The American Girl Phenomena

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of watching the movie Samantha with my daughter. Samantha is one of a series of movies put out by the American Girl company.  This company is amazing. The company is based in Chicago and started as a doll company. The company sell dolls that are characters from American history. In so doing, the company manages to tap into the "educational" doll market -- making parents and grandparents believe somewhat justifiably that the doll purchase is contributing to the education of their child.  Each doll comes with a book that you can also purchase that tells the story of the doll in history. Samantha - for example - comes from the early 1900 to 1910 period and covers the woman's suffrage movement and the industrialization of America as well as the explosion of New York, its immigrants, and its subway system.  Sounds pretty neat, huh?
Well, I suspect the economics of the business are even neater. The dolls retail for $200 to $300! The books retail for about $15. You can purchase period level clothing (dresses, nightgowns, evening gowns etc) for approximately $30. And the movies / DVDs just top it off. My wife and daughter recently took a long weekend vacation to go to the American Girl factory in Chicago -- quite the factory tour. This company is in the same lines as the Build a bear stores and Disney. 
All this is off topic --  this weekend, I watched  Samantha and it was a great movie. I was nearly moved to tears by this completely cheesy, contrived tear-jerker of a movie. A great take as a movie ...go figure.