Fairy Tale High, a new line of dolls that re-imagines classic fairy tale princesses as high school students, is likely to be a hot item this holiday season—but consumers on the East End were introduced to them months ago. The toys, which were launched by Sag Harbor residents Scott Coff and Ken Price’s toy company S-K Victory, had a successful trial run in Sag Harbor prior to their wide release. The doll line looks to be a hit, but the story of how Coff and Price created S-K Victory is practically a fairy tale itself.
“We both left our jobs of many years,” says Coff. “I was an executive recruiter, and Ken was the executive vice president for a public toy company for almost 30 years.” Coff and Price, who had gotten married and moved to Sag Harbor, decided to do something new, and Price’s extensive knowledge of the toy industry was instrumental in creating S-K Victory.
“Back in the 1890s, my grandfather started a toy company, and my father eventually started a different toy business, where he met my mom. I worked for Jakks Pacific for about 13 years before saying ‘it’s time to move on.’” Price and Coff went to Las Vegas for a licensing show in 2012, where they partnered with United Trademarks Holdings’ to develop dolls based on classic fairy tales. After making sure the dolls weren’t too similar to Disney’s—“Walt Disney was born in 1902; these fairy tales were written by the Brothers Grimm!” Price laughs—they immediately began developing the idea.
Eight dolls were initially released, each with its own back-story and personality. And Coff and Price made sure that the dolls are appropriate and send a positive message to young girls. “We’re current and trendy. The dolls are cool, but they’re also [recognizable],” Coff says. “We are known by the consumer at three levels: the kids, the moms and the grandmothers. They understand the product and who the characters are. We didn’t want to go in the direction of the Monster High [dolls].”
The dolls were given a limited release in the Hamptons prior to their rollout at national chains like Target and Walmart. “We went to [Kites of the Harbor], then put some in Bridgehampton. A week later, they’d sold out!” Price exclaims. “At the end of July we started a Facebook page, and within two months we had 17,000 fans.” Price and Coff are eager to see the reception the dolls have in wide release.
Price believes that one of the more compelling aspects of the line is that the characters all exist in the same world. “The way Disney does it now, they’re never in the same story—which is the opposite of us,” he explains, noting that all the princesses go to the same fictional performing arts high school and are friends, likening the premise to the shared universes of such characters as Superman and Batman. In addition to the dolls, there are free eBook stories for each doll and books coming from Knopf. “The jealousies, school trips, fighting over boys, bad hair days…they’ll be really engaging stories.”
Coff and Price’s personal story is equally engaging. “We met when we were 10 years old, in sixth grade,” Coff recalls. Having each lost a parent at a young age, the two men were inseparable and close with each other’s families. “I don’t know how supportive they would have been [about our relationship] had it been someone else,” he says. “But they’ve embraced it. We always said, ‘when we can, we’ll get married.’” The two began planning their wedding the day same-sex marriage became legal in New York. They had a beautiful wedding at the Tribeca Rooftop, then traveled together for several months. Coff and Price have something special. “We’ve been soul mates for 40 years,” Price says with a smile.
Go to fairytalehigh.com.to learn more about Fairy Tale High, including photos and videos (like Episode 1 below).