Cabbage Patch Kids were originally called Little People and sold from Xavier Roberts’ Babyland General Hospital (a converted former medical centre) in Georgia, USA. From 1978 people could visit and adopt (purchase) a toy doll.
Caught in controversy upon their creation, there were claims that Roberts stole the doll’s appearance and birth certificate concept from Martha Nelson Thomas – Roberts had previously sold Thomas’ dolls at his toy store.
In 1982 Coleco licensed the dolls and changed their name in line with their new backstory. Coleco dealt with mass manufacturing and made changes to the dolls’ appearance, giving them cuter faces, a plastic head and soft body. The first prototype was created that same year.
Upon their nationwide release in 1983, people were rioting as they attempted to get their hands on that year’s must-have toy. The advertising campaign was suspended in order for production to keep up with the demand.
But it wasn’t just the dolls that people were purchasing, but the entire range of Cabbage Patch Kids merchandise. Like every new toy in the ’80s, there was kid’s apparel, bedding, books and more.
Tens of millions of Cabbage Patch Kids were sold in the first year alone, with sales exceeding $2 billion in 1984. While sales are significantly smaller today, they have managed to remain on store shelves every year since their launch. Most toys, no matter their initial popularity, fail to retain relevancy and eventually cease production.
Cabbage Patch Kids were the official mascot for the 1992 US Olympic Team. Four one-of-a-kind Cabbage Patch Kids were created of the 2008 US Presidential candidates and then auctioned off for charity.
Over the course of their four decades in existence, the rights to Cabbage Patch Kids have been held by just about every major toy brand – they’re currently owned by Wicked Cool Toys.
The Babyland General Hospital is still in operation and open to the public. Admission is free and allows you access to browse through thousands of Cabbage Patch Kids. Will you be adding it to your bucket list?
A Cabbage Patch Kids tattoo can be based on a doll you owned as a child; styled like a kewpie doll (as a fictional character or in a Halloween costume); or be a stylised version of your child or a loved one. Be as creative and different as all the millions of Cabbage Patch Kids there are around the world.
We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into the history behind Cabbage Patch Kids – we sure did. Now onto the tattoos…