What makes you pick an artist doll over a more well known brand?

Dec 15, 2020

    1. I'm curious what it is that you all feel draws you to an artist doll.

      Is it totally driven by the sculpt?
      Have small artists offered options you couldn't find other places?
      Something about the artist themselves?
      Etc. ..
      I'd love to hear any ideas or thoughts on the topic.

      Maxa :hollyberry
      • x 2
    2. I like the face/doll.

      That's it. Companies in this hobby are not really like company vs artist in other hobbies. Most companies are still just very few people, there is often times still just one sculptor, a lot of them outsource casting too. So in this case it doesn't feel like I have to make the ethical decision between supporting some big cruel company vs a hard working individual.
      There are some companies that are bigger, and Volks after all belongs to a huge company that got known for other products first/Dollzone and such seem to belong to a toy company? But overall it's still a very niche hobby with lots of small companies and artists where your purchase directly pays the people who made the product possible.
      #2 Ara, Dec 15, 2020
      Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
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    3. I have fallen in love with a few independent artists on Etsy, and I plan to buy my first BJD from a lovely little shop called SobaDolls. Not only is it easier to find a diverse range of style of dolls on etsy than it is most anywhere else (to me, many big companies have similar aesthetics, which is cool- like Raccoon Doll and Iplehouse, which is of course because the Raccoon Doll creator used to sculpt for Iple. I love finding something unique, though, which is why I like Etsy!), but I'm drawn to the affordability. It takes some searching, but some artist dolls are wayyyy cheaper than company dolls. Also, I've found it easy to communicate to artists on there and ask to see a doll in more detail, or ask if they'd be willing to modify something for me if I pay extra. The friendly communication with the people actually making the dolls make it seem like I'm buying from a friend. It's nice. Probably the only company dolls I really lust after are the Sideshow BJDs, JAMIEshow BJDs (I've seen them with the eye sockets opened with inset eyes, and now I need one), and a few old Wilde Imagination dolls

      I'm sorry if it seems like I'm bashing big companies! I'm not trying to at all, I just personally feel like artist dolls fit me better!
      #3 mohnblumendolls, Dec 15, 2020
      Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
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    4. It's all about the doll itself. As long as the company or artist is legit, I will buy their dolls if they appeal to me and fit my character.

      I do like to support single artists, especially if they're nice people--Meeksdoll and Little Rebel come to mind. But in the end, the sculpt still has to catch my eye. Even the "big companies" often have only 2-10 people working for them, so I feel regardless of where you buy, you're still supporting small artists.
      • x 7
    5. I absolutely LOVE My BishonenHouse dolls. I love their aesthetic, I love the multiple faceplates. Personally knowing the artist via social media who made them makes me enjoy them even more! I love sending dumb messages, or posting photos tagging him as the artist to let Donn Kinney know I cherish each one of the dolls he's cast for me. :D
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    6. The artist dolls I'm drawn to are ones with a unique sculpt. I don't particularly care that they're a smaller brand.
      • x 1
    7. I pretty much always choose based on the sculpt and if it inspires me. I’ve got a mix of artist and company dolls that way.
      That being said, I often have a hard time telling between a ‘company’ and a more established ‘independent artist’ a lot of the time.
      I do like seeing new artists pop up, though!
    8. Indie artist dolls have a lot of appeal over other companies. They're usually offering a wider variety of skintones with higher availability for ordering (as opposed to limited order periods for darker or fantasy skin tones), and they are typically offering an artistic style or type of sculpt that is not highly represented among popular, more established companies.
      • x 2
    9. I buy artist sculpts and well-known brands, and what usually makes me pick either of them is the sculpt itself.

      However, I would say that indie artists tend to be more likely to have distinctive styles. I get the impression that a lot of indie artists are hobbyists that are trying to fill a void that they see in the market, so there are a lot of indie sculpts with expressions/features/etc. that you would very rarely see from an established company. They're also a little rougher/less polished, which I think lets them retain a little more stylistic "crunchiness".

