You’ll remember Doll Angel from my last post spotlighting the amazing Abnegation custom she did for me. Learn more about her in the video linked below!
I highly recommend giving it a watch, even if you’re more of a blog reader than a YouTube watcher. In the video, Doll Angel (aka Nicole) talks about her Pullip customizing journey, her favorite things about the hobby and gives a few tips for those who are looking to start customizing their own doll!
Since Doll Angel was awesome enough to shoot and edit this spotlight for the channel, I encourage you to leave her some kudo’s in the comment area here, on YouTube or via her sites, Flickr, Etsy or Dolly Market.
If you want to be in a Collector Spotlight post, let me know and I can give you details! Thanks for checking out Doll Angel’s story and don’t forget to send some kudo’s her way!
Have you heard of Tiny Frock shop? It’s probably one of the coolest online doll stores on the web! This Spotlight post is a Q and A with Pamela Thompson, the force behind the cool doll clothing and accessory shop! Read below to learn a little more about who they are, what they offer and the passion behind this online business!
Question: Tell us a bit about your background and how it had a hand in opening up Tiny Frock shop.
Answer: Before starting Tiny Frock shop, I was a fashion designer in NYC for 20+ years, working as head designer for Betsey Johnson, Heatherette and designer at Anna Sui. After I had my daughter, I decided to leave NY and thus left my full-time fashion career with it. I have always had my career as a creative outlet and found I needed to reinvent myself in order to have a new outlet for my creativity.
I have been a huge fan of Barbie since I was a kid and when my Mom brought me my old 1970’s Barbie case and clothes she saved from my childhood, I fell in love all over again. I realized that no one had created a Vogue worthy online department store for Barbie’s world and with so many amazing designs made for her from Mattel, clone companies and handmade, the options to style her and offer a new way of looking at Barbie is infinite. I decided to take my real world fashion experience and create an online shop for Barbie that encompasses not just all product areas related to her world, but also make the shop a microcosm showing how the real fashion world works. I use behind the scenes photos, interviews with the doll models and commentary from the doll staff to show a tongue in cheek version of the real fashion world.
Question: Tiny Frock shop is a unique sort of online store in that it’s a resale shop that also sells its own unique clothing pieces and accessories. Can you tell us a little about your concept and how it differs from other online clothing shops?
Answer: Most of the standalone online Barbie shops out there are small and focused in one area such as OOAK clothing or furniture. Since I incorporate resale, I am able to offer a wider range of products and product categories, that makes Tiny Frock shop a one stop shop for all things Barbie and Ken! Offering resale allows me to “rehab” some of the amazing clothes that come my way and give them new life, as well as offering a less expensive range of clothing. The artisan collection I produce called TINY FROCK, is more expensive, very fashion forward, one of a kind and uses high-end fabrics and trims, therefore making it a bit more costly. Having tiered pricing in the shop allows collectors and Mom’s/kids the ability to shop all in one place.
I am a big advocate of recycling and love that I am able to revive old clothing, accessories and dolls and give them a new chance at being loved.
Question: What kind of dolls does Tiny Frock Shop sell clothing for? (Size? Type?) What era’s of clothing can be found in Tiny Frock Shop?
Answer: Generally, our clothes fit on all Barbie types from vintage to new, as well as Integrity dolls and any other 12” doll. There are notes put in each item description if it runs small or large. I have also just opened a department for the new “curvy” and “petite” Barbie’s just released by Mattel and plan to also offer a “tall” section soon. Since there is not a lot of clothing out there for the new Barbie types, I wanted to help add a little variety to those new dolls offerings by making it easy for people to find clothes to fit the new body shapes.
The clothing the shop features goes all the way back to the first 1959 doll to current. I also have a lot of handmade and vintage clone clothing from Hong Kong.
Question: Tell us a bit about TINY FROCK, a line you created for Tiny Frock shop.
Answer: The line is called TINY FROCK and Monotone was the inspiration for the first collection in conjunction with the January Monotone issue of Fashion Doll Quarterly, where the line is featured. I was playing on the starkness of black and white contrasts and the mixture of different print, texture and finishes. The line is made of European fabrics and each has its own TINY FROCK woven label and hangtag.
