the midst of the Downturn, Recession, Depression, Calamity - call it what you will: the collectors of wildly expensive dolls have not missed a beat (or ostensibly a paycheck).
I used to be one of these collectors. Is one still a collector if one has stopped adding to the collection? Once upon a time I would spend more a "mommy-made" doll ensemble for my Madame Alexander Cissy www.madamealexander.com/collection_2009 than I would on an outfit for myself. Then there are the dolls themselves; not inexpensive by any means. Well, then, the Doll Community moved on to ball jointed dolls or BJD. And so did I.
Enter the Japanese made Pullip doll thevalleyofthedolls.com/dollshop.php/. I simply could not live without this doll. That is until I got her, de-wigged her and started dressing her in custom clothing. Her head is SO heavy in comparison to the rest of her body that I could not get her to stand up or sit down without FALLING OVER. That was enough of that. I sold her on Ebay.
Which brings me (finally) to the point of this post. Ebay. I used to sell dolls on Ebay so perhaps I was on the site more than the average person. However, I didn't have to spend much time poking around and following doll-related links to discover more and more dolls I couldn't live without. I was spending serious money. A new Cissy outfit in the mail was a cause for celebration!
Sometimes I bought dolls on Ebay from brick and mortar stores, such as The Valley of the Dolls above. There are some superb entrepreneurs on Ebay who sell the most incredible "home-made" doll clothes you can imagine. And shoes too! This is the sort of stuff you just can't find in a mall. Beautiful things. I have 3 trunks full of Madame Alexander Cissy clothes, shoes, jewelry, hats, purses... you name it. My favorite Cissy "couturier", Mary Lois, quit sewing for Cissy and I nearly had a nervous breakdown.
Ebay is an excellent marketing tool for the very small to micro business. Believe me, if you look at an auction for one doll dress, you'll be in the seller's store, falling in love with other dolls in a matter of minutes.
These people are SERIOUS about their dolls! I have a new doll, Wilde Imagination's Ellowyne Wilde www.wildeimagination.com. I bought her, of course, on Ebay and she is a re-paint - just beautiful! I really want Evangeline Ghastly but WHO is going to spend money on that right now? This brings me to point #2: people are still buying these dolls in massive quantities... and clothes and shoes and wigs to fit them. There are Yahoo! groups dedicated to the different "girls". I have joined one, but I can't really participate because my girls are one emergency car repair away from being sold on Ebay.
I miss being a part of The Cult of the Dolls. I too once de-wigged, re-wigged, re-strung.... I tried sewing but that is a lost cause. I also tried the beloved "re-paint" and I think with practice I could become quite good. It is time consuming. My time is already consumed. That, and I am loathe to remove the paint from a perfectly good, expensive doll's face, with nail polish remover, only to make her look like a bad parody of a horror story.
If you can sew tiny, or knit , or crochet.... buy yourself an Ellowyne Wilde doll, make a few inspired ensembles - and you will have made up the cost of the doll with 4-5 outfits... after that it's pure profit! The Ellowyne people will pay more for her outfits than the Cissy people will pay for Cissy outfits; I suppose it's the size of the dolls, 16 inches V. 21 inches. Heck, my sewing for Cissy always came out WAY too small. I should try sewing for Cissy again so I can have Ellowyne outfits. Can anyone make shoes for Ellowyne? I'd spring for a really cute pair!