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Doll Meets: Why? What are they to you?

May 2, 2011

    1. Why do we go to doll meets? I think we can all agree on the basis of doll meets as a group of people with an interest in BJDs who want to meet and get to know other people with the same interest. Aside from that, what do we want from doll meets?

      I recently read somthing that made me realize that what people want from a doll meet varies from what I want from a meet. For me the dolls are often an excuse to get together with friends, see new aquisitions, and chat about anything and everything. To be honest I hadn't the slighest idea others may want somthing different from meets. What may work really well for some can be quite off putting to others. ​


      Is it possible that what people want from a meet varies with how they "use" the hobby?
      • As a seamstress would you want a meet sewing together meeting at a fabric store and shopping together? ​
      • As a customiser would you enjoy a meetup at a place where you could show eachother technique?​
      • If you have characters and stories behind your dolls would you be happiest playing story building games?​
      • Would a photographer prefer meets in parks or places where more artsy photos would be possible?​
      Is it possible to have a format for a meet that would make everyone feel welcome?
       
    2. (my reply to the prompt)

      I am one of those people who loves going to the same place for meets month after month. Someone who, like clockwork, goes to a meet, unpacks her dolls, plops them on the table, and promptly buggers off to chat with friends.

      I personally enjoy the "gossip" about the hobby, sitting around talking freely with a group of people who know what I'm talking about. Ooo-ing and aaah-ing over other dolls, outfits, accessories, etc and discussing new releases, past releases and artists work, as well as a plethora of non doll related subjects is what I expect from a meet. If it wasn't for meets I wouldn't have learned about most of the dolls that are on my wish list!

      Other than names my dolls don't have characters so to be honest I don't talk much about them unless I am asked about them. My dolls are just an outlet for my fashion sense, they have a sense of personality I guess, mainly based on faceup and clothing styles so meets that are based on character development would be incredibly uninteresting for me. But even though I don't sew or customise or take many photos of meets like those listed in the first post would be interesting to me as I feel I could learn somthing from such meets... but if meets like that were monthly I don't think I would be going to nearly as many meets as I am now.

      As much as I want to say its possible I don't think it would be possible to please everyone. In a perfect world I would love to have a monthly meet in what I see as the "standard" format (meeting at a coffee shop/bookstore and just chatting the whole time) and have added in "nitch" meets here and there for those who have specialized intrests in the hobby. You can't please everyone every time but then everyone would fit in somewhere.
       
    3. I'd like to think that what I want from doll meets, and indeed what I get from doll meets is a sense of community. Ive been in the hobby for years, but have only been attending local meetups for the past year. What I can say for sure is that I've made some of the best and closest friends I've ever had through doll meets, and I think that is in part due to dolls being a great ice breaker. My best friend outside of the bjd world made a comment to me while we were at Sakura Con; "Wow, so those dolls are like instant friend magnets, aren't they?" because someone saw me carrying a doll and next thing you know were exchanging info.

      But back to the main focus, I'm looking for community, and thats what I get. I love seeing familiar dolls, sometimes with new aesthetics and new mods, and just seeing everyone elses work on display. I also love to see the people, my friends, and just chat for a while. Sometimes when we have meets, we all just sit around and play with eachothers dolls, other times, we just bring the dolls as an excuse to take up a public space.

      I also attend meets to scope out what services people may offer. Locally there are some greatly talented seamstresses and modders, and the best way to get a feel for their work is to see it in person and see if they can offer what you need. Its also a great way to see possible sculpts, if you know someone has one you're eyeing, you can see it in person before ordering one for yourself!

      As for making everyone feel welcome, well, that varies. I try my hardest to be warm and inviting, but I can see where someone might think otherwise if they're not familiar with me and how I personally interact with a group. my philosophy is that the broader the net, the more fish you catch. You can't please every person though.

      To sum up, I enjoy meets because they're a great place to make new friends, see old friends, catch up and see whats happening with everyones resin beauties, and just shoot the breeze. But I do believe its all dependent on what you personally want from a meetup, and I try to make mine all as positive as I can, for me and everyone else.
       
    4. At first meets were, to me, just to see BJDs for the first time!
      I didn't want to invest a lot of money without getting to know them, whether I really liked them etc... I had only seen pictures and even so it had never occurred to me to search for owner pictures, I had only seen the pretty pictures the companies had.

