Empire Tank Sets

This year's Empire Haloween offering is 3 different designs on either black or white tank tops with matching low cut underwear. The black sets have been washed and sitting on a test body for a week with no staining but I'd keep an eye on it anyway. The green and red triquetra tanks have a center stone and your choice of either gold or silver studs. Only 40 sets are available so there is a limit of 3 sets per order. Larger pics and descriptions can be found on the Saleroom page along with order information. Orders will be taken starting at 12pm PST today.


Happy Month of Magic!!!

As many of you know, I've made October my Month of Magic for years now. During this month, I paint only Wytches, Warlocks, Vampyres, Fayries and other mystical creatures. It's generally my most creative period that has born dolls like Druyd and Tarot. I am really excited to see what this year's MoM will inspire! 

I usually also produce Wicca Wear, beautiful outfits for your witches and vamps, but this year I'm sitting it out. In lieu of WW, I will be offering tank and underwear sets in either black or white with your choice of 3 designs to be revealed Saturday morning. They go on sale Saturday, 10/2 at 12 pm PST. There are only 40 sets available, 20 of each color, so there is a limit of one of each design until Sunday afternoon.

Every Friday in October there will be an Empire Black Friday Sale. Today's sale is on the Indian inspired items in the Empire Salesroom with free shipping all weekend as well. 

But enough about me! In the next 30 days I will be featuring designers that make the BEST in Halloween wear for your dolls. You'll get to hear about what they're working on and what gets them inspired. I'll even check in with the Godmother of Ghoul herself, Doris Mixon, to see what she's cooking up in her cauldron. There will be a tutorial on how to style your Fayrie Wear in a cool modern way. Also featured are DIY projects to turn your factory doll into a fairy or goth her up with headwear. All this in addition to Monday's Trends, Wednesday's Tips and Thursday's Collecting Economics series! It's jam packed for sure so check back often! 


The Economics of Collecting Pt. 1: The "B" Word

These economic times have forced us to look at collecting differently. In the past we might have been able to collect purely from the heart and without a second thought. However, for many this simply isn't possible right now. One look at the amount of sales posts on the boards and you know you aren't the only one. In this series I will help you evaluate what you have, clean out some baggage (physical and emotional), get better deals for what you want and bring in some balance to your collection. I won't ask anything of you that I won't ask of myself. You might feel daunted or depressed by such a task but much like a diet or new exercise program it's always easier with a buddy and we can get through this together! Hopefully we can get you fiscally fit and happy by the holidays.

Let's start with the "B" word: I know it makes us cringe but it's time to talk...budget. If you're going to continue to purchase new dolls you need to have a good idea of how much you are able to spend. Take into account the immovable objects such as mortgage and electricity. Then add in the more pliable figures like food, transportation or entertainment and a cushion of sorts, and this gives you a place to start. Only you know this figure so I'm trusting you to be honest with yourself. Now divide that amount between how many checks you receive in a month and that's what you get to put aside.

Many of you already have this but I advise you to create a separate account for "collecting" money. Whether it's an actual bank account or a PayPal account, deposit whatever you have set aside for dolls and make the resolve to not add to it until the following paycheck and even then, only for the amount you figured out earlier. If something you want comes up for sale and is more than you have in there at this moment then you need to pass.  (I advise not using a payment plan for more than 1 item a month. Although it can be handy for big ticket items that come up unexpectedly, before you know it you can owe money all over the place and be frantically scrambling for cash and we're trying to eliminate that stress.) Keep in mind, whatever you don't spend this month rolls over to next month and in a few months you just might have saved enough for that big ticket item without any of the guilt of overspending.

Next we're going to prioritize. Make a list of dolls, clothes, etc. that you want with greatest importance listed at the top. It could be a repaint that you saw once and are hoping goes on the secondary market. It could be a convention exclusive. It could be an outfit you know is due to come out. Or it could just be a really great pair of boots. Whatever it is, do some research to see how much it will be to acquire and then earmark your money accordingly. You would hate for your beloved item to come up and not have the money for it. 

