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In the Life of a… Plastic Doll

29/09/2016

I’m a favourite amongst children and I have journeyed across the globe…I am a plastic doll.

Made up of several components and different materials, I began life in a factory in China.          

Long before I was born, I was conceived by a designer working for a USA-based toy company as a simple sketch on a drawing board. From this drawing, I became a 3D computerised concept and then a prototype was produced before my first order was confirmed. The toy company has contracts with distributors and stores around the world, and they create a lot of famous brands of children’s toys.

 

Some of my raw materials originate in the USA and are shipped to China; the rest are found in China. I comprise of soft and hard body parts, artificial hair fibres, and rivets. Once my design has been transformed into moulds for certain parts, heated liquid plastic is poured in and I begin to form. I am processed into parts and then put together on an assembly line in a factory. Special, small metal rivets made by one particular company hold my parts together. The rivets are supplied by a small business and transported to the factory by van.

 

Once I am assembled, I am placed into a box, which is made up of cardboard with a plastic window. With other boxed plastic dolls, we are placed in bulk within a larger cardboard box. I am collected by truck and taken to a shipping company. The shipping company stack multiple boxes of plastic toys within a shipping container. I am then locked and sealed within the container before it is moved by a special crane onto a cargo ship.

 

Meanwhile, many companies are now aware of my existence and forthcoming arrival to multiple shores. These include the freight forwarding company, the warehouse, the distributor and the end retail store. Although my container is heading for the UK, there is another shipping container carrying clones of my design, which is due to be delivered to another European destination.


The gigantic cargo ship sets sail across the South China Sea, winding its way round the Bay of Bengal, through the Suez Canal in North Africa and into the Mediterranean Sea, where it stops off at the Port of Valencia in Spain, the fifth busiest port in Europe and Spain’s largest. One of our containers is unloaded and placed upon a freight forwarding vehicle to begin its journey across Spain. After the ship has unloaded the required number of containers, it begins its journey through the Strait of Gibraltar, up around the outline of Portugal and France, and then into the British Channel.

 

The temperature gets cooler the further north we head, as our ship makes its way to the port of Dover. This time my container is placed onto a freight forwarding truck and taken to a warehouse outside of London. The seal is broken on my container and I am unloaded, and placed onto racking inside the warehouse. All of my paperwork is checked, computer data is inputted, my status is updated and notifications are given to all relevant parties with regards to my arrival.

 

6 weeks later, I’m ‘picked and packed’, placed upon a pallet, and then driven by truck to my final destination - a large retail store. I am put on display 2 months before Christmas eagerly awaiting purchase.

 

And on Christmas Day, I am finally unwrapped by my very first owner - a 5–year-old girl called Grace.

 

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