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Would you consider collecting BJDs a mainstream versus unique kind of hobby?

Mar 9, 2010

    1. Please delete or lock this thread if this topic has already been done. I did a search and could not locate a similar topic.

      BJD companies have multiplied over the past few years. As a result, more dolls are available to more people in a variety of styles, price ranges and materials such as porcelain, resin and plastic. The DOA forum has thousands of members. Formerly shops specializing in artist dolls carry BJD items and even doll artists created their own version of BJDs to better appeal to a larger customer base.

      Would you consider collecting BJDs a mainstream versus unique kind of hobby? Why or why not?
    2. BJD's are hardly a mainstream hobby, despite the fact that this forum can make it seem that way. The thousands of users who make up this niche in the doll hobby are so insignificant to rest of the world, and what is most popular. While BJDs are certainly gaining more popularity and attention within the doll hobby as a whole, they are still relatively unknown in comparison to other types of doll collecting. And, doll collecting hardly comes to the forefront as a mainstream hobby. After all, unless it's a doll that is more mainstream, like Barbie or American Girl, relying on getting a specific type doll from a local store would be a rather unusual opportunity.

      I can think of so many hobbies that are more mainstream in comparison to doll collecting, and BJDs are only a small part of that.
    3. This is a very specific hobby. It's not just "dolls" (which I've had a love/hate relationship with my entire life and wouldn't be caught dead collecting, no offense to anyone who does), this is specifically "Asian Ball Jointed Dolls". Most people have never heard a thing about them, let alone seen them in person or in pictures. Even if they did, they are pretty cost prohibitive.
      I think even if Lady Gaga or some other huge media personality with a lot of pull in the trending industry suddenly showed up with an ABJD, people would still not really think twice about it. It might spark interest, and people might be a bit more educated on what they are, but it's not remotely a mainstream trend and I think never will be. And, honestly, thank goodness.
    4. I would say this is unique, like people who collect items like DH 3D stuff. But to me a main stream would say just dolls or just bears. When you pick a certain type you make your collection unique. When beanie babies were being collected by everyone and their grandma it made them mainstream. If people had only collected say the dogs, it would have made their collection unique. In any case until we can run into people on the street of our nearest big town not city who also collect BJD I would say we are still very unique.
    5. This is a very 'unique'/niche hobby. I almost never meet anyone who knows what BJD's are, specifically, and usually our first conversation about them includes me explaining what makes them different from other dolls:

      - cast from resin and almost always made-to-order
      - highly customizable w/interchangable wigs & eyes
      - high instance of DIY culture w/faceups, painting or dying a doll's entire body, or making customised outfits

      That alone makes it very different from other types of doll collecting, and then you get into the wide range of styles, from small animal-type dolls, to tiny pixies & fairies, to very 'anime' looking humanoid dolls, to very realistic humans, to creatures best described as Minotaurs, Werewolves, Harpies, etc.

      Collecting BJD's is far from mainstream; I don't think it ever will be.
    6. I really can't see BJD's ever truly becoming 'mainstream' purely because of the price tag, even 'cheap' dolls still run at a few hundred dollars a pop, because of that I think they'll always remain very much niche, luxury items, even if they do have a higher profile as time goes on.
    7. *shrug* I disagree with most of the above posts. I don't think it's any more unique than collecting fashion dolls, porcelain dolls, hand-carved wooden dolls, vinyl toddler dolls... It probably fits into the same "yeah, lots of people do it but it's a bit weird and I don't know why they waste their time and money" cultural slot as any other kind of doll collecting.

      After all, even the most expensive bjd isn't that expensive compared to artist porcelain or wooden dolls, or really well done reborns, or antique dolls, so it's a fairly financially accessible branch of doll collecting to get into. And bjd collecting is not unique in the level of customisation or creativity, either - it's far less so than reborning, in my honest opinion, in which the best artists do utterly amazing things. (And yes, there are "fantasy" reborns, with dainty elf ears and so on.) And it also crosses over into anime and game geekdom in general.

      People may not really know the details of bjd collecting, or need to, but doll collecting in general is pretty mainstream, as is otakudom, and this is just another niche in those hobbies. After all, I don't know anything about particular niches of collectible card collecting, or snowdrop collecting and growing (another huge, expensive, creative hobby), but that doesn't make them particularly unique. And most people don't really care if you collect basketball cards or Yu-Gi-oh cards, or if your expensive doll is porcelain, celluloid or resin.
      • x 2
    8. doll collecting is quite foreign to most people i meet and interact with in real life and bjd collecting in particular is just one branch in the whole doll collecting.

      i don't feel the need to say "it's very unique" just because i want to be in a unique hobby, but it seems to be not that common when looking around and not seeing anyone i know have that hobby.
      collecting in itself is in one way quite mainstream as many people collect something, but it seems to me the abjd collecting group is still kind of smallish compared to other collecting groups. if that makes it unique, i don't really know, it's as unique or mainstream as each person makes it to be.
    9. I would collect BJD if they were mainstream or a specialty hobby---since I love the dolls and make my favorite characters from them. I suppose, to me, they are the 'ultimate dolls' or 3D figures from which I can create truly beautiful and accurate 'character dolls.'

      So even if they somehow become mainstream, however unlikely since the majority of 'non doll' people see doll collecting as a waste of time and funds, it wouldn't matter to me. They are my treasures, not because of what they are, but what they become. ^^
      • x 1
    10. The main reason I find that collecting BJD's is more unique than collecting any other type of doll is the way we enjoy them. We take them out places with us, create stories from photos of them, meet up with others with them, etc. Yes, there are doll shows for other types of dolls, but you generally don't really see people carrying around their best dressed or favorite doll to a doll show the way that we would. It's interesting, it's different, it makes us unique.
    11. I agree 100%.