Our newest collections called Retro Candy, will launch with a spread in the Spring issue of Fashion Doll Quarterly and feature a surprise collaboration!
Question: I love that your shop is so much more than just pre-made outfits. Can you tell us a bit about your team and the unique pieces they make for the shop? I’m a huge fan of Tiffany’s wall art. I noticed you also have some miniature wall art from Sharon Wright on your site, as well.
Answer: I LOVE collaboration and am always looking for new designers to work with and feature. It is something I learned is necessary for creativity to really blossom and it is extremely invigorating. I was inspired by the Target Go International shopping model started in 2005, where they take amazing designers like Anna Sui, Jean Paul Gaultier, McQ, Alexander McQueen, etc and have them design a diffusion line. I wanted to create a platform for known and unknown doll artists in all categories (furniture, clothing, art) to have their work seen and also able to be purchased within the Tiny Frock shop store.
I call our version of this the Tiny Frock Shop Designer Collective. It has included amazing designers like Andy Sorensen for Haute Poppet, Cat Hammond and currently is featuring Littlest Sweet Shop, Haute Doll Editor in Chief Sharon Marie Wright’s photography and Chicago artist Tiffany Gholar. This Spring I will be featuring Maryann Roy’s Acryluxe furniture, Mari Krasney’s art on canvas and more are in the works.
Question: Props are necessary for any dolly photo shoot, what kind of props do you sell in Tiny Frock shop? I noticed some awesome Re-Ment that I may need to sweep up! And the musical instruments are pretty neat, too!
Answer: I have been getting deeply into props or what I like to call “home décor”. Many of the items I sell are vintage so there can sometimes only be one of each. I try to curate the products for you and offer lots of options in the shop so you can pick and choose what you want to decorate your space. In most cases what you buy will be something only you have and make your space that much more unique! 🙂
I have just jumped headfirst into the Re-Ment game and am super excited about it. I am in love with the tiny details of Re-Ment, but I get frustrated by buying blind boxes. There is some fun in it, but when I really have my eye on one particular set and don’t get it, I get so weepy. So in the shop I am buying full Re-Ment sets and have launched an unboxing channel on YouTube where Lily, my 7 yr old CEO daughter and I, along with my 70-year-old Mom unbox each blind box and show how they look and work together. We like to call it “multigenerational unboxing” ;). That way you can see exactly what you are getting in detail and then you can go on our site and buy what you see! The Thompson girls are all kids at heart no matter our age.
I get in a lot of other really cool items daily and try to do unboxing videos of all that are worthy. It’s like Christmas every day at the Tiny Frock shop!
Question: Do you sell dolls, as well? Are those found through second-hand means or are you a direct dealer for doll lines like Kurhn?
Answer: I do sell dolls in a variety of categories and price points. I have a section for what I call “pre-loved” Barbie’s, which are used Barbie’s that get a spa treatment (hair wash, style and new clothing) and then are put up for sale in order to give them an opportunity for a new life. I also sell new in box Barbie’s (vintage and new), as well as Integrity Dolls. I am a direct dealer for Kurhn (the Barbie of China) and also sell Licca Chan from Japan.
Question: Do you collect dolls? If so, what kinds?
Answer: Yes. ALL kinds! Since my staff is made up mainly of dolls/action figures, I have many in my collection, all with different jobs. They have their own bio in my “the team” section of the site where you can read about their jobs. Probably the most famous employee is Ms. Bunny, our resident stylist, who is a mid century Japanese poseable bunny doll. I also have a love for 60’s big eye dolls and any type of kitty figurine!
As for Barbie’s I collect, generally most of them become models with the exception of a few elite girls that have not and will not probably make it out of their boxes. The most prized?? My Karl Lagerfeld Barbie which I feel so fortunate to have gotten.
Question: What has been the most fun aspect of running Tiny Frock shop so far?
Answer: The best thing about running the Tiny Frock shop is being able to marry all aspects of running a real fashion world brand in 1:6 scale. I am able to take all of my experience, apply it to this tiny world and share it with everyone. It also grants me the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the business like photography, e-commerce, design, buying and more. When I was in the regular fashion industry, I worked at small companies and wore many hats. This business allows me to wear even more.
