Who says dolls can’t have the same articulation and cool careers as action figures? Certainly not Boss Fight Studio! The collectibles company is entering a new product category with I Am Brilliance, a line of action dolls that emphasize alternative STEM careers. We chatted with Catrina Arana, partner and art director at Boss Fight Studio, about her vision for this new line, which is designed for kids and fans ages 8 and up.
The Pop Insider: Where did the idea for I Am Brilliance come from?
Catrina Arana: I’ve had this idea in my head for years. When the other partners and I had our first lunch to conceptualize what we wanted Boss Fight to be, this was one of the first ideas we discussed. It’s taken a bit of time, but we’ve been working on this in between concepts for years and we’re so excited to see it come to fruition. Our first wave of Action Dolls should be available later this year.
PI: Why is this your passion project?
CA: Growing up, I loved my Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony toys, but I also played with my brother’s GI Joes as well. I was disappointed when Strawberry Shortcake came with a bike but couldn’t bend her knee to sit on it. Boys had more playable toys, and girls’ toys tended to focus on dressing them and brushing their hair. When I had my daughter I noticed things hadn’t changed that much and I thought there was more we could do here.
Having my daughter and her friends around, I also noticed that in discussions of careers they often talk about the supporting or assistant roles. I want to help them realize that they have broader options and can aim to be leaders if they want.
PI: Along those lines, where did the ideas for the doll’s careers come from?
CA: I wanted to create this around STEM careers that you might not even think of, to broaden minds and expand possibilities. Each action doll comes with accessories appropriate to their career, as well as an animal sidekick. Our first wave includes Feather, an ornithologist who comes with her Hawk; Crystal, a climatologist who comes with her penguin; Jo, a wildlife photographer who comes with a fox; and Fawn, an exotic animal veterinarian who comes with a sloth.
Our Wave 2 dolls came from a contest we ran with Keith Valley Middle School in Horsham, PA. Each kid had the opportunity to submit a basic toy design — including accessories and the doll’s pet — and provide a short description of their character and career. We also asked them to include a note on why they thought this was a good character. We had a number of great entries and we selected four concepts that we’ll refine further and turn into Action Dolls!
We’re not quite ready to share all the details, but general concepts include: a marine biologist with a marine life creature named Shark, an astronaut with a monkey, a fashion designer in a wheelchair with a service dog, and an artist with a color-changing chameleon.
Last year, Boss Fight also announced our license with Lucha Libre. While the Action Figures are already breaking records in preorder sales, we’re also bringing a couple of the female Luchadoras into the I Am Brilliance line as well! Taya Valkyrie and Lady Maravilla are inspiring and, while not traditionally STEM, we felt that highlighting alternative careers with inspiring female role models was worth exploring. We’re working with the Luchadoras on concepts now and will have launch dates for the I Am Brilliance crossover wave soon.
PI: What makes these dolls optimized for play?
CA: Similar to the Boss Fight action figure line, the dolls have multiple articulation points. You can move/pose their necks, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, waists, etc. We want our characters to encourage imaginative play, so they’re designed to move in any way a kid can imagine.
PI: Can you speak to the visual style of the I Am Brilliance dolls? What inspired/influenced their style, and what was the process like in deciding that?
CA: The original style was heavily influenced by children and teen fashion drawings. These illustrations, along with a reference for the real gear and clothing the professionals wore, were what influenced the style. We want the action dolls to be fashionable in real-world terms, with fun, expressive clothing but also something that is realistic for the professions they represent and something the kids could see themselves wearing at the same time.
PI: For those who may not be familiar with Boss Fight Studio, what makes I Am Brilliance a good fit for the company and its goals?
CA: We think this line is a good fit for our company for a number of reasons. First and foremost, we want all of our toys to inspire, whether it’s our [Vitruvian] H.A.C.K.S. line, which encourages people to not only play with their toys, but to also create with them, or Brilliance, which we hope will inspire girls to look outside the box when thinking about their career choices. As far as our company, we think Brilliance is a good fit because our long term goal is to be a complete toy company, not just a company that creates action figures. This is our first girl’s line, but we hope there will be many more to come.
Boss Fight Studio plans to launch preorders for I Am Brilliance this fall, with dolls available early next year. These action dolls will be available through bossfightshop.com and other toy retailers.