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The End Of Custom Reborn Dolls?

Featured: Reborn dolls by Artist Mary Kate McCormack of Hill Country Reborn Tots

Things are changing on the reborn doll scene for collectors as well as artists. In the last few years, I’ve seen a lot of artists become worn down from the craft of reborn dolls and just don’t enjoy the business as much as they used to. Instead of abandoning the art form altogether (which I am so glad they haven’t!) a lot of artists are deciding to close their doors forever on the idea of custom reborn dolls. I’m creating this post after observing and conversing with reborn doll friends who collect and artists that create.

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a reborn doll artist. I cannot create a reborn doll for you, take a custom order, or communicate with any artists on your behalf. I am just a doll collector who has been in the hobby a long time and is sharing my knowledge with you! Please do not send any messages in regards to buying a doll from me. – Thank You

Why Are Custom Dolls A Big Deal?

Before diving into this question, it’s important to understand exactly what a Custom Reborn Doll is. Basically put, it’s a handmade, one-of-a-kind piece of artwork created especially for a collector. A collector is allowed to choose the skin tone, hair texture/color, eye color (if applicable), and other details for the features of their doll. For more in depth information, check out my Custom Made Reborn Doll article.

So, why are these dolls such a big deal? In short, custom made dolls have been the jackpot of the reborn doll hobby for many years. Everyone wants a doll that either looks like them, or has features that they find beauty in. From an artist stand point, however, this process is no easy feat…even under the best circumstances. Creating reborn dolls is a long process with hours of painted details and rooting hair strand-by-strand. There is the assembly of the doll as well as careful packing for their travels through the post.

From The Artist’s Standpoint

Despite this costly and labor intensive business, I find a lot of artists are mostly discouraged by dishonest and unreasonable customers, paired with the time spent away from their families with little to no compensation for their work. Yes, the customer may spend $800 for a doll, but the expensive supplies needed, plus (at least) minimum wage for the hours worked to create such a doll, is most likely more than what the artist ends up with at the end of a transaction. This doesn’t include any seller fees or postal fees if managing your business from an online shop like Etsy.

As an honest customer and an artist of a different medium, I feel sorry for these doll artists! To work so hard and to barely be compensated for it; along with being treated horribly and ripped off by customers who do not pay in the end; it’s all just wrong. I’m glad more artists are putting their craft first and wanting to grow their skills and stretch their wings of creativity. Yes, this may mean I may not get the doll I envision from my dream artists, but there is always another dream doll to have.

Why ‘No Custom Dolls’ May Be A Good Thing

Looking at the perspective of things in a positive light allows for a lot of good benefits for all.

  • With no customs being accepted, dolls can be produced faster with less wait time!
  • Ready-to-ship dolls will be more readily available for those seeking a gift for a special someone.
  • The artist is allowed full creative freedom to experiment new and awesome new techniques in making reborns even more beautiful.
  • Price points can be firmly set and buyers will know what to expect when it comes to the cost of a doll.
  • No waste for the artist. All supplies can be used over a span of several dolls, versus buying specialized supplies for each order.

With that being said, it is a bitter sweet moment for the reborn doll community; however there is definitely more sweet ahead than anything.

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