1. Please check the announcement in the DOA News section. Broken links to TinyPic were noticed over the weekend, and today we confirmed they've been shutting down over the last month. Since a lot of people appear to have pictures there, be aware that Monday, 9/16/19 appears to be the last day to download your photos.
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To those who left the hobby and then returned....

May 16, 2019

    1. I joined the hobby in 2008 when I was 16. I was pretty much obsessed with dolls all the way through college and uni. I only started to lose interest once adult life kicked in. I think part of the issue was that I was relying on my doll sewing as part of my income while I searched for a full time job, and that totally sapped all the joy out of it for me. When I finally got a job and no longer needed the dolls for my income, I stopped doing anything with them. I eventually sold all of them but two to help fund my furniture shopping spree when I moved out of my parents' house.

      I honestly didn't think much about dolls for about two years (2016/2017). One day I randomly dug Molly, one of my remaining dolls and my all-time favourite, out of the drawer where I'd abandoned her. I snapped a few photos for my instagram, just for old times sake. I guess seeing her face again made me realise how much I missed her, because I didn't put her back in the drawer. A few months later, I bought the most expensive doll I've ever bought (my grail), which cemented my return to the hobby.

      I'm so so glad I returned! But I'm also really glad I left too. The break definitely did me some good. I was never this happy with my dolls the first time around. It kind of feels like my old collection was just my practice run, and now I'm doing it for real and these are the dolls that are meant to be mine.

      I did feel a bit out of the loop for a while after I returned. There was a lot to catch up on! Also I massively regretted selling all my clothes and accessories. I'm still mourning some of the outfits I used to own that aren't available anymore. And for a while I also massively regretted selling my Iplehouse Tatiana, until I miraculously managed to buy back the exact same one (I still can't get over how lucky I was there!). But yeah, overall I would say my story had a very happy ending.
       
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    2. I take periodic breaks from meetups and DoA. There was also a period where I was concentrating on non-BJDs. I consider these breaks a part of my hobby. I always come back with refreshed interest.
       
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    3. I left (or rather, paused the hobby for a while) because I didn't have a lot of time for it anymore. Now that I have some time again (graduating from uni soon-ish), I feel like I can afford to pay attention to the hobby once again. :D
       
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    4. I took a break from the hobby a few times. After getting my first doll, she wasn't what I had expected her to be so I took a break from the 'disappointment' (it wasn't really disappointment but more so being too hype and it not being what I had expected it to be). Then, a few years later, I'm here and I realllllllly want to get back into bjd's. I'm saving up and I am hoping to dive into this hobby again. I've done more research and have found sculpts I actually like and won't settle for less this time!
       
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    5. I've always taken small breaks here and there from forums and other doll websites. However, moving out on my own triggered a very long break from doll stuff in general. So many new bills to pay! *_* I also picked up and dropped a few more hobbies over that time, gained an MMO sub, had someone ask "hey, this kitty needs a home, you interested?"... Life things :XD:

      I held onto my dolls for the most part, and I do still enjoy looking at them, even if I don't play with them as much as I used to. Then a couple of days ago I got the itch to look up a couple of dolls I'd always wanted, and now I'm digging through the Marketplace trying to find them again. Funny how that works, innit? :)
       
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    6. I started in 2008 with a gusto, hosted a lot of GOs, meetups, etc. on this website! I discovered BJDs at a convention and realized that I could make any sculpt into any character that I dream of and I was hooked.Then I had to stop for a while due to personal conflicts and taking care of the drama in my family life. I really wished I could have been in that Namine MnM GO that I hosted, but I had to drop and take care of the drama in my life.

      I came back to the hobby about a decade later, once I settled down and got away from the family drama. Brought four more BJDs when I came back into the hobby. I realized when I came back to the hobby that some of my tastes in dolls changed, I found out that I stopped loving my SD-Yo sized BJDs, thank goodness I only have two. Then I totally remembered that I sit on a bunch of DIM minimee heads (7 total) and I still love the sculpts, but now I have to save up for them bodies for these floating heads and I have a lot of money to save up for bodies. I need 4 in total and as we all know them BJD bodies aren't cheap and then resin matching is going to be a pain. I never got rid of my collection though, if anything it keeps on growing and the only problems I have to deal with is where am I going to display my lovelies without getting in the way of my sewing machines.
       
