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The dolls attracted the attention of toy manufacturer Coleco, who began mass-production in 1982. The Coleco Cabbage Patch Kids had large, round vinyl heads, (originally of a different, hard plastic), and soft fabric bodies, and were produced from 1982–1989, many at a factory in Amsterdam, New York. After Coleco went bankrupt, the Cabbage Patch Kids were later mass produced by other companies, including Hasbro , Mattel , Toys R Us , and currently Play Along . Mattel started producing them after cancelling production of My Child dolls.

At the peak of their popularity the dolls were a must-have toy for Christmas. Parents across the United States flocked to stores to try to obtain one of the Cabbage Patch Kids for their children, with fights occasionally erupting between parents over the hard-to-find dolls. In later years, Coleco introduced variants on the original Cabbage Patch Kids, and derivatives of the original line of dolls continued to be marketed. Hailey Theeuwen was the first known Cabbage Patch doll.