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Would a mass-produced BJD be negative or positive for the hobby?

Dec 10, 2008

    1. This subject has been touched-upon by some General Discussion threads lately, but I'd like to explore the subject in a more generalized, mature debate.

      If a company* were to begin mass-producing a BJD, or marketing a new BJD as an affordable toy product rather than an artist-made collectible, do you think it would have a negative or positive impact on the hobby in general? Why or how?

      *By "company", I am referring to any company, whether Asian or Western. The hypothetical company could be new or established, or (most likely, imo) an established doll/toy company that has specialized in other products before, but is new to BJDs and trying to expand into the ABJD market.

      Examples mentioned in previous topics:
      - Mass-produced BJDs would have to be made differently, and likely out of less-expensive vinyl to make a larger production rate and lower cost feasible. Would the difference in materials and mechanics influence public opinion of strung resin ABJDs? Why is that positive or negative?
      - Would a more affordable, easily-available BJD or BJD-style doll help to introduce more people to BJDs as a "beginner's BJD"? Is this a good or a bad thing?
      - Would an Asian-aesthetic BJD made on a larger production scale harm the business of current small ABJD companies? Why or why not?

      Please refrain from singling out any particular off-topic dolls currently produced, especially just posting personal opinions. I hope that this debate can be a productive, intelligent discussion regarding the issues and implications of a mass-market BJD as a whole, rather than a personal "like/dislike" poll of off-topic dolls.

      Mods, if this is touching on a sensitive/rehashed topic or you feel it is needed, please move or delete as necessary.
    2. My opinion is that it would have little or no effect on the hobby because the hobby of buying expensive, artist-made or imported ABJDs is totally different from anyone buying a mass-produced doll. A mass-produced doll is likely to be cheaper and have a different aesthetic (one that appeals to the masses) and therefore appeal to a completely different group of hobbyists than those who enjoy the dolls that are on-topic for DoA.

      It's sort of like asking if the availability of cheap Ashton-Drake mass-produced porcelain dolls would have an effect on the hobby of people who buy expensive artist OOAK porcelain dolls by "getting them into" the porcelain doll hobby, or what not. It's not the same group of people.

    3. This isn't really a "sensitive" topic, but it's definitely been done and done and done this past week. ;) Resin abjd from small ateliers are NEVER going to be mass-produced, it's just that simple. However, bearing in mind that vinyl dolls are off-topic for the board, the query regarding how vinyl, mass-produced bjd-like dolls would affect those collectors here is probably worthy of debating.

      Carry on.
    4. Hmmm, mass production - as in 100,000 exactly the same dolls with exactly the same faces, faceups, eyes, wigs and default clothing? If this hobby has taught me anything its that someone, somewhere will change the default look of the doll, therefore making it ooak. Realistically tho, IMO, mass production will not happen. Companies cherish their reputations for producing one offs and special request dolls and BJD consumers love the fact that yes, they may have 'doll x' but nobody else's doll looks the same!
    5. I would probably buy a massed-produced, less expensive resin doll if it were as beautiful and well-made as my current dolls and if it appealed to me on some level. I don't really know if it would be bad or good for the hobby. Some people would probably buy them and some people would probably avoid them at all costs. The small Asian (and elsewhere) companies who make our dolls have a loyal and supportive customer base who likely would continue to buy their dolls, so I don't think they would go out of business. There are already less expensive resin ball-joint dolls on the market for people who don't want to pay a lot for their first doll. I can see why someone might want to mass-produce them in vinyl and reduce the price a lot, but these would probably appeal to different customers than the ones on this forum. I have a couple of Dollfie Dream bodies for some fantasy dolls I have, but I much prefer resin and probably would not buy vinyl dolls.
    6. I doubt it would affect the serious collectors, since they put out the big bucks for the uniqueness of the dollfies. I think it might be a boon in that it would help younger people and ones on tighter incomes to participate in bjd collecting.

      For myself, I hate collecting things that look the same as everything else on the shelf, which is why I never could work up any love for Madame Alexander. I like the customization potential and one of a kindness that bjds have.
    7. A current ABJD/ artist? Probably not. But thats not to say an already accepted toy company might not decide to produce a ball joint doll in the future.
      I think the OP meant companies to mean any company, not specifically the BJD companies we're familiar with.

    8. Thank you. :) I think the effects of such as doll on the hobby in general is a very intriguing topic of discussion, and I was sad to see the other recent threads begin to veer wildly off-topic. I hope that this thread can be a more on-topic discussion of the subject.

