Makies Are On the Move

UPDATE 10/2016: The Makies brand seems to be dead right now. The site never re-opened and social media hasn’t been updated. As of this update, I am considering Makies out of business. Brands have been known to surprise us before and come out of oblivion, so you never know what will happen. But, for the time being, I would try to find a Makie second hand if you’re looking to add one to your collection. The fandom is still alive and well on Facebook, so I recommend searching Makies there and joining one of the fan groups.

If this first week of 2016 is any indication, it’s going to be a whirlwind year for doll collectors. Fresh off the heels of Mattel and their Monster High reboot fiasco, Makies has announced a quick change of their own. Operations are moving from the UK to the United States. Shocker, right? Part of the fun of Makies for me has always been that they weren’t produced by a US based company. Knowing this doll was printed and shipped from the UK made the wait for her very exciting. It was like my Makie was already having an adventure, even though she hadn’t yet arrived at my doorstep! On top of that, the 2 week shipping promise was usually on point, which is a very short wait for a custom doll from another country.

Various Makies

Various Makies

I first became acquainted with Makies back in November of 2013. A Facebook ad for Makies had popped up on the sidebar of my timeline and it stirred my curiosity. 3D printed dolls that you could design? How cool was that? Shortly after, I sent out an e-mail to Jen, who was the Communications Director at the time, asking for more information on the line. Honestly, I didn’t expect an e-mail back. Not many companies care about tiny blogs like mine. But surprisingly, shortly after sending the message, Jen replied back and answered all my questions. That’s when I realized that MakieLabs wasn’t your typical doll business. Since that original correspondence, I’ve tried to keep track of Makies and have tried to add one to my collection every few years. Most recently, I posted an interview with Christina, current Chief Marketing Officer, in an effort to understand some of the recent changes Makies has been going through this past six months.

Pippi, My New Makie

The most recent bombshell from the company happened the other day, when the website displayed the following message: Makies are moving to America! Things are afoot and so the MakieLab is moving to the USA. The land of opportunity awaits. Will they be back online soon? Have they gone back to the future? Watch this space…

Makies Moving to US
Makies Moving to US

The line, “have they gone back to the future” makes me wonder if they’ve devised a way to keep the new price, but still have fully 3D printed bodies. The new plastic bodies they introduced a few months back look like they have a lot of kinks to work out still, so maybe they’re going back to the original concept of having your doll be 3D printed from head to toe? I’d be more than okay with that!

There are a few reasons why this move could be happening, but honestly, it’s all speculation at this point. All the company has officially posted is the blurb on the website. Does it have something to do with being accepted into the Disney Accelerator program for 2015, a program where they receive funding and mentorship? Maybe, but I don’t see any rule stating the companies need to be in the US full-time to be accepted. Could it be that the US has allowances for businesses that the UK doesn’t? I have literally no idea. It’s a huge question mark as to why this move is happening.

Makie Cosplaying as Doctor Whooves
What I can safely deduce, though, is that most likely the move has very little to do with the fan base or competitive sales (US vs UK). There are a lot of collectors here in the States, but the UK collectors are far more boisterous about the line. In fact, most of the people I’ve talked with who own Makies are based somewhere in the UK, not the US. At least, that’s how it seems based on the doll shows I’ve attended with my Makies, where people tend to ask me lots of questions about them, because they have never heard of the line and/or weren’t sure if they could trust it.

The move itself is frustrating to me, because it seems to have come out of nowhere. Thank goodness I didn’t buy anyone gift cards this Christmas! With no re-opening date posted and no idea what this new Makie store will look like and offer, I would hate to think I gave someone a gift that they couldn’t use for who knows how long.

Makies Banner

Makies Banner

Those in the UK have even more reasons to be frustrated, I’d imagine, because I’ve heard the horror stories about the fees that are tacked onto packages from the US and elsewhere. I would hate for Makies to be hard to get in the country that they originated in. I also feel bad for the people who helped build MakieLabs (the brand), who may not be able/want to move their entire lives to the USA.

My hope is that MakieLabs will give us a bit more information as soon as they can.  Collectors young and old would really like to know more about the future of the line or, at the very least, when the shop will reopen. And then there’s the weird boys in the website screenshot (ie: the guy with the beard). What’s the deal with him? I don’t dislike him, but I’m hungry for information.

What do you think of Makies and their move to the US? Pros? Cons? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

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January 5, 2016. Uncategorized.

22 Comments

  1. SmallerPlaces replied:

    Wow. This explains why my parents, who had bought a gift certificate for me for Christmas, got the last-minute notification from Makies that they couldn’t ship physical gift certificates as promised. Nowhere in that message was there any indication that it would be impossible to order a doll in any reasonable time frame after Christmas.

