Precious Moments doll is exclusive to Dole


POSTED: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Precious Moments collectors are among those descending upon Dole Plantation for a 12-inch hula doll named Makana, which means “;gift”; in Hawaiian.

It was designed exclusively for Dole Plantation, which also sells other dual-branded merchandise, including Hello Kitty apparel.

Makana holds a Dole “;Tropical Gold”; pineapple; is dressed in a two-piece, pineapple-print costume; and is bedecked in yellow, orange, and green leis and sandals. Made of vinyl but intended more for display than child's play, Makana retails for $32.

The Precious Moments collection of bisque porcelain and resin figurines and ornaments and vinyl dolls — at least in the U.S. — has largely eclipsed the Hummel figurines that were so popular in the late 1960s to the early 1970s. There are also calendars, pens, tote bags and all forms of other merchandise in the Precious Moments brand.

“;I knew they were popular,”; but the response was even better than anticipated by Kara Gorgonio, buyer for Dole Plantation and the Castle & Cooke resorts on Lanai.

Some 100,000 people belong to Precious Moments Collector Clubs around the world, according to its Web site.

Gorgonio got an inkling of just how passionate collectors are when Makana debuted at a doll signing by Precious Moments designer Linda Rick on Oct. 18 at Dole Plantation.

It was promoted on the Precious Moments Web site and, to a lesser degree, locally.

Gorgonio fielded some calls, and “;I began to realize this could be something big.”;

Collectors said things like, “;I gotta get my hands on one, and it's gotta be signed,”; and asked her to set them aside.

Some people called from out of state asking to purchase dolls signed by Rick, and those were shipped following the signing event.

“;We didn't get slammed,”; but those who gathered to meet the designer swarmed the table while she was there.

“;We sold two dozen. At $32 each, that's pretty good,”; Gorgonio said.

Makana is a 12-inch vinyl doll and not a porcelain figurine because of the demographics of Dole Plantation visitors.

“;My customers are more frugal; they're looking for a good price point,”; Gorgonio said.

On the Precious Moments Web site, porcelain figurines go up into the triple digits.

Makana came about because Precious Moments' Hawaii representative contacted Gorgonio, asking if she'd ever considered doing an exclusive line for Dole Plantation.

They agreed to meet, and “;omigod, I fell in love,”; Gorgonio said. “;She had the actual doll produced!”;

Makana soon will be added to the Dole Plantation e-commerce-enabled Web site and will sell at the same price as in the shop.

It is too early to say whether Gorgonio will order a more expensive porcelain line. “;I think I'll do a second exclusive,”; she said.

In fact, “;they're already working on designing one for us.”;