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    7. It's so interesting to hear about how our dolls change as we change :)
       
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    8. I was super into the hobby in college, only had 2 dolls though. Then my collection exploded after I got my first job (of course!). I left that job for another job that didn't work out, so I took a necessary break from buying dolls. Then depression set in, and I stopped doing much with the dolls I have. I got a couple dolls for Christmas, then a new job. It's been really fun and uplifting coming back into the hobby after being dormant for a year.

      I'm still not very active in the community, though; partly because I'm shy and partly because of entitled attitudes among some of the doll owners of my favorite companies. (I can understand their frustration, really, but complaining that you don't have unlimited access to dolls that cost over $1000 seems a little crass to me, as someone who grew up on the lower end of middle class.) Owning any of these dolls is a privilege, to me, one that I am grateful for.

      I have also found my taste in characters has shifted, to the point that I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do with my oldest doll. I still sort-of like the character, but she's not my ultimate favorite anymore. And there's more Dollfie Dream characters that I like, but I swore I'd never buy another vinyl because of how it ages. It's an interesting, and kind of fun, dilemma.
       
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    9. I left because after about 8 dolls I realized I had a very tiny apartment and 8 very expensive centerpieces that had no place to be displayed other than sitting next to each other on a cluttered shelf, which is exactly what I DIDN'T want... But then I got inspired by my first 2 dolls that were NOT full-sets, but rather characters that I’d created. I’d always wanted to elaborate on the vague outlines I’d given them but had no outlet for it (or so I thought, with not really being active in the community).
      After browsing the BJD hashtag on Instagram and discovering that more people created their own characters and stories with them instead of just buying full-sets, I remembered that I also had a story to tell. Not just one, but MANY! Seeing that at least a small number of hobbyists actually enjoyed the stories these people told, it inspired me to write and share my own. It felt good to have an outlet for my storytelling, but what I didn’t anticipate was that it also gave my dolls a new purpose! They didn’t have to each have their own shrine in my tiny apartment in order for me to still appreciate them and feel like they were worth the money, they can be just as glorified on social media, displayed to hundreds of people along side the stories I came up with for them!
      I now have a fresh new love for the hobby, have 2 more dolls I’m working on right now, with another 2 planned for the future... all customized original characters! Bonus, it also made me open this account and be more active in the community! :dance:aheartbea
       
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    10. i got my first bjd when i was younger. it was a lot of saving. a lot of saving, haha .... my best friend at the time was a lot more taken with bjds than i was but she still got me into it and i did want to participate. i was always interested in miniatures and this seemed like a great outlet.
      unfortunately i had to stop spending on dolls, things got tougher financially for me and my mother and i felt very guilty about putting money into bjds. that guilt stayed with me and i bought very very few things for several years, even when i was on my own and could easily afford to.
      it wasnt until my current best friend asked if i had heard of bjds that my interest really returned. it was a shared interest we didn't even know we had! having someone to talk to about bjds who was really enthusiastic and interested reactivated my passion, but the big difference now is i'm my own person with my own finances and new skills i didn't have before. so not only do i have money, but i can make clothes and props of a quality im actually happy with lol. (and hey, doa isnt invite only any more!)

      i still have my original doll, and i'm excited to finish gathering the supplies and practice faceups so i can give him a refresh after all these years. theres more too, and other dolls i want to buy, and it's all very exciting! it sort of feels like im just starting out since its been so long, and i have so many options now that i didn't before. im really happy to be back :D
       
