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"Why are BJDs so expensive?"

Dec 7, 2004

    1. Note:: This thread has no intention of bashing, complaining, or whining about the price of any BJD. ^_^

      Okay, I got the question today >_< A friend of mine asked why are BJDs so expensive? I was planning to answer with something witty, like "It's because they'll be a memorable friend for life, so the quality counts," or something like that. But somehow... it didn't sound very convincing. :oops: So I suppose my question is... why are BJDs so expensive? Is each individual piece/part hand-carved (i.e. feet, hands, faces, ect.), or are they produced my machine? Are they difficult to assemble in general (though I don't think this is the case), or is the resin type simply an expensive quality?

      I realize the answers to some of these questions may vary between companies, but I'd like a general overall answer, if possible. ^_^ Thank you!
    2. They're hand -cast-, I believe. The original moulds are done by hand. Also, the resin takes a while to "cure", so they're difficult to mass-produce.

      Partly due to supply and demand as well... ^^ High demand + fairly low supply = expensive dolls.
    3. There are a number of reasons. Here are a few -

      -They are a small-run botique item. This means they are for all intents and purposes, hand made. There is very little if any mechanization involved. Barbies for example probably spit out of a machine at one per second.

      -In the case of Volks, they have to deal with outrageous lease costs for retail outlets etc, so prices reflect this.

      -Their "dollar" is worth less to them than ours is to us. As such, the doll doesn't seem as expensive to them.

      - demand is high. There is no need to discount in order to gain sales.

    4. what everyone has said is true,... volks keeps their production small and in house (inside Japan under strict quality control). The dolls are hand-cast, yes! Every step is very well-done etc. Plus they are large resin-cast dolls with joints, often elaborate wigs and outfits, etc...

      take a look at a comparible "western" ball jointed doll and I think you'll see a somewhat comparible price. I can't quote you one though as I'm not knowledgeable enough in that feild. :)
    5. Definitely. Some dolls by Annette Himstedt (famous German doll artist.. her dolls are the most similar I can think of-- very realistic clothing, human hair/mohair wigs, glass eyes, large size, etc) range from $400 to $1000. I don't think BJDs are that different, except for the customizeability aspect. I guess what throws a lot of new people are the fact that you're meant to customize them (sand, paint, etc).. for the price, they expect it to already be done.
    6. hee, to me that's what makes them even more worth the money though!! Being able to change those wigs and eyes, etc, so readily! but yes, I totally agree that it can be confusing to people not used to it :)
    7. Actually Himstedt dolls have more in a series, unless it's one of her very limited. And the molding process is much more like a barbie. The cloth body and assembly is hand work.

      Ditto for Sigkids, P.heath, K. Schmidt, and Zwergnase.

      If you get into modern BJDs the only ones of the same quality are the wood ones. The prices of these are really high, and come in very limited amounts. (However, there are a few felt doll makers that have some really nice BJDs. ^^ But, I have none of these....)
    8. While I understood (and VERY WELL T_T; ) how tedious it is to hand-cast and finish resin pieces (all the sanding and trimming of flash and.. aihudasjdhasjk x_X;;; ), I had not considered, in terms of Volks prices, the leasing of space and things like the Tenshi no Sato location... @_@ That might explain a few things, yes.

      All the same... Even if it was a good chunk o' change, I can't say I've ever been so attached to something like I am to my doll ><;;
    9. I get this constantly when people at school ask about Ichii.
      I just say "hand-cast reisin doll from Korea," and they cork it, becuase ... well, I dunno why, but they do. :oops:
    10. Aside from the BJD's price, everyone aught to keep in mind anything you buy, is priced based on many factors:

      a)exclusivity: *mass produced VS several units*
      b)labor: *pay someone to *make*
      c)space used to *make* the product: * be it rental or others, paid*
      d)time to *make*
      e)quality control:*someone is paid to enforce and to check it*
      f)packaging: *bought from another source/boxs, bubble wraps, etc..*
      g)material used to *make*: *usually bought from another source*
      i)shipping: domestic or import *includes tariffs*
      j)markup and profit
      k)other company employee salaries: *sales of this product contributes to payroll*

      I'm sure there are more factors involved, but I hope you get the idea. The principles of manufacturing and marketing apply to everything, be it mom and pop or much larger scale operations.
    11. honestly, what my manager said was quite funny. He collects Living Dead Dolls, which are cheap and mass produced.