I also love being able to include my daughter, Lily and Mom, Jean in the process. Lily and my Mom both help styling the home décor sets and with unboxing.
Question: If someone has extra dolly clothing lying around, do you accept donations? If so, what are the requirements?
Answer: Absolutely! I pride myself on taking clothing of almost all condition levels and doing my best to bring them back to life. There is no requirement. We accept all eras and conditions of clothing as donations. There is a link in the homepage footer with information on donating.
Question: Where can people find your site?
Answer: You can find us:
YouTube Channel: http://tinyurl.com/tinyfrockshop
TINY FROCK: http://tinyfrock.tumblr.com/
I’d like to thank Pamela for answering my questions! It was great learning a little more about Tiny Frock shop. Clearly, this is a dolly shop that you need to visit. I love that the whole family is included in the Tiny Frock shop. It reminds me of how Barbee0913 and I celebrate doll collecting together. I’m very temped to pick up some of the Re-Ment set and love the idea of being able to style my dolls without going broke! Next time I’m outfitting a Make It Own Pullip, this will be my first stop.
Have you ordered from Tiny Frock shop? What do you think of this neat online store? What’s on your Tiny Frock shop wish list? Share your thoughts in the comment area! (And if you know of a store, person or site I should spotlight next, let me know that, too!)
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. This interview was done a few months before the beginning of the end. Clearly, they had plans, some which were very exciting by the sounds of it, but alas, most of them never saw the light of day.
Makies are very popular jointed 3D printed dolls. I’ve been a fan ever since I stumbled upon a facebook advertisement. Currently, I own two Makies and love them both! Because of this, I thought they’d be the perfect company to spotlight with a Q and A post! Christina Hsu, CMO of Makielab, was kind enough to answer a few questions about the line and the changes they have recently rolled out.
Question: Makies have been on the cutting edge of the doll world creatively since they made their debut. Can you talk a little about the inspiration for this unique line?
Answer: Absolutely! Our CEO and Co-Founder, Alice Taylor, came up with the idea for Makies while attending an industry toy fair. At the time she was a corporate executive working in the digital and games space. As an avid gamer herself, she thought — how cool would it be to bring digital/virtual goods to life in physical form. And, since she had a toddler at home, she set out to create a toy that her own child would love. It was important for the new toy to be stereotype-breaking, forward thinking, technology related and overall AWESOME. What happened next? Makies were introduced!
Since we started the company, we set out to make the best toys that we can imagine, which turns out is the best toy that all of you can imagine. Makies are the world’s first 3d printed toys, certified toy-safe for children 3+. We love that kids of all ages, from age 5 to 95, can enjoy our products and the experiences of making them.
Question: How have fans taken to the line? How does that make you, as a company, feel?
Answer: Our fans have been so supportive and enthusiastic since day one. Our first iteration of the dolls were prototypes to test our Makie Maker engine, and to see if there was demand for 3D printed characters. And it worked! Ever since we have been optimizing and improving our product. It doesn’t stop here. We’re driven by product development. We’re happy to say anyone who has experienced creating and making a Makie has given us incredibly helpful and positive feedback.
How does it make us feel? We love it! We love hearing feedback and seeing our customers’ excitement. We physically make the Makies, but you are truly creating the Makies universe with us and we couldn’t be happier! The creativity we see on social media with everything all of our fans have done with their Makies is incredibly inspiring. It keeps us moving forward on a daily basis. So we want to send a big thanks to our community!
Question: One thing that draws Makies apart from other doll lines is that the company isn’t afraid to take risks. Cutting right to the chase, what can you tell us about the changes that were recently made to the Makies dolls?
Answer: As you know, Makies are premium, modern, creative dolls. We love that we can give creators, like yourself, a chance to make their own dolls. Since we launched, we’ve been listening to our customers and hearing your feedback. In fact, we plan to launch more feedback and surveys, so it would mean the world to hear from you when we do.
