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To those who left the hobby and then returned....

May 16, 2019

    1. Hello. To those who have left this hobby for whatever reason, what made you stop? And on the flip side, what made you return?
      I personally had hit a wall. I found love in other types of dolls and sort of lost myself in those. Many people I know that were into the hobby left and moved on to other adulting things. I also grew weary of the Drama within the hobby. But I have done a lot of growing myself and have returned with a newfound love of my dolls. I never really sold any of them. I just put them away and stored them. But I kept designing my own dolls in the computer and coming up with ideas of how I wanted my own doll to look.
      Slowly but surely I found my love of he hobby again and started painting a doll. (My Unoa Qluts Mocha Dollybird.). I realized how much I missed it. And I returned. I’m seeing a lot of fresh faces and seeing a lot of new talent that is blowing me away.
      Essentially distancing myself from the hobby just eventually increases my love of dolls and I am back. After a lot of personal reflection and growth, I’m ready to share my love of dolls with the world.

      What made you leave?
      What drew you back in?

      • x 14
    2. I have been in this hobby 12 years roughly and for half of that I think I was pretty dormant. I joined the BJD hobby when I was barely a freshman in high school. I was overly enthusiastic about BJD's. Hell, I even worked at Denver Doll for a period of time. But my younger self really didn't understand how expensive this hobby is and how time consuming and the amount of dedication you need to really make your dolls your own.

      I'm 25 now, halfway to 26 and for the longest time I couldn't justify dolls anymore. Between falling down a dark rabbit hole of chronic illness and trying to finish high school (thankfully) and make it through college (which wasn't successful) a lot of hobbies took the backseat, especially BJD's.

      It actually wasn't until about...2 years ago that I seriously got back into the hobby. In the time between I became a serious Japanese antique doll collector and worked on restoration projects, but always had my BJD's nearby. I finally came back when it started with a new doll, then back to making clothes, got into some other dolls, sold more and bought more. I'm more into really designing for dolls and the characters behind them. I work on MH/EAH repaints from time to time as well and design them from the ground up. Getting back into BJD's I've been able to put that same creativity into them as well! It's just been a long tiring ride.

      Like I said, I'm kinda an adult now and can afford to spend time and money on dolls opposed to when I was just a very hopeful teenager. My dolls kind of keep me stable while being sick. I'm glad I got back into the hobby and seeing how far things have come and the limits being pushed to make some beautiful art dolls!
      • x 16
    3. I entered the hobby as a university student way back in 2003. Was really active online and offline for several years until about 2008, when I completed my professional training.

      From then, work basically consumed my life, and the hobby was one of many things (probably the least important thing) that suffered.

      That carried on for several years until, thankfully, I decided that working myself to exhaustion wasn't how I wanted to spend the rest of my time on earth. :XD:

      My interests had moved on from my student days, though, so it took me a few more years to finally find my way back into the hobby just last year. It was a bit of a culture shock adjusting to the changes in the hobby - the new companies, the familiar companies that have closed down, the shocking rise of recasts, changing style trends and collector demographics, etc.....

      I've been going full-swing in the hobby again for over a year now, and I'm enjoying myself more than ever! Back in 2004-2008, I used to focus on photo-stories involving my MSD's, with a little bit of sewing on the side, but now I'm really into sewing and crafting, especially for Yo-SD scale. My focus has shifted, but I'm glad to be back and enjoying my dollies once again. I'm also impressed at how well these resin "toys" have stood the test of time - my oldest boy is almost 16 years old, and still in beautiful shape!

      Thanks @comicbookartistboi for asking for others' stories, and for sharing yours, too!
      • x 15
    4. I had to take a break from the hobby for a few months. I loved the hobby itself, but I became very disappointed with the people I've met, got scammed and generally had a bad start. I think that maybe I was expecting too much and should be more careful about some things.

      At first, I was going to just enjoy my first doll and not sharing my joy with anyone, but I've read about people who had similar experiences and get contacted by newbies who wanted me to tell them about the hobby. Then I realized how much I missed it.