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    11. I left the hobby about six years ago and I didn't go on DOA except to sell off my dolls. I was very heavily into BJDs before then, from around 2006-2012 I was always buying dolls, making clothes, being active on DOA.
      But then my life became very busy. I was in and out of hospital, I had to raise money because of that. I also became more social for a period of time and was always out of the house working on other creative projects, so my passions were directed elsewhere. I moved around and started doing some studying, which involved money, so I sold off dolls and doll items. I eventually got down to two dolls and only a couple of outfits for them, but they were neglected. It's only recently that I got them both out of storage and sold one of them, but I thought I would keep the tiny one, as she was small enough to have sat around, plus she's quite old and yellowed and I wouldn't get much for her.
      My life has calmed down a lot now from that whirlwind of socialising, moving, hospital visits and I have spent a lot more time sat down! So I started to play around with my tiny again whenever I have been at my desk and rebonding with her. Then something made me look at the doll world recently, to see what it was like. DOA has totally changed since I was last on it. I used to love and own Iplehouse EID/SID dolls, but they were always far too big for me to handle. Imagine my surprise that they now do MSD fashion sizes of them! I got really excited about them, it's something I always wanted to happen. Then I got sucked in researching and next thing you know... I bought one. Now I am spending my days on DOA again and planning other dolls. It's been a nice thing to come back to.
       
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    12. I used to be kind of active around 2008 or so. I had been looking at BJDs for a couple years before ordering my first one as a Christmas present for myself in 2007, and he arrived around spring 2008. It was... a long fight to even get that one for myself, I was just about to finish high school and I didn't have much money at all, not to mention my gf at the time wasn't entirely convinced about me having dolls as a hobby. (When my boy arrived she loved him as much as I did though!) I went into a couple local meetups but never really found anyone to bond with there. I did have some rl friends who were into the hobby though, and even did a few faceups for their dolls to get some money when I had just moved and didn't have a job/place in a school. That's when life happened, and my poor boy got put on a shelf and there he sat for years.

      During the years, it seems all my old BJD friends have quit the hobby or are like me and just never take them out anymore. Even the forum I used to frequent is more or less dead nowadays. So I was feeling really alone and everything had this odd aura of finality, so for some more years BJDs were just a thing for me that I'd go looking at every now and again without any plans to ever getting another one even if the temptation was there sometimes.

      A lot of things happened in those years, and I'm better off in general now. Recently I met new people online who talked about their dolls, and I started feeling like I could do something about this again, with someone to talk to! So I bought some new clothes for my boy and started planning on really getting him back in shape. I mentioned this to my newer group of rl friends I made in university, and it turns out that they were all at least somewhat interested in the hobby, or knew about it! One of them even told me they'd been thinking of buying a doll for a while and were just about to really do it. Imagine my shock. xD And now it seems we've gotten this whole group of friends into them in at least an interested bystander way. I think this is the most excited I've ever felt about this hobby, helping those friends out by answering questions and linking them to sites, doing research on things I've missed while I was away... and I can't wait to see what the future will bring! <3

      This has been a really great thread to read through, thank you for making it, and to everyone who's replied!
       
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    13. I first joined the hobby around when I was 18 because I got into cosplaying and some of the people I new were talking about bjd’s. They interested me so I started to do research and instantly fell in love with them, back then my first doll was a souldoll yeon bee and she was my pride and joy.

      After a couple years in the hobby a lot had gone on in my life and I had to sell all of my dolls due to family issues I believe that was when I was 22, know I’m 26 and finding myself getting back into the hobby because of my health and not being able to go out and loosing friends, in a way I’m using it as a outlet we’re I can be as creative as my health will let me. I’m so glad to be back in the hobby but it’s scary you know? It’s like starting all over again and everything’s changed.

      Know I’m back in the hobby I don’t think I’ll be leaving again, I’ve missed it too much.
       
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    14. Just general disinterest, and a lot of stuff going on — internship...job...job shit...bought a home... I just had other interests take the place. I DID buy 2-3 dolls within that time, as I finally had a job, still lived at home, and basically had nothing to pay other than student loans.

      But then my bf got me hooked onto Vampire the Masquerade (he got to play while I was at work). I never even played it (his group basically stopped playing, I could never find time where I wasn’t tired af...) but I was SO HOOKED on the lore. I read the book, watched vids — saw L.A. by Night.