      I feel safe buying a doll, knowing if I mess up there are wise and kind people who can help and console me.
      Meets have gotten me to:

      • Explore a city I should - I've lived in this city for a long time and have hardly seen most of it
      • Meet BJDs irl (and get to hold my dream doll for the duration of the meet!)
      • Practice photography - my father is a great and passionate photographer, previously he had nobody to chat about it with or to teach
      • Learn so much about BJDs, owning them, what to do and what not to do.
      I wholeheartedly agree. I felt so isolated before meets started being organized here that I was considering going to the LDoll festival in France just to familiarize myself with BJDs. I love hearing everyones' doll's stories and adventures. I think once I do receive my dolls I won't have much time to spare for them, but I think meets would be a great time allocation to dedicate for the dolls and make sure they are loved :] Though I only attended one meet fully and formally, and attended the ending half of another, meeting with them at a coffee-shop after the meet had died down, I wouldn't have meets be any other way and I hope to attend many more!

      So, in short, doll meets are, to me, a gathering of a very small community of doll owners here, meeting in gorgeous places to take fun and artistic photographs, expressing and discussing everything from techniques, to plans, to general interests, spending time with other people who share their hobby and their dolls, getting to know each other better, helping each other out and getting stared at by strangers walking by.
       
    5. I'm another one that goes to meets for the sense of community. I like hanging out with people that have similar interests, and it's easier to get to know people in person than from their posts on a big forum like this. In the meetup groups that I'm part of, the location switches around to different places, and sometimes it might be at a park, or a customizing meet at someone's house, or we may go to a restaurant or doll show etc etc. There are plenty of opportunities to do different things, because it's not like we get together once and that's it. People may have favorite places they like to go, but I don't think that would make meets at other locations seem like they aren't welcoming. Everyone does the doll thing at least a little differently from other people, and there's room for everyone.
       
    6. Sense of community. Especially if you've only obsessed over dolls from behind a computer screen. It's good to interact with other people who happen to have the same interests as you do. You realize that people that share your hobby really do exist in real life.

      Unfortunately, I haven't gone to one, but I'm assuming it's kind of similar to what clubs do.
       
    7. I stumbled on our local BJD group quite by accident and was thrilled about the prospect of meeting other people who had mad doll love. Now I know where all the awesome people in town are and I'm having a blast!
       
    8. I'll be honest here. Our local meets (I'm from the same general area as the thread's OP, for reference-) began to get too large and too loud a few years ago for me to feel like there was much of a "community" aspect to them.

      When there were a dozen of us sitting in a circle on the floor at Dolls & Friends, it was much like getting together with a group of friends just to gossip and tinker around with our dolls. When it turned into thirty or more, many of whom were a lot younger and a lot less... Well, let's say a lot less reserved in public... than the older group tended to be, it lost most of that feel. When most of the members of the older group just stopped showing up, that was sort-of the last nail in the "community" coffin.

      Since then, I've attended fewer of the local gatherings. The ones I do show up for now are mostly just an excuse to look at different sculpts and outfits, and maybe talk to the handful of locals I still know. The majority of the attendees are more or less complete strangers, and I find that I have very little in common with them, so it's much more about the dolls these days than their owners.
       
    9. This is my problem with my local group, they don't really do what I like to do. My local meet up group has mostly work meets for customizers and seamstresses. Then there's a meet at a museum one day and a meet at a restaurant the next and after that, one at someone's house. I'm one of the artsy ones. I'd rather be taking pictures of my dolls and other people's dolls in a lovely setting than be sitting inside someone else's house all day talking about dolls while they just sit there on the table... If I want to just talk about and look at dolls, I can get on DoA.

      I'm one of the odd ones, I'm not looking for community. I think I get too much doll community interaction as it is, actually. I'm looking for more chances to be artistic and getting to see the creativity of others and see how well multiple doll photographers can work together on one 'project'. Art collaborations of any type are really interesting to me and I'd like to see more of that in a meet up. Sadly my group doesn't do this sort of thing at all. I think I might have to start doing some traveling to further away meets in order to get what I want out of a meet up.

      Another problem of mine with meet ups for me is my local group are all interested in only a couple very specific types of doll. Fantasy, super realistic and mature minis make up 98% of my local group's dolls and mine don't even come close to counting as one of those types. My dolls when put side-by-side with theirs just don't fit in at all. I like the anime-ish, big headed, big eyed type of doll and next to theirs mine just look like bobble headed freaks of dolls. Their 60cm purple elf doll has a head that's smaller than my 27cm normal skin human doll and putting them together just looks really odd.

      Don't get me wrong, they've never looked down on me for it or anything nor vica versa. It's just that I really don't have anything in common with the people in my group beyond "We all like BJDs.", but really, the types of dolls we like are so different and the things we get from the hobby are so different there is more different about us than the same, there's just not very much we truly have in common and thus meet ups aren't at all fun for me.
       
    10. Going to doll meets somehow relieves me of the tension caused by a stressful week. It becomes one of my emotional outlets and gives me an opportunity to meet new friends and share ideas with fellow doll owners :)
       
    11. Heavenly Riot said it best for me. I like to see the sculpts, get a sense of community or oneness with those of the same odd interest.

