The Arklu Story…
Arklu was originally formed in December 2010 by Ian Harkin and Lucie Follett (departed 2016); their first product being a Kate Middleton inspired Princess Catherine Doll they followed up a few months later with a double pack of Kate and William (the ‘Royal Wedding dolls’).
They saw that there was a demand for an alternative doll to Barbie, and so spent 18 months performing research before launching Lottie Dolls in August 2012. Lottie’s unique point of difference and the type of research carried out, are explained in more detail here.
Facing Challenges Along the Way
Creating an innovative product that is based firmly in core, solid values and beliefs has been a challenge, on several levels.
Retailers were reluctant to support a small doll, they wanted us to conform in height, themes similar to all the other fashion dolls on the market.
Rather than conforming Harkin and Follett chose instead to self-fund the business to enable them to stay true to their own values and those discovered from their research, creating something unique, distinctive and innovative.
Irish Toys, Donegal, Ireland
When the decision came to upscale from working on their respective kitchen tables in London, Arklu decided to set up business in Donegal, Ireland; an employment blackspot, where over 24% of the working population were unemployed. Ian sold his home in London and invested the proceeds into Arklu and received a matching loan from a government agency to help further develop the business. Donegal has a long tradition in the doll industry going back to 1939 when Crolly dolls was first founded, the old Crolly Dolls factory is less than 30 miles from Arklu's office.
To date Lottie has won numerous international toy awards and received press coverage in The Guardian, New York Times, Forbes Magazine, The Daily Mail, Sydney Morning Herald among many others. Lottie is now into over 30 countries.
Lottie’s tag line is “Be Bold Be Brave Be You” we believe encompasses all of the values we have instilled in our brand. Thank you for your support and we look forward to the many adventures ahead!