      When I showed him Azrael, who is LE 10, and told him the price and he looked at me and said.

      "THAT'S IT?!"

      In the context of their availability and the craftsmenship and detail that goes into making these dolls, their price is NOT bad. It takes a VERY long time to make a single doll (notice the 4-6 week waiting period) and it is very weather sensitive.

      Isn't Donn (Dunn? XD) making his own resin BJD? I'm sure he can explain how time consuming it is.
    12. Going on what has been said in this thread - yes, these dolls are not a mass-produced item and can be extrememly rare, driving prices up (in additon to materials, cost of labor, advertising, etc...) they are actually a bargain, IMHO...

      Someone said it a while back: We, as Americans (going on the vast majority of members, nothing personal) want the most for our dollar - Meaning we have come to expect things to be competitively priced and of comparable value, but if we can save a dollar or 2 we will go out of our way to do it. It's who we are as a nation - We don't get compliments on something withought saying "Oh yeah, and it only cost me XXX" to show how little we spent on it... We expect something of a "higher price" to be done for us... we have, for the most part, lost all pride in making and doing things for ourselves (this is an overgeneralization I know, but for the majority, it's true). I mean, why spend half the night cooking dinner (and wasking the cooking utensils etc...) when you can just go out to a restraunt or even McDonalds and have it made for you?
      I think that THAT is the reason that many people who do not know the personal value and significance of BJDs simply cannot fathom someone spending ALL THAT money on a DOLL that half the time isn't even FINISHED! And you have to buy all sorts of other stuff for it too!

      In Japan, this is different (from what i have been told). Over there the culture does not really allow for the excess that Americans have. They also take more pride in having something special and unique unto itself, and therefore do not see spending "all that money" on an item as being anything out of the ordinary. Their cost of living is also higher to begin with, so the prices of things in Japan vs. the US tends to be a bit higher on average.

      Anyway, when you get someone who asks you questions about your doll and gives you funny or strange looks when you tell them about it or ask if you are crazy when you tell them the price, just know that you are a much more enlightened person than they are, smile and walk away ^_^
    13. BJD's are not expensive. They just cost more than some dolls. They also cost less than some others. It's about what you are prepared to pay for quality and individuality.
    14. Someone asked me, and I told her very simply that Cookie is a "high quality hand-cast collectible that I feel totally comfortable handing off to an 8-year-old to play with." That seemed to shut her up.

      Considering "playing" with them (by which, I mean esthetic) can actually increase the price, I think the $300 I paid is a pretty good price.
    15. Wow, I really never took these things into consideration, I just figured that I would pay what I could for something I'm totally in love with. Now I'll actually have reasons instead of just "they can charge that much, so they do".

      *is super happy* :grin:
    16. not to sound like a know it all,I just enjoy this subject!
      I have been a resin model kit enteusiast well since back to the late 80's. Volks,even then, produced the best quality I had ever seen and even the smallest kits demanded high prices. It was also the same for most american based "garage kit" companies,with "cottage cast" limited items,the prices were somewhat high. You have to take into consideration the price of resin,the higher quantity amount a company will buy,the cheaper it is.This resin BJD's are made of seems the strongest I have ever dealt with and must be very expensive! The molds life is fairly limited to a certain amount of runs before it needs to be replaced eventualy.High quality mold silicon can be pricey as well!
      Vinyl like the DD's is also a very expensive as far as making the molds,but the molds yield a higher ammount of product. The molds are done using a copper electroplating type method and can run into the thousands for one mold,but they last forever! There's old molds of monster toys from the 60's turning up that can still be used for casting today! *_*

      I think the price of many BJD's is well beyond fair.
    17. As expensive as they are, I've only had Gabriel for a few weeks, and I already think that he is worth way more than what I payed for him (kinda also wishing I hadn't gone to England last year, because I could've bought him sooner).