      Now I participate in a big doll company project and can't wait to show the results!
      • x 7
    5. I started collecting when I was in college, back in 2006. Apparently I joined DoA in 2006, and I got my first dolls for Christmas that year. I took a break when I graduated. It wasn't a planned break so much as that I moved to Japan what was supposed to be temporarily, and ending up staying permanently, and in the meantime my dolls were still in my mother's house :doh I didn't want to pay shipping and customs (again!), and with one thing and another, and getting married and grad school and not having money, they ended up staying at Mom's for a decade.

      I got back in last year. My daughter, who was 6 (7?), started getting into dolls, and I thought she may enjoy a 1/6 OT doll that poses, and in the process of searching for one I accidentally opened Yahoo Auctions and accidentally started looking at BJDs, just you know to see what the price on the used market was. And next thing you know I had 4 new-to-me dolls, in addition to getting my first two sent over (thankfully, no customs charges).

      This time around, having learned how to sew, I've been trying to make clothes and participate more in the forum. I always liked baby clothes better than adult clothes because it's easy to finish them quickly, and the same thing goes for dolls, so I've been enjoying up-ing my sewing skills. Next, I need to work on my photography :XD:
      • x 7
    6. When I started in 2009, my daughter was 7. I couldn't afford to buy too many dolls but I was able to pick up a few. I was never hardcore into the community so when her life started getting busier, I put away the dolls to focus on her. Now she's 17 and she'll be graduating high school next year. While I'm still very busy making sure she is successful at everything she does, she doesn't need me quite as much as she used to. So I came back to my dolls. I guess I'm hoping they will help me with my empty nest syndrome when she leaves for college. :sweat
      • x 10
    7. I was in highschool when I first started collecting. I only quit because I got engaged, got married, moved cites and basicly had no time for dolls. (six years I was away.) I kept most of them, but seriously got back into the hobby last july. The rise of recasts since ive been away and the decress in the market value has been dishearting since ive returned, but at least ive found some enjoyment in the fact that there are soo many more options! I used to have SD sized dolls, because thats what eveyone had (that and the larger 70+cm) but since ive come back ive found them too hard to handle and have sold off my SD's. I love the new variety of MSD's and yo-sds available and am finally having fun with the more fantasy styled dolls, which I never liked before because they were either really big or really small. I dont photograph them as much, but still enjoy dressing them up and snaping a few pictures like I always have. really I just like building chacarters and bringing them to life. Seeing them on their shelf makes me smile.
      • x 5
    8. Hello!! I remember you; it’s wonderful seeing you again!

      I’ve had all sorts of issues when I left the hobby and ended up selling or giving away all of my dolls. I had one from two dear friends that I kept with me but that’s it. I ended up focusing on my career and moving across country. But eventually, once things settled, I looked at my doll and started to want things for her again. So she ended up with a new outfit, new hair, a new friend and new face ups. A few years later, I have two dolls on the way again. For me, it was just remembering why I loved them and staying true to that, rather than what I should and shouldn’t want.
      • x 4
    9. I started in the hobby just before my freshman year of high school and my parents got me my first doll she is an SD. I was so fascinated with her and I loved dressing her up and thought it was the coolest thing in the whole world. Unfortunatley teens can be cruel and the people in my high school thought I was weird or thought the dolls were scary (thanks horror movie annabelle) so I got really dishearnted and discouraged to participate; and because I didn't have really any friends online or in person to talk to about and share my love for dolls I fell off.

      I would sometimes go back on instagram and check stuff out but hardly ever and I never took anymore pictures of my girl. I'm now in my second year of my bachelor's degree and have come back in full swing. Have two dolls on the way and saving for a third. I really want to get way better at sewing so I can tailor for my girls.

