Monday, May 2, 2016

Budget for Doll Collection - Part 1

Hi guys! 

I have again rummaged into the (formerly) secret doll collector lives of my friends to hopefully share good practices to our fellow doll collectors and help come up with better decisions for this journey we so love. This time, we are talking about our collection budget.

Just like our first topic on the Doll Collecting Tips series, I will divide this topic into a few parts to better articulate the data we have collected from our dear friends. And speaking of dear friends, I am very grateful for the following people who have generously contributed their time and love for this little friendly endeavor we have. Thanks so much to you, guys! This means so much more to me than you’ll ever know.

Anika, FordVanaDBG, Melan, TerriRobertDiademaStormie NickLeslieEliGeorgiaGirlPhyllis, KenyaMichaela and of course, jSarie -- You guys are awesome!

So for the first part, let’s us learn what got these dolly friends of ours started in the doll collecting journey. I have asked primarily if they had first established a budget before buying the first doll. If they did, how much was it? If they didn’t, what brought them to buy a doll without any plan at all? What were their first few dolls? Join me as we unravel these dolly mysteries =D

Question # 1
Guys, when you first started seriously collecting dolls (adult phase), did you have some kind of a budget plan before hand?

Leslie answers, “No. I didn't realize how much the more ‘adult' dolls like Poppy Parker would cost and that I'd want so many!” 

As Kenya puts it, “I started pretty blind, so I had no idea that I would end up collecting them. I stumbled across a few collectors’ streams on Flickr and fell in love with the idea of photographing subjects on a smaller scale. I didn’t consider budget at the time. I assumed they were all pretty cheap. I was wrong.”

Keya's first batch of girls

GeorgiaGirl said, “I did not have a budget when I first started collecting.  I purchased anything that stated that it was “limited”, “collectible”, or “special edition”.  Lol!!  I had no focus unfortunately, and ended up with a lot of dolls that I eventually sold.”

DBG also has never had a budget or a set amount to spend on dolls. “In the past, when I saw a doll I wanted, if I had the funds to buy it, I did.”

Phyllis also had no particular budget beforehand. “But doll buying for me was only after I took care of all home and family expenses.”

Stormie started collecting dolls in 2009 when she was still not working, so she had to buy “one at a time”. “I didn't have any budget plan, it’s just that "Barbie's blood"(of course, she didn't have any haha) started flowing through my veins.”

Melan also did not have any budget when he was just starting.

Anika also comments, “I didn't have a budget when I first started. I had the luxury of spare money so I just spent with no direction."

Like me, some dolly friends have just gone enamored by the dolls they originally bought as gifts for children they adore. 

Diadema was among the ones who fell into the dolly trap when she was scouting dolls for a niece. “I really had no intentions of buying during that time. I was actually just doll hunting for my niece's birthday present.” 

Terri's SIS Gals
In December of 2013, Terri was shopping for a Barbie doll for her friend's then 7 year old daughter, Anaya.  “I was amazed at all the things Mattel offered for the modern Barbie. As a kid, I only got the doll and had to make their clothes!”

Anika adds, “I really don't know - I saw this little cutie in a crib and had to have her. I was buying dolls for my nieces but never wanted any for myself until then.”

I myself bought my first adult-phase Barbie in a toy fair in 2009 in hopes of giving it to one of my many god-daughters. Well, of course she ended up in my collection and I named her Tabitha. Haha!

Vana said that even in her childhood, she loved to sew doll clothes and craft miniature furniture, etc. She adds, “In the early 90s, I bought myself a Barbie doll so I can go back to sewing clothes for her. There was no budget plan and no plan to buy more dolls at that moment.”

Eli started collecting when the Barbie Basic Black collection came out. “I loved the style. I didn't really have a budget planned. This was mostly because I was more concerned on the doll's availability. When a doll became available, I bought it. I did limit myself to just getting two dolls per pay period if it happened that two of the dolls were available.”

Ford said that it was a few weeks before his 30th birthday and he was thinking of a gift for himself, something he has always wanted to have, but never found the time (or courage) to get it. There was no budget limit.

Michaela started her first collectible Barbie dolls in 2010. However, she went to sell all her NRFB ones when she first bought her Fashion Royalty doll at the end of that year. “I don't have a budget plan, but if I really want a new doll, I sometimes get funds by selling some from my collection to be able to acquire new ones.”

When Robert was just starting to collect dolls three years ago, he said he was really “out of control”. He even bought dolls that he didn’t really like that much. What he experienced was he thinks something any collector can go through at any point in the collecting journey. 