      :sweat Yes, that's what I meant. I added to the first post to clarify. However, the thought of a current familiar company going "large-scale" is interesting. I doubt it will happen though, for the reasons ozziegoth stated. The current small companies take pride in their dolls being a well-crafted artist's product.
    9. i think there "would" be a market for a mass produced BJD, however, i think those of us that are involved in the hobby as it is now, would probably stay true to the way they are produced now. i like the fact that these dolls are handcrafted by artists and appreciate the time it takes to produce them. part of the allure is the excitement in browsing for a particular type of sculpt, finding it, waiting for it to be made and sent, and all the while planning what the character of the doll will be, and look like.

      i don't know that i would enjoy the hobby as well if i could go to any toy store and plop a BJD into my shopping cart. i might as well collect Barbie dolls, not that there is anything wrong with that. as a matter of fact i did collect Barbies and Gene dolls, but collecting dolls and "creating" a unique doll are totally different.

      so to answer the question.... i don't think it would have any particular effect on the hobby as it is now. it may even become a gateway for people to get involved in the hobby, who wouldn't be inclined to spend a fortune on a doll that they aren't sure they will like in the end.
    10. I agree with Miss Ally- I think that while there would definately be a market for a mass produced bjd, I highly doubt that it would be in appearence, and in general quality anything like what the resin bjd community is interested in. I think it would likely be vinyl, and I think that it would certaintly develope its own type of collector- and maybe there would be some overlap into the ABJD resin world- but I doubt that those that are solely interested in those would want to jump over into the far more expensive world of resin bjds.
    11. I thought Volks plastic dolls, Obitsu and dolls of similar ilk filled the mass-produced niche. :?
    12. I think it would be positive as a stepping-stone to get people into this hobby, which will keep new and wonderful things coming our way (if there are new buyers to buy them you see)... and maybe it'll get those who shouldn't be in the hobby out of it? XD

    13. I don't think it will have any appreciable effect on the hobby, any more than the pennies in your pocket affect collectors of rare gold coins. There's always going to be a market for inexpensive versions of anything, but no one is holding a gun to our heads...no one is going to tell us "You have to buy these if you want to collect BJDs". I imagine, aesthetically, they won't appeal to collectors of the "Asian aesthetic". The Goodreau dolls, although they have their fans, are proof of that.

      There may be some overlap and in a way I hope there is...more clothing/accessory choices is always welcome!
    14. I don't think it would affect it too much. I tell you what I would KILL for though would be for companies to pre-produce and sell stocked items only! A very handful of companies do this, and I'd like to think that there is enough profit and predictability of sales to simply go on and produce the dolls before selling them. So thats not massproduced...but it is produced, rather than selling a promise, basically.
    15. One negative effect I can think of is on the people (family, friends, etc.) who already have an issue with the price for whatever reason. They would be less understanding if there was another mass produced doll for less money and yet we would still be purchasing one for the higher price. As an example I have friends who think they price range is ridiculous and already pester me about it, they would probably give me more about it. It might give first time buyers a harder time of convincing parents that they want the ABJD rather than the mass produced one.
    16. While I don't see it having much, if any, impact on established collectors it would most likely introduce new people into the hobby & those people may go on to buying the ABJDs, or at least the less expensive ones. I've already seen this happen with the American companies that are producing limited edition, vinyl BJDs. A lot of collectors who weren't at first drawn to the Asian aesthetic started buying these dolls & if a couple of Yahoo groups I belong to are any indication, many of those folks have gone on to collecting the less expensive Asian dolls.

      Just because a doll is vinyl doesn't mean it's not customisable. Repainting & rerooting of fashion dolls has gone on for ages & the same people who do that would just as likely personalize a vinyl or mass produced resin BJD. And if the doll came with removable eyes & wigs, even those who aren't up to doing face-ups would be able to change around their dolls' looks. This is already going on with the American BJDs.

      As far as the impact on the small, current companies, I doubt if there would be much. There are too many collectors who are already "spoiled" by these dolls & would continue to support their favorite companies. Sure, a mass produced doll might be good when you simply need a "dolly fix" but I honestly can't see them being any real competition for the established collector base. There's something special about an individually made, artist done doll that mass production can't capture. Those who appreciate that difference will keep buying the ABJDs.

      As for the general market, like I said, they may well be a starter doll for some collectors but the most positive impact I see is on children. Let's face it, these dolls are FUN to play with. Their posability & ability to assume many different looks would undoubtably be a big hit with kids & mass production would make them affordable, more parent friendly. There are already collectors with children whose kids are fascinated by Mommy's or Daddy's dolls. Then they could have their own safer (assuming they're made of vinyl) version.
    17. But the mass-produced one would be so much cheaper, they'd be two totally different price-points-- so it wouldn't really have any effect on Price Prejudice. You couldn't compare the two dolls just by price, because they're too different in construction & quality (i.e. apples & oranges). If Mom wouldn't let you get a mass-produced vinyl BJD because she thinks that's too expensive, to begin with, then she sure wouldn't let you get a resin one that costs 4x as much, regardless of the difference in quality. It's not the fault of the cheaper BJD making the resin BJD look more expensive.... it's that neither doll fits Mom's price-requirements for your toys. If Mom says the vinyl one's in your price-range but the resin one isn't, then you get a vinyl one for your starter-doll. Collectors who don't have control of their own money don't get to have a say in whether Mom's spending-limits are unreasonable. Mother knows best.

