Brighton-based company bucks the trend and celebrates 10 years in business New trading deal to China announced Quirky dolls.

Brighton-based company bucks the trend and celebrates 10 years in business
New trading deal to China announced Quirky dolls.

Brighton-based Ruby Ruth Dolls, loved by children, adults and celebrities alike, celebrates 10 years in business along with a new deal to have designs mass-produced and distributed in China. The deal agreement confirms that the Chinese company can only export to Jenny, who plans to distribute in Europe and the US. Ruby Ruth Dolls are celebrating by holding a special party on Saturday 28th September in the Upstairs Cocktail Lounge at The Joker, Preston Circus, Brighton, between 12am and 4pm.

Members of the public are invited to come along, enjoy a pop-up shop showcasing a new merchandise range, goody bags, lots of chances to win prizes and cake. In addition, the event is hosting a pop-up disco in association with the Brighton branch of ‘Dance Dance Party Party’.

Tickets are free but you need to book in advance to gain entry.

About Ruby Ruth Dolls

The iconic range of dolls are from the imagination of designer and artist Jenny Mustill and is based on the everyday lives of five key characters (Malcolm, Rita, Ron, Burt and Jasper) and their friends who live in Brighton, with a complementary range of merchandise including mugs, and t-shirts.

For the past 10 years the dolls made in Jenny’s studio have been partly made from recycled jumpers which she buys at local charity shops. Although the ones being made in China won’t be made from recycled knitwear, to remain an eco-friendly company, Ruby Ruth Dolls are partnering with the Million Tree Project whereby part of the profit of every doll sold will buy a tree to plant in their re-foresting projects in Inner Mongolia. I have attached some more information about their project.

Prior to setting up her own business, Jenny was an assistant to artist Damien Hirst, creating his spot and butterfly paintings.

“I’m on a mission to bring joy and comfort to adults as well as children with my dolls and products,” says Jenny, “Children play with dolls and toys as an outlet for personal expression and the objects they use are a vehicle to explore their imagination. I want to reconnect adults back to that feeling. Feedback received over the years certainly seems to support this!”

Celebrity YouTuber, vlogger, businesswoman and author Zoella bought two dolls (Malcolm and Rita) from Jenny’s Brighton stockist, Pussy Home Boutique. Since then, they have been seen alongside Zoella in numerous social media posts, vlogs, press articles, an ITV advert and on the bed with her waxwork at Madame Tussaud’s.

Jenny is currently making two giant six-metre versions of the same two characters to unveil at the party.

The China connection

The deal to launch in China came about in a rather unusual way. Having reached a crossroads in her business, Jenny received an email out of the blue from a young man in China who had been studying in Brighton. His English name was Barry. Barry had been drawn to one of Jenny’s dolls at Pussy Home Boutique and had been surprised to see the name on the doll was Barry. He took this as a sign and got in touch with a business proposal.

Two of the characters, Ron and Burt, are gay and like all the others, live in Brighton. Jasper was based on a cat that Jenny had when she was young. You may have seen Jasper in Russell & Bromley stores as he was part of the luxury brand’s Halloween window displays in 2017.

Having a gay couple as two of the core characters was something that Barry was initially drawn to as he felt that gay people are represented even less in the soft toy/doll industry in China than here in the UK.

Jenny corresponded for a while with Barry, working through ideas to take the business overseas. Eventually she travelled to China to meet Barry, who introduced her to potential business partners. She subsequently signed a contract which now makes her an international businesswoman

“To have my dolls and merchandising range being sold in China is a dream come true,” says Jenny, “It means today China, tomorrow the world!”