      There's also, at least to me, something sort of satisfying in monetarily supporting a small artist. And, admittedly, there's a little more pressure to impulse buy artist sculpts because they are often produced in small batches and may never be produced again... especially when it comes to one-off heads on taobao.
      #9 0bsequi0us, Dec 15, 2020
      Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
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    10. I choose my dolls based on my response to the sculpt, that's it.

      I'm with @Ara on this, the distinction between an "Artist" doll and a "Company" doll is what exactly? An "artist doll" is usually a studio of one, so are some well known brands/companies. I don't know why Little Rebel is an "artist doll" but Migidoll (also a one person operation) is not. Both need support.

      The average "large" bjd company is what 15 people or less? Trust that helping to support one artist or 15 is still small scale and intimate.
      • x 4
    11. If I like it.

      That's it. The only difference between a "company" and an "artist" when it comes to making BJDs is that the "company" has been around a little longer and has a little more name recognition as a result.
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    12. I honestly get the feeling it's a bit of a marketing thing/how much an outsider is allowed to look behind the scenes. A lot of the "companies" are not as obvious about their size, compared to an artist that is basically just using their Instagram for everything and making it obvious how they operate. A company has a website you buy through, rarely interacts with people on a personal level (often because of a language barrier, how many "artists" are from the west vs how many "companies" are not) or shares private details. Meanwhile "artists" post every step of the creation online, allow an intimate look into the process and makes it obvious they don't cast themselves. Some of these companies operate exactly the same way, but people simply don't know.

      I sometimes get the feeling people just call "artist doll" anything that is made by a western artist :'D
      But in the end people can use this to their advantage. You can tell a lot of people feel good about supporting an artist they know more closely as a person through their social media. Doesn't matter if that other "company" is exactly the same size, they didn't market themselves enough as a single artist.
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    13. It really does come down to two things.
      1: Do I love the sculpt and desire it in my life?
      2: Can I afford to buy it without feeling immense spend guilt and terror relating to that price tag?

      Because there have been a few artist dolls i've really LIKED but the price tag has put me off as i've simply not been able to justify the expense or been able to afford the layaway payments offered during the limited release time.

      Scale also is a "nope" for me in a lot of cases because I don't really collect SD or larger. I don't have the space, they're too heavy for me to work with/play with and as a result even if I LOVE a sculpt, if it's the wrong scale it makes me go "mmmm maybe not then."

      I do tend to find the non limited nature of most company bjds far less stressful because I don't need money NOW NOW NOW but can sort of budget throughout the year and prioritise things whereas artist casts tend to be done in limited runs and that can be really rough in terms of timing and budget even with a layaway plan.

      If I find the whole thing too stressful I tend to talk myself out of the purchase.

      I only have one artist cast doll here but i'd love a few more and i'm watching a few artists waiting for them to do their next order period heh. I love unique and unusual heads.
    14. Hmm. I'm not sure how to answer c: I've known about and seen bjd's for a while now. So it wasnt like I saw just one and fell in love with just that one. There have been so many that I liked... but when I first saw Dust of Dolls, I just fell in love with their style. I dont think it matters to be how big or small the company is c: it really comes down to the style. DoD were just so unique to me and I loved all their girls <3
    15. The sculpt. And price/layaway options LOL! I love so many artist dolls but can't afford them.
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    16. For me it all boils down to liking the sculpt. However the fact that you typically have longer to save up for a 'company' doll versus a sudden preorder for an 'artist' doll does influence my buying habits somewhat.
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    17. I cant say that I'm for the artist dolls...nothing against them it's just most that I have seen are on social media. I don't do social media so I end up being pretty oblivious to a lot of things and missing out. Plus I haven't been searching for dolls like I used to when I first started the hobby. Any doll shopping I do is with companies I know and I'm used to via their website.
    18. I'm so new to the hobby... what is "artist doll"? is that to describe smaller sculptors?
    19. Usually people use "artist doll" to specify a small individual doll maker. People who work alone, who may or may not do their own casting. Usually they sell via Instagram or Etsy etc, may not have a dedicated website.

      It does end up being a matter of marketing and marketplace perception, cause like I said, so very many doll makers, "artist" or "brand", are still one or two person operations.
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    20. @idrisfynn oh! thank you so much! I appreciate it <3
      • x 1