Hobby Link Japan - Bad Business Practices

I don't like to do this but I have little choice. I ordered a set of figurines from Hobby Link Japan in July, 2009. When they arrived I inspected each of the 12 figurines and 3 were broken. I notified HLJ and was instructed to return the entire set, insured, and that I would get a refund and return shipping. I got a notice from the US Post Office that my package was delivered on July 28. By August 12, I still had not gotten the refund even after I contacted Mr. Scott Kennard twice.
On August 16th I filed with my credit card company for the original cost and was granted a credit.
Mr. Kennard was furious and accused me of trying to get two payments. He claims that my refund was in process. He called me "dishonest at best" and claims that he was trying to work with me. This was on August 19th. He said they were busy. This is the last paragraph of his last email to me on that day. I have not heard from him since and that was 2 months ago.
"Unfortunately, the chargeback changes things a lot. Our policy on these is quite severe. We now have to wait for the chargeback claim to arrive here from the credit card company. I don't know how long that will take. Once that arrives, we will honor our side and refund the return shipping. However, we must now ask that you look elsewhere for your hobby supplies."
M. Scott Kennard
HLJ Customer Service
Well they have not honored their side and have not refunded the return shipping. My account has been deleted and my emails are going unanswered. I have contacted everyone I know that does business either in Japan or with Japanese companies for help. It's not the amount of money it's the principle.
I will send Mr. Kennard a link to this post and to any others I may decide to put on the internet. If he had any honest intentions, hopefully this will get him to refund my money and make good on his promise.

Be very careful when dealing with this company. It is sad that this had to happen. If a company is too small to have an important thing called customer service, then they are too small to be in business.


Review ~ Wu Iconic Convention ~ Part III

This is Part III of my review. See below for Parts I and II.

To the dismay of many, Adele did not make an appearance. Where is Adele? If only Dominique could talk. Hopefully Dominique is at the orthodontist's office getting her teeth and over bite fixed because she is not an attractive doll. Integrity used Josephine Baker's head mold for Dominique who is supposed to be Adele's sister. I tried to like her but it didn't work.
Giselle was the other similarly clad doll in the collection.'POESIE ENCHANTEE' AGNES
Of all the Agnes dolls that have been released I have kept only one. This gal is too severe for my taste. The gown is beautiful in it's light gray satin with an Obama shoulder but this doll doesn't even come close to Poesie Sans Coleur.
This was the surprise giftset attendees got. At registration they found an empty Fashion Royalty box in their bags. At each event they were given another part of the set. The blue dress is cute but not fine. The suit is unattractive IMO. I love the blue and black shoes which are partially hidden behind the card in the lower left. Natalia as a white girl...well...let's say that she's not Natalia anymore.AVANTGUARD 12" CLONE "LIVE WIRE"
This doll has the same skin tone as the full sized AG. She sports Natalia's sculpt, however. The screening and the dress are the same as Live Wire's and her wig is similar.POPPY PARKER 'ENDLESS SUMMER'
This doll was one of the event souvenirs. She came packaged in a window box secured with a nice pink ribbon.There were three other dolls which I did not have the pleasure of photographing. All three were centerpiece dolls. One was a Monogram Doll, Curiosity, one an Agnes, Silver Zinger and the last was the Avantguard from the W Club luncheon called Vanishing Point. Pictures of those dolls can be found in other posts on this blog.

MFD provided wigs for every attendee in the registration bags. Azone gave a pair of shoes as a gift to all. Dolls Magazine provided a special Iconic Convention coverage issue. Other paper goods were a set of prints of early Jason Wu Fashion Royalty doll sketches and a set of paper dolls.

Review ~ Wu Iconic Convention ~ Part II

This post is Part II of my review. See below for Part I.

At first I thought the fabric was reminiscent of Tatyana's giftset or the handbag from the 2008 2nd Club Doll Accessory Pack. So it's a red sheath with black side panels over which black lace is applied. There is beading over the black panels. Accessorized by black stud earrings and the train case I mentioned in Part I. I don't see where this fits in with the collection but I like it.
I'm not a fan of short boots and cocktail dresses and I will change them to pumps. The dress is very well made. My model is Buena Sera Kyori who was rerooted by Uriah.
The pin and bracelet were added by me.

Apparently Dania is the "it" girl of the convention. The prices that some are paying on eBay are unbelievable. She is definitely "torch-song-piano-bar" in appearance. Dania exudes old Hollywood glamour with her wavy platinum blonde hair, full red lips and form-fitting black strapless gown. (I removed the bow after this photo shoot.) Her jewelry is clear and pink rhinestones. Her shoes are black and pink and they do fit!

An explanation of how centerpieces are acquired: Everyone at the table of ten gets a number from 1 to 10. The host or hostess is number 1. At each meal event 2 or 3 numbers are randomly chosen. Those chosen have the right to purchase the centerpiece at that meal. By the end of the convention, everyone's number has been called including that of the table host. In addition, the table host is gifted with a particular centerpiece. This is the way it's been done for the past two years.

