What is a blythe doll?
I would think you would know this if you came to my blog, but just in case, my definition is that blythe is a collector’s doll, with a big head and eyes.
What’s the appeal of blythe?
I think her appeal is that she is very photogenic and highly customisable, and many people enjoy making dresses or items to fit her. There are also many communities to share the hobby.
Why are blythes so expensive?
I do not know how much one costs to produce but I would say costs include advertising, licensing, design, etc. and so on and so forth.
Blythes are not for children and not that many pieces are made of each release.
Also, she costs so much because she can and people are willing to pay. 🙂
How can I get a blythe?
Stock neo blythe and middie blythe in their stock boxes.
Stock mrs retro mamma with all her lovely stock items
You can buy stock blythes directly as they are released from authorised dealers as you would any branded item or you can buy them secondhand from people who have bought from authorised dealers or other people. Stock blythes are releases made by the takara tomy company that are off the shelf (exactly like how you would go purchase a barbie from the mall). This is important because there are also custom blythes (which i’ll talk a bit more about) that are altered by blythe customisers.Preorders are essentially a “booking” of the doll before it is released. The doll will only be sent after the release date. Preorders can be announced a few weeks ahead depending on the individual retailers, usually on their fb or web pages. You can usually put in a pre-order via email or other avenues provided by the retailers/suppliers. If the release is very popular, preorders can run out within minutes with some retailers. Thus, to catch a popular one you would have to be alert and check often for their updates. There are also some dolls, like the recent Sanrio “My Melody” release that were only sold retail in some countries, causing the price to increase as demand was high in other countries.
To check the latest releases, go to www.blythedoll.com. To get older releases, you will probably have to delve into the secondhand market.
Stock Qpot with her stock items
Marabelle and her stock
How are stock blythes different from one another?The different stock blythe releases may differ in the following:
Stock blythes come with :
- Clothes, hats, and accessories (called stock items) – differs for each doll, some have umbrellas, coats, etc.
- Card only for some older releases
- Some cardboard props for some releases
- Cardboard backdrop, e.g. for Mrs Retro Mamma
- Shipper (brown hard cardboard box that says “Takara Tomy” on it. This might not be present if you are buying a secondhand doll as some owners throw it away or never got it with their dolls.
For Never Removed From the Box condition, the blythe should have:
- Hair, neck and feet attached to the stock card
- Most accessories in plastic and attached to the stock card (some clothes may not be in plastic).
marshmellow middie with her shipper box
- Stock: Means unaltered.
- Stock items: Items that came with the doll upon release.
- Nude: Means doll only without any stock items.
- For Adoption: This literally means “for sale”. The “adoption fee” is the price of the doll.
- USD: Most transactions on English secondhand boards and forums, etc. are conducted in USD or otherwise depending on the location of the seller/customiser.
- Paypal: Almost all transactions are conducted using paypal, unless both seller and buyer live in the same country with some sort of bank transfer or can meet up for Cash on Delivery. Paypal fees should be paid by the seller and be computated into the price of the doll. Please find out more at www.paypal.com for the fees, how to operate and so on. You can sign up for an account there and you can link it to your credit cards and bank accounts (if you dare).
- Layaway/layby: This is an installment plan, usually with a non-returnable deposit of around $50-100 depending on mutual agreement between the two parties. This sometimes works out to open up the sale to more people but sometimes, the layaways turn sour when you have to keep chasing or reminding people to pay up. The best is to state and agree to a payment plan with actual dates.
- BIN: Buy it Now, is a term used in Ebay. This refers to when you do not wish to participate in the auction and just want to buy the item outright.
- NRFB, BNIB: This refers to Never Removed from Box and Brand New In Box.
- RFB: This is when items and doll have been removed from box.
Where do I buy a blythe?
Junie Moon main shop
- Junie Moon Shops (Shibuya and main shop): My friend calls this the pilgrimmage for blythe collectors who go to Japan. The main shop is rather hard to find and I had a rather unpleasant experience there with them not allowing photography but recently another collector told me they now allow and even have a photobooth for you to put your doll in. I wonder why they didn’t think of this earlier? Doll cafes have them no?