      At the time I was almost embarassed of my hobby and thought if I stayed away long enough it would just go away but my love for dolls and this communitty by far outweigh the hate and disdain I had recieved and will always draw me back in!
      • x 5
    10. I was on the verge of buying my first doll around 2011 and I got laid off from my job. I had been following BJDs for a long while before I decided to get a doll. In the middle of all of this mess of losing my job, a family member became ill and I became a caregiver for awhile. So I decided recently that I really wanted to get my doll that I wanted years ago. I got her about 3 weeks ago and I am shopping around for another one. I have always loved dolls and I have had dolls since I was a child and I have the dolls I grew up and still do. So I am happy to be back and I love my little Sophie!
      • x 4
    11. I think I saw my first BJD in 2008, at an anime con (so around 11 years for me) and I fell in love with them. I obsessed over them for months and I was fairly active here for about 6 months to a year and even got my first doll during that time. I became less active while I was saving for my 'dream doll', then active again once I got her. However, as time wore on I had a really hard time bonding with her but felt guilty about selling her or buying any other dolls because I wasn't playing with her. For 7-8 years I was loosely in and out of the hobby, sometimes looking at photos or visiting the forums, but never really doing much.

      Finally, maybe 2-3 years ago, I realized that her size had been the issue after handling a 17" monster high doll (around the same size as an MSD). I fell in love with large scale Monster High dolls and began modding them... Shortly thereafter, I made the decision to sell my SD doll and purchase an MSD instead. I went hunting for ages to find 'just the right' head and fell in love with Nanuri 14 -- thankfully, a month or two's worth of super heavy hunting led me to being able to purchase her! Shortly thereafter, another artist doll I was interested in was released.

      The artist doll took over two years to arrive though, and during that time I struggled to bond with my nanuri. I gave her three faceups I didn't like before sending her off to an popular artist... Who also gave her a faceup I didn't like (and which didn't look like my concept art). Frustrated, I threw in the towel until recently my artist doll arrived. Seeing the two dolls together makes me love both of them even more and suddenly everything clicked on what I wanted for my Nanuri. She still hasn't told me her name, but now I know what I want for her for a faceup, eyes, and wig. I'm so excited to get both her and her sister finished and get back into the swing of things. :D
      • x 4
    12. I bought my dreamdoll some years ago, she was a Lati LRRH Haru. She was my first bjd ever and I was so afraid of even touching her as she was pretty expensive. My family ended up with money problems so I sold her and it broke my heart. I know I did the right thing but I hope that one day i'll own a lati haru again. When I started I never realised how you could see a hundred pretty dolls but only really clicked with one or two.
      • x 5
    13. My last break lasted around five years and I just jumped back in during the summer. (Just before all of these crazy discontinuations) :chomp:

      I left due to trying to focus on other (cheaper) hobbies, and I was working a lot more. The idea of saving on cheaper hobbies really didn't work out though.

      After returning, I managed to get a few dolls off of my wishlist for great prices as well as a few new ones. I'm on a roll and haven't been this happy in a while. :chibi
      • x 2
    14. I got into BJDs at the end of 8th grade/the beginning of my freshman year of high school, getting my first BJD in November 2006. High school was a roller coaster time for the BJD hobby for me, but I was quite immersed. I slowed down when I went to college, and I got into Monster High with a friend my junior year of college so OT dolls became my focus for a while. It really wasn't until I graduated college and got a job (see: making money) that I could ramp up my hobby activities and start purchasing things on my own (I think getting a PayPal of my own was a gift and a curse X'''D).
      I never fully left, but I did wander away from the internet and meetup aspect of the hobby for a few years. I'm happy to be active in my local doll community again, as I've met some awesome new (to me) people that weren't around when I first started out as a fifteen-year-old BJD enthusiast 13 years ago. :)
      • x 4
    15. I first got into BJDs back in 2005. My first couple of dolls were all pre-loved and bought through local online auctions where I met with the seller in person. The waiting time for a brand new doll was so so so long back then and I didn't really have any means of online payment. Waiting at least 5 to 6 months for a new doll was the norm and there were a lot fewer doll companies. I remember DOD, Custom House and Dolkot were all the rage back then and my very first doll was a DOC Hoo. (I still have him!) I had such a hard time finding clothes for him though as there weren't really that many clothing options for a male doll...

