5 Tips on Finding the Right Doll

I remember my first reaction on seeing BJDs being carried by their owners out of a conference room at Otakon in Baltimore.  “What’s that? It’s really cool!” A year later, my first doll arrived. I bought it on ebay as I had absolutely no idea where to buy one other than internet auction.

Now I spend some of my spare time surfing doll sites and looking at the wide array of dolls from Asia. While I love my first doll, I know that sometimes  it is also nice to know what your choices are, and man, nowadays are there a lot of choices! So here are a few tips if you are thinking about buying a BJD and you are the kind of person who likes to plan out what you buy. (Impulse buyers should probably stop here.)

1. Look at lots of company websites.  There are many companies making these dolls right now, far more than even two years ago when I bought my first doll. (There are links on this site to most company websites.) There are some very stunning dolls available. These dolls usually have to be bought through pictures on websites from the manufacturers in Japan, Korea, or China. The company may take months to complete your order and send the doll to you. There are also a few dealers of dolls in the US, Europe, and Australia.  Buying from your home country means shipping the doll to you will cost less, and some of these dealers will offer layaway plans. These Dealers will usually carry only a few or only one company’s line of dolls.

2. Decide on a doll size.  These dolls come in several general sizes, and each have their good points.  The large dolls (60 cm. aprox.) have the widest range of clothes available and because of their size the accessories can be quite elaborate.  They are heavier, and usually more expensive.  The mini dolls (40-45 cm. aprox.) are a comfortable size and there are also a fair quantity of accessories and clothes available. The tinies (10-20 cm. aprox.) are becoming more and more popular.  There used to be much less available for them, but as more manufacturers create new lines of these dolls, more stuff can be found for them than ever before. The price for these little dolls is not much lower than the price of an MSD-sized doll, because most of the cost of a doll isn’t for the material but for the labor involved in making them. The largest dolls (70 cm. aprox.) are also becoming more popular with both doll creators and collectors.  There are less clothes, shoes, and other items available, but, once again, as more are being designed and bought, more items are becoming available. These dolls are often (but not always) the most expensive, and being large and heavy can cost a bit to ship overseas from Asia. You may also need to consider where you will keep your doll.  BJDs usually come in company boxes with the doll nestled inside between pillows. Since resin is sensitive to bright light, many collectors keep them in their boxes when not “playing” with them.  Make sure you have a space where you can keep your doll safe when it is put away. 

3. Work out the cost. While many collectors say that you should buy whatever attracts you most and save up, each person will need to decide for her/himself whether they would be willing to buy a lovely Limited Fullset for $1000 or would rather choose a blank doll and customize and sew clothes themselves. When you find a doll you like, figure out the cost.  What things come with the doll? Only some come with eyes and hair. Do you want the face up done by the company or by a special artist?  Also, when you calculate the cost of the doll, don’t forget the cost of shipping. An EMS from Korea to your country can be pretty expensive and the bigger the doll, the pricier the shipping.  Add in the hair and eyes if needed, and possibly a costume and shoes, and you can work out the total.

4. Don’t forget, these dolls are customizable. Don’t be afraid to consider something other than a fullset because you don’t know where to start.  Surf the web for information on the possibilities.  Check out youtube (where we found these face-up turorials). If you see a doll you like but it is dressed as a Goth Lolita and that’s not your style, you can still get the blank doll and make it up in a completely different way.

5. Prepare to have fun. (OK, it’s not a tip, but it is something to consider once you have your doll!) Many people take their dolls to conventions or arrange meet-ups of collectors though doll forums.  Picture taking is a lot of fun with such a posable subject that can stay SO still!  You can make your doll up as an original  character or recreate a character from life or art.  AND Don’t let that cute little hunk of resin intimidate you. Remember who is in charge! 

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