      So I decided to get my first ever 60cm female doll; my goal is to make a Malkavian!
       
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    15. I stopped getting into dolls once my focoused change to buying lolita clothes and paying for my college education. i just felt no inspiration for dressing them up, and always wanted to create my own but never had the skills or the funds. Five years later I learned how to 3D model professionally and decided to go back to my dreams of creating my own doll! Now that I have accomplished that i have a renewed interest in the doll hobby because I was able to birth something that was 100% my vision!
       
    16. I've always loved dolls and toys and made it a business. I was so enamored of the first bjds I saw but it took me about 10 years to take the plunge. They became my first love but my husband had a LOT of medical issues for over 10 years and there simply wasn't time. He passed away a few years ago and as I restarted my life I made time for something that gives me such joy! It's nice to be back in the swim of things again and I so love seeing all the things people have thought to do with their dolls. I've had some bad experiences but that happens in every facet of life. I cut out those people and move on with those who are like minded. I think the never ending possibilities and opportunities for true creativity is what I love most and I have no intention of giving them up again. The physical obstacles I have to overcome have to be the most frustrating but I find ways around them as best as I can but REFUSE to back away from my girls. Too, too much fun to leave!!
       
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    17. I had a huge falling out with a friend who had gifted me dolls. A lot of other bad things were going on in my life at the time. I didn't have the energy to keep up with the hobby, and I didn't have the money. Every time I looked at my dolls, I'd just feel sad. I felt like my dolls were sad as well, and that they deserved a better home. It's a new chapter in my life now, so I'm starting up again.
       
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    18. While I never really left I did become somewhat inactive from roughly November 2010-February 2013 for a number of reasons. I wouldn't go into them here because they're of a personal nature but they prevented me from being active within the community.
       
    19. I bought my first BJD in college. I had plenty of time back then to post on forums, take pics, make clothes, etc. After college, I moved to Japan. I knew I wouldn’t have space to take my Delf Miyu with me, so I got a Puki Sugar with the intention of taking her every new place I went and taking pics. That didn’t¡t happen lol. I got my MNF Shushu while living there. I had some time to devote to the hobby, but not a whole lot of space. Then I got a new job working Japanese style hours, and had no time/energy to devote to anything. Now I’ve moved back to the US and bought a house and got a dog. I still have all my dolls and have just now finally set up my crafting space to be able to sew stuff again. I'd like to improve my skills, so doll sized stuff is the perfect way to practice without spending a ton of money.
       
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    20. To me leaving the hobby means not collecting the dolls anymore. I prefer to consider my lapse a hiatus; I just needed a break to resolve and work on some personal issues years ago.

      Lately, I see a lot of people leaving the social aspect of the hobby — such as not sharing in communities or social media, but still keeping their dolls because they enjoy them and don’t need to share them publicly to do so. I suppose I now fall into this category.

      I still take lots of pictures, but no longer share online. I’ve been happier. I print my fave pictures and add them to doll albums and feel a sense of joy when I look through a physical book full of my dolls, both past and present ones. Way more than I ever did looking through an IG feed. To be honest I never shared for the recognition since that’s never mattered to me, so leaving the social aspect of it was super easy.

      The community can be great. I’ve met some of the most amazing friends thanks to sharing my passion. However, being public was exhausting. Logging on and seeing rows of complaints about likes/follows and even mean spirited posts about how certain people didn’t deserve their numbers or popularity was like being back in high school again. The toxicity was tiresome to deal with.

      It was even becoming difficult to enjoy my own dolls and photography, so I cut it out. Thankfully, I got my mojo back and not only do I once again enjoy photographing my dolls, I feel much closer to the ones I have. I still keep in touch with all of my doll friends, check here for news of new stuff and releases, but removed myself from the rest. At the end of the day, the hobby is the dolls, and the true joy for me is photographing them, so that’s why I’m a part of it (and why I came back after a hiatus.)
       
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