      Naming them off I appreciate a meet for:

      1.Community
      2.Scoping new sculpts
      3.Artistic endeavors


      And 4 is an odd one because I like to see others with their dolls
      and compare the two for similarities. Why? I guess I'm weird! lol
      But I love seeing an owner in their doll or even NOT. It is a little
      fascination I have I guess.

      I would really like to meet more of my DOA friends but we all live
      so far away. :(

      And like Rikka Mikka said I would prefer some less sporadic meets and an
      agreeable 'agenda' sometimes, too.
       
    12. Brightfires - I agree that there are some upsides of having meets in a more private place like a doll shop, being able to speak freely and not worry about random people looking at you like you are crazy, being able to shop at the meets, and being literaly surounded by dolls. I agree that there is a different sense of community at those kinds of meets but what I remember most was being cramped into that little room and sitting on the floor for long periods which made my legs fall asleep. Another problem with such meets is the lack of proper food stuffs...

      To be honest I feel a greater sense of community at larger meets. More people having more conversations about more varied topics. Maybe it was because I had Volks blinders on back then, and maybe its because there were less companies to talk about and keep updated on but now I feel like doll meets are almost a "news hour" as a buzz from group to group learning new things often about new dolls.

      It is interesting how the age group seemed to change as the venue changed. I wonder if a harder to get to location caused an older group due to transportation issues? I remember it being a royal pain in the bum to get to dolls and friends.

      Annodomini - I know exactly what you mean! Sometimes dolls have such a similar style or look of their owner and sometimes you are shocked at who owns what doll! I get the feeling when I'm not wearing lolita that sometimes people can be shocked to see the overly frilly lacy dolls belong to a very average, if I dare say trendy, girl like myself XD
       
    13. I'm not a social person, and I don't much care for chatting. My favorite meets are those in interesting locations, where I can take pictures of all the pretty dolls I don't own, and will never own, but are cool nonetheless. I suppose that puts me in the photographer camp. Travel nowhere without at least one camera, possibly two.

      If a meet is more of a house meet, then my favorite thing to do is to (ask permission and) strip unknown sculpts naked so I can see how they pose and whether or not it might be to my liking. It's hard to get a feel for how a doll moves from pictures, and actually handling it is the best way to find out if you'll get along.

      And of course, if the meet is at my house, then chances are fairly good that I'm going to wind up sueding and/or wiring at least one doll before it's over. ^^;

      Oh, and though I'm both artist and customizer, I don't attend any of the 'workshop' meets. For one thing, it would be too much of a pain to haul all my supplies with me, and for another, I dislike having an audience when working. Personal preference.
       
    14. Ooo sueding on the spot? I'm going to your house! lol
       
    15. Manami I think you and I are very much the same.:lol:
      I do like to have meets at different locations sometimes though because it makes them more interesting not too repetitive,
      but yea I totally am a plop my doll down and chill and "dolly gossip" or even just listen to the surrounding dolly gossip while sipping tea or something type.
      If I see a doll or outfit that I find particularly interesting I will take a closer look at it and ask the owner about it but mostly I'm there for the people and community aspect, maybe learn new things about the hobby. I'm not much into customizing at a meets and am not into character developing either. I only take pics sometimes, etc. :sweat
       
    16. It's actually a running joke at this point. ^^; Have a doll who won't cooperate? Take it to Tyg's house and let her play with it for five minutes. All better. ^.~
       
    17. I go to meets because...

      1. It's fun! (taking pictures, dining, throwing jokes, fangirling and chatting to the max)
      2. To see other dolls of different shapes, size, color, style etc. in real life
      3. Meet with friends (old and new)
      4. Hang-out and talk mainly about doll stuffs, but also about everything under the sun... XD
      5. Making photostories and other collaborations
      6. In my case, we have a face-up artist in our community... so local meet-ups save me from shipping
      7. Sometimes meets, became a way for people to give advices, gifts and makes clothes for each and everyone
       
    18. I'm not a social person too, but meet-ups gave me the chance to open-up to others, not only with the people whom I share the same interest (BJDs) but people whom you can trust and be comfortable with... I'm so happy!
       
    19. Honestly, I'm more for the community aspect. I want to see the people behind the doll, and see what they're like. Dolls may or may not even come up in conversation. I'm a terribly curious person, so I'll probably end up asking at least one or two (or twenty) questions about another person's doll.


      And I want to show off my dolls. There's always that.
       
    20. When I first started going to meets, I had moved to this area fairly recently. At that point in time, my reasons for going to a meet were to 1) talk to people with similar interests and 2) possibly make new friends in this area.

      Now, over 5 years later, I enjoy going to meet ups to catch up with some very good friends I have made over the years. We usually show up, plop down our dolls, and talk away. There will usually be some sort of dolly doctoring going on (mainly restringings) and it's an excuse for us to show off new dolls/outfits. :)