1. Become a DoA Archivist!
    Volunteers Needed!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. The Mod team regrets to inform the community that Mirodoll is now banned from Den of Angels. Please view the following thread:
    Mirodoll Banned from DoA
    Dismiss Notice

If you could make the hobby your job would you?

Aug 9, 2018

    1. I am currently in the process of trying to make a real income of this as a hobby. I am disabled so I can't get out and work anyway but I would like to find a way to make money from this hobby as I enjoy it's creative pursuits. I'm already a freelance artist and am randomly commissioned to do sculptures, paintings, and drawings. I plan on starting off small, slowly building up to my first sculpt. Mostly due to money problems I can't just make a sculpt right away or I would :evilplot:. So until then I've been working on doing face-up examples, making mini sculptures, practicing eye making, and sewing clothes.

      But I know many people already have full-time jobs and switching to working in this hobby would be a set back until it took off. It's probably easier for me since I am starting from the bottom already :lol:. So if you could, why or why not would you want to work in this hobby.
       
      • x 3
    2. If i had the skills, then yes I probably would. I, however, do not have the needed skills so I cant, but I wish you luck on it.
       
    3. It's my ultimate goal to run a physical store that sells BJD's and their accessories! I'd love to make my own sculpt someday too, but I don't know if I'll ever have the skill.
       
      • x 1
    4. I always thought I wanted that, but I'm afraid it could take away the joy from the hobby for me. Running a business can be stressful, and I never want to feel stress about my dolls. However, some people are capable of turning their hobbies into work and do just fine :) I just know it wouldn't be for me. You have already worked with commissions, so it sounds like it might be the right choice for you :) I wish you the best of luck!
       
      • x 2
    5. It would be my dream to make my living off the BJD hobby! I used to want to have a doll company of my own and have even sculpted various dolls and heads (nothing too serious or complete though) but pouring so much of my heart and soul into something and then having it recast...it would kill me. Back when I started in the hobby and it wasn't the overwhelming problem it is now, I could have but nowadays I feel like being stolen from is inevitable. I have been wanting to make an etsy shop for clothing though, I dunno I'm just self conscious and haven't done it :sweat
       
      • x 1
    6. Good grief, no!

      Why would I spoil something fun by having to earn my living at it?

      Anything, no matter how much you enjoy it, that you have to do to make your living, becomes a chore - which is the best way to stop enjoying it that I know of.

      Teddy
       
      • x 10

    7. This is the only thing I could see ruining it for me. Not that I wouldn't put up a legal battle if I had to! The idea of the stress from it though get's to me. But Art in it's many form (inculding my bjd hobby) isn't just a hobby but a passion for me, I can escape into my artistry for hours and days. It probably helps I am a massive introvert. And a clothing shop is a excellent good first start! I will probably start with selling mini's and eye's at first. Sewing is something new I am slowly learning so I don't feel prepared yet to sell anything of quality. Also wig making is like probably the last thing I'll work on, I've made one synthetic weft wig and it was such a hassle because I barely understand sewing as it is.

      Thank you! I am used to working on huge pieces of artwork or lengthy illustrations with deadlines and I also have to always keep in mind what the customer wants and it's is pretty stressful as I always aim to please. The thing I'd enjoy about my own shop is I can just sell what I am already able to crank out and make. I'd still probably take commissions but for a higher price though.
       
      #7 Spazophrenic, Aug 9, 2018
      Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2018
      • x 1
    8. To be honest, it really depends on how skilled you are as an artist.

      This hobby is already flooded with wannabe faceup artists, wig makers, uv eye makers and seamstresses. People buy a bottle of uv gel, a lamp and a eye mold. And suddenly they are in business. The threshold for starting a hobby related business is very low. That means there will be a lot of competition at the beginning, before you become recognized.

      Also, BJD is not a hobby with a lot of hobbyists. And not every doll owner is going to need their doll stuff "commissioned".

      Reading in between the context, it seems like you want to start at "the bottom". I hate to put it this way but you will be dealing with a lot of bottom end of the customer base. This is the group of people that will ask for discounts on top of the discounts you already give. They will ask for free shipping although you don't run the postal service. They will ask a lot of questions but not really buy anything. They will nit pick your work for a refund. There will be a lot of drama and are you ready for it?

      One last thing, working full time from one's home isn't as easy as "getting up and going to work". Will there be a commitment to start working on conmissions at 8a, stop at 5p from M-F? There are many "work at home business owners" who can't stick to a normal working hour, slack off, and end up either cramming late night or delaying the deadline. This is neither healthy for you nor your customers.