- Azone label shop in Akihabara: Got quite frustrated looking for this but managed it on a second try with someone guiding me. Radio Kaiken opened recently and is a spanking new 7 story (?) building with a big yellow signboard.
- All Mandarake shops (Shibuya, Akihbara, etc.) : I guess nothing beats being at the shop and looking at the dolls eye-to-eye.
Risks of buying a blythe from the secondhand market
- Buying a fake blythe
- Waiting a long time for seller to post said doll at his/her own convenience
- Not getting anything after paying
- Getting a doll with flaws that were not disclosed.
- Not getting the doll you think you were buying (false representation)
To avoid the above:
- ask for plenty of photos, close-ups and real actual photos even if the dolls are NRFB
- ask for feedback
- look at Bad Dolly Deals and other forums to check if the seller has been mentioned
- do not pay by gift
- use paypal for the buyer’s protection
Lastly, if it’s too good to be true, it could be a scam!
How do we tell if it is a fake?
Fake blythe dolls are quite similar to real blythe dolls and it might not always be easy to tell. There were dolls that were purportedly completely copied down to their boxes and the ones most discussed were Simply Guava, Simply Mango, Last Kiss and Urban Cowgirl. There were also “factory” blythes and these were purportedly extra/reject parts stolen backdoor/taken from the factories assembled into complete dolls (frankenstyle). However, it has been said in the community that the factory dolls no longer exist and most “factory dolls” listings are actually those of “fake” dolls.
How much should I pay for a blythe?
Each doll has a release price, but she seldom stays at this price. This release price is also only guaranteed at the Junie Moon International Online shop, whereas their distributors and all other retailers will price the dolls as they wish, usually more. I have heard that there are some parameters that suppliers have to follow (such as a minimum price) but I’m not sure how they check and how strict they are. After the release is sold out via the Junie Moon International Online shop, you pretty much need to pay a premium if you are to buy that particular release, unless other retailers or collectors happen to decide to let it go at the release price. However, there are also dolls that NEVER appreciate and might even sell even lower than release price.
In one sense of the matter, there is no right answer for how much you should pay and you pay whatever you feel comfortable with. This is cos this is a collector’s item and works on principles of supply and demand and what-nots (am not an economist you can tell). Someone once told me the prices go up and down like vegetables at the market depending on season.
Dolls that are new, completely not removed from their stockcard are called Never Removed From Box (NRFB) or Brand New in Box (BNIB). These command the highest prices for that release.
In any case, how do people estimate what they think a doll is worth?
They do these things:
- Search for it on ebay, especially sold/completed listings: Problem with this is that sometimes you can’t find the doll in question and if you do, the price varies so much that you might find the market price or twice that or three times that.
- Look at the forums or boards for an estimate
- Refer to the Blythe Price List, but this is really out of date. I tried starting a new one, but no one but me and another friend contributed. Anyway, what has been once paid may or may never be paid again. Again, really depends on demand.
Few dolls reach above $1000 USD and there are fluctuations. Currently the dolls that might fetch $1000 USD or more include Miss Anniversary, Margo Unique, Princess A La Mode and Parco.
From $500USD upwards, you might see Momolita and Gentle River and the translucents: Ahcahkum zukin, Miss Sally Rice, Nostalgic Pop and Mrs Retro Mamma.
Jardin de Mamman, Dear Lele Girl and Vernoica Lace could also sometimes hit this price.
On the other extreme are the SBLs, whose prices remain low. I have recently seen them around $150 USD, or even less depending on state and release. I have personally sold a good condition SBL with stock and box and all for around 80USD.
Which blythe should I get?