Say you gave a good hard look at your finances and just can't afford to spend anything on dolls right now. Don't be discouraged! You can still have fun without burdening yourself. Now is the perfect time to go through your collection, choose some items that you don't play with and see if someone wants to trade for an equal value item. I love trading with my friends. You both get something new without the stress of selling and at no extra cost except shipping.

So we've started on our journey! You have your homework. I'll see you back here next week where we'll cover taking an objective look at your collecting habits. Til then!


Misc. Update

A new tip has been added on the "Tip" page. Today, I pulled a bunch of looks for an awesome photo session coming up; started wheels in motion for a Month of Magic kick-off; worked on a new offering for Empire fans; and had a major painting break through! All in all, a pretty damn good day. Will of course post pictures as soon as it's possible.


Doll Economics

Beginning Thursday I will feature a weekly post on the economics of doll collecting: from the art of the purchase to when to say "no" and beyond. I'll help you navigate the collecting waters so you can feel good about both your collection and your finances. 


Secondary market treasure

The secondary market is tricky: you can make a lot of money on it, get burned by it or discover something wonderful. I'm talking about the latter today. You might not want to commit to paying a lot of money for something you are unsure of quality-wise. Buying a marked down s.m. item can be a less scary way to experience an artist/manufacturer/seamstress you've had your eye on. And sometimes you'll find an item you didn't know existed. Such was my case with Jigamaree's Dae Jang Geum Fashion BJD.

I'm the first to admit my experience with FBJDs is limited. I'm familiar with the more popular advertised ones of course but I know there are a lot out there that I haven't seen. I had tried the larger sized BJDs years ago and learned the 16" fashion size was as much as I could handle so I was pleasantly intrigued when I saw a new (to me) doll available for sale on the secondary market earlier this year. I needed another doll like a hole in the head but her sweet face called me to her post and I started looking into her background. 

She is the retailer Jigamaree's interpretation of Dae Jang Geum, reportedly Korea's first and only Royal Physician. What immediately set her apart from my other FBJDs is that she's not a typical glamour girl. Her facial screening is fairly plain with little pink lips and a lash line. She is also definitely Korean which is wonderful. Some companies will either allude to ethnicity but not go all the way or stylize it but she is a natural Korean beauty. She's made of French resin which I had been wary of since it yellows but the color looks really good on her. The fact that she was based on a smart powerful woman didn't hurt. The seller was someone I knew and trusted and she was selling the doll way below cost. Add to that the ability to pay in installments and Dae Jang Geum was mine. 

I was very impressed upon her arrival! The body was even more beautiful in person. The sculpting is divine. She has an almost fluid quality. Her lower torso is all one piece like the Numina, her joints are basic and she doesn't sit as well as I'd like. What she lacks in pose ability though she more than makes up for in aesthetics. It's nice to be able to dress her in a bikini and not see jointing. I also appreciate the proportions and details. Her head is perfectly scaled and has a painted sculpted hairline and the most gorgeous ears I've ever seen. The hands are perfect. Either could have been too big or two small. And I like that she has a smaller bust and isn't anatomically correct. Sometimes you just need a break. 

She came with two head caps, one normal and one with inlaid velcro for keeping on wigs, which is brilliant as it doesn't add extra bulk. She also had both high heeled and flat feet. Her kimono (I got the Japanese Styled version) was stunning, colorful, intricate and very well made. I received mine with both a very long and shorter wig although only the long one was from the factory. She can share clothes and wigs with most other 16" fashion dolls. The company really put a lot of thought into every detail and the quality showed. All in all, one of the best dolls I own. I have thought about giving her a face up but I think she's perfect right now.

At a price point of $699, there is no way I would have made the leap on a doll I'd never heard of.  If it weren't for the secondary market I still wouldn't know about her, let alone have one of the true gems in my collection. I really wish Jigamaree had made a basic lower priced doll to make her more accessible. I know if more people were able to hold her, they would have fallen in love along with me. I wrote the company to ask if a basic doll is in the works or if layaway is an option. If I hear anything I'll be sure to update you. Here's the link so you can check her out: Jigamaree