Woman creates her own 'Barbieland' with doll collection
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- People are excited to see the new Barbie movie. Which makes sense -- she's an international superstar. But we have a hometown claim on her. Barbie hails from the fictional town, Willows, Wisconsin. We caught up with one of Barbie’s biggest fans, right here in Waukesha.
"There's so much, you know," said Anna-Marie Erdman, looking around at her massive Barbie collection.
Inside Erdman's Waukesha home is an entire Barbie world.
"I like more odd things or unique things," she explained.
There are Barbies in boxes. Barbies on display. Barbie Hot Wheels, beverages, and porcelain dolls.
"I have a lot of brides," she said. "I like a lot of brides."
This Barbie girl has spent 25 years collecting everything Barbie.
"I have about 1,100," Erdman said.
Many are on display in what used to be her childhood bedroom.
"I'm like, maybe I'll have a Barbie room," she thought when she bought the house from her mother. "Is that weird? I'm like whatever, it's mine. So, I did it."
The color on the walls?
"They're Barbie pink," she said.
Of course. And in the far corner, Peaches and Cream Barbie, Day to Night Barbie and Pretty in Pink Barbie.
All of her 80’s Barbie’s are on display.
"I had the Barbies when I was growing up. I kept all of my Barbies. I had put them away," she said.
This massive Barbie collection isn’t a childhood fantasy, though.
"Yeah, it's kind of my fault," said husband, Tim Erdman.
In fact, she blames it on her husband, Tim.
"I mean, you only go around once," he said of his encouragement.
"I'm like, no, 23-year-olds don't buy Barbies. And he's like, why not, and I'm like, ok," she said.
So, she started to dream -- bigger than a Barbie dream house.
"This is a living room, this is the fancy room, so there's a fireplace back there," she said, pointing out the details of the wall-sized Barbie mansion.
Tim built her the dollhouse she never had growing up.
"We measured it so the rooms would be big enough for the dolls, and I went and used felt and tile and everything from Home Depot and I got little miniature things and I put it in there," she said with pride.
But the collection soon outgrew the dollhouse and these four walls.
Downstairs, Erdman has 28 more bins, full of Barbies.
"You have John Deere, breast cancer, and FAO Schwartz," she said, pulling some out of a tub.
There's X-Files Barbie and Ken, and a tub full of little sister, Kelly.
"It's hard. I want to win the lottery and I'm going to build a Barbie house. And I'm going to have them all on display," she said.
Until then, she's keeping a meticulous record of her ever-growing collection.
"I keep track of their name, the number that they have on them, how much I paid," she said, flipping through her records.
All of these notes are in Excel now.
"And I'm not going to tell you how much I paid for them," Erdman said with a laugh.
Let's just say it's an investment in time and money.
So, what's Barbie's draw? Erdman says it's pretty simple.
"I just always thought she was really cool," she said "I grew up with, 'you can be anything'. That was the motto from the 80's when I grew up."
Tim couldn't have imagined what his encouragement all those years ago would grow into.
"I didn't think it would blossom that big, but she enjoys it, so not going to stop it," he said with a smile.
He's right about that.
"She's called Madame du Barbie," she said, pulling her current favorite doll out of the box.
Still, there's always another Barbie to dream about.
"She's called Pink Splendor. She's, right now, if you can get her for a good price, she's $300," Erdman said.
Until then, the Erdman's are excited to see the movie.
"I mean, I love Barbie, so, how could I not be," she said.
"I will probably go, yes. I will be in the back with my popcorn and soda," Time said.
Enjoying the world they've created for Barbie, and she's created for them.
"It's just, you know, one of those happy places that it takes you," Erdman said.
A quick Barbie update -- since we interviewed Erdman, she said she has purchased the Pink Splendor Barbie, and is now on the hunt for the next special addition to her collection.