By Tessa Raebeck
Despite running late for class, the young girl stops by a custodian scrubbing the floor to offer him a cleaning tip. She loses her shoe as she speeds off, making her late enough to receive a dreaded detention slip. Flighty shoes and tardiness are common problems for Teen Cinderella, one of eight characters in Fairy Tale High, the first line being sold by S-K Victory, a new toy company founded by Sag Harbor residents Scott Coff and Ken Price.
Launched last December, Fairy Tale High combines beloved fairy tale characters with runway-inspired fashion and modern, relatable scenarios. The teenage dolls – who also star in a published book, several e-books and webisodes like the one described above – introduce their well-known backgrounds and personalities to an uncharted territory: high school.
“All these characters have their stories,” said Price, gesturing to the dolls covering the ornate dining room table of the home he shares with Coff, who is his business partner, husband and childhood friend. “Most of these stories were written in the 17th, 18th centuries. The Brothers’ Grimm wrote many of these stories. What we’ve done is taken these stories and put them into high school.”
“We’ve reimagined them,” added Coff. The Fairy Tale High dolls are recognizable as their princess counterparts: Tinker Bell’s blonde bob is tinted green, Belle has a rose in her hair and a beast-like leopard print skirt and Alice’s trendy vest is decorated with a spade, a club, a diamond and a heart.
Coff and Price left their high-end jobs in marketing and finance to pursue their doll line full time, and the decision seems to be paying off. They have yet to air a commercial and are just now becoming widely available, but Fairy Tale High dolls are flying off the shelves, they said. In addition to the cute outfits, the duo attributes much of the dolls’ appeal to the familiarity of their characters and the fine balance they’ve achieved between edgy and inappropriate.
“They’re all trendy and they’re edgy, but we didn’t cross that line of edginess,” said Price. “We just wanted to be fun and aspirational. There are messages behind them; they’re all talented in their own ways.”
“We straddled that line,” continued Coff. “We really wanted to make sure that we see and address the moms, the grandmothers – and we do. Every mom knows who Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, all these princesses are, but now we’re introducing the younger, teenage, cutting edge versions so the kids will appreciate it and the grandmas will appreciate it.”
Coff and Price referred to the superheroes of their childhood, marketed for boys, who were grouped together in popular comics like Marvel’s Avengers.
“For girls, it’s never been done before,” said Price. “This is the first time that Snow White and Cinderella are going to be in a situation together…What we love is that the original stories are so iconic and now, for the first time, we can take those stories and put them in group settings together.”
When Cinderella arrives at detention, she finds Snow White and Sleeping Beauty being monitored by their teacher, the Wicked Witch of the West. After the witch leaves them unattended, the girls get to work preparing for the school talent show, hoping that Tinker Bell won’t steal their moves again this year.
Coff and Price run the business together with a minimal staff, often working 20-hour days out of their Noyac residence. The Fairy Tale High Facebook page received over 1,000 likes in its first month and topped 10,000 last Friday.
The dolls will soon be sold on Amazon.com, Target.com, Wal-Mart and Toys’R’Us and will be on the home shopping network QVC in November, a testament of the brand’s appeal to grandparents. Locally, the dolls are available (though frequently selling out) at Second Star to the Right! in Bridgehampton and at the Kite Shop in Sag Harbor. Coff and Price plan to expand Fairy Tale High to include accessories, outfit choices and additional characters such as Peter Pan, Pocahontas and Prince Charming. Discussions for cartoons and a movie are already in the works.
“The girls love the stories and they know the stories,” said Price. “But what they don’t know is the new stories that have been created to put them all together.”
“And it’s all part of the story,” said Coff. “They all go to school and anything could happen.” He uses the Fairy Tale High slogan: “It’s where magic happens.”