Grace Thomas was a great selling doll. I know. I saw sales of her during my couple thousand (no, I'm joking) times at AGP Charlotte and my one times each at AGP Los Angeles and AGP Orlando that were really good. I bought her three times (one for myself, one for charity and one for eBay in a couple of years). Everybody loved her. But one day at the American Girl Brainstorm Room, one person said, "Oh my goodness! Grace is selling so good! Let's make next year's GOTY travel out of the country, too!" And so Lea was born. And I am not the first to say that she is adorable. But is it just me, or Lea isn't selling well?
I know for myself. I go to the AGP Charlotte with my dad every week on Saturdays. When I went on Saturdays in 2015, I always observed the Grace section (and I always observe the Lea section too!). When I peeked, there was always like, 10 girls buying Grace dolls, and tons more at the doll hair salon/bistro/getting carried around. Now, I notice that there are only a few Leas getting carried around, none at the doll hair salon and about one to two at the bistro. And if there is a doll purchase, it's a Truly Me or a BeForever gang. I only see a Lea getting picked out once every 4-5 visits. And that is zero. I know that Saturday mornings aren't the AGP's peak (I mean, getting up at 10 am to visit the AGP isn't the average person's favorite thing!), but I think Lea is less popular.
And my verdict why? She's too similar to other GOTYs.
As noted in this collage, Lea and Grace look like the only relationship they could have are friends, classmates, or maybe even one of those cousins that they never heard about. But, their story is a bit similar. AG's big theme for Lea's collection is Lea's Brazil vacation, and AG's theme for Grace's is her Paris vacation. So, pretty much someone wasn't creative in the AG Brainstorm Room leading to this disaster of a GOTY money train. Plus, they both have snack stands (but Lea's is a bit more healthier, hint hint.)
Look at the left section of the collage above. Now, look at this image of Kanani. They are pretty similar, and Kanani was flying from the shelves. No kidding. Anything that is Hawaiian flies off the shelves. (Not saying this would be a good idea for another GOTY, AG.) In both looks and collection. Yeah, the shave ice stand and the fruit stand.
And Jess. Yeah, the kayak was Jess's first. And she went to Belize.
Lookwise. Isabelle's her story thief.
So, in conclusion, Lea's not a good seller. But, it's not just Lea. American Girl's sales overall have been dropping since 2013, and the Girl of the Year plays a huge role in the sales. My verdict again: The Girls of the Year have been too similar. Here's a bit of data that shows elements the GOTYs have been borrowing since 2013.
SAIGE (2013): Red, curly hair, freckles, Classic mold and love for horses (plus horse) from Nicki and art love from Chrissa.
ISABELLE (2014): Blond hair, hazel eyes and Classic mold from Lanie, dance love (plus 20 ballet outfits) from Marisol.
GRACE (2015): Brown hair, blue eyes, freckles and side bangs from Lindsey, Josefina mold from Chrissa, international vacation from Jess and shave ice stand (reworked into a pastry cart) from Kanani. LEA (2016): Above.
So, here's a informercial to American Girl: "Hi, people who work at a AGP who read this blog! Tell your bosses to tell their boss to e-mail email@example.com to have a great selling Girl Of The Year. You are welcome."