Like most little girls, Kayla Schubert has a favorite doll. She talks to it, reads to it, rocks it to sleep. What's different, almost eerie, is the face of that doll; it looks remarkably like her own.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then My Twinn, a company that makes dolls in the image of real-life girls, is on to something big.For $130 - more if you want matching play outfits, party dresses and beauty accessories - the dollmaker based in Littleton, Colo., will produce a 23-inch clone of your child.
Working from photographs and personal profiles, My Twinn matches facial shape, skin tone and eyes. Distinguishing features like moles and wayward freckles are added, then the doll's hair is cut, styled and blown dry.
Kayla's father, Steven, may be overstating the case just a tad when he pronounces the idea for this doll "better than sliced bread."
But there's no denying his daughter's fondness for her instant twin. Schubert and his wife gave her the doll in December for her sixth birthday; the two have rarely parted company since. The doll goes to restaurants, to stores, to school, anywhere Kayla goes.
Of the 30-plus dolls that have taken up residence in the bedroom of Kayla's Bellevue, Wash., home, this one is prized above all.
" 'Cause it looks like me," Kayla says.
The doll and matching playsuits - one for Kayla, one for the Twinn - cost $150, roughly the same price as a kid-size Princess Barbie.
But Schubert figures it's money well spent. "It's the idea of having something unique," he says, ". . . like your child."
That novelty is also driving consumer requests for My Twinn strollers, backpacks, car seats and high chairs, none of which is currently available. So children and their parents must improvise.
Seven-year-old Alexandra Lapwood insisted that her father build a bed for her new twin, so he crafted one from plywood. But that's no longer good enough. Her doll is very special - deserving, she thinks, of a fancy, four-poster bed.
My Twinn, which has sold the dolls nationally for two years, designed them primarily for girls 3 to 12. A version for boys will be available in the fall. There also is a special line for moms called "When She Was Young," that immortalizes mothers in their preteen years. Those dolls are often ordered with a special stand because, as company spokesman Dave Liggett explains, "If you're getting one for your mother, she's probably going to display it, not play with it."