A little girl prompted a toy company to launch army women figurines after writing a letter to them complaining about the fact they didn’t make ‘girl army men’.
Six-year-old Vivian Lord, from Little Rock, Arkansas, was playing with her brother’s toys one day when she realised none of the figurines looked like her.
Venting her frustrations in a letter to several army men manufacturers, including BMC Toys in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Vivian urged them to ‘make army girls that look like women’.
The six-year-old’s letter reached Jeff Imel, the owner of BMC Toys, who said he’d ‘never gotten’ a letter from a child like that before – although he has been asked about female toy soldiers in the past.
Receiving Vivian’s letter put the idea to ‘the top of the list, easily,’ with Jeff telling CBS News: ‘I’m going to do it’. The owner even showed Vivian some of his concept drawings.
But the six-year-old didn’t understand why it had to be such a long process, stating: ‘They were doing sketches, but they were busy making boy army men.’ Jeff explained how it’s an expensive process so he had to be sure the demand would be high enough.
He told the news station:
I’m not a big company. It’s expensive to produce a new figure set. So I’ve got to do my due diligence and make sure it’s something people actually want.
Shortly after receiving the little girl’s letter, Jeff commissioned the first prototype and the Green Army Women figurines will be available by Christmas 2020.
As per NPR, the figurine will be available in four different military poses, including a female captain holding a handgun and binoculars and a kneeling female soldier holding a bazooka, ready to launch.
Although Jeff had been playing around with the idea of adding female toy soldiers to his set for a long time, requests began coming in in recent years which renewed his desire to create some new prototypes.
Prior to Vivian’s letter, in which she said she would ‘play with [the women figures] every day’ with her friends if they were to exist, JoAnn Ortloff, a retired Navy fleet Master Chief, had also reached out to Jeff asking for female toy soldiers for her granddaughters.
In Jeff’s own words, JoAnn made a ‘compelling case for why Plastic Army Women should be produced,’ but due to his schedule and budget being full, not much was done until he received Vivian’s letter last month.
The six-year-old said she is ‘super happy’ her dream of having army women figurines is finally coming true, adding: ‘I will play with them every day.’
Now working on the rest of his prototypes, Jeff said he’s happy his toys will help girls ‘be the hero of their story’, adding: ‘Girls should be able to connect to the toys just as much as boys do.’
What an incredible achievement for a six-year-old. Well done Vivian!
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).