When Justin Bieber took a pair of scissors to his signature haircut in February, his loyal fans were so shocked they cried – and we’d bet some even shouted in anger, mourning the loss of his now-shorn golden locks. But the screams were perhaps loudest of all at a Florida toy company.
“I heard a lot of shrieks around me, and people running in and out of their offices,” The Bridge Direct CEO Jay Foreman told CNNMoney.
Why would a bunch of adults be so shocked at the then 16-year-old’s decision to altar his hair? Well, Foreman’s company has the exclusive rights to the Justin Bieber doll. And with an outdated ‘do, the dolls just won’t sell.
(PHOTOS: Bieber and His Adoring Fans)
The Bridge Direct sold four million Bieber dolls last holiday season, and they were quickly convinced there’s no cure for Bieber Fever. So, following their Christmas boon, they quickly refreshed the doll with new accessories and clothes and placed another order to be ready in time for this fall. Then the tween superstar decided to cut his hair.
Following the breaking news of that fateful February day, Foreman recounts, “We weren’t sure what he had done. Then it became obvious that his trademark was gone.” Bieber, now 17, had indeed ditched the bowl cut look, trading his sideswipe for an up-do – what he called a more “mature” look. But his new lack of a hair flip caused a major flip-out for The Bridge Direct, who had to revamp their doll on the fly – to the tune of $100,000. Who knew a haircut on a 13-inch doll could be so pricey? Design and production costs made a major snip into the company’s budget.
The doll’s new haircut will appear on model launching in Spring 2012. This year’s dolls were already on the production line when Bieber saw the barber.
Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.