      Anyway, I then went through a period where I was crazy about BJDs and bought so many dolls (new and pre-loved), clothes and wigs and so on... then I guess I just burnt out? I can't really remember what happened. I just kind of drifted away from the hobby for a few years but starting from the beginning of this year, I've suddenly become interested in my dolls again and have bought some new ones! I still need to try and sell the dolls and doll stuff I've completely lost interest in but procrastination is an evil thing... Thinking of trying to sell through the marketplace here but I'm kind of scared of selling internationally after all the horror stories I've heard...
      • x 3
    16. I've never really stopped with the hobby, but my interest in the community has definitely gone down through the years. Too much drama over nothing, the exponential growth of recasts and entitled behavior made me decide to spend my time elsewhere.

      The other part is that I'm ill and have a very small income. When I was still a college student, it was a lot easier for me to save up for new dolls, and have enough money for my sculpting and casting endeavors too.
      Now, I'm having a hard time to get the materials for sculpting, let alone buy something extravagant as a BJD. Money issues, combined with very little energy are not really a good combo in this hobby. But that doesn't mean that I've stopped enjoying my dolls! They are sitting next to my computer, waiting until I've got the time to work on them some more. And I'm still making moodboards for the individual characters, and plan and design their looks. I just need a little more time to save up for the fabrics needed to create their outfits.
      • x 13
    17. Much like @Wolfie Pie , I never full on split from the hobby, just backed down the social side for a bit from about mid 2015-mid 2018.
      Mostly this was due to moving out of state, getting married, and some rough patches rebalancing life. A lot of friends also were moving around, some dropping the hobby or social sides as well. During that time we were in fairly cramped apartments, so only one or two dolls would be out at a time. I rotated my dolls, repainted, but I just didn’t have much space for doing photos or sewing, so I didn’t have as much to share with everyone.
      We’ve just moved into our house, where my spouse and I dedicated one of the smaller bedrooms each as an office (it’s great fun having “our” rooms again, although he’s getting the bigger room to also be our guest area since a. He’s neater and b. we decided not everyone wants to sleep around dolls) and my dolls are all getting set up on proper stands this time. I’ve been planning on some major overhauls on my oldest few.
      I am a bit sad a lot of folks I loved hanging out with or talking to have shifted to other sites (instagram, ect) and don’t seem to be intended on coming back here at all, but that’s their call.
      • x 5
    18. I joined the hobby in 2005 with my first Lishe and was fully engrossed in it until I finished college (I'd had 11 dolls by this time). After I graduated I was unable to find work and had to sell all but one of my dolls to pay for my car payments. It was so devastating for me that I packed up my remaining doll and stopped keeping up with the social side of the hobby for years.

      Then, in 2015 I accidentally clicked on one of my doll site bookmarks and got curious. It wasn't until I saw that Volks USA started doing FCS online that I decided to buy another doll for the first time in years. That was the snowball that that started the avalanche back into the hobby. Now I've more in love than ever. I was able to buy my two grail dolls, and now have almost every sculpt I'd ever wanted back in the early days of the hobby for me.

      I may take a break now and again, but I'll probably be in the hobby for life as I've always loved dolls.:XD:
      • x 7
    19. I joined around 2013

      Bought a few dolls and went through some but i i just couldn't find the right sculpt and money issues as a student then turned me off

      This year i just got back into the hobby again and it's back, breaking my bank
    20. I got my first dolls in 2011. I didn't know anything about collecting or that there was any kind of community around them, I just thought they were beautiful and wanted at least one. And that one needed a friend. Then oops, I have three... I amused myself taking pictures with them for a couple years, then my camera broke, I lost my job, and I eventually bought an enclosed cabinet so they wouldn't get as dusty while sitting neglected.

      As time passed, I still had only three dolls while I wanted four, but I couldn't justify spending the money when I never interacted with the ones I had. Every so often I would check out the new dolls, pine over the ones I kind of wanted, and move on again. I'm not sure what was the tipping point at the end of last year, but something made me decide it was time to dust them off and bring home #4. Then somewhere on the internet someone mentioned this site and it's like a whole new world opened up! People do their own face-ups?! Restringing is a thing?!

      So now I'm gathering supplies for my first face-up attempt and it's past time for my first doll to be restrung, so I'm looking forward to the new bond these processes will bring.

      Technically I guess I'm getting back into the hobby, but it feels more like I'm only just beginning!
      • x 5