Bianca Pearl with Matte finish
I find the easiest for me is to start with hair color and length. Here’s a list of some releases by hair color and estimated cost so as to assist with your budget.
| $/hair color
||blonde to yellow
||Silver Snow (SBL)
Simply Mango (RBL)
|Simply Guava (RBL)
||Samedi marche (SBL)
||Molseh Lorshek (RBL+)
||Bow Wow Trad (SBL)
Night Flower (SBL)
|Dainty Biscuit (RBL)
||Samedi marche (EBL)
|Veronica Lace (RBL)
Baby’s breath (RBL)
|Penny Precious (RBL)
My Melody (RBL+)
Skate Date (EBL)
Nostalgic Pop (RBL)
Bianca Pearl (RBL +)
||white – gray-silver
||Sparkly Spark (FBL)
||Les Jeunettes (RBL+)
||Thumpty Thump (FBL)
||Miss Sally Rice (RBL)
||Dear Lele Girl (RBL)
Gentle River (RBL)
How do I sell my blythe?
- Carousell (secondhand online marketplace): Download app, and well, good luck! Check out www.carouhell.com. LOL
Some personal guidelines:
- Do not use others’ pictures. Take the time to take pictures of your own.
- Declare flaws as far as you can see. If not, once the buyer receives the doll and notices them you’ll have more trouble.
What makes one doll more valuable than another?
This is a difficult question. Reason is that again, it’s a collectors’ market and after many years in the hobby I still can’t figure it out. However, in general I notice the trend that translucent and tanned dolls seem to currently be quite the favorites. They weren’t always though. Manuheali languished on JM for a long long time and they even discounted her 20% and couldn’t finish stock! Anniversary dolls used to be favorites too, but then some, like Allie Gabrielle, have never quite taken off.
What is a re-root?
A re-root is a blythe scalp that has been “rooted” with new material, like Saran,Alpaca or Mohair. To say it’s “re” isn’t always accurate as one can buy a new scalp and dome from vendors and start a “new-root”. There are two main methods, Locked Loop and Knotted.
How do I make blythe clothes?
Get a sewing machine. Download/buy patterns and start! See this full clear tutorial on how to make a simple empire dress.
What is a custom blythe?
Custom dolls by k07 and jodiedolls.
A custom blythe is an off-the-shelf stock blythe that has been altered (or customised). Common customisations include:
- Sleep eyes
- New makeup by airbrushing or more commonly, with pastels
- Re-roots in either mohair (more about mohair on blythopia) or alpaca
- Lip carving (could be with teeth, tongue, etc.)
- Eye boggling
- Eye hole widening
- Replacement of eye chips
- Body: There are a few body types that suit blythe well, and one of the more popular is the pure neemo flexion. This is a body made for Azone dolls and can be posed in a number of ways. Generally the neemo ‘S’ body white is about the same size and color as a non-tanned blythe. The licca body is also popular amongst collectors.
Sweet days dolly custom with dyed alpaca reroot
From left to right: Dyed alpaca (Sharon Avital), Saran, multi colored dyed alpaca (Anniedollz)
Handpainted eyechip by Jodiedolls
My handpainted eyechips
Where can I get a custom Blythe? There are a number of customisers and most of the popular ones in the English speaking world are from the States, Europe or Brazil. Many Chinese customisers are also popular and up and coming. A good relatively comprehensive resource is at www.dollycustom.com. This is a directory of customisers. I would advise that you have a look through all the customisers’ works and pages and google them after that for a flickr, IG, pinterest to look at the style to help you decide who to go with. Dolly Custom.com also lists the custom dolls that are sold weekly on DA.
Not every customiser takes commissions. Many customisers now only sell their “For Adoption” custom dolls, which they do as and when they like in whatever way and style they like. If you happen to like one of these FA dolls, it’s just like buying a product off the shelf, or almost like a cash-and-carry (except it’s paypal-and-post usually).
Some people prefer the FA types of dolls as they know exactly what they are getting and there is no waiting, except for the customiser to post the doll and the postman to bring it to you. Some people prefer commissions as they get to choose what base doll is used, hair color, eye colors, designs, etc.