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Careers that Involve BJDs

Nov 29, 2010

    1. Does anyone know how to find a career that also combines a passion for dolls? My friend, since she was introduced to the hobby/lifestyle/whatever you may call it, is set on trying to work in a career that would use her love for BJDs.
      In my wildest of dreams, I see myself and my best friends operating a doll making company, but none of our adult mentors give any form of support of that career choice. I do realize this a highly unlikely career path to take, but it's fun to dream (and how did the other companies come to be?).

      I guess this forum is to discuss careers that involve dolls and doll career related matters. Does anyone here use dolls in their career or is this a strictly "after school" hobby.

      (Mods, please feel free to move or delete this post. I didn't know if this topic would not be acceptable for the dolly debate section)
    2. I would also love to know more information on careers involving BJD's, I already planned on being in some kind of artistic, creative career, and it would be nice to know if this can really happen.
    3. I think you'd have to have a lot of good luck and incredible talent (plus a good amount of savings) to make a decent living from the BJD hobby. It would probably make sense to become a sculptor and work for a toy company, making your own personal dolls on the side.

      I myself sell doll eyes that I create myself, but the profit margin is very small and I couldn't possibly live on what little I make from selling them.
    4. --
      #4 Devil's Trill, Nov 30, 2010
      Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
    5. That is a good point, redistributing dolls from other companies would probably be just as rewarding as making your own. And like I said, I know it's unrealistic and very difficult, but there IS a way to do it. However, the career guidance people at school always focus on the "big name" careers (like being a doctor or lawyer). My sister loves to sew and really wants to learn how to sew for a professional purpose, but it's like trying to pull teeth getting some sort of direction.
      Er, I guess that got a little off topic....
      Also, I did do research on resin casting. It's amazing that people that do it a lot will say that out of the X amount of dolls that can be made with a batch of resin, a majority don't make the final cut. You would think that after a while of doing resin casting that the failure rate would decrease, but accidents are always bound to happen at any time doing any thing.
    6. Maybe this link will help: DollThoughts. It's written by a woman who used to own a brick and mortar doll store and knows a lot about what goes on on the dealer end of things.
    7. I've always loved making art, but I saw more opportunity in the medical field than with a degree in Fine Arts. You can always go for that 'normal' career and do the dolly stuff on the side - if you're successful, you can eventually quit your day job, and if you're not, you have a career to fall back on. There are several succesful small-time dollmakers, but few of them are able to support themselves solely on that.
    8. A lot of valid points on the subject have been made already, but I agree that it would take a lot of business knowledge and experience, invested funds, and a large working team. There's one other thing that I would like to point out as well; with the vast amount of work, time, and money that you would have to invest in to run a successful business, you might run the risk of getting 'tired' of the hobby rather than really enjoying the career after a while.
    9. I always wanted to do something creative, but to be brutally honest with myself, I have little to no creative talent. I have an imagination but I'm miserable in just about every field (drawing, writing, photography, sculpture, graphic design--I don't think there's an art I haven't tried...) and I even went to school for it for a long time. I really wanted to be a writer for video games.

      Anyway, because I love not being homeless, I ditched the fine arts degree and went to business school. Now I do marketing for the video game industry, and I get a chance to be a little creative making advertisements and such. I am in an industry that I know and love, and I still get to participate in generating video games. There are other career choices that can get you involved in an industry aside from direct producing. If I were to want to enter the BJD industry it would be in a marketing capacity.

      I'm sure there's plenty of other opportunities out there for career involvement in such a roundabout manner.

      One thing I can guarantee though, a business degree is never wasted effort :) Just might not be everyone's cup of tea.
    10. Keep in mind that if you get something in the way of Business schooling, not only is that going to help with your doll dreams but it will give you a broad range to work from and it will probably get more support from mentors... lol!
      Just don't give up on your dreams... I'm an artist and every time people get the chance to really see my work and see me working they are amazed and they say, "Why are you in the Army?! Why don't you do this for a living?!"
      Truth be told, I think I'm scared of failure... but give me a few years, I can't be scared forever! That being said, my quote in my signature gives me hope...
    11. I would also add that you could start with just making heads at first as I would think that would be easier then trying to create a body as well. There's plenty of companies that do just that. Of course that would require trying to make your resin colors match or come close to other major companies resin color.
    12. I think it would be best to try setting up a bjd business as a sideline first. It's always better to have a career to fall back on. Sometimes having to work so hard on a hobby related job can really kill the hobby. :S I have this experience working in the art field, what mattered was the results, that killed the fun of the process somehow...having to rush and rush x.x Until you are sure you want to be doing this no matter what, best is to try it as a sideline I think.
    13. Just a small tidbit to contribute:

      I remember back in the day when Volks opened up in L.A. As part of their expansion, I know they required face up artists (I believe some users from this very forum ended up actually being employed by Volks for this) and since it's basically a retail store, I'd imagine they also required store staff. One of the easiest ways of getting into a field is by doing some of the less glamorous work. And, say, if another Volks store opened somewhere else in the States (or another company's for that matter) there'd be room for some people to certainly apply on the more mundane, retail level (possibly without a degree, but at least alot of experience in the field, as well as with dolls) that way. Maybe even a few more face up artists; but honestly, I am not familliar with how the company works, so for all I know, the face up artists also sell on the retail level there, I'm not sure. Just a stab in the dark.

