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Re-Releasing "Retired" Sculpts?

Feb 26, 2008

    1. Note: This is not just a general debate on "Limiteds", the subject of which has been beaten to death already, I think. ;D The word "retired" is used QUITE loosely. I simply mean any sculpts that have not been produced for a number of years and with no obvious intent from the doll companies to release them again in the near future, regardless of their limited/retired/whatever status. PLEASE NOTE THAT I DON'T MEAN OFFICIALLY RETIRED. AGAIN, LOOSELY APPLIED TERM. Yep.

      (And please avoid ranting about Limiteds in this debate, kthx.)

      Mods: If this thread is or is becoming too close to previously established topics, feel free to close it. /nod/

      Now, without further ado, the question:

      What are your feelings on popular companies re-releasing retired sculpts?
      This includes CP Breakaway, which had been "retired" for as long as I've been into dolls, only to be briefly re-released as a Limited Valentine's version that everyone and their cat has purchased.

      1) Do you feel that their motives for re-releasing a sculpt are "moral"? Is there a difference if it is done as a favour to fans, or is it largely motivated by potential profit?
      Alternatively, there is Volks Sasha/Masha, who was recast with some small differences due to a petition, and then sold as a Limited. Even now it is hard to get your hands on a Masha, and if you can it is usually at a grossly inflated scalper price.

      2) From the perspective of an owner of the original, should one feel like your doll is "undervalued" by the release of new versions of old classics? Alternatively, as a new doll owner, should one feel that the original is now "outdated"?
      Consider the fact that many doll owners (including myself, haha) are secret Breakaway fangirls, and to see one/have the opportunity to purchase one used to be like a thousand Christmases to some people, and if you managed to hunt one down for yourself it was a matter of great pride. Now they'll be all over the market again with shiny new resin. Does this affect how you feel about the previous sculpt?

      3) From the perspective of someone who has long coveted these "retired" dolls and missed the chance to buy the new ones, should one feel cheated by the doll companies for giving everyone another chance and affecting the rarity?
      This coincides with the ever-present debate on the "rarity" of a doll and ties into the previous question. What if you purchased a head with the assumption that it would never go into production again, only to find that another surprise batch was released a year later? Would you feel betrayed by the doll company that sold you the head because you bought it on the assumption that it was rare?

      And a last, very small question:
      Does this affect how you view the integrity of a doll company? Does it change your opinion in either a positive or negative way, or increase/decrease your chances of buying from the company in the future?

      There you go - just a few points to consider. I even threw in some potential perspective views for clarity, but feel free to go at this from any angle, kids. ;D

      Questions above don't reflect my own personal opinion, btw.
    2. First of all I'd like to state that Breakaway's original release WAS a limited release of 200 dolls that sold out fairly quickly. He was never a standard model, therefore, he was never "retired".

      1) Do you feel that their motives for re-releasing a sculpt are "moral"? Is there a difference if it is done as a favour to fans, or is it largely motivated by potential profit?
      In cases such as Masha ect as you've mentioned, Volks has never indicated they will NOT release many of their molds again. They may never release a certain limited run of that doll such as white cat chris or what have you, but they very frequently do release one offs of hard to find dolls, such as Masha at their dolpa events. I see nothing immoral about doing this, seeing as they never indicated it would not be made available agian in on incarnation or another.

      2) From the perspective of an owner of the original, should one feel like your doll is "undervalued" by the release of new versions of old classics?

      In honesty, it doesn't matter to me what people think of releleased dolls, such as the Luts Breakaway and the Elf El '06. I own an Elf El '06 and there were people who were VERY upset over his release because they felt that somehow he undermined their original release. With rereleases such as El and Breakaway, there are some minute differences. I think these are things that are important in helping original owners identify and remain pleased with thier original molds, and one hopes that those who purchased the rereleases did so because they wanted the doll, not because he was something that had been made previously unavailable to them, and now they had a chance to own a limited sculpt.

      3) From the perspective of someone who has long coveted these "retired" dolls and missed the chance to buy the new ones, should one feel cheated by the doll companies for giving everyone another chance and affecting the rarity?When companies rerelease retired molds, it is almost ALWAYS in very small amounts, and sometimes the rerelease is different. One shouldn't feel cheated or that their doll is any less special because of this. I think basing your satisfaction on a doll on wether or not someone else can get one easily is a bit silly.