We’ve learned that for people who love Makies but don’t buy, it’s overwhelmingly because the price is too high. 3D printing is expensive technology, and over the past few years we’ve optimized our processes and models to bring our costs down and pass the savings on to Makies fans. Unfortunately, materials costs haven’t come down as fast as we’d hoped, and we realized that the only way we could continue to keep our custom dolls on the market and offer them at an affordable price was to introduce injection molded bodies. We thought hard and explored a lot of options before arriving at this decision. We’re a very small company, and we need growth in order to survive and thrive in the competitive toy space.
At this time, we have Girl Makies available for purchase. Our Boy Makies will be taking a “vacation” for the rest of 2015 and will return with new and improved bodies in early 2016. Most of the creativity happens with the custom face and accessories which continue to be fully 3d printed. With the introduction of the new bodies, we’ve been able to drop the price of a Makie doll from $115 / £69 to $74.99/£49.99. Best of all they are still made locally in Kent, England.
Question: How will these changes affect the line? What are the positives and/or negatives?
Answer: What these changes mean specifically: the customizable elements of the doll remain EXACTLY as they were before: fully-custom sculptural facial features, choices of skin tone, choices of outfit, choices of hair and eyes and accessories. The new body is smoother, so it’s much easier to dress compared to the former 3D printed surface, and it’s also shinier. Most joints have been re-designed: the new neck joint is much more robust, and the wrist and ankle joints have been adjusted so they’re easier to play with than ever. A side effect of this is that hands and pop-on shoes designed for the former 3D printed bodies won’t fit the new bodies and vice-versa: we’ve heard from many Makie owners that they’d still like the option of buying goodies for their fully 3D printed Makies, so we’re looking at ways to make that happen.
A big plus is that the combination of the new plastics and the slightly tweaked joints gives Makies a wider range of motion and freer joint movement. New Makies can pose in ways that weren’t possible before – they can even do the splits! The hands and feet are more detailed, and Makies continue to be toy-safe and practically indestructible. Best of all, you can now bring a Makie home for far less money (35% lower than before). The dolls are still one-of-a-kind, custom and unique to you only.
We’re already looking into how to improve these new bodies, too. This includes minimizing seams and injection marks (which are very common in plastic toys), making better color matches, and updating our shop offerings for new Makies, including hands and shoes.
Question: Does the changing of the body type limit the skin tone options? How do the new colors compare to the colors used prior to the new bodies?
Answer: Ice Frosting (plain white) has been retired for now, but we still offer three delicious choices: Strawberry Milk (pink flesh tone), Cool Caramel (tan flesh tone) and Cocoa Bean (rich brown tone). We’re looking into additional tones too, and would love to expand the range in 2016 – we’ll see!
Right now, we’re working with our suppliers to minimize the slight variation between the tone and finish of Makie faces and the new bodies, which is most apparent with Cocoa Bean. When Makies are dressed the differences are barely noticeable, but of course we’d like to get the match perfect!
Question: Are the ‘old’ style 3DP bodies gone or is there hope that that kind of body might stick around for die-hard 3DP Makies fans?
Answer: For the time being, fully 3D printed Makies aren’t available, but we’ve heard from many Makie fans who would still like to buy them, so we’re looking into how we can offer them. It’s not as straightforward as it may seem … but watch this space. 🙂
Question: Do you have any final remarks for my readers? Where can we find/follow Makies online?
Answer: At MakieLab, we are constantly looking at ways to optimize and improve our Makies and the Makies experience. We recently participated in a program with The Walt Disney Company and announced some exciting news which you can see here. We can’t say more than that for now, but definitely follow us (@officialmakies) on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. We’ll share more information as it becomes publicly available in a few weeks or so.
One final note, thanks to all our Makies friends for your support, feedback and enthusiasm for our product. We love Makies and what makes every day even better for us, is developing Makies that you love too. We love to see what you make and how you play with Makies – please share your creations on social media with us!
Huge thank you to Christina for answering my questions! I love how Makies continue to change and grow. Some companies become popular and then are too afraid to adapt or improve upon their concept– MakieLab does not fall into that category. The changes they’re implementing now may seem like a lot to some, but I have faith that they’ll make the line even better than before.