      I think it's awesome how they are hand-cast... When I was origionally looking for a doll, I was looking at the ones on e-bay... but then I decided that I wanted to get one directly from LUTS because I wanted him to be made just for me, because I guess that makes him even more special. They even gave me the eyes and faceup I asked for (which made me feel like he was even more, just my own). While I *do* wish they were a little less expensive, I can totally understand why they are, and I don't feel ripped off at all... most of my friends think I am crazy though.
    18. Wow after reading this thread I don't feel as bad about dropping $900 for Isao. Actually that's a GREAT deal-I've never seen him go for less than $1000+ on the secondary market. I usually don't mind letting people know how much I spent on a doll but EVERYONE will think I'm insane for spending this much on a doll( I come from a family with no hobbies whatsoever :lol: ) But I haven't been this excited about a doll since I got my Onizuka doll! I think about Isao all day at work(if I had a boyfriend he'd probably be jealous :grin: )

      Anyways it's my hard earned money and this purchase will make me happy. One could also argue the amount of money some spend on cars like Hummer, Mercedes, etc. but no one seems to shoot weird looks to people who spend $50,000 on a car...If you can afford it and it makes you happy why not!

    19. I may have told this story here before, but just in case I haven't :-);

      Awhile back, I was paging through a traditional doll magazine, and I happened across an artist doll that I thought was really pretty. I usually am not attracted to such things, but this one just reached out and grabbed me (you know how that goes). So since prices weren't listed, I went to the web site in the ad, with the thoughts of possibly bringing her home.

      The pictures on the website were just as lovely. Until I saw the price:


      Yup, almost $10,000. No, this wasn't one of a kind - if I remember correctly, it was a somewhat limited run with a reasonably elaborate costume, but still....

      It made the prices for my SDs look downright reasonable.

    20. Hmmm,.. BJD's are mostly as expensive as they are because of the materials, and the production costs involving those materials...

      Im working on my own BJD using the exact materials and techniques that the larger companies use sutch as Volks ,CP, CH, ect... casting poly-resin into silicone molds pulled from clay sculpts,... for those of you that havent seen


      So i can speak from experience when i say im amazed that companies offer BJD's as cheaply as they do,.. sure they are making profits,...but not huge profits,...

      Enough resin to mold a SD sized doll costs about $50 dollars, not counting pieces that were cast and rejected because of bubbles,.. and im sure thare are allot of pieces that are rejected,... even though the larger companies use pressure and vacuum chambers to degass the resins, bubbles still occur,.. believe me casting poly resin isnt easy, the least lil change and humidity or temp and youve got pockmarked casts,..

      Also the molds and moldmaking materials in themselves (platinum cure silicones most likely, being the most durable for production) are very expensive,... just in silicone alone your looking at around $1000 just for one set of molds to make one particular doll,..and to keep up with demand im sure most companies "except extremely small ones" have at least a dozen sets of the same molds for each doll,...all which have to be replaced every 6-12 months... even the best silicones degrade when in production..

      and after all the above is taken into consideration,..dont forget the most expensive part that goes into the production of anything,..the labor costs,..sculpting flawless and apealing dolls, making perfect production molds and being able to get casting resins to behave are all very specialized skills, and the people who excell in sutch arts are in great demand and dont come cheap..

      And im not even going into design, preproduction, finishing and faceup artists *_*

      so there ya go,....i hope everyone is still awake :oops: lol