With the launch of Charlotte Bear last week, we’ve been receiving a lot of questions about limited-edition animal friends. To fully understand the nature of our visiting animal friends, we’ll need to give you a brief history of Hazel Village – Jane made the first animal, Annicke Mouse, in 2010. From there, she sewed a small collection of woodland animals in her bedroom in Brooklyn. After about a year, she retired a few of the animals (like Mortimer Mouse and Kate Frog), added a few more (like Lucas Rabbit and Lucy Owl), and decided on what the permanent Hazel Village animal collection would be. She knew there was a limit to how many animals could live in the Village, and if she ever added more there would be a clear expectation that they were simply visitors making their way through the Village. In fact, last year we considered retiring Owen Fox, then decided we loved him too much to let him leave!
Our first visiting friend was Josie Chipmunk, who joined the Village in 2017 and stuck around for more than a year! Now we have 4-5 limited-edition friends every year, and a lot of design and production time is dedicated to our charming visiting pals. Jane loves that since these animals aren’t permanent additions to the Village, she can be extra creative with her designs and exploration of the Hazel Village lore. After all, every one of these friends ended up at the Village somehow!
Deciding on quantities for a limited-edition friend is a difficult task – sometimes they sell out in a day and sometimes it takes a few months! We decide on quantities by looking at past limited-edition friends, similarity to existing Village residents, and customer interest. We’re often asked if we can sell customers highly sought-after retired visiting animals. Though in some cases we may have small quantities of these old friends, we cannot in good conscience sell them via these direct inquiries, because we receive many such requests and we believe it would not be fair to do so. However, we will be providing you all the chance to acquire some older friends very soon! ;)
After Josie Chipmunk, changes to our supply chain meant we had the ability to make even more new animals! Josie was followed by Ivy Goat, then Augustus Wild Boar and Peaseblossom Unicorn. Now, almost 5 years after Josie’s visit to Hazel Village, the world of limited-edition Hazel Village friends is bigger than we ever could have imagined, and has resulted in a bustling resale market and even a collection of fan-made animal creations.
A core Hazel Village value is being industrious and crafty, and we love that we have inspired so many of you to make dolls and animals that contribute to your Hazel Village collections and bring you so much joy. On the other hand, we also value the creative vision and integrity of the brand and the world that Jane has spent almost 12 years building. Each animal has a place in the story of Hazel Village and we feel that the selling of new characters in secondary markets interferes with that. We understand that there is a high demand for new animals and we hope that every single one of you knows that we’re listening to your requests and taking them into account as we decide on future friends. For example: we’ve been getting requests for our next animal for years and are so excited we can finally bring the idea to fruition! And later this year we’re making an animal that was suggested to Jane by a Hazelnut during a Facebook Live. We are endlessly thankful for the enthusiasm of the Hazel Village community, and would not have the ability to make mischiefs of mice, sloths of bears, or arrays of hedgehogs without it.
If you’d like to get to know some of our past limited-edition animals, visit the Hazel Village Guest Book here. And be sure to get to know our current visiting friends: Charlotte Bear, Mortimer Mouse, and Simon Mouse by visiting the Limited-Edition Dolls Collection here!