The news announced at the 2015 Disney Accelerator Demo Day regarding Makies (and other start ups) is very exciting. From the article, “MakieLab lets kids bring toys to life by building their own customizable 3D-printed toys through creative games and apps. MakieLab will be introducing Disney-, Disney•Pixar- and Marvel-branded accessories for Makie dolls, as well as helping kids create their own versions of a Star Darling—inspired by Disney’s brand-new franchise for girls—in Fall 2016.” Funny enough, I was just thinking how neat it would be if MakieLab worked with Disney–they can make so many cool things with their 3D printers. Sign me up for two Makie sized Mickey Mouse ear hats!
I encourage you to say hello to the MakieLab team via the social media sites linked in the interview. What do you think of the changes currently being made to the Makie line? Do you own a Makie? Are you excited about MakieLab’s creating Disney themed accessories for Makie dolls? (Clearly, with my newest Disney toy endeavour, I am!) Share your thoughts below.
In 1988, Mattel released Homecoming Queen Skipper. Homecoming Queen Skipper was manufactured in both white and black (aa) skin tones. Recently in an auction, I won a ‘lot’ of large eyed Skippers. The lot featured two AA Homecoming Queen Skippers and, interestingly enough, they were not identical.
Homecoming Queen Skipper wears a long white dress with flower embellishments along the bottom of the skirt and by the neckline. She wears flowers in her hair, as well. Mattel is never too far away from a gimmick and Skipper’s gimmick is found in her dress, which is designed to change lengths.
Skipper has long black hair with a bit of a wave, no bangs. Her eyes are a cool mixture of blue/grey. Skipper comes with a comb, shoes and purse.
The flowers are where the outfits of these dolls differ. One has large, craft like flowers and the other has smaller, more traditional silk flowers. Below are images of what I believe to be the first version of Homecoming Queen Skipper.
One major downfall of this first run? Her green legs. I took her out of her box to find her legs speckled with green spots.
While I can’t be certain, there are a few things about the above release that make me believe she was released first. First, there is the prototype. The box graphics seem to feature a prototype doll that looks very similar to this. The rose details are nearly identical.
Another characteristic that leads me to believe that this version of Skipper came first is the fact that it seems like more fabric was used when you compare this dress to the other nearly identical dress. I see this mostly in the bodice area.
The purse this Skipper comes with is also longer than the purse issued with the other doll I’m going to show you next. Last, the paperwork that was packaged with this Skipper, the Skipper Teen Scrapbook, is, if I remember correctly, usually packaged with the older dolls of this Skipper era. The Skipper with the smaller, silk flowers was packaged with a poster insert that is more reminiscent of what they included with 90’s Skippers.
Ready to see photos of what I suspect was the second release? There are two things worth noting about this second edition besides the flower variation. First, her face is less glossy than the doll featured above. Also, she has no green spots on her legs.
Video Review Below:
Did you know Mattel tweaked the design for Homecoming Queen Skipper mid run? Which Skipper do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comment area.
Late 2014, I asked if there was any interest in me writing a post on the basics of Ball Jointed Dolls, aka BJDs. There was. And finally, many months later, I’ve found time to write this long awaited post. First, a quick disclaimer. Like all genre’s of collecting, BJD collecting is a very subjective thing. Some people look at it as one thing, others another. My idea of what constitutes a BJD may differ from how others define the niche.
It is said that the modern BJD trend started back in 1998 when doll designer Akihiro Enku sculpted a large scale 57cm ball jointed doll for his wife. The president of Volks, a company known for customizable 1/6 scale dolls and resin model kits, saw Enku’s work. By 1999, Volks released the first series of Super Dollfies. The hobby has grown widely since then, with many other BJD manufacturers opening shop around the world.
What characteristics make up a BJD? There are four major things BJD’s usually have in common. First, they are jointed with ball and socket joints. Alongside that, BJD’s are stung together. Ball and socket joints aren’t exclusive to BJD’s, non BJD’s like Madame Alexanders and Sasha dolls are strung in a similar fashion, but for a doll to be considered within the BJD realm, it needs to have these sorts of joints.
