marketing the Dolls

Tower Treasures - Mary, Queen of Scots

Although the production of the dolls was difficult, selling them was easy.   Anyone introduced to these fairy tale little 7" dolls, liked them. They were appealing, colourful, well made and innovative.   Peggy took the dolls everywhere and showed them to everyone.   They were a sensation at the Brighton Toy and Doll Fair in January 1957.   Through the fair, important contacts and customers were found and orders were placed.

Demand grew, with orders coming in from the major London stores, including Harrods, Selfridges, and Hamleys. The dolls made good window displays; there was a particularly successful stockist in Stratford upon Avon, and others in several Scottish locations that were popular with visitors.   They sold very well on the QE II, as well as other liners and cruise ships.   Then orders started to arrive from overseas, notably USA, from famous stores including Sachs, Shwartz, Marshall Fields and Neaman Marcus.

In March 1959 Peggy Nisbet exhibited at the International Toy and Trade fair in New York where, again, the Queen Elizabeth II doll was a huge success.   Reports in the "Daily Sketch" and "The Citizen" explained that demand was high, partly due to the Queen's visit to Chicago in the summer of 1959.   This was good for business, and put Peggy Nisbet Ltd and Weston‑super‑Mare even more firmly on the American map.

Demand continued to grow all over the world.   In 1972, the wedding of Princess Anne (whose wedding dress was a very guarded secret, no one having seen it until she walked down the aisle) saw frantic activity in the factory with production of the royal couple starting one day after the event.   In July 1981 the business was once again poised for a royal wedding - that of Princess Diana, with the Nisbet staff eagerly waiting to see the wedding dress.   The doll, with Prince Charles at her side, was on sale twenty‑five hours after the first glimpse of the dress!


31st October 2015

New updates added - We have added a new page on the Isle of Wight dolls, which were produced for the Liliput doll Museum, on the Isle of Wight.   These dolls have mystified us for some time, but an opportunity to do some research through the archives, an email from Graham Munday, (owner of the Lilliput Doll Museum), and an email chat with author and Shallowpool Dolls expert sue Brewer, have allowed a partial reconstruction of their fascinating story.   There are still some gaps in our knowledge, so if you can fill in any of the missing details for us, please do get in touch!

19th September 2015

New updates added - Our thanks to correspondent David H, who has sent us two interesting pictures - The first is of a very rare Nisbet First Doll.   This is the doll that started Peggy Nisbet's dollmaking career, and you can read all about her on this page : dolls/special-collectors-sets-limited-and-signature-editions/SCE-P1953 Replica Edition of the First Nisbet Doll.  David's picture of his original first Nisbet is shown below the article on the replica doll, and below that, is shown a unique 18" porcelain doll that also shows the Queen in Coronation robes, and was used in displays and exhibitions.   This doll is also shown in the book, "The Peggy Nisbet Story".  Other updates added today are the BOAC and BEA dolls, Madam Tussaud Dolls, Wax Dolls, and a Porcelain statuette issued as a tribute to Peter Bull, which is shown under Dolls/Porcelain Dolls/Irish Dresden - Tribute to the Late Peter Bull

12th September 2015

New updates added - Apologies to all our visitors for the long delay in adding some updates and new information - we hope that the items listed below will be of interest!   Many kind thanks to numerous correspondents, for their kind offers of pictues and other information, to fill in the gaps in various galleries :  To Barbara T, for her stunning pictures of H/214 - Queen Elizabeth I, wearing a rubber crown.   Pictures appear in Historical Gallery 1, and in "Know your Nisbets/Headgear/Crowns".   Frank T sent two excellent pictures of Vera Evelyn Samuel, and you can see the pictures and read all about her here - "Porcelain Dolls/Doulton Nisbet".   Penny D has sent in some pictures of her magnificent early P/618 - Robbie Burns - See him in Portrait Dolls Gallery 1.   We have used another of Keith P's pictures in a new gallery just added - "Know your Nisbet/Body shape and pose".   Finally, we have added a new page on Walt Disney dolls, which may come as something of a surprise to many collectors, as the dolls are not typically Nisbet in appearance!


3rd January 2015


Exciting New updates added for 2015 - Correspondent Michael A contacted us last year to ask about his mother's "Beatles" Nisbet dolls - Collectors of long standing may have heard of this almost legendary set of dolls - Thanks to Michael, you can now learn all about them here : /dolls/the-dolls-that-never-were/the-beatles/   

A recent contact from author Ian Price, who writes for the "Fashion Dolls Quarterly" magazine, (, enquired about Nisbet's Christmas themed dolls - We were delighted to assist his researches in compiling this article on Peggy Nisbet's "Legends of Christmas" dolls.   Ian has very kindly allowed us to make a copy of this article available for download - Please go to the Downloads/Miscellaneous/ page, and click on the link to "Styling Santa", by Ian Price, to see the article.



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