It’s funny that most of us did not really expect to become the doll collectors that we are today. Most have started without some kind of plan, let alone a budget plan for it. Most of us were just instantly smitten by these pretty dolls probably because of some wonderful childhood memories. The dolls spoke to us, and whether or not we have a budget for it is not the question. We just have to have the doll.

At some point, we probably snuck a glimpse at the Barbie isle while we browse for toys, for the kids in our lives but budgeting for it for like our own future hobby? Probably not. But these two always had an eye for the future. They were already in the fences of doll collecting, due to related hobbies and personal interests. 

jSarie didn't have a doll-specific budget at first, but since there was already an existing action figure collection, the dolls came out of the general "collectibles and entertainment" fund.

Nick says his budget was very low starting off (who am I kidding, it's still low). “I was a struggling artist living in LA. Needless to say, I did not have much to spend on dolls. When I moved back to Texas, I limited myself to buying one doll a month. "

***
When I was a kid collecting these dolls of different types (baby dolls, toddler dolls, teen/fashion dolls, rag dolls, weird dolls (breakable face/soft body, and many others that caught my fancy then), I’ve always used either Christmas or Birthday cash gifts, money I’ve earned from winning singing and drawing/poster-slogan contests (yes, I was that kid LOL!), money I’ve earned from selling yema (candies made from milk, mom helped me cook them and then I sell them to classmates – yes, I’m that other kid, too hahaha!). I will never ever remember how much I spent on these dolls.

But the recent collection? Hmmm.. I got the first Barbie in 2009 for dirt cheap (5USD) and with no intentions of collecting yet, but I only followed that up in 2010 with a couple of nude Momoko dolls for about 120USD total. It was in 2011 that I was unstoppable. I think I spent during the first year at least 30000PHP (637USD). Then I mellowed down in the next year so that I can financially bounce back haha! 

Question # 2
If you could remember, how much did you spend during the first year in your collecting journey?


Vana's Luna, her first doll in adult-phase collecting
Vana: It's hard to remember as I can't tell if I'd bought another doll that year or no. I spent a maximum of 50USD - in the first year, I'd say.

Diadema: I would often tell myself not to purchase a doll (with cost) starting at 1500PhP (about $32USD). But of course, as we all know it, BUDGET is just a note-to-self or a list, which can never really be accomplished. Hahahaahha!

Ford: On my first year, I think I spent about 5000PhP (about $106USD) only. It was the year of the Fashion Fever, where there were a lot of real-looking clothes. I still don't have a Facebook account then so my only resources for doll clothes were toy stores and department stores.

jSarie: My first year of dolls was quite reasonable: I bought a single Teen Trends doll on clearance, so the total for that year was only around $25CDN.  Of course that led to my getting into BJDs, where the prices were sometimes 30x that, but that was something I needed to grow into.

Kenya: I bought a playline Nikki and a few Integrity Toys Janay dolls, which weren’t terribly expensive at the time. I was gifted a bunch of Bratz, Barbie and My Scene dolls from a friend of mine whose daughter had outgrown them. I didn’t start seriously buying my own until a year later.

Leslie: This is a difficult question to answer because I'm not sure I can draw a line between my child/teenage and adult collecting. I suppose, however, that the biggest change for me was when I bought my first Poppy Parker doll in 2010. Her cost versus a $30 Collector Barbie was a big turning point for me, but in that first year, I only bought that one Poppy (Beatnik Blues), and she cost me $165 because I purchased her on eBay. 

Melan: I did not have any budget when I started collecting. And to my surprise, I already had 25 Barbie dolls in nine months costing between 2000PhP (about $42) and 3000PhP (about $63) each.

Michaela: I can spend about 300USD to 500USD per month. And oh my gosh... my first year was extreme, so many new and wonderful dolls, I can't tell you how much money I spend this time. 

Nick: I would say I have spent a little over 500USD this last year. 

Robert: What works for me is I allot a budget of one doll per month. However, that also depends on the price of the doll. Usually, I spend from 150USD to 200USD. I don’t require myself to buy monthly, though. I just set a range of how much I should spend in a month. Hehe. I also sell the ones that don’t attract me anymore. In that way i can buy new ones. 