      And a last, very small question: Does this affect how you view the integrity of a doll company? Does it change your opinion in either a positive or negative way, or increase/decrease your chances of buying from the company in the future?
      For some companies who have expressly indicated they will not release again and then DO, a level of trust is breached and of course there are people who get upset. Who wouldn't? As for companies who do not indicate these things, I feel that they may do as they like. They have not made promises they must uphold, and if others make assumptions and are then disappointed, I really feel like it is thier own fault for making those assumptions to begin with.
    3. 1) I'm guessing profit.

      2) I have a second release Bermann doll, so I am pretty happy that I was able to get him at all. If owners of the original 77 were upset by the re-release, I'd be surprised because many of them bought additional Bermanns from Tensiya.

      3) I would be delighted if more were released because I might want another one someday and I wouldn't be so paraniod about the one I have.

      I have no opinion about what doll companies do; I would prefer for them to do whatever it takes to stay in business. If I like their products, I will buy.
    4. I couldn't care less if doll companies re-release thousands of everything they ever retired (or "limited" or what you call it) since day 1. I'd be happy if they did it because everybody who wanted one would have a chance to get it and probably cheaper too. I don't care if it makes some of my dolls lose value. I didn't buy the dolls as an investment, I bought them because I liked them and not with the idea that "besides, I can turn around and make five grand off this by reselling it any time I feel like it."

      Doll companies limit or retire or re-release so they can make money. I understand the business reasons why they do it that way. I hardly think the word "moral" applies, I save that word for important ethical questions of whether someone is using unfair labor practices or similar. It has no business applying to whether Luts or whoever releases ten thousand new Breakaways.
    5. Depends on what you mean by profit....

      I wouldn't just jump to "profit" right away. May companies re-release things because they know that... they have a new audience that would like to own the firsts (but will not pay the huge price for them) re-releases tend to be cheaper than the original ones (I'm not talking about dolls, but rather other things where the sittuation can be similar)
      Now if you're talking about "overall" profit from all the sales... Then yes, it sure could be an ulterior motive.
    6. Good point, Serena. Considering that profit is the ulterior motive of ANY business venture, you can technically say that profit is the underlying reason for any decision they make, consciously or not. But I definitely agree that doll companies may have other concerns (such as the doll owners) at heart when releasing things, not unlike the case of Masha. Volks releases one-offs all the time, so surely releasing Masha didn't make a huge difference in potential profit to them. I think this is quite admirable, especially that they were willing to consider a petition from the people.
    7. Eh. I couldn't care less what they do or why they do it...

      I don't buy my dolls as investments, and I don't go into it intending to re-sell them at some point for a profit. I buy them because I like them and want to keep them. Once they're here, I don't give a flying flip what Luts does with the sculpt. It in no way affects the way I look at my own dolls.
    8. Sometimes customers make it known that they want a discontinued doll sold again. I don't think that is unfair to retail buyers of the previous release since the doll was not a limited. But I think it's a bit unfair for people who payed exorbitant resale prices for a rare but highly desirable doll.

      Personally I like what Elfdoll did when they discontinued the 14cm tiny Elfdolls. They said that regular sales were discontinued but that they planned in the future to have limited re-releases - short time sales rather than limited quantity. They have done a couple of limited re-releases since then but the limited dolls have had new clothing and new faceups.

    9. Personally? I believe the whole "limited" thing is nothing more than a money-making ploy by doll companies, and a successful one at that. I'm not begrudging them from trying this, it's good marketing. But at the same time, I'm not of the opinion that it is a wonderful thing for the fans of that particular sculpt. Sure, I'd love for some of these limited sculpts to be put out for more standard release (I'm looking at you, SD-16!). But I understand why the companies do it.