      A BJD collector is no more unique or different than fashion doll collector. I've peeked into their world a few times and they have a number of conventions (more than BJD does for sure) that look pretty damn similar to a Dolpa or GoGa affair. They customize, make backstories, take photoshoots and photostories, meet up with other fashion doll owners, etc. I know reborn owners will also meet up or take their dolls out for a day or whatever. They all fall under the "doll collecting" umbrella and are more alike than they are different.

      BJDs isn't as mainstream as say, mp3 players, but I don't think that means they are some sort of special, unique hobby. At the end of they day they are ball jointed dolls, and dolls aren't anything new.
    12. I think some of the responses here beg the question of what 'unique' would mean. Sure, there are other sub-genres of doll collecting that inspire or require a level of customization for the dolls, but I doubt that 90% of doll collectors have done more than unbox their dolls and put them on the shelf.

      I still think that BJD are, in the wider sense, uncommon at the very least. How many times have you met someone who didn't already know what BJD's are and who wasn't surprised by, or at least curious about, the fact that the eyes and wigs are changeable (for example).
    13. Us collecting ball joint dolls is no more unique than people collecting yu-gi-oh cards. We collect dolls, they collect cards. Doesn't sound so unique in that way. We may just be in a lesser known specific of the hobby but we generally operate accordingly. Just as people who collect game cards may still take them out to tournaments, we take our dolls to meets etc. Even when I collected non-bjd type dolls I did the same things with them as I do with my bjds now.
    14. I also agree. Doll collecting is a pretty common hobby; while it's true most people have but a few dolls or buy them very sporadically, it's also true most people have at least one doll in their possession, be it a doll treasured from their childhoods, bought as a collector's item, or maybe just as a piece of decoration. And be it a fashion doll, a porcelain doll, vinyl, an action figure or a BJD, they're still essentially "dolls", thus I consider this hobby to be not uncommon or isolated at all, even if financial reasons made it not that easily accessible.
    15. Well, I read some time ago that doll collecting is the #2 hobby in the US (after stamp collecting) so this hobby can hardly be considered "unique", if bjds are dolls (and I'd say they are).

      We may be rather elite in price to some extent (though I haven't heard of any bjds approaching $200K as some antique dolls do, or $50K as some artist dolls have), and unique in that we pay so much for what is essentially an unfinished item, but they're still dolls.

      Not that I have a problem with that, but if you think about it, that dolls are the second most popular hobby in the country is an excellent retort to anyone who might harass us about being "weird".

    16. Speaking of doll collecting, clubs devoted to contemporary BJDs have been added to the United Federation of Doll Clubs. The UFDC is a US-based organiasation that is dedicated to education, support, and unity for the many doll clubs under its banner.

      I sat at an informational table for BJDs at a doll show recently. It was interesting to talk to collectors of other dolls and see how our hobby fits in amongst the other doll-collecting communities. One of the women organising the show just gushed about the Dollmore Lusion she'd just ordered--this was a dream doll of sorts for her.

      I'll agree with Raven--doll collecting certainly isn't a new thing, nor is it especially 'alternative'. With exception to those whom choose to take part in this wonderful hobby, a doll is a doll is a doll. In regards to BJDs specifically, it will be interesting to see how our hobby grows and ages.
    17. I think maybe "unique" was a poor choice of word to go against "mainstream." Maybe the word "unusual" would make more sense? "Mainstream" implies something which is accessible to all people, which this hobby certainly is not; on the other hand, "Unique" implies something which is incredibly special, nothing else like it, which obviously (as pointed out by others here) is not true either. There is a LOT of middle ground between "mainstream" and "unique."
    18. Actually, that's not true - it's really not unique to bjd collectors. Just look at the photostories for Pinky St or Momoko dolls. And there were fantastic artbooks for Barbie and Blythe showing them in "natural" situations.

      And as for reborns - you probably have seen people taking our their favourite dolls, not just to doll shows and conventions but to the zoo or grocery shopping. Mind you, you might not have realised they were dolls. ^_^ Fooling people that reborns are real isn't my idea of fun any more than taking my bjds to the mall is, but I can understand why people get a kick out it as a compliment to a work of art. Some reborners certainly create personalities and backstories for their dolls, and most owners invest emotionally in them.

      You know - again, that's really not true. Reborners get our dolls in disassembled kits, usually without even bodies included, and there's a hell of a lot more work involved than faceupping, picking out a wig and doing a bit of hot glue sueding. And as far as fashion dolls go, there are amazing customs out there. Same goes for Pullips and so on.

      I'm not really seeing any huge differences between bjd and other doll collectors. Bjds aren't the most expensive dolls out there, they don't inspire a higher level of emotional connection or customisation than some other dolls, and they aren't even the only ones that appeal to otaku. ^_^ They're my current favourites, but they are, in the end, just dolls. And I love dolls - and so do a hell of a lot of people.

      Let's face it, we're just crazy doll ladies, and most people don't care which particular breed of crazy doll lady we are.
      • x 1
    19. Unique might be a stretch, but I think it's far from mainstream. I sort of put it with my cosplay hobby in that, people will always be a little weirded out and might have the wrong idea, their will always be people like me who love it.
    20. Unique is the wrong word entirely. The term you are looking for is niche. Yes, Asian Ball-jointed Dolls are a niche within a wider doll/figure collecting market. This isn't much of a debate topic because I think we all know BJDs are not mainstream, but we are not unique as doll collectors either, so its all a bit redundant...