Stormie: I roughly spend, I think, hmmmmm.... 16000PhP a year (about 340USD) for dolls only because way back in 2009-2010, Mattel started to release the line 'Barbie Fashionistas' and the whole line consists of 7-8 dolls including Ken and Ryan. Barbie's usual friends Teresa, Nikki, Summer and Raquelle were included. Barbie as the star of the show comes with 2 different versions. My mindset was to collect them all!

Stormie's Fashionistas
Wow, kudos to you guys for having remembered the dreaded number hahaha! 

But some of our friends, especially those who've been collecting for at least 20 years, have a hard time remembering their first year’s dolly expenses.

DBG: I do not recall how much I spent the first year I began collecting.  This was prior to my Internet doll-buying access when doll sources were limited.  I relied chiefly on doll- for-sale ads in monthly periodicals and an occasional doll shop visit.

GeorgiaGirl: I have been collecting for a long while...over 20+ years, so I don't remember there being a budget or know how much I spent.  I do know that it was a lot because I had no focus.

Eli: Oh my goodness, I don't know. I tried to track it, but then I started to feel guilty. My answer to that was to stop tracking my spending. :D

Phyllis: To be honest, I don't remember what I spent on dolls the first year.


***
When I see a doll for the first time and get fascinated by the uniqueness of her face or hairstyle, I then research who she is, and check out eBay and doll groups for availability. If the price is reasonable, I would plan how to grow the funds to get her. I research for the funding plan. Let's see if our friends make some research prior to buying a doll.

Question # 3
Did you do some research as to what dolls you will be buying? How was your research like? 

YES to Research!

Eli: I utilized the Internet a lot. I tried to find out what the doll was, is it part of a collection, date of release. Then I would ask around my connections on their views on the doll and if they believe that the doll will become available in our local stores. If they have doubts on availability, I would ask if they have any idea on how to get it."

jSarie: I originally became interested in dolls thanks to some photographers I'd met through toy-related groups on Flickr, so my initial research involved chatting with them and then reading piles upon piles of reviews. I'm still a big fan of searching for reviews, but these days I'm better able to take company reputation into account rather than wanting to read reviews of every specific doll."

Melan: I did some research as to what dolls I want, and most of them are Barbie Dolls Basics and Barbie Dolls Look collection.

Michaela: Normally, I see a doll and if I like her, I search her through eBay or Mr Dollface.

Robert: Yes, definitely. With the help of other collectors I was able to learn and understand the various collections of Integrity Toys and some of Mattel's, of course. I search Flickr and the Internet for photos of each doll. Right now I'm more attracted to the older releases of Integrity way back year 2010.

Stormie: Yes! I did some research. I was searching for different kinds of Barbie dolls, different Barbie friends, guy friends, enemies, best friends, relatives and the whole family tree of Barbie, including the pets! I want them all! It was fun, entertaining and a whole lot of learning about their histories! 

Vana: Since the beginning, even now and then, I visit the Barbie aisle of local stores to look for new fashion models because I wanted to have different looking dolls to sew for. (This was before I had Internet.)"

Ford: My only research then was just scouting the doll sections of department stores and toy stores. Good thing I found an Asian-looking doll on my fourth day of "doll scouting".

DBG: Initially, I did not research doll purchases.  After I established a library of doll reference books by a variety of doll historians, I began researching desired vintage dolls.  My goal was to purchase black dolls from the 1950s and 1960s that I had not been aware of as a child. 

GeorgiaGirl: I was eventually educated on what dolls were "the best" to collect. I am not into the research as much as I used to be because now I buy dolls that I really like.  I plan to be a total deboxer one day.

Phyllis: As I got more involved with my Barbie Collection, I started yearning for my first Barbie. She was given to my niece when I moved out of my father's house. My doll was a 1960's Platinum Bubble Cut Barbie. I found eBay and starting searching the vintage Barbies available for sale. Along the way, I found other vintage dolls that I loved and purchased them. Finally, since I was unable to find the beloved Barbie of my youth in the vintage dolls at a price I was willing to pay, I went to Barbie Collector.com and joined the club. The first doll I purchased was a reproduction doll of the Platinum Bubble Cut Barbie. A few months after I got her, I finally found my vintage doll at a price I could afford and I jumped at the chance to get her. She had a BIN price of $125 and I was happy to pay that for her as she came with a vintage doll case and several vintage articles of clothing. 

Research? Nah!

Diadema: NO. I don't do research before buying. I actually buy dolls according to my preference. In my circle of friends, we have the term, "CALLING", (which means) if I hear a certain DOLLY CALL, I would definitely buy it (regardless of the price, the bad reviews, hard to find, etc. ) by hook or by crook. And that's the only time I'm going to do some research about that particular doll.