      Retiring poor-selling sculpts to concentrate on more popular ones make sense, too. Bringing back a fast-selling limited for another run makes sense, too. As Carolyn.S said, customers will make their wishes known. Breakaway was hugely popular. AFAIK, CP never promised that it wasn't ever going to be released ever again, so who could blame them for bringing it back? Truth to tell, I sometimes wish that other companies would be as responsive to their target audience!
    10. There are many, many, many Limited Edition dolls that are truly "retired." Whether or not a company then decides to bring them out of "retirement" is another point and the original poster has posited questions that make it seem, to me, that those of us who purchase LE dolls do so as an investment. That has not been the case for me and I've owned plenty of LE dolls. The CP dolls I've owned that have had limited production runs, the El Elf, Woosoo, and Breakaway were so coveted, so wanted, that I was thrilled when CP re-released the Breakaway and the Elf....
    11. So, given that most of the people on this thread have said they don't give a darn, don't like their own dolls any less when a re-release happens and don't buy dolls as an investment, who is this "General Populace" of whom you speak?
    12. Just to make a note of it, but I have nothing against LE dolls, nor anything against the people who choose to buy them! I personally agree that dolls should not be seen as an investment, and that being said, Limited status does not affect how I see them. I don't own any LE dolls because I'm the unlucky sort who always misses deadlines. O.O But also, I only buy dolls that catch my fancy, regardless of status or brand. So because I haven't taken any particular interest in any LE dolls, I don't have any and I haven't actively attempted to purchase any. I actually greatly respect the people who manage to purchase LEs if that is what they truly want, because it can take a lot of nerve/willpower/saving. ;D

      The general populace simply refers to a few offhand conversations I've had, sorry. I tend to generalize a lot without realizing it. '-.- I'll go fix that to better reflect the opinions shown in this thread.
    13. Just a note- it seems to me that instead of thinking of dolls as investments that have lost money, people who get upset by re-releases are often upset because either

      a) their doll was unique because they were a rarer sculpt- if the forum becomes "flooded" with that sculpt then their doll may get lost in the crowd, as it were. You can see this even with non limited and readily available dolls, like the "just another El" factor.

      b) they paid a lot more on the secondhand market and now the doll is available for purchase again for the original retail price- in fact it may even come on a better body, with a tweaked resin mix, etc. I have to admit I'd be a bit miffed if I spent $500 on something and then a new improved version went on sale for $250 after I bought it, it's human nature in a way (remember the iPhone price drop hubbub?).

      I won't get into my feelings on limiteds, retired dolls, etc. as I've said it all before elsewhere.

    14. Nah don't worry about it, I just wondered if you had another thread or convos at meets or something where this was generally expressed.

      I suspect that people may not want to pop right out on a board like DoA and say that they feel cheated and love their doll less because he's not so "unique" anymore now that he got all re-released. And other people may not want to admit that they don't like the price drop if they were thinking of selling the doll down the line, or of keeping that doll as their hedge against bad times. I don't doubt that some people feel those ways though whether they will admit it or not.
    15. Money does have to come into it. I know I would be upset to buy a doll on the secondhand market for a ton of money only to have the company re-release the doll, which would of course de-value it. It doesn't matter if you ever intend to sell it. It matters that you just paid two times retail for something that suddenly drops rapidly in price.

      That being said... a doll like...say... Volks Cecil has been released like 4-5 times now and they all still hold their value just fine. Its not so plentiful a rerelease that the demand is gone.

      When a company does a re-release for whatever reason they are setting a trend for themselves as a whole though, and so I think people willl expect that company to continue to rerelease molds previously retired eventually in some form in the future. So, patience wins the day. :D

      I think that one of the reasons this hobby /is/ so attractive to many people is that, most of the time, you can recoup your investment and the dolls /do/ hold their value. It feels much less like spending money and much more like just holding the money in a different artistic form. They are as good as cash. Unlike...say...my box of Precious Moments figurines in the attic, all Limited Edition of course, that are worth a grand total of $11 collectively, even though they sell for $20-$50 in the store when they were purchased. They are utterly worthless.

      Some people may say it doesn't matter what the dolls cost vs what they are worth, but I think it is one very large attraction to this hobby and artform to know that you didn't just put $800 down the toilet, you just relocated the $800 into a doll that's still worth that.
    16. I have been collecting dolls with my Mom since as far as I can remember and I have seen so many popular dolls being discontinued ("retired") and though it makes those dolls more valuable and drives their prices up, it just brings all the greedy people only after investments out of the woodwork and deprives those that really really love and want the doll from getting them at a decent price if at all.
      There are some dolls like that for sale here and I've seen them on eBay too.

      So, I find it great when a doll is rereleased, though a lot of times the quality is not the same, meaning it goes down, or the sculpt is not the same.
    17. See, I don't doubt that you're right about that being attractive to people. It personally annoys me though because of what Dollyface said about it bringing a certain "element" out of the woodwork.