Second, all BJDs are customizable. True, any doll is customizable at heart, but BJDs come ready for you to make them your own! BJDs are designed with head caps that allow you to open up the back of their head and change out their eyes. They also are designed to wear removable wigs, so you can change their look any time you’d like. On top of that, many BJDs come with blank faces, so you can put your artistic skills to work and give your doll a 100% unique face up.
Third, BJDs are usually cast in resin. Now, here’s where I divert slightly from some collectors. If a doll is customizable and built with ball joints and string, I don’t care if it’s resin. In my mind it’s a BJD. For example, Hujoo’s are strung, have ball joints and are 100% customizable. Yet, some would discount them and say they aren’t ‘real’ BJDs because they’re made of ABS and not resin. I don’t subscribe to that kind of thinking. It is true, though, that 90% of what people consider as BJDs are cast in resin.
Fourth, BJDs are commonly hand crafted in Asian countries. Most major BJD companies are based in Japan, Korea and China. This is becoming less and less true as time goes on, with the emergence of amazing designers like Kaye Wiggs and other doll artists.
Some will say that a doll has to be designed with an ‘Asian aesthetic’ to be defined as a BJD, but I don’t agree with this, either. Who’s to say what an ‘Asian aesthetic’ even looks like. Japanese animation great Osamu Tezuka (Astroboy, Kimba: The White Lion), for example, said the large eyes on his iconic characters were influenced by western favorites Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop, along with other Disney creations. My point? We’ve been mixing cultural aesthetics for quite some time now; I don’t see how we can use that to judge whether something falls into the BJD niche.
Now that we’ve talked about the characteristics that define what is considered a BJD, let’s talk about the different classifications. BJD collectors will throw out a lot of different terms. The three most common pertain to size. BJDs can range in sizes from super tiny to insanely large.
The largest BJDs fall under the term SD. While SD is universal throughout the hobby and used for all brands, it originally started way back in the early days and is a shortened version of Super Dollfie. SD dolls typically stand 60 or 70cm tall. You will often hear these referred to as 1/3 scaled dolls.
One size down falls MSD dolls. MSD is another generically used Volks term which stands for Mini Super Dollfie. This mid range doll is usually around 40cm. MSD dolls are most commonly referred to as 1/4 scale dolls. Within this size range, you’ll find many variations on the body type. For example, I own a very mature Doll In Mind Fantastia, with hips and a bust, that is on a very different body than my Luts Aru, who was created to look more childlike.
The last size range has the most diverse lot of dolls– tinies! Tinies are 30cm or smaller. These dolls are also sometimes labeled 1/6 scale. Like MSDs, they come in a variety of body types. A tiny can be a 27cm Bobobie March, designed to be a youthful Elf to an 11cm Puki, a small toddler/baby bjd.
Besides these size classifications, you’ll also hear two more terms tossed around. The first one is Anthro. Anthro’s are animal and human hybrids, like the Junky Spot/Hujoo Freyr and Fraya‘s I’ve reviewed in the past.
YO-SD is another term used by collectors. YO-SD dolls fall in the tiny category due to their size, which is usually around 26cm. YO-SD is taken again from the Volks line of dolls that size. I wasn’t quite sure what drew YO-SD dolls apart from the other tinies of that size until I purchased an Island Doll Artemis. The main difference, from what I gather, is the thick body type of YO-SD dolls. I personally love the feel of YO-SD’s because the dolls feel so much more substantial than skinny tinies.
One of the biggest issues new BJD collectors face is choosing their first doll. Let’s face it. BJDs are expensive and for those new to the hobby, it’s hard to judge what might be ‘worth it’. Like with any collection, finding the perfect BJD to splurge on takes time and research. Some big questions you should ask yourself are:
- What size BJD are you looking for? This is a great question to ask first because it cuts out two thirds of your options. If you know you want an SD (1/3 scale) doll and you won’t be happy with anything less, don’t muddy your research with tinies or MSDs.