      Sorry if I sounded harsh. But I just hope we have more qualified sellers in this hobby. If you do decide to start this business, I have nothing but best wishes. Good luck on everything <3
       
      • x 17
    9. I would like to eventually be good enough to take the occasional commission, but as a career? No way.

      All issues of practicality aside — the small market, the huge amount of competition, etc. — I’m just far too people-oriented to have a career that keeps me in my own house all day. I’ve down other freelance work, editing novels for a publishing company, and it killed me.
       
    10. No. Apart from the issue of making a hobby a job means that it's work rather than fun -- there is not enough money in it to be worth the hassle.

      Leaving aside my utter lack of ability for a moment:

      For small accessories I can't compete with China in volume or price.

      If I could sculpt and make a doll I could I suppose get it cast by one of the existing manufacturers. But then it needs to be painted, and logistics of shipping it around the world, then managing customer relations (returns, etc), marketing, maintaining a website...

      It's a lot of work for a very small market. If you're selling stuff on Etsy for fun or "pocket money" then knock yourself out, I just seriously doubt you'd be able to make enough for a living. And if you could, I'd imagine for the hours worked you'd still be better off working at a supermarket or something, less stress there too.
       
      • x 5
    11. I did, for a while. 5 years or so of painting, designing, sewing, in a time when some dolls just didn't have any clothes available elsewhere.
      First it was clothing on my web site, then painting, sometimes full dolls I bought blank and painted, made outfits. full set.
      Commissions on tatts and clothing. I'm very happy with the work I did, but after a while, I really got burned out. Didn't want to look at a bjd.
      Took some time off from the doll boards and stopped all doll commissions.
      Now, it's just for fun. Some projects for friends.

      Created a full wardrobe for one customer. Customer became one of my most loved friends. I feel very enriched in so many ways from that time.

      today, things really are different. very competitive. I don't have the energy. :apig:
       
      • x 1
    12. I'd love to one day have the hobby pay for it's self. My best friend makes and deigns custom legos and the money he makes pays for his lego habit. It's how he's budgets his hobby. I do realize i need loads of practice and time to get to that level. It sounds like you have a great start tho. Best wishes! :clover @Spazophrenic
       
    13. Absolutely not.

      Art has been my hobby since literally before I remember, and I tried to make a living out of it by going to school to be a graphic designer. Long, LONG story short, I was very successful in school but absolutely miserable. The prospect of doing art for a living killed my passion for it, and art was no longer my escape. It was something I had to escape FROM.

      I'm afraid the Doll hobby would be the same. I could see myself maybe selling some creations on the side or doing faceups if I ever got good enough, but it would always be just for a little money on the side. Maybe towards a new doll.
       
      • x 4
    14. No.

      I have been sewing for my dolls since I got my first over ten years ago, and I enjoy making things for them. I also enjoy doing my own faceups, and making tiny foods and props.

      I tried taking faceup commissions several years ago, and I hated it. I'm good at my own faceups because I know the characters well and I can picture them in my head. I simply don't have the talent to paint a good faceup off of a paragraph summary of a character, or even reference photos. I need to "feel" that character, or it just never turns out to my satisfaction, or to the doll owner's taste. I'll still paint dolls for my sister and friends sometimes for fun, but I don't think I ever want to take commissions again.

      I had an Etsy shop for awhile trying to sell clothing and tiny foods I made, and I spent almost as much in materials, tools, shipping and fees as I earned. I think at the end of the year, I had something like a $60 profit. I could not compete with the prices of well established shops, and I didn't have the money to advertise or lower my prices. I also realized very quickly that I enjoy making things my dolls would wear, but I hated making things that were popular and in demand. It really sucked the fun out of the hobby for me.

      I also work retail as my regular job, and some customers can be mean, entitled, hateful nightmares. It's bad enough in retail, where you can refer them to a manager or customer service then go home and leave it behind you, but when you own your own shop and do all the work, you are the only one who can deal with them, and in the case of the worst ones, they won't be happy until they get tons of free stuff, or attempt to ruin your reputation within the hobby. Of course there are wonderful customers, but sometimes the bad ones can really cause a lot of stress and tears. To me, that would really be a strain on my love for the hobby.

      I think it also depends on what you want to do as a job in the hobby. I've considered applying to be a dealer, but then I think about how much time and energy that would require, and how to handle problems that may arise, and I'm not sure I'm up for that kind of commitment. I have a lot of respect for artists, dealers and shop owners within the hobby who manage to run everything smoothly and on time!