Review ~ Wu Iconic Convention ~ Part I

I was lucky enough to have had a surrogate attend the convention in my place and also purchase the entire collection for me. In addition, one of the the centerpiece dolls, Dania, now resides in my home. My review will cover only the Fashion Royalty dolls. I will not be reviewing the Poppy Parker, the Mini AG or the ITBE doll.
By all accounts this was the best convention ever! The reports about the food, the accommodations, the coordination of events, the staff and the dolls were excellent. It's worth mentioning that the only negative remarks are coming from those who did not go.
It would appear that the pretty but unnecessary excesses of past conventions were turned into dolls. The convention had a flat fee of $350 for those staying at the hotel. For that fee attendees got four seated meal events with souvenirs and all the workshops! Compared to last year, that was a fantastic price. This year, besides the predictable playline doll, everyone got a Poppy Parker doll, a Natalia giftset AND a fantastic new character as the convention doll. WOW!
Integrity made some excellent business decisions with this convention. After a year of bad economic news that affected almost everyone this was a great thing for them to do and may bring many "old timers" back into the fold.
The other, and to me more significant aspect of this event was the designing of the dolls. Again, after a year of somewhat disappointing Fashion Royalty dolls, these gals had Jason's inimitable style all over them. Welcome back, Jason. Please don't leave us again.

'BLUE BLOOD' ELISE JOLIE - The Saturday night event souvenir doll.
I absolutely love this doll. Her new sculpt is haughty. Her upper lip curls into a sneer. It makes me laugh. Her hair is in a neat, partially braided updo, which I prefer to long, unmanageable curls.
The suit is a perfectly tailored work of miniature art with it's puffed and draped shoulders, stand collar, and peplum detail. The fabric has a woven design that provides more texture and sparkle. The skirt is above the knee. The patterned, beaded stockings make their second appearance this year. Her faux suede shoes required patience and manual dexterity to put on and get buckled but they fit well. They have a peachy beige lining.
Jewelry consists of jet black rhinestone stud earrings and a tie-on necklace of assorted sized, mostly black glass beads.
The luggage is a wonderfully detailed rolling suitcase which matches the small train case that comes with Successful Ascension.

This is the 19th Vanessa (yes, I keep track) and the first truly beautiful one in a while. Her hair is up in a double chignon. Bangs are tough to pull off on a rooted doll. You really need a wig for bangs to look right. There is enough gel on these bangs to make them archival. Luckily there are no net marks but it's not my favorite look for Vanessa. This is the only Vanessa with bangs. I guess it was time.
Her face is perfection. I love the pastel eyeshadow and the pale lips. The chunky over-scaled pewter-look jewelry makes an appearance again in the form of earrings on this doll and also on Eugenia's dress as embellishments as you will see further on in the review.
I had a problem with the shoes. They are too large. Even after I secured them with elastics, they kept turning to the side - this way or that - and were completely unwearable. I substituted simple pink pumps. It's sad because they are very cute with their faux snakeskin straps. I could have used sticky dots to attach them to her feet but they have a fabric lining and I didn't feel like doing that at this time.
The gown is another wonderful design with it's low cut bodice, skinny belt and flowing pink embellished lace-like skirt. The drape of the skirt is perfection. I switched one of Vanessa's hands to the gnarled version so she could clutch her clutch.

Similar elements in the outfits of Eugenia, Vanessa and Elise Jolie are indicators of a truly well-designed collection. The lining of Eugenia's stole is the same color as Vanessa's skirt. The lining of Elise's shoes are the same fabric as Vanessa's bodice. Vanessa's earrings are the same material as the embellishments on Eugenia's dress. Elise could easily wear the tulle hat. Unfortunately no one can wear Eugenia's gorgeous shoes if they are wearing hosiery. They are too narrow. Another collector told me that he stretched his with pliers. I may try that. In the meanwhile I substituted another pair of pumps.
Eugenia is wearing a very short black silk sheath with wonderful pieces of rhinestone in metal shapes sewn on to the upper bodice at the shoulders. Her tulle hat has a loop that could be used to veil her eyes but I chose to put that at the back. My stole has it's lining sewn in at an off angle leaving excess lining showing and a skewed label. Easy to fix but this is an example of quality control asleep at the wheel.
Earrings are black studs. Her hatbox is covered in a wonderful geometric woven fabric. It's a delightful addition to a beautiful outfit.


Pictures of the Week ~ October 11, 2009

With so many wonderful images of the new Fashion Royalty dolls being posted this week, it was too difficult to pick just one. Therefore I have chosen two images to feature as Picture of the Week.

From Christina Goodison also known as Shuga Shug, comes this fierce portrait of Elise Jolie the convention souvenir doll. Christina used a Sony Alpha DSLR A200 camera with a Minolta lens in macro mode for this shot. She uses a Mystudio 20 Tabletop Photo Studio Kit. The face is perfectly focused and the body is not. It draws the eye to the steely gaze of Ms. Jolie. You can see more of Christina's fantastic convention coverage at this link.

Next up is this amazing creation from Rob Redden also known as Uriah. Originally Dressing the Part Agnes, Rob created his own vision of the doll by completely rerooting and repainting. The photo was intended to show the jewelry Rob created to give as gifts at the convention. I love the way her hair flows out around her head. This is one of my favorite of Rob's pictures ever!