006), and Kit. Hours were spent admiring the American Girl catalog and reading the magazine. I had my hair chopped to match Kit’s blonde bob, and we got matching pajamas and Christmas dresses. My family and I even visited the American Girl store in Chicago and had a tea party with special doll chairs, flatware, and food. Even though all of the accessories and activities sound a little ridiculous, each doll comes with a story and a meaningful lesson. Many of the American Girl books taught me about friendship and kindness. Today, American Girl Doll is still thriving, although it is not near as popular as it once was due to an increase in children’s electronic entertainment as opposed to physical toys.
2. Limited Too
Limited Too was a clothing brand that had everything a seven-year-old girl could want: gauchos, sparkly tops, and rhinestoned flip-flops. I begged my mom to buy me Limited Too everything. It was literally glitter heaven! Sadly, this brand did not survive past the 2000s. Limited Too was rebranded into ‘Justice: Just for Girls‘ in 2009, featuring many of the same dazzling outfits and accessories. While I made the switch to shopping at Justice it was never the same. Justice still remains popular among young girls today.
Whether it was dressing up as a character for Halloween or visiting a theme park, Disney has a special place in almost every child’s heart. In fact, I am a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic. I had six Disney princess-themed birthday parties throughout my childhood and watched at least three to four Disney movies per week. It didn’t stop once I grew older. Disney Channel took a new role in my life and I became invested in the characters of That’s So Raven, Hannah Montana, and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. They even released original movies that still resonate with me today like High School Musical. Disney is only growing stronger from here, as they recently purchased the Star Wars franchise and are expanding their influence in all areas of our lives. Not much has changed and I still remain an avid Disney fan (and new Disneyland annual pass holder!)
Though it’s bittersweet to recognize the fact that I’m no longer a child, I’m grateful for the childhood these brands provided me with and eager to pass them on to my own children one day.