      I buy a good deal of art and for most of it, I know I will likely never get my "investment" back. In other words, there's a relatively small pool of people interested in the particular artists whose works I buy. Maybe I could sell the piece to another deep-pockets buyer, but also, maybe not because there's a little pool of deep-pockets buyers and in a couple of cases I pretty much know them all and we hang out...and while all of us are lucky enough to be able to afford some pieces of a certain artist's work, none of us could just up and buy it all, nor would we want to. We buy pieces that are meaningful to *us*. Part of why we do it is to support a particular artist (also a friend of ours).

      Contrast this with somebody buying a big piece of art by some very famous artist whose stuff is guaranteed to hold its value, and the type of people who buy that type of art. I don't doubt that some of them enjoy the art to some degree, in terms of enjoying looking at the piece hanging on their wall, but there are just as many people whose enjoyment of it is because it is worth X amount of dollars. And if you're somebody who really enjoys art for art's sake, too much talk about X dollars is really going to get on your nerves, just like the constant harping about doll values gets on mine. I have to remind myself that the money is important to some people and for me to be patient with them, but it really is jarring when you're truly in it for love of the doll, to hear people going on about being able to get their 600 dollars back or whatever. Sometimes you almost wish the doll market would totally tank like your Precious Moments market just so the people who seem to overemphasize money would get out of the hobby.
    18. Honestly, while it may look attractive as an investment now, I don't think these dolls are the best thing to sink your money into. Investment-wise, over the long run it is very risky. The market still too new, so there hasn't been enough time to track trends, or see if these "investments" have staying power. No one knows how well these dolls will hold up. We've already seen yellowing issues. Not to mention, it's such a niche market, completely run by small independents. Who's to say which companies are still going to be here next year, much less the years after that? Same thing for big name faceup artists. A hot name today might not be so bankable tomorrow.

      True, there are dolls that are going for $$$ right now, like the Bermann. But I have also seen high dollar dolls tank horribly. The tan Lishe comes to mind. Unoa is another. For a hot second, they were selling for 3 or 4 times their original retail. Now the market has settled down and they aren't going for as much. Still higher than retail on the 2nd market, but it has decreased. As people get more comfortable with the way Alchemic Lab does releases and get more Unoas, the prices will drop further still. These dolls aren't sure bets. Best to buy 'em because you think they're beautiful and you'd love to have it, not because they seem like money in the bank.
    19. Personally I think it's great when companies re-release "retired" or "limited" dolls. I know it debunks their value and yada yada yada, but it also means people who really want the doll but can't afford to pay the insane prices on the secondhand market (like me :)) get a chance at owning the doll too. That's one side of it.

      On the other hand, it's foolish to say that money doesn't matter - in a hobby like this, it's a huge driving factor. As much as I love my doll, I do like to think that if I end up in dire circumstances, I can sell him and buy some food instead (though he's not a limited - but if I did own a limited...). That being said, though, I am also one of those people who believe limiteds are money-raking farces put on by companies to earn some extra cash. So I'm sitting on the fence. :)
    20. I'm really of two minds about this. On the one hand I don't think it's fair to the people who bought the original doll thinking that it was their only chance to get it. Often they had to make sacrifices to get the doll at the moment of release. And it being limited sort of makes it special.

      But then again it's very nice for those who because of lack of funds or simply not yet being into this hobby when the doll was originally released, to have a chance at a long dreamed of doll.

      As far as a companies reasons, well if they didn't believe they could make a profit they wouldn't do it. Manufacturers are in business to do just that, make money. I do however think it can also be a favor to fans especially in a case like that of Latidoll's Adel. There never was a chance to buy him, only win him & it was nice of them to do a limited release for those less than lucky people.

      I suppose that from a possible investment point of view it might decrease the value of the original doll but as I don't think of dolls as investments, it doesn't worry me. It may, however, bother someone who had a special attachment to the doll partly because it WAS limited & having one was a extra treat.

      In the end, it personally doesn't bother me & it doesn't change my appreciation of the company unless they specifically said that there would be absolutely no more of that doll ever released. Then it's a case of lying & my level of respect for them would drop considerably. I appreciate the chance to get a doll that I originally missed & would only hope that it wouldn't upset the owners of the originals.