- What gender are you looking for? One fun fact about BJDs is that they’re anatomically correct. If you purchase a male, you’re getting a proper male body with all his parts intact. This is another great question to ask because once you decide a gender, you can narrow down your search even more.
- Do you have a character in mind already for your future BJD? If you’re modeling your BJD after a character or ‘vibe’, take that into consideration when looking at face sculpts. Does your character need large round, anime like eyes or smaller, glaring eyes? The openness of an eye can change your character alone in many, many ways.
- To face up or not to face up, that is the question. Full disclosure, none of my resin BJD’s arrived at my house with a blank face. They all have factory face ups and I am more than happy with them. However, you can save yourself a little money if you order a blank face up. Prior to ordering your BJD, you’ll have to decide if you’re willing to undertake doing a face up on your future dolly.
- How much do you want to spend? This is a huge question. Some people will say that this question doesn’t actually matter, but we don’t all live in a world where that is true. As I mentioned earlier, BJDs are expensive. My first BJD was a Bobobie March. She’s just under 28cm and cost me a little over $100.00 from The Junky Spot. This was a good purchase for me, because it allowed me to try out the doll type out without spending hundreds of dollars. Think realistically about what you can spend on a BJD before ordering a doll. That being said, don’t just buy a doll because it’s cheap, do it because it’s something you love!
- Do I want it now or can I wait? Some sites, like The Junky Spot, only sell dolls they have in hand, ready to ship, while others take pre-orders. Dolls you pre-order can take months to get to you. The wait can feel like forever. Trust me, I know. I personally prefer to only order dolls that are ready to ship. It limits my choices a little, but honestly, I am totally fine with that. I’d much rather have my doll within two weeks than 5+ months. But what about you?
- Do you want your doll to arrive as a full set or naked? Most of the dolls I’ve purchased have arrived naked. Full Sets, dolls that come with all the dressings (eyes, wig, outfit, etc), are very tempting, but can be very pricey. I’ve always chosen to outfit my BJD’s myself. It’s important to keep this in mind, though, because buying the base doll is not the end of the journey. You then need to find clothing, wigs, eyes (in some cases), shoes, etc to really create/finish your doll.
In the end, the most important thing to know about ordering your first BJD is this: Make sure your future dolly is something you love. If you love it, then you won’t face a checkbook of regret later.
How do you take care of your BJDs, you ask? A lot of non BJD collectors are surprised at how substantial these resin dolls feel. Before owning one myself, I assumed they were super fragile, like porcelain. That’s not exactly the case. Will they break if you drop them just right? Of course, but they are surprisingly durable. While BJD’s tend to balance well, I would use a stand if you’re displaying them in a standing position. I decided to take a different route with mine— they sit on my shelf. I’ve never had any trouble with them in that position.
One great rule of thumb is this: Just like you don’t feed a gremlin after midnight, don’t leave your BJD in direct sunlight for long periods of time. Display your BJD in a portion of your room or shelf that isn’t directly across from a window. Exposure to sunlight for long periods of time will make the resin yellow quicker than it should. Some collectors will go all out and store their BJD’s in a dark place when they’re not using them, like their doll box or closet. I’m more lax about that. (They’re going to yellow anyways over time, right?) My BJD’s are displayed on a shelf that isn’t directly in line with my window. That way, they’re protected and I can still enjoy looking at them.
You will also most likely find that your BJD will need restringing from time to time. That’s nothing to be afraid of. Keep a cool head, find a YouTube tutorial, purchase some string and you’re set.
Another handy item to have on hand is a Mr Clean Magic Eraser. I made the mistake of wearing a fresh coat of nail polish when I was messing around with one of my BJD’s and later noticed I had left a mark on her leg. After a few swipes of the magic eraser, she looked brand new again.
So now you know a little more about what BJD’s are and what you might need to consider when purchasing one for your doll collection. Below are some links to my favorite BJD hotspots on the web.
The Junky Spot: 90% of my BJD’s have come from The Junky Spot. The fact that they only list products that are ready to ship is what makes this one of my favorite places to shop on the web. I’ve had nothing, but success ordering dolls from The Junky Spot.
