|Aside from Bratz and Barbies, I also collect BJDs. Left to Right:|
Reza, Avram, Darcy, and Laurel. This is their first time on my blog, yay! :)
No. These are myths. BJD distributors mark-up retail prices to match consumer demand. Mark-ups have less to do with quality, and more to do with trends: today's hot doll is tomorrow's old news. Companies aim to sell dolls at maximum profit while people still want to buy them.
So it doesn't matter what you buy as much as how you buy it. DollyCare's "12 Ways to Save Money on a BJD" features tips I used to save $600+ on my collection. Read on to see all 12, and let me know what you think in the comment space :)!*
* Note: DollyCare does not endorse any company! Resin production is bad for the environment, so please reduce waste by buying "used" whenever possible.
1. Get "Unstrung": Learning to restring your BJD is important maintainence that pays off. Ask how much it costs to buy your dream doll unassembled (i.e. "unstrung," or as a "kit.") This dramatically reduces shipping and handling fees. Make sure the retailer includes the elastic string and s-hooks needed to string your doll--- they are part of the "kit" like any other bodypart.
Average money saved: $20-50.
|"Angel of Dream" default face-up, $35.|
Average money saved: $15-50
|If you request "no box," your doll|
will be shipped in a regular box.
Average money saved: $10-40 (if you buy without the box. Always insist on the Certificate!)
4. Wait for Holiday Sales: Many doll companies hold sales over the Winter Holidays--- especially New Year's! Doll prices are reduced 15 to 70%, especially old stock. New dolls are also introduced, sometimes at special low rates.
Average money saved: $25-50+
5. Buy USED over the Holidays: Every holiday season, collectors rush to sell their "used" dolls to get money for new ones. The selling frenzy floods the "used market" with a great selection and the lowest prices year-round. This is a cyclical pattern that happens every year between November and January. Take advantage of it :)!
Average money saved: $50-100+
6. Make a Phonecall: Whenever possible, phone a doll shop or seller. Haggling works best over the phone, especially if you call early! Prepare your questions, haggling points, and "personal limits" in advance. Call in the morning hours, or the minute the store opens: this is when sales are slowest and the sellers are most attentive. Lunch break (noon) and closing time are the worst times to call.
7. Consider "Secret" Sales: Most doll retailers discretely sell imperfect stock at lower prices than regular stock. Serious factory flaws invalidate "mint condition," even when a doll is new. Manufacturers routinely throw flawed dolls away, but retailers get rid of them in "Secret Sales." These aren't usually advertised on a retailer's website, so politely ask about damaged dolls to see their selection. Contact shops and clearly express interest in buying a "lightly damaged" doll for less money. Common flaws include: rough seamlines, damaged face-up, air bubbles in the resin, dents, stains, discoloration, over-sanding, chips, scratches, yellowing, and over-dremmeled details. No matter what condition the doll is in, a seller must disclose all flaws to you before purchase!
8. Buy "Non-Limited": Limited Editions cost more. They are produced in smaller batches to drive up the demand (and price!). "Non-Limited" dolls are produced in unlimited quantities, and often cost hundreds of dollars less than "limited editions" do. For example, a non-limited "SD13" Volks doll costs around $750, while one of their latest Limited Editions cost $1,500+.
Average money saved: $100-750+
9. Know Jointing: Doll companies release many versions of a doll body, and older "single-jointed" ones usually cost less. Jointing systems dramatically impact poseability (and pricetag). Single-jointed dolls have an older style jointing system: they cannot bend their arms and/or legs past 90 degrees. The more single-joints there are, the lower the price. Many single-jointed bodies are outdated merchandise, so collectors rush to sell them whenever newer double-jointed bodies are released. If you aren't sure about a body's jointing, ask the seller to put it in writing. Think carefully how much poseability you expect in a doll, and buy accordingly.
Average money saved: $15-200 (if you buy a doll with single-joints)
10. Know Age: Always note which year a BJD was produced. Except for limited editions, older dolls cost less than newer versions. No matter how well a doll is preserved, resin oxidizes ("yellows") with time. Older dolls yellow faster than new ones, and a yellowed doll can lose as much as half its value (more if the yellowing is uneven.) Resin batches also vary from year to year, making it hard for older dolls to find matching parts. Each of these signifigantly decrease the value, and make excellent points for haggling.
Average money saved: $50-200 (if you buy a doll older than one year)
|My 2005 CustomHouse Ramiel is|
an "old" Korean BJD with light
seamlines down her leg.
12. Consider Buying Overseas: East Asian pawn shops and auction sites (i.e. Taobao) have many great deals--- if you are careful of currency conversion rates! Even with shipping included, East Asian BJDs usually cost less in their home regions than they do overseas. Some also cost less in Chinese "Yen" or Korean "Won" than in Euros or Dollars. East Asian pawn shops and auction sites feature especially great deals on Japanese BJDs. Many Japanese collectors do not buy stained dolls, which results in sharp mark-downs overseas. This also gives buyers an obvious advantage and haggling point.
Average money saved: Varies with currency conversion rates.
I hope these tips will save you money on these dolls, and possibly other high-end collector favorites! Take your time before buying one: patience will save you more money than any tip on this list. :)