Xavier Roberts, the inventor and manufacturer of Cabbage Patch Kids, is an American artist and businessman. During the American Folk art movement of the late 1970s, Roberts observed several techniques involving the making of dolls from various materials. Influenced by the quilts that his mother made, he began experimenting with a quilted doll. After much experimentation, Roberts created a type of doll he called "Little People". The Little People evolved by 1982 into Cabbage Patch Kids, which quickly became a major toy fad. In 1984 alone, 20 million dolls were bought, and by 1999, 95 million had been sold worldwide.
In 1982, with sales for the originals falling precipitously, Roberts hired Roger Schlaifer as the doll concept's exclusive licensing agent. To build the first mass-market children's brand, Schlaifer changed the name to Cabbage Patch Kids— designing the ubiquitous graphics and logo.
The plastic version of the Robert' dolls became the toy phenomenon of the eighties — with people rioting in stores to purchase the hot, new dolls — and everything else branded Cabbage Patch Kids. The "Originals" are still hand-stitched and are available exclusively from Babyland and its website. Adoption Agents administer a special Oath of Adoption ceremony for adoptive parents. Adoption fees for Originals range from $170 to $375 plus tax.
The original 1982 Cabbage Patch Kids license agreement with Coleco Industries was negotiated and signed by Schlaifer Nance & Company, the exclusive worldwide licensing agency for Roberts' company. SN&C was responsible for originating the name, graphics and Legend of the Cabbage Patch Kids — all created by SN&C president Roger Schlaifer and wife/partner, Susanne Nance Schlaifer. Following their signing of Coleco, Schlaifer Nance & Company signed over one hundred and fifty licenses for products ranging from the first children's diapers and low-sugar cereal to clothing, backyard pools and thousands of other children's products — generating over $2 billion in retail sales for 1984, alone. Total sales during the Schlaifers' tenure exceeded $4.5 billion. After SN&C sold its exclusive rights back to Roberts' company, rights to the dolls were acquired by Hasbro and a succession of other toy companies.
While sales of the dolls and other licensed products declined precipitously after the sale, the dolls have become, as Schlaifer predicted in 1982, a mainstay of the toy industry, and one of the few long-running doll brands.
News article COLECO MOVES OUT OF THE CABBAGE PATCH from 1985.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Cabbage Patch Kids price guide: sold listings for a value indication.