      If your friends hassle you about your hobbies, get new friends. There's plenty of them out there.

      For resin collectors who actually have control over their own money, and who don't care what other people think they should buy: I can't see this having an effect on them either. It might create a new scene, for collectors of mass-produced vinyl BJDs, but it wouldn't disrupt the existing resin scene. As Krissy put it, the market for gold coins doesn't plummet just because there's also a market for pennies.

      There are a lot of resin collectors who find it awfully hard to care about public opinion in the first place. :| I personally suspect that if there were a new Barbieesque flood of mass-produced vinyl BJDs, it might only serve to make the strung-resin ones seem more 'artisanal' and 'high-end rare expensive niche-hobby' again, by comparison. But I really doubt it'd change public opinion much, because the public already thinks ABJD is so far-out it's in outer space. (Besides, god, who cares about those people's opinions of your toys? Those are people who find "America's Top Model" not only normal, but engrossing. :lol:)
    18. That question was posted because of the rather strong opinions raised in recent GD threads on mass-marketed BJDs... the general gist of which was "People already think our dolls are cheap toys, now we'll have a harder time convincing them that they're not." (To which I do personally have to agree, "who cares"? And a lot of other doll owners share that opinion as well.) But there does seem to be a good-sized faction that does care, especially as it regards the "grabby-hands" syndrome in public.

      It also does affect the "weird doll collector" stigma. I've noticed that where I live, the general reaction to our dolls is "oh, one of those doll collector ladies" and we get lumped in with the general "little old lady porcelain doll collector" stereotype. (A small local group sometimes meets up at a restaurant for breakfast or dinner and we'll usually bring a doll each).

      Not that it really bothers me all that much, but I wonder if that stereotyping may change if there were mass-produced BJDs? Would people see the dolls and immediately think "grownup carrying a children's toy" instead? Would that affect how the general public treats doll collectors? Would it foster more public negativity? Or would a mass-produced doll foster more understanding of the ABJD hobby? I don't know for sure, but it's interesting to contemplate, I think.
    19. I know that the mass produced one would be alot less expensive. And I understand that they would be different quality. I was more refering to the people who really wouldn't want the vinyl doll even if it was the doll mom wanted to get you because of the lesser price. I was also thinking about the people who don't understand why would you buy something thats so expensive when there was a cheaper version of it out there, and they don't care/understand the difference in quality. (Was just talking to my boyfriend and he brought up thats its the same with phones/videogames/comic books etc.) I wouldn't really care either way I'd still get my ABJD, and can sympathize to those who are under mom's wallet and can't get the resin since I was in the position for sixish years.
      And I wasn't saying that my friends are mean to me about it. This is just one of my many hobbies and they poke fun at me for spending money on a doll when I should have saved it for rent. Its my own fault for doing so but they would probably poke more fun at me for not getting the vinyl :lol: (some of them are the people i mentioned above)

      Children/Teens/Adults might see our dolls mistake them for one of the vinyls and we might have more of a problem of the grabby hands?

      I'd still be interested to see though what one would like. Maybe it would appeal to some of us more than we thought it would.
    20. I really don't think there will be a huge effect on the BJD market. If it's being done by a company that doesn't already produce ABJDs (whether it's an American toy company focusing mostly on children's play dolls like Mattel, an American company which focuses on both play dolls and collector's dolls like Goodreau, or an Asian company which specializes in collectable dolls like Jun Planning, etc), chances are high that the doll won't meet DoA's criteria for on topic dolls, and like the various other un-named off topic dolls, I doubt they'd have a huge impact on the hobby.

      If they DO meet the criteria for on-topic dolls, I still doubt they'll attract a huge audience. People have already shown by not buying the cheap bootleg dolls on eBay that they value the artistry of ABJDs. I think that if a company started selling mass-produced ABJDs, they probably wouldn't be as popular as the brands that people already buy from. Even if you look at dolls like Dollfie Dream and Obitsu 60cm, which are essentially mass produced with a much lower price tag than most resin dolls, I don't see a huge number of people buying those dolls solely as a cheap alternative to resin dolls. Most people who have the vinyl dolls seem to genuinely like those dolls for what they are, and they are still very much a minority on DoA.

      Basically... I don't see why it would affect the hobby that much, people still buy expensive resin dolls even when there are cheaper options, and that's because people like the expensive dolls they buy. I'm pretty sure that trend will hold up no matter what the challenges are!