      The best advice I would give, beyond going the independent route, or the distributor's route, is to find a niche in the hobby, like face-ups or clothes or whatever, and keep an eye on company expansions. Sometimes it works out, but really, in this small hobby, it really is best to 'do dolls' as a side income. I view the hobby the way I do acting careers. Most won't make you a supportive income by themselves.
    14. Not that it's easy to get into any of these things, but here are a few suggestions:

      -Open a doll store that focuses on BJDs and their clothes and accessories

      -make BJDs (like sculpt them)

      -Faceup artist

      -Clothing/costume designer

      -Wig, shoe, accessory or furniture maker

      Mind you, many of these would not be full-time jobs, or at least, not at first. But they are worth looking into, and could at least be a fun way to supplement your income ^-^
    15. Having a doll-making company is a lot of work... and success isn't a certainty because this market may not last at all; BJD haven't been around that long, so who knows if this is anything more than a passing fad?

      I'm currently doing a preorder for my first doll... and it is a LOT of work. The amount of money I'll make isn't even close to being something I could live on, so it's a good thing I have a steady day job! It's definitely still a hobby for me. I wouldn't have been able to do it without guidance from friends who are already in the industry. There's more than just sculpting - you need to find a factory to produce your doll, then there are other things to source like boxes, eyes, wigs, etc. You need a way to accept payment, you need to be good at keeping track of money. There are a lot of hidden expenses.

      Sculpting alone is difficult... and even after you sculpt the doll, you need to do a lot of finishing and perfecting to make sure you have a product that is worth selling. I'd test out sculpting to see if you're good at it and if you even enjoy it. There's a forum called The Joint that is a great place for BJD sculptors of all ability levels.... and the people there are incredibly nice and helpful.

      When you get older (you made it sound as though you're a minor), you may also want to look into distributing other companies dolls. It's a great way to make contacts and learn about the doll industry. Another thing to keep in mind is that while you may enjoy playing with dolls or collecting them, you may not actually like the business aspect of them.

      For education, though, you may want to pursue something useful that you enjoy... so you can support yourself while you're getting started, if you choose to try having a BJD company.
    16. I'm a junior in College, so I'd just like to have a job- any job- that will pay me enough to keep my dolls, let alone involve them. For me personally, my major is hopefully the start of a career trajectory in a field I've loved since I was a child, so dollies don't need to come into it at all for me to have an extremely satisfying working life.

      That said, if you go for a broader field (as many here have already suggested) you'll find that there's going to be a bit of overlap between your hobbies and your job opportunities. There definitely is in my case, although you wouldn't believe it to hear about it. Just remember that the degree is the most important thing- not what you majored in specifically per say, but the fact that you have one! Especially a business or art degree- there's so much you could do with those that may eventually allow you to involve bjds without giving up a steady income.
    17. Well, I don't know how other doll companies came to be, but Volks was already a successful company before they branched out into dollfies. They already had knowledge, expertise, and technology in related areas.

      While I do believe in at least trying to chase a dream or two, this does sound like a pretty major proposition, and I'm not surprised that counsellors at your school can't give you direction on it because it's not really an occupation that exists on any kind of a scale in North America. There are only a very few NA-based distributors, much less companies actually producing BJDs. They wouldn't have information on something like that. It's hard to encourage someone to do something when you really have no idea what they're talking about.

      I think others make a good point in that trying out sculpture or faceup commissions or other aspects of the process would probably make it clear to you whether you'd actually love the work. What you love doing for fun isn't always what you enjoy doing as work. For example, there are some ways I could be making money from writing right now (not much, but some), and to be honest I hate them. Writing is my number one passion, and yet most commercial non-fiction ways of doing it I just can't manage to force myself to do.
    18. Although I don't have a doll company myself, I have made my own doll AND chosen a career where I can combine hobby and work. I'm a narrative designer/ writer for games. Even though everyone told me it was ridiculous to pursue this dream (there are no game writers in my country and almost all writing gigs are given to native speakers which I'm not), I managed to pull this off. It's great if your dream comes true. However, I want to warn you not to let any romantic cliché cloud reality.

      First of all, it is hard work. You're no longer having a hobby; you'll have tight deadlines, money worries, have to deal with the constant critique people have over your work (and trust me, most of it is neutral at best). Some days you hate the hobby you used to love.
      Second of all, don't expect a decent paycheck. Although I managed to become a writer I can barely make ends meet.

      Becoming an artist or 'living the dream' is not at all as fun as it sounds. The first few months are great, and then it becomes just a regular job to you, albeit one that doesn't pay well and doesn't give you any benefits.

      If you really know for sure that this is what you want and you can't think of yourself as doing anything else, I suggest to try your hand at sculpting first. See if you like the process and if you are any good at it. If you don't like it, don't try it.
      Sculpting a 60 cm doll will take at least a year, so if you - after all the warnings I've given you - still think that this is the carreer you want, I suggest you try your hand at sculpting first. See if you like the process and if you're good at it. If you don't like it, you should stop right there.
      Then, I think it's important that you learn to cast your doll. Of course there are casting companies who can produce the doll for you, but if you are familiar with the process it will help you create good prototypes.

      Join 'The Joint' and experience the process I'd say.