Polly Pockets 90s toy

How ’90s Polly Pocket Became a Toy Sensation

January 10, 2022


This famous micro doll and her collectible compacts began a toy sensation that’s still selling strong today. Hitting shelves in 1989, Polly Pocket is the tiny doll that fits comfortably in your pocket and can be taken anywhere. Discover the history behind this iconic toy line and how the Polly brand has evolved over the years!

Polly Pockets are the beloved mini dollhouses in compact carrying cases that every 90s girl will remember. Standing less than an inch tall, Polly Pocket figurines live in brightly colored plastic boxes that open up to reveal a playing scenario – like a dollhouse, beach, park, amusement park, pet store, you name it. The small pocket figurines featured a whole itty bitty world for Polly and her friends. She had it all from pull-out beds, light-up pavilions, envy-worthy closets, ice skating rinks, and so much more.

Polly Pocket dolls have undergone quite a few transformations since their inception, but in 2018, original 90s Polly Pocket toys were being manufactured once again. Read on for more fun facts about everyone’s favorite miniature dolls.

Polly pocket was inspired by makeup powder compacts and originally came out in 1989

When did Polly Pocket come out?

The original Polly Pocket toys appeared in stores in 1989, but the miniature dollhouse was actually invented six years prior. Polly Pocket creator, Chris Wiggs, was looking to craft a toy for his young daughter, Kate. In 1983, Chris made a tiny dollhouse inside an old makeup powder compact. He realized there was something special about a toy that transformed from a simple object to an imaginative play world.

Bluebird Toys, an England-based toy company, licensed the concept and brought Polly Pocket toys to fruition. Original Polly Pocket toys hit the shelves in 1989, featuring plastic cases in different shapes like a heart, shell, or diamond, which opened up to reveal a hidden, dazzling interior space with movable parts. Old school Polly Pocket figures came with circular bases that matched into various holes in the case’s interior, allowing the dolls to stand up at particular points in the dollhouse.

Toy powerhouse, Mattel, held a distribution agreement with Bluebird Toys in the early 1990s. By 1994, Polly Pocket was one of the best-selling toys for girls aged between three and eight. British manufacturer, Bluebird Toys, would go on to create more than 350 distinct Polly Pocket doll sets, each incorporating a new fantasy world equipped with tiny mechanisms, moving parts, flaps, and secret doors for little Polly and various friends. However, by 1997, Polly Pocket sales fell. So Mattel bought Bluebird Toys in 1998 and completely rebranded and reformatted the entire Polly Pocket line.

The changes to the Polly Pocket toy design in 1998 and 2004

Mattel redesigns the original Polly Pocket

Depending on when in the 90s you were born, you might remember Polly Pocket looking a little different. Polly Pocket 90s sets got a makeover in 1998. The new dolls were taller, had a more lifelike appearance (the original Polly had cartoon-like features), and the play sets were larger. The following year, Mattel introduced “Fashion Polly.” Fashion Polly dolls stood just under four inches tall and featured unique “Polly Stretch” garments. Mattel also added male dolls to the gang of girls. The rubbery, interchangeable clothes proved to be a hit. Today, Mattel still produces new Polly Pocket sets starring stretchy garments.

The very last of the smaller Polly Pocket play sets were discontinued in 2002. In 2004, Mattel created another Polly Pocket, called the “Quik Clik” line featuring magnetic plastic clothes. However, Mattel quickly shut this line down after children swallowed loose magnetic parts. As a result, Mattel recalled 4.4 million of these Polly Pocket play sets.

In 2018 Mattel brought back some of the original 90s Polly Pocket designs

Polly Pocket makes a comeback

By 2015, Polly Pocket was completely discontinued by Mattel. But by the looks of it, fans wanted more Polly. Perhaps millennial moms wanted to relive childhood memories with their own children? So in 2018, just shy of the Polly Pocket 30th anniversary, Mattel announced the original 1990s Polly Pocket sets were making a comeback. The new dolls (still available for purchase today) are a little bigger than the original 90s version, and the new Polly is made out of flexible plastic that can stick to certain surfaces and bend to sit in a chair. This is the first time Polly Pocket has been produced in its original form since 1997. Around this time, original Polly Pocket 90s dolls were being sold on resale sites like eBay for hundreds and even thousands of dollars for vintage sets in mint condition.

Popular sets included the Splash n’ Slide Water Park and Fairy Fun

The most popular Polly Pocket sets

The fun, portable, and imaginative play sets enlightened children throughout the decade. While there were hundreds of various sets and scenarios to play with, many 90s kids have especially fond memories of the toys featured on Polly Pocket TV commercials throughout the 90s. In addition, the sets that had an option to add water, like the 1995 Splash n’ Slide Water Park, were among the best sellers.

Here’s a commercial from a 1994 launch featuring a collection called Fairy Fun to jog your memory:

Polly Pocket Fairy Fun commercial

Buy Polly Pocket on Amazon!

Polly pocket movie and TV show

Polly Pocket TV series

Much like every other big-selling toy in the 90s, Polly Pocket also got a spot on daytime television – but what’s unique is that Polly didn’t make her TV debut until quite recently! The cartoon titled Polly Pocket aired in the summer of 2018. The series followed Polly and her magical locket that allows her and her friends to shrink down to a tiny size. However, before her first TV appearance, Polly did make it to the big screen. Polly Pocket movies include Polly Pocket: Lunar Eclipse (2003), Polly Pocket 2: Cool at the Pocket Plaza (2005), and PollyWorld (2006).

It’s almost as if Polly Pocket never really went away. Although the toy line took a break for three years in the second half of the decade, Mattel continually marketed books, short internet series, and plenty of Polly Pocket accessories like backpacks and T-shirts toward young girls.

If you’re a fan of the famous Polly Pocket compact, you’ll be glad to hear there’s an exciting new project in talks.

A new Polly Pocket movie is in the works!

Polly Pocket is getting amplified for the big screen. Golden Globe winner Lena Dunham, the creator, director, and star behind the sharp HBO hit “Girls,” brings the children’s toy to life in a new live-action Mattel and MGM movie crossover. “Emily In Paris” star, Lily Collins, is set to star and produce. The film will concentrate on a young girl and a pocket-sized woman who form a friendship.

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90s Toys mascot lying on the floor reading some facts for peeps asked!

Peeps Asked!

What is Polly Pockets’ friend’s name?

Polly has a crew of best friends, including ​​Lila, Shani, Nicolas, Gwen, Stephen, Griselle, and more.

Check it out!