Kenya: No. I pretty much bought the dolls that caught my eye from the Barbie Collector website and eBay. eBay introduced me to Integrity dolls, whom I may never have known about. Even though I owned a Janay at the time, I didn’t make note of the manufacturer. I also looked at a lot of doll collector’s Flickr streams also. When I saw a doll I liked, I would ask the owner for an ID and go from there."

Leslie: No, lol. I had been searching for a Barbie that resembled one of my favorite '60s models and a listing for that Poppy showed up on eBay. After that, I learned she was part of Integrity Toys lines through different blog posts I searched.

***
The year I started buying a doll for myself is quite not my first doll collecting year. It was until I discovered Momoko dolls, who wore the most realistic clothing I have every seen in my life. I love their shabby chic clothing - not too tight, simply relaxed. I bought my first two Momokos, and named them Aya and Shiori. What dolls could have made our friends go gaga about for them to start their first batch?

Question # 4
What is the first doll (or first batch of dolls) you bought in your adult-phase doll collecting?


Diadema: Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse dolls!

Diadema's Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse crew
Ford: I bought a doll (a playline Barbie). I just need an Asian barbie and all the "sensible" and real-looking clothes that I can get for her. That was back in 2006.

Phyllis: My first dolls were from the Dolls of the World series.

Robert: The first batch, I would have to say is the Barbie Black Basics. For me, this is the most beautiful collection Mattel has ever made. They featured all the molds they used for the Barbie line and the makeup is just perfectly matched to different cuts of black dresses.

Stormie: Barbie Fashionistas Clutch wave 1 dolls!

Terri: My first dolls were from the Mattel Barbie So In Style Sisters collection.  I had an obsession with the Trichelle doll initially.  I bought her in every pose I could find...side eye or regular eye...articulated and not articulated.  Soon I added the Grace doll of that collection and then Kara and Chandra and Marissa.

Kenya: Birthstone, Milan, SIS Kara, Grace and Trichelle – MyScene Madison, Dallas Cowboy and a playline Nikki. I still adore all of these dolls. Even though I don’t collect as many Mattel dolls as I used to, I can’t ever see myself stopping altogether.

Melan: My first fashionable doll is Barbie Basics Swimsuit Edition AA skin tone (Mbili face mold) and the list went on.."



Vana: A blonde Superstar Barbie was the first doll I purchased in my adult-phase collecting. And she's got a haircut. LOL.

Michaela: I can't remember my first Barbie, but my first Fashion Royalty was Veronique Perrin The New Versailles.

Nick: The first doll I purchased was actually a Dynamite Girl by Integrity. Then, Poppy Parker definitely caught my attention. I have a thing for the ""big lips pout"" so obviously, I fell in love.

Leslie: Haha...Poppy Parker :)

Eli: My first dolls were Natalia Fatale and Francisco Leon. I didn't really plan on having a collection. I just wanted to have a femme and homme doll and buy accessories to complete a doll house type of set-up."

GeorgiaGirl: The first dolls that I purchased were the Shani dolls in ball gowns.  Ballgowns used to be my favorite attire.

jSarie: A Teen Trends Kianna. I'd been waffling about buying a more expensive first doll, but when I came across her I decided I'd see if I liked having her around for a while first - as it turns out, I did!

jSarie's Teen Trends doll from 2005 (left photo); A shelf setup in 2013 to the right (quite an evolution, as J tells it, tee hee)
DBG: The first doll I purchased was a porcelain “collectors” doll.

***
Dolls give us joy and excitement and all things nice for sure. They look adorable, those big bright eyes, cute pouty lips and their poise that is something we aim for - make us want to give them the best clothing we can ever find, the most fabulous place (or shelf) they can live in. They seem to live the life of our better selves. But there are other reasons that that. Dolls make us more creative, and they fill a certain part in our life that we won't have time for. In my case, I want my dolls to "live" a more carefree life, a fantasy I kind of dream every now and then. Since this fantasy doesn't have a place in my real life, I make my dolls live it. They wear comfy clothing, they travel, they pursue their gazillion interests, like time is never a factor.

Let's see how dolls give joy to our friends.

Question # 5
What prompted you to buy your first collection?

Kenya: Photography. That and I noticed the dolls had improved a lot since I was young. I became addicted.

jSarie: I admired the way multi-jointed dolls could out-pose my playline action figures, and wanted to join in on that kind of photo staging.  And once I bought one, the collection just kind of built itself around her!

