1/07/2014

I Wasn't Going To Do It...

Famous last words.
The Tonner virtual factory sale began about 2 hours ago. I took a few looks and in some cases couldn't believe my eyes. The prices on several items had to be at or below wholesale. Perhaps there was only one left...
For example:
Antoinette's Fanciful Outfit was priced at $40! I paid way more for that gown and that pisses me off.
It's not like it's from last year or anything.  
Seriously?
These two new dressed Tiny Kitty dolls are priced at $60. each. That's less than half the discounted price.
Getting even more pissed. My feeling is to never again buy anything Tonner before it's been out for 4 months. I got these two Tiny Kitty dolls on October 18, 2013. That is less than 2 months ago. 

WTF???

Any dealers who still have these items in stock are screwed. 

There are a few good buys remaining such as the original Glinda, The Good Witch at $95. Although, she's been around for quite a while, her original issue price was over $200. 

As of right now, very few items are sold out.  
Knock yourself out.

34 comments:

  1. I am a Tonner dealer and they have totally screwed us over this year. These prices are below wholesale and I still have several of the dolls in stock and can't sell them. Some of these dolls have only been in stock a couple of weeks and yet they are drastically marked down. Several dolls aren't even available to us which makes it even worse.

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  2. I really want All Drama Sydney and Heatwave MM. My budget says otherwise. Looking at the prices, I wonder: Is the economy REALLY doing as well as claimed? And secondly, maybe Tonner MAY have to up his game and create at least a vinyl BJD for increased poseability just to compete in today's dollmarket. I did get "The Trouble with Rose". That came in at the old AD clothes for Gene prices (no accessories other than shoes/ gloves).

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    1. