3/31/2010

Tonner Doll Company, Inc. Moves to Uptown Kingston, NY

A press release sent out yesterday outlined the future location of the corporate headquarters of the TDC. I'm quite pleased. As if the other location wasn't close enough, this one is down the street from my hairdresser. Yay.
Tonner is very good for Kingston. Wall St. was once a vibrant shopping street in this small upstate NY town. The last few years have seen many businesses come and go with some stores going empty.
I'm sure those who work for Tonner will be happy to be located down the street from some great coffee and food at Dominick's Cafe.
The Tonner Company Store is going to remain in the renovated historic building near the NY State Thruway exchange in Kingston. At first I had hoped that the store would be located on Wall Street as there is certainly more walk-by and drive-by traffic and exposure would be much greater.

301 Wall Street, Kingston, NY
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Here is part of the press release:

Robert Tonner, CEO of the Tonner Doll Company, purchased the building earlier this month. "For years, I've been looking for a special building that has architectural integrity and also has the space requirements we need," Tonner said. "I'm thrilled that we found one in uptown Kingston."

Built in 1887, 301 Wall Street most recently was the home of Chase Bank and has been vacant for just about one year. Tonner hopes to complete the move by May 1, once renovations are complete. "The roof needs some work and we are refurbishing the second and third floors," Tonner explained. "The second floor will be restored to what it was back in the 1940's," he added.

The new home of Tonner Doll will house the design, production, sales, marketing, finance and administrative staff; a total of 17 employees. "Part of my whole belief is that change, while painful at times, is good," Tonner admitted. "I think this space will give us a new creative energy."

Opening in 1991, the internationally renowned Tonner Doll Company has been a staple in Ulster County for nearly two decades. The Tonner Doll Company designs and manufactures collectible fashion dolls, child character dolls and licensed character figures such as HARRY POTTER and WONDER WOMAN.

In 2007, Tonner purchased 12/14 Hurley Avenue in Kingston and made extensive renovations before opening the Tonner Company Store there in December, 2007, which will remain at its current location. The renovation received two local awards; one from the Chamber of Commerce of Ulster County, and another from the Friends of Historic Kingston.

As a nearby resident and a fan of Robert Tonner, I wish them the best of luck with their move.

Great Pretender Lillith and Perk Colette Nu-Face Dolls

I was sure that I wasn't going to purchase more NuFace dolls; My intention was to concentrate on the more sophisticated dolls and fashions but when I saw these two, I ordered. I am very, very pleased with them and their garments.
My introduction to Lillith was with the convention set of the twins Lillith and Eden. I didn't like her at the time. This one knocks my socks off with her adorable face and coloration.Her hair needs a little trim but temporarily will stay in a pony tail. I added a Fashion Royalty handbag to finish the look. There's a lot of attention to detail, even in the shoes. She's a winner.
Perk Colette is a surprise mix of well designed and executed fashion pieces that work together. I love being able to say that. Believe me, I wish every single doll in my collection could be described that way upon their arrival. I added the handbag. Colette's face is gorgeous. Her hair is pulled back into a low pony tail which is crimped. The blue jewelry is like an exclamation mark on the black, white and grey fashion. It's a wonderful doll.

Both dolls retail for $99. and are available from regular dealers. Get them now before they sell out. I think they just might once everyone sees how cute they are.

Harley-Davidson Barbie and Ken Giftset


Let me say right off the bat that this is one of the best Kens ever made. He's good looking, his hair is done well, he's fully articulated -wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, legs and neck and the clothes look good on him. He's a winner. He comes with an adjustable waist gripper plastic stand but he can stand on his own. The Barbie doll on the other hand is articulated only at the knees, legs, shoulders and neck. Why is she a second class citizen? It just doesn't make sense to articulate one doll and not the other. Her outfit is adorable and fits her well. Her hair is another story. The texture of the hair makes it knotty. Some of it comes out when it's combed. The bump thing on the crown of her head is not hard and could easily be taken down if one wished.
They both come with sunglasses and helmets. The helmets are a joke. They are very small and look like batters' helmets rather than motorcycle helmets. Barbie does not have applied lashes and she does have a rhinestone in her navel.
Barbie's stand is one of those sway types for the models although her body is not like that.
The set, while not cheap, is worth getting just for Ken. Keep her clothes; get rid of Barbie.

The bike in the photo was picked up at a rummage event. It is not Mattel as far as I can tell.

3/29/2010

Is it the economy or are the dolls just unpopular?

It seems that I've been asking this question on and off for almost two years regarding the prices consumers are willing to pay for certain dolls. This week it's a buyers' market when it comes to Integrity's Gene Marshall line and several Fashion Royalty/NuFace dolls.
I have never, in my years of collecting Fashion Royalty dolls, seen an established dealer selling FR dolls at a discounted price. I'm not talking about the play line dolls from IT. I'm talking about Jason Wu's Fashion Royalty and NuFace Premium Dressed Dolls.
Starting tomorrow, Cherished Friends will be selling off a varied selection of IT 16" and 12" dolls. I've seen them and the prices are excellent. Mary T already has a sale on Gene dolls running. I'm guessing other dealers will follow suit. Marlbe has some FR dolls on sale.
As far as the playline ITBE dolls, MFD is dumping them for $15. each. Makes you wonder how much they cost to make in the first place.
They have also reduced the prices of dolls and fashions from the Gene Marshall line.
MFD's prices on these dolls is very good. You will have to go to the specific sites to see for yourself.
Some dealers are still hoping to get retail on these dolls. But you don't have to pay retail. Shop around. There are many other dealers other than the ones I mentioned above and more dolls on sale other than those pictured.

In my opinion, now is also the time to buy older Fashion Royalty dolls...especially Veronique. I just scored an original close-up blonde Vero fully dressed with shoes still in their package, mint box and shipper for $50 including shipping. That was a very good price. This is my third original Vero. They come and go but I will be keeping this one. I want to try putting eyelashes on her. I have several tall bodies and she will be getting one. Her straight arm body is in excellent condition! They're not all falling apart as some say they are. I think it depends on on the climate and environment where it is stored. The quality of the garment is so fine it makes me pine for the olden days. This doll was $29.99 when it was released in 2001-02 in an edition of 1000 along with a redhead version and an Adele.

Here is the most informative link and I go to this reference site all the time for my archival info on Integrity Toys and Fashion Royalty products. Collect the earlier dolls! Their faces are gorgeous and timeless. These early 2001-2003 dolls would make a great foundation in any Fashion Royalty collection either nude or in original clothing:
Véronique Perrin Silver Society
Véronique Perrin Lush Life
Adèle Makeda Close-Up
Véronique Perrin Close-Up Redhead or Blonde
Véronique Perrin Midnight in Monaco
Adèle Makeda Purple Factor
Véronique Perrin Mauve Absolue
Véronique Perrin Paradise
Véronique Perrin Chic Escape

I have re-bodied all of my dolls who were originally on straight arm or 1st generation articulated bodies. I was not worried about affecting the value as I debox everything anyway. For resale purposes, 99% of the people want the latest body type.

Oh well. Everything changes. Time to look ahead to good things and take care of precious old things. Time to weed out the mediocre and to make decisions not to buy unexceptional stuff. It's not easy because so much looks so good.

Shop-on!

3/28/2010

Picture of the Week Award ~ March 29, 2010

Lisa Irinyi

When I found out that Lisa did not use any special effects or pixel manipulation I was amazed. This photograph of A Brighter Side Kyori just blows me away.

Here is Lisa's description in her own words:
A Brighter Side Kyori is one of those dolls that’s simply perfect “as-is”. Most of my dolls get redressed eventually, but I’ve not felt any changes could make her better. I wanted to do her ethereal beauty justice with a “heavenly” photo shoot. I saw the morning sun arching through the trees, sending light and shadow across the snow piled on the side of my driveway. The quality of the light almost mimicked the pure white and deep blues of a cloud studded summer sky. I didn’t want to expose Kyori to reclining directly in the snow, so I searched for a throne befitting her regal bearing. I found a small, gilded wall shelf (a Tuesday Morning find) – and turned it upside-down in the snow…it added height, texture and visual interest to the scene without breaking the harmony or stealing the spotlight. I can’t remember exactly how cold it was outside, but I know it was below freezing – one must suffer for one’s art – LOL "
"A healthy piece of advice for shooting snow photos – dress warm, take breaks inside out of the cold if shooting for long stretches of time, power up those batteries because the cold temps drain them faster, position your doll indoors beforehand if possible because colder temps also make the plastic more brittle and susceptible to breakage, use your exposure compensation (I shoot auto, plus 1/3, 2/3 and a full stop just to cover my bases) because snow usually comes out too dark. And have fun. Try things you’re not sure of, take chances. Even if the photos don’t turn out as intended, you learned something. If you don’t even try, you never know what might have been."
I would like to explain why snow usually comes out too dark. When one is using a camera on full auto setting, the camera reads the amount of light coming in through the lens and adjusts the opening of the aperture accordingly. Since snow reflects light more than most objects, the camera shuts the opening down so less light comes in. You may have a snow setting on your camera or be able to set the picture to be brighter. Lisa's camera can be adjusted manually.
See more of Lisa's beautiful doll photography at this link.
Congratulations, Lisa, on the Picture of the Week Award!