Michaela: Speaking of FR dolls, I was looking through Flickr photos of them and fell in love.

Robert: It was really the urge of taking beautiful photos of dolls. As a child, I've always been fascinated with doll photos most especially their fashion and set up.

Leslie: When I saw Poppy Parker’s face in the listing, I fell in love instantly and then when I received her and discovered how articulated she was compared to Barbie and how careful the face paint was, I was in love. 



Terri: I couldn't help myself.  The newer Barbies were all so glamorous compared to the Barbie dolls I played with when I was a young girl.

Diadema: Dressing Up. I love dressing up myself, and seeing my dolls wear the pieces of clothing I can't wear makes me feel fashionable too!!

Vana: Redecovering the pleasure in sewing small garments and the love for miniatures where my reasons to start buying Fashion dolls.

Stormie: As a child, I didn’t grow up playing with dolls, specifically Barbie dolls. Growing up with so much regression, Barbie became my idol. After many years of waiting, I bought my first ever Barbie Fashionista doll - I love her so much. Seriously, until now and forever will be. 

Ford: I was thinking of a gift for myself, something I have always wanted to have, but never found the time (or courage) to get it.

GeorgiaGirl: I purchased Barbie books and looked for collectible dolls that were still available at that time.  I didn't do the hunt for older dolls until later.

Melan:  I needed a light push to start my collecting journey a-blazing. A very good friend gave me my very first doll in 2012. “By this time, I was already looking for a more fashionable doll.” So when he found some doll groups available online, it all started there. "

Nick: I finally had saved up enough money (and courage) to purchase her. I had been eyeing her for a while but being an adult male, it was hard for me to cross that bridge and actually buy something that would make me happy. I purchased her from another man. 

Eli: I think it was because I got a Filipina doll for my nieces who were in Texas. I wanted to have something similar in the sense that the dolls looked Filipino. I grew up with Caucasian-looking dolls. The Filipina dolls that I have come across looked like the Caucasian dolls with a tan. Forget about the Ken dolls. There has never been an Asian Ken as far as I knew. But it was the 2000s already. I was sure I could find something. Somehow I stumbled onto a site with Fashion Royalty dolls. I was so impressed with the look and articulation. I saw Francisco Lean and thought how close he looked to a Filipino. He had black hair and brown skin. I was sold on him. So I started to look for sites that sell him. I eventually found Pat Feick's site which mentioned that it also had Natalia Fatale, who looked close enough to a Filipina, available for pre-order. So I pre-ordered the 2 of them."

DBG: The first doll purchased as an adult was an intended present for my daughter that I decided to keep for myself instead.

Phyllis: Although I have always loved Barbies, I felt funny buying dolls for myself as an adult. It wasn't until I adopted my first daughter that I felt OK about buying dolls. Starting in about 1998 when my daughter was 2, I started buying her Barbie dolls for almost every celebration -- Birthday, Christmas, Easter and as a reward for good behavior or whatever other excuse I could come up with. That fact that I loved playing Barbie with her made her really want more Barbies. Of course, this caused me to pay more attention to what was out there and I started buying dolls for myself also. . What I did, for example at Christmas or Easter, was to buy a doll for myself to be from Santa or the Easter Bunny. I started doing this because she would ask me what Santa or the Easter Bunny got for me, so I also got dolls from them to help keep the magic of these holidays alive for her. Good excuse, right?! Then, when I adopted my second daughter, I continued the process with her when she turned 2 and soon there were more and more dolls in our house. 

*** End of Part 1***

Oh, geez ---- thank you so much for reading til the end, my loves. I know it's again a massive post.
I just really don't want to edit much of what our friends shared!
Please bear my cutting off the interviews with my own stories.
I hope they also lend a hand to those who can relate to me haha!

I hope you enjoyed this first part of the Budget department of our doll collecting. I hope you have found the most sensible ideas you can relate to if you are just planning to start collecting, or budgeting for your collection.

On the second part, and probably the last part of the Budget topic, we will hear the working budget systems that our dolly friends utilize to make sure doll collecting is more an enjoyable activity as it's supposed to be.

Again, so much love and gratitude to all our contributors for this topic, as well as to you my dear readers. Please comment below for your questions, thoughts, ideas - let's chat! Let's make doll collecting a more fun place by sharing our journey to those who do understand us hahaha!

Ayt, gotta go now. 

hugs and kisses,
shasha