Hey dollie lovers! Today, I wanted to talk about purchasing BJDs and the pros and cons of buying brand new from the company or local dealer, versus second-hand market. I came across this post on DoA forum and wanted to share my thoughts with you to help those who are interested in the hobby to make the best decision for them. I have been on both sides of the fence for purchases and I feel I have a well-rounded enough view to share my thoughts with you.
Purchasing New BJDs
When it comes to purchasing a ball jointed doll directly from a BJD company, you are 100% guaranteed to receive a doll that is brand new with no imperfections. If you also pay for extra services and goods like a company faceup or clothing/wigs, this will also be to your specifications. It’s nice to have everything fresh, new and in pristine condition with certificates of authenticity (COA) for your purchase, too. So, what are the cons of purchasing a new doll from the company?
- Wait Time – most BJD companies are housed in Japan, Korea, China or Thailand. With the craftsmanship needed to complete ball jointed dolls, it is unavoidable to wait a minimum of two months before a doll is shipped to you. Every company is different and wait time varies anywhere from 2 months to over a year!
- Communication – BJD company websites often implement a Message Board system that works like an online forum. Because of the time zone differences between customers and business, it is easier for them to communicate with you this way. If you have a quick question, you cannot simply e-mail them and receive a response. You must have an account login to the company’s website to post your questions. Creating an account is always FREE!
- Shipping, Tracking & Customs Fees – Unless you live in the home country where your doll is being created, it is highly unlikely you will avoid high shipping charges (and possibly Customs Fees). If you’re in the USA you can expect to pay at least $70-100+ USD in shipping charges alone. Charges are calculated by the weight of the package as well as the distance it needs to travel. BJDs are hefty objects (even the YoSD sized ones), so expect to pay for safe travels. Tracking information may also be a hit-or-miss situation. Sometimes International tracking numbers aren’t updated in a timely manner once it reaches your country; which can be a hassle.
Purchasing Second-Hand BJDs
Purchasing second hand ball jointed dolls can be so satisfying! It is easy to find dolls you love on the second hand market for more affordable prices, less shipping hassle, and virtually no wait time. Instant gratification! However, there are quite a few things to consider before you buy:
- Authenticity/Fake Dolls – Believe it or not, fake BJDs that are made to look like the originals are a thing and some sellers are dishonest. These dolls are called recasts and generally are frowned upon in the BJD community for ethical reasons. Most sellers will be upfront and let you know if the doll is a recast but some won’t. You can always be sure of an authentic doll by requesting the COA with your purchase.
- Quality/Doll Condition – Most honest sellers will be upfront with the condition of their dolls for sale. Wether it has yellowed due to age or sun exposure, small scratches, chips or other imperfections. Be sure to view lots of photos of what you are buying from various angles to be aware of any imperfections. If your doll is coming from an owner that smokes or has pets around, be sure about these details as well.
- Extra Items or No? – Be aware of what items (if any) will come with your doll. Is there clothing, eyes a wig and a faceup already in place or will it arrive to you blank with no extras? Will it come with it’s original box packaging from the company? Asking questions and not assuming things when it comes to a second-hand purchase is the key to a successful purchase (or perhaps, a dodged bullet!)
My Personal Shopping Experiences
I have purchased resin ball jointed dolls on four different occasions from four different sources. Here is my experience with each so you can make an educated decision on where you’d like your first BJD to come from.
Purchasing Brand New From The Company
I purchased my girl, Yoko directly from the company LUTS in early 2019. She took an estimated three months to arrive to me in the US from South Korea. Along with my doll, I requested a faceup and chose outfit pieces, wigs, and shoes and extra eyes with my order. The company sends each doll with a nice box, cushioned pillows for safety, a face protector and a complimentary set of eyes. Shipping was around $100 USD. I did not have to pay extra custom fees with my order, but this may vary for other shoppers. During my ordering process I often had questions about accessories being in stock or special services. These questions I posted on the Message Board and received a response within 24hrs.
Overall my experience was great and went smoothly! My only disappointment was my shoppers points were lost for credit on my next purchase, due to the company moving to a new website set up. All orders are now being taken on the new website, so future customers shouldn’t have this issue.
Purchasing Brand New From A Local Dealer
By local dealer, I am specifying BJD dealers that are in partnership with specific BJD companies that are housed overseas. I am located in the USA and there are a two USA dealers that allow you to purchase dolls through their company. By doing this, you are able to bypass expensive shipping fees. I purchased one of my first BJDs from The JunkySpot. This USA dealer sells MYOU brand BJDs and a few others. My order went smoothly as any online order would. I chose the doll I wanted after reading the product description and details, added it to my cart, and used PayPal to securely check out online. Done! My order arrived safely within one week.
I purchased my MYOU doll with a faceup. Included was also a nice box, cushion pillows, a drawstring bag and complimentary set of eyes. The JunkySpot also gives its customers free gifts like candy and trinkets with each order; which is super nice! I’m happy with my order and would purchase from here again. If you’re looking for a certain brand of doll, be sure to research which dealers are in your country that carry that brand. No dealers carry every brand of doll.
Purchasing Second-Hand From Facebook Groups
My first experience purchasing BJDs actually began in 2015 or so. If you have been following me for awhile, you may remember Sneaux. She was an SD sized girl with the LUTS/Ceberus Project Juri head (which is now discontinued and rare!) her body was a Fairyland Feeple60; which was a recast. My shopping experience was OK with Facebook groups, however it does come with caution. Not all sellers are honest. Thankfully, mine was and was very upfront about the nature of the doll I was purchasing.
In the end, I was not 100% happy with the doll and ended up selling it to someone else. I do not recommend anyone invest in recast dolls due to the quality of them. However, shopping on Facebook BJD groups was easy; just exercise caution.
Purchasing Second-Hand From Den Of Angels
My latest second-hand purchase went a lot smoother and more assuring than my first. Not only was I more experienced with BJDs now, but the sellers are trusted more on Den of Angels. The DoA forum has specific rules for sellers, buyers and forum members in general that are set in place to protect everyone. No recast dolls or fake items are allowed. Period. Each seller must have a Feedback page and each transaction done there can be discussed Positive, Negative and Neutral. If you’re going to purchase second-hand I highly recommend taking the necessary steps to get access to the Den of Angels Marketplace. It’s your safest option.
Ultimately, which route you decide to take on purchasing a ball jointed doll is up to you and how much knowledge you possess about the hobby in order to make an educated decision on a purchase. Each avenue is a learning experience if it is your first one!