      However, I do think it would be a lot of fun to work part time in a physical doll store, where I can go in and do my job and help people find their perfect doll, then go home at the end of the day and not stress over it. ;)
       
      • x 1
    15. Well my bf converted half of our shop for dolls, we are Dollfie dream friend now so its like mixing hobby and work. :)
       
    16. I'm pleased with how my sewing and knitting has grown over the years. Because I'm so meticulous about what I make, I'd never be able to make a living solely off my commissions. The labor I put in makes my things too expensive to people accustomed to mass produced prices.
       
      • x 1
    17. I've been fortunate to experience selling my handmade doll props and do faceup and wig commissions in the past. It was fun to stretch my crafting skills and make some profit but in the end I enjoy putting that effort into my own collection more. And as others have mentioned, because the hobby is still considered 'niche' the size of the target audience is pretty small, you have to be able to compete with other sellers and artists in terms of pricing/timing/skill, and there will likely be lots of financial loss starting off before you are making any worthy profit. And it's important to keep in mind that this hobby is pretty vocal when it comes to disagreements between the seller/artist and the customer. It can be difficult to keep a cool, professional demeanor in a job that is essentially your passion. It's great you want to make your passion into your profession, it's not impossible to do but just keep in mind all the hurdles you will have to face and plan accordingly. Best of luck!
       
      • x 1
    18. Absolutely not. I tried it for a bit with art commissions, aaaand now you can't even pay me to draw stuff for others. It was a good idea in theory. The reality was that I was putting in triple the effort for half the pay, and that's with my prices actually being on the higher end.

      As far as doll stuff goes, a few of my friends have encouraged me to open up an Etsy store. I might go ahead and do it, but it would all be in stock items only. No preorders. No customs. Just a hit of income from the side since I like to craft in bulk apparently. :lol:
       
      • x 2
    19. Nope. First of all, dolls aren't my main hobby, so I'm not invested enough to start with. Second, I'd come to regret it. I love my hobbies for being hobbies, no pressure, if you want to do something you do it, if you don't want to do anything it's not a big deal. When there's too much pressure it kills the fun (I almost killed my favourite hobby - writing - by putting too much pressure on the "success" part of it - read: published books, of which I don't have any and probably never will have any since I'm mostly writing fanfiction and just can't be bothered with my own original stuff; not gonna make that mistake again). When a hobby's not fun anymore - why continue with it?
       
    20. Nope! :) It’s my for-fun hobby and I have a budget for it that I’m content with! Most of my major acquisition is done, grail is here, faves are here, many dolls I love are in residence, my actual WTB wishlist is pruned to 2 at the moment. I’m delightfully up to my ears in my own doll projects!
      Dolls as a creative outlet make me happy and I wouldn’t want to risk that for the unstable gamble of trying to stretch it into an endeavor that generated enough income needed to fund it much less as a main income souce! Eek!
      I’d be super happy to someday have a ‘for sale’ section on my website consisting of of pre-made items, resale doll item I’ve grown tired of (doll clothes, eyes, wigs don’t wear out much, after all!) and some of my already-made handmade things...and to be lucky enough to take a few faceup/blushing/French manicure commissions now and then but on a strictly ‘as I wanted to and in my own style’ basis, which will probably never happen but yes, that would be fun! I have an airbrush and I get the painting bug, I have a painting idea that hasn’t seen much over-saturation in the market yet...more will be revealed. ;)

      @Spazophrenic I’m also not one to discourage anyone but I’m a pragmatic Virgo so I’d advise you to get your Marketplace access here and look thoroughly over the artists and artisans who offer their items for sale and to closely check on the level of quality that many people are actually willing to pay for (successful sales vs just ‘what’s for sale’) without the aforementioned low-balling hassle-prone buyers. I think you will find that most people who are willing to pay a competitive price/living wage for doll things will expect professional quality (materials and workmanship) in the items, not entry level efforts.

      I sew well enough to know that bjd clothing is often harder to make than human clothing (even if you sew already)...even at 1/3 scale, the little details get fiddly and fabrics bulk up the seams, set-in sleeves become an exercise in patience, seam allowances get tiny, hungry feed dogs eat the fabric more easily, special sewing machine feet and sergers become the rule rather than the exception...and unless you can drape, make patterns and also confidently make for multiple sizes from measurements, you need to know that the majority of commercial patterns don’t allow the sale of goods made from them (it’s usually in the fine print), and most buyers routinely expect retail quality (or higher) in the doll clothes they buy, with many of us getting pickier still as we develop our eye for scale and detail.
       
      • x 1