Katy Haile lives in Apex, NC, and has been creating websites since 1997, and still runs her favorite one – RainbowBrite.net. Okay, now I typically limit the collections on Cool & Collected to the more male-oriented audience, but Katy has a pretty sweet collection of Masters of the Universe figures lumped in among all those rainbows, so she gets a pass. (Plus, I am just a sucker for a great collection!)
How did your collection start? What was the first item in your collection?
Technically, it started back in 1984 when I received my first 12″ Rainbow Brite doll as a birthday present. But I only had 4 of the dolls as a child (which I still have). My true collection began in 1995 when I started driving and could spend as much time at thrift stores as I wanted. I recall buying Rainbow Brite bed sheets, a record player, more dolls and anything else Rainbow Brite related that I could get my hands on.
Approximately how many items are in your collection?
Over 1000. I keep an updated list here:
Do you have a favorite item in your collection?
Yes – my prototype 12″ Dress Up Rainbow Brite doll. She’s beautiful and one of a kind!
How do you store/display your collection?
I have two and a half rooms dedicated to my collection. I’ve dubbed it The Rainbow Land Museum 🙂 Practically all of my collection is on display. The few items that are still in crates are items that would be very difficult to display. But perhaps one day I will find a way. Until then, they stay in closets so as not to be damaged by high/low temperatures.
Is there a “holy grail” item that you would love to add to your collection?
That would definitely be a prototype Stormy doll. I’m pretty sure that’s the holy grail of every Rainbow Brite collector. But so far nobody has come across one.
Do you collect other things?
Yes. I collect the new Masters of the Universe Classics line (to go along with my small vintage He-Man collection). I collect all sorts of rainbow items. I also have a lot of various 80’s cartoon books and VHS tapes from when I used to collect all 80’s cartoon items. I’ve also got a few Strawberry Shortcake figures, My Little Ponies and Harry Potter items thrown in for good measure 😉
Do you have a favorite collecting story or experience?
That would probably be the day I won my MIB Hard Bodied Starlite doll off of Ebay. I remember sitting at a friend’s house, using his computer while he and my [then] boyfriend played a video game. The bid kept going up and up, but I got one last bid in in time to win the auction. I started laughing and when my friends asked me why I giddily replied, “I just paid over $300 for a Rainbow Brite doll!” LOL. They couldn’t believe I’d pay that much for a collectible, but he’s worth much more than that now.
Do you have any advice for new collectors who are just starting a collection?
My advice would be to set goals for yourself. I made the mistake of trying to collect EVERY SINGLE Rainbow Brite item ever produced and it’s just not possible (or next to impossible). Start with a category, such as dolls or books or figurines and complete one category at a time. That way, you can stop once you’ve reached your goal or you can set a new goal and continue on. I get a lot more satisfaction from having all of one category than having a little of a lot of categories.
(NOTE: This Collector Profile has been updated with new information and photos. Article originally published in April 2011.)
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[All images are the property of Katy Haile]