Happily Ever After is one of the last remaining brick and mortar doll stores anywhere. It is tucked into a charming part of Philly which (I believe) is part of Antique Row. Like so many other small businesses they have suffered from the massive movement to buying on-line. Ed, the owner, told me that there were once quite a few doll and toy stores in the area. Another devastating blow is being dealt to these stores by those manufacturers who are now selling directly to collectors, in some cases selling goods at the same price the dealers would be paying. For example, yesterday Tonner Doll offered some amazing deals on Basic Cami dolls. A collector could purchase a Cami for about $45. with free shipping. If that is what a doll dealer pays for the doll, how can they possibly sell it to a collector and hope to make money?
It is a serious conflict of interest. Why would you compete with your dealers? As a collector who shops for the best prices, I'm going to avoid a dealer who is selling a doll for more than I have to pay elsewhere. I may also wait to buy a product if I see that the price always drops. No one runs a business solely to have fun. Businesses exist to make money. I see both sides of the issue. Of course the collector benefits from lower prices but we lose dealers. How many of us have doll stores near home where we can go and see the dolls in person? Very few.
Back to the club meeting...
The theme was the Swinging 60's. We were asked to bring a doll that was either manufactured during that period of time or one that was dressed in an appropriate fashion. I brought a Somers and Field Willow doll called GoGo.
The presenter dressed as a hippie and also brought along a load of dolls manufactured in the 1960's, most of which I had never heard of before.
We ate pizza and cheesecake and had Show and Tell. That was fun.
|Chew and Tell|
A point I want to emphasize is the value of seeing the broader picture of the doll world. You may know that my collection is quite eclectic but doesn't include any vintage dolls. A good percentage of the attendees who were there last night are vintage collectors. The benefit of the mix is you realize that your little world of modern fashion dolls is but a tiny fraction of the doll collecting world. I've come across collectors wouldn't spend a minute of their time looking at dolls they don't collect. I admit to sometimes being one of those collectors. I laugh at the reborn dolls - they do freak me out. I've only seen vintage French dolls from 18th and 19th centuries in museums. I put down the cheap Barbie dolls without articulation. I don't care for vintage Barbie and know nothing about them but I appreciate the love others have for these dolls. There's a place for all of them. My dolls aren't better than your dolls; they're just mine.
I could definitely fall for these Mignonettes:
Sigh...look at this on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Old-little-box-with-French-Mignonette-and-accessories-/300919212231?pt=US_Dolls_Bears_Toys&hash=item46102ec8c7
I'd definitely have to play with these. Why did I look?