Denver Doll Emporium: Denver Dolls is a nice site, because they offer dolls from lines The Junky Spot doesn’t. Of course, that comes with a caveat– not everything is ready to ship out. In many cases, you have to pre-order products from Denver Dolls. They do offer a nice variety of BJD accessories, including all the essentials (wigs, outfits, shoes, etc).
Mint On Card: I personally have never ordered from this Michigan based store, but I have virtually window shopped a lot! It seems they mostly deal in pre-orders, or that’s how it’s been every time I’ve visited. What I like about Mint On Card is that it offers a whole different selection of BJD brands to ‘ohh and aww’ over.
Den of Angels: Den of Angels is one of the largest BJD forums on the web. It’s a fantastic resource for those looking for owner images of dolls or for information on loads of different BJD manufacturers. It’s Marketplace forum is great and is the reason I have a Luts Aru in my collection. (Yay for group orders!) The downside of Den of Angels is that the moderators are very strict about what can be discussed on the forum. They’re one of those forums that only allows resin dolls and have a very specific list of what dolls fall into their idea of BJD’s. That being said, if you play by the rules, it’s a very handy resource.
Dairyland BJD: Dairyland is a regional BJD forum for the midwest area. The people are friendly and the atmosphere is a little less tense than DOA. It’s a fun, chill kind of forum.
Chitown Dollz: This is another midwest forum. I was an active member for a while. Just like Dairyland, the people at Chitown are very welcoming. It’s a nice little forum to share your dolls on.
bjd_wtf: This isn’t a forum, but a very informative blog that has a ton of information on the BJD hobby.
Bobobie and Resin Soul: These two brands make great starter BJD’s. The prices are very affordable for the quality. My first BJD was a Bobobie March and my moms was a Bobobie Sprite. Over the years, their skin has changed to a more yellow tone and the resin is a little more glossy than other BJD brands, but you know what? They’re still very pretty, displayable dolls. You can find these easily at The Junky Spot.
Luts: I dreamed of owning a Luts for years before I actually did. My Luts Kid Delf Aru was purchased through a group order over at Den of Angels. After looking high and low for an US distributor for Luts, it was either a)find a group order or b)spend a crazy amount of money on shipping her straight from the company. As luck would have it, there was an open group order. After a bit of waiting and a late night drop off in the middle of the Gameworks parking lot, she was finally in my hands. It was all very exciting. Long story short, if you are going to wait for a BJD, Luts are definitely worth waiting for. They are beautiful, high quality BJDs.
Island Doll: Island Dolls are priced very well. You can get an MSD doll for the mid $200.00’s and an SD doll for the mid $300.00’s. Much less expensive than some of the other brands around. On top of that, I must say, I love their sculpts and the resin seems great to me! I own an Island Doll Artemis. She’s a 1/6 scale doll that has a YO-SD kind of feel to her. I am very happy with her. She’s a very solid BJD. Denver Dolls is a distributor of this line.
Hujoo: I love Hujoo’s. The Hujoo company hit the ground in 2005 and has been innovating ever since. I’ve been a fan of the line since Christmas 2009, when my brother gifted me with one. Ever since then, I’ve followed the company. They continue to surprise me with their releases.
The above are just a slim selection of BJD manufacturers. BJD Collectasy has a really great list featuring many others. I recommend clicking through the links and window shopping! If you see a doll you know you must have, add them to a wishlist and remember, sometimes BJD releases are very limited. If you find yourself falling in love with a limited doll, start saving. I know what it feels like to regret not buying a beautiful BJD before it disappears from the site. It doesn’t feel good. (Oh, LeekeWorld Gee-Yu, I miss you! Maybe one day you’ll join my BJD family?)
All collectors should have at least one BJD in their collection. They’re such fun to pose and photograph, not to mention they look great on a doll shelf. Hopefully, this post will help you, too, add a BJD to your dolly clan one day.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comment area. Is there something you’d like me to go into more detail on? Let me know! International readers, do you have a go-to forum or online store you order from? Leave it in the comments for other readers (since my suggestions are mostly US based). And finally, what BJD are you looking to purchase in the future? What was the first BJD you added to your collection? Share your thoughts below!!!