    I am so glad that my parents requested a refund. I know you and several other doll bloggers love them, and the fully 3-D printed ones were really adorable — but as an introduction to the company, this experience wouldn’t have been a success.

    THANK YOU for sharing the news. It brings closure.

  2. barbielea replied:

    Dreadful news for me, as you can probably guess. Yes, I am concerned about the horrific postage costs, but turnabout’s fair play – US buyers have faced the same situation with Makies for years (although they have recently been offering free postage to the US – I wonder if they’ll extend the same courtesy to the UK when they’ve left us?). More importantly for me, I was very proud that we had a home-grown toy company who were so cool and successful – Makies are the best thing we’ve produced, toywise, since Sindy. I hate that they are walking away from that, and I hate the idea of job losses in our country when things are not great over here. I feel terribly let down on both these fronts, but at the same time I understand why a growing company might be so keen to concentrate on breaking the US market. Honestly, compared to the US, the UK is tiny. I also wonder if it has anything to do with the CEO being American? (That’s what I heard anyway – on Instagram there was a bit of a flap when @officialmakies posted a Veterans Day post rather than a Remembrance Day one, and that was the explanation given). I am also puzzled as they have recently struck a deal for manufacturing the non-3D printed bodies with a UK factory – what happens there, then? Presumably at this time they weren’t planning on moving to the US?? Very puzzling. I might be completely off the mark, but I never like seeing lightning changes like these in a brand and I wonder what else they’ve got up their sleeve – whether there will be more lightning changes to come on an artistic level (which I would be wary of). We will see. I just hope they don’t end up leaving behind all the quirkiness that made Makies so special, which could be disastrous for them and sad for us, I think.

    In the meantime, I will cling to the probably groundless hope that when they say “moving to America”, they mean, “setting up an EXTRA branch in America”. Fingers crossed

    • Amber replied:

      Wow! I totally agree with you, Barbie! And I am very sad for the UK jobs being lost! I’ve been living in the States for about 30 years and still purchase my goods from Home. Lets hope that the ‘thought” is branching out into the States as an addition to the UK company for Makies. Thanks for that bit of news about the CEO. That is interestingly enough. (MY toes are crossed, too) –

  3. Melangell replied:

    It is all very puzzling. I got my first Makie just before Christmas 2014, a little over a year ago. I really wanted a boy but didn’t order because I wasn’t as happy with my initial Makie as I as I had hoped. She didn’t look like my design much and her skin tone was awful (she is the medium skin color and has a definite green undertone. She actually looks green in some light).

    I did not like the shift to the non 3dp bodies. Wish I’d have had the funds to have ordered my boy before the switch over. Unless they go back to being fully 3dp, I won’t be ordering again.

  4. Natalie replied:

    It’s cool! I actually went and asked them what was happening. Jen told me that the whole operation was moving to the US and that was all she could tell me for now. I hope things don’t change with regards to them, and they keep doing the injection molded plastic as well as the fully 3D printed body so I can have the rest of my fan fiction characters in the plastic and the last boy doll I need to complete my “Green Day Boys”. After that I’m not sure I’ll keep buying makies unless I absolutely have to, I’ll keep buying accessories for sure because they’re all so cute!

  5. Beatrix replied:

    Interesting information even though Makies haven’t won me over. Although the idea of making your own doll like this is appealing, I find the result crude, unattractive even. They seem alien/robot like and yet not quite robotic enough, not quite alien enough for my taste. A fully robotic doll or alien doll would draw my interest or at least a better hybrid. Of course, that’s just my impression. Maybe that will improve over time..

  6. Kasey replied:

    Not sure what to think, although I hope they reopen soon! I’ve been meaning to buy one for awhile, and then the shop was closed over the holidays and supposed to reopen on Jan 4th, and then when I went to the website today I was very surprised to see they are moving. Hopefully they aren’t out of commission for long, but as a US resident, I wouldn’t mind faster shipping.

  7. RobJD replied:

    I have 4 Makies. Two with the wonderful 3D bodies, and I recently got two with the new bodies. I do NOT like the new bodies, and will not be getting anymore, no matter what country they are shipping from, unless we can be given the option to order the 3D bodies again.

  8. Laura J. Underwood replied:

    Annoying is the fact that 1) people who regularly purchase Makies were basically blindsided by the sudden disappearance of accounts and such and 2) the new bodies really suck. I hear horror stories of them breaking and coming apart very easily.

    Personally, I have five Makies (two boys and three girls) from the Cutie period (which is when I started buying them). I adore them. I wanted more like them, not some cheaper breakable thing.

    So unless they really DO fix matters, I am not buying any more Makies. And while I am an American, I do hope they are not going to cheat the British customers who have kept them afloat.

  9. Amber replied:

    Okay…..I can truly see that some of us here are very disappointed with the new plans for Makies moving to the Americas. And some of us are really disappointed with the new bodies. Or just disappointed.
    I for one have one Makies and I absolutely love her – my design was brilliant!! But…. I waiting a long time before ordering and really played with the “design your own Makies” program before I was really satisfied with the final result! My Makies has the ‘new body’………and I am hoping that I will get the chance to add in another Makies with the 3-d body. For now, I want to believe that the Makies CEO has the best interest for this wonderful little doll in the near(est) future, on “whatever” planet they actually choose. Lets stand together for our Makies safe return!!!!!!

  10. Purple Monkfish replied:

    I have 25 Makies.. yes, that’s right. Twenty Five.

    I don’t mind the IM body like some people, but the im hybrid boys with the 3dp bodies and im limbs? they fall apart constantly and are very very awkward to make sit because of this. Don’t have the same issue with the IM girl.
    But I miss the 3dp bodies, they were so lovely and tactile and it was cool to have a doll that was completely 3dp. The potential was massive there for customisation, potential that wasn’t really tapped into. Sadly the dolls were very expensive to produce, powdered nylon hasn’t dropped in price like everyone had expected and so it was costing about £30 JUST to print the BODY!
    that’s not a big profit margin when you’re only charge £70 for each doll (eyes, wig, outfit plus the cost of about £40-50 just to print the whole thing?)

    I don’t feel like they’ve handled their image or customer facing side very well recently though. Since shifting their social media to the US something has definitely changed in the way customers are treated and I don’t like it. The lie about black friday (they had a sale banner, nothing was on sale), the reluctance to actually keep people in the loop about what was going on with server issues, missing accounts, gift cards. It’s not acceptable.

    Now I love Makies, I really do, but I won’t stand by and idly support a company who hasn’t got the decency to tell customers what’s going on. It’s just ridiculous. If your server has crashed, ADMIT IT ffs.

    But I do still hope Makies return. This move sounds like it wasn’t planned to be so sudden, too much had just been set up. Jen had been given a promotion, they’d hired a new girl for customer service, they’d struck a deal with a UK plastics company, they were working on making boys more customisable for heir return in Febuary/March… these are not things a company planning to jump ship does!
    So I feel like there’s a big chunk of story we’re not hearing and I really really hope it doesn’t mean Makie Labs can’t recover.

    they’ve upset a fair few people the past few months with their silence and shenanigans, I just really hope they can get back up and running and encourage people back.
    I also really am anxious about the return of boy dolls, as they never sold as well as the girls. It’s important to have them, but whether they’ll put them on the shelf for a bit longer while they try to rebuild I don’t know… i’m worried about it.

    I wish i’d bought a couple more before the lab shut down. *sigh* I’m really grieving for the couple I didn’t make real in time, assuming the lab would be up and running and business as usual.

    • Were Ferret (Weasel) replied:

      Long time no see!

      Yeah, at this point I think they are dead. Blows my mind they didn’t at least say “hey, looks like things didn’t work out, we closed”

      • kewpie83 replied:

        Yeah. I don’t understand why they didn’t just fess up and announcing their closing. The whole thing was weird. The fact that their old office stock ended up on eBay, being sold by a third party was even weirder. I think a lot of things were wrong about how they closed.

  11. Dolly Review: Makies Disney Outfits (Prototypes/Test Run) | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] time of the interview, they were really excited about the Disney partnership. Well, fast forward to January— we learn that Makies is moving to the US and would re-open “soon”, leaving many […]

  12. Anonymous replied:

    I want one so bad

    • kewpie83 replied:

      It’s not looking too good for Makies at the moment, but keep an eye out. No news yet.

  13. Thomas Clarke replied:

    I bought a makie doll pack for my friends daughter almost a year ago. I live in London and they live in Glasgow. My friend thought that we should all sit down together to do it. You can imagine the poor little girls diss appointment when we all sat down, having patiently waited, only to find that we can’t select her doll. Very disappointing indeed. And no indication of when they will be back online.

    • kewpie83 replied:

      Did they refund you your gift card? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I don’t think they’re coming back. The way they handled their business, quickly shutting down and leaving us hanging was wrong and totally unprofessional. I feel so bad for those who bought gift cards towards the end. They never should have left things hanging like they did. There was a lot of drama a few months back that made me 100% sure (an assumption) that Makies like we knew them are gone forever.

  14. Were Ferret (Weasel) replied:

    Here we are February 2017, and nothing. I might look into finding someone who wanted one to adopt mine.

    • kewpie83 replied:

      They go for pretty high prices now. Might be a good time to sell if you really want to make your collection smaller. 🙂

  15. Stacie replied:

    Wow!

    • kewpie83 replied:

      I haven’t written a post about this yet, but Makies (just this week) confirmed that they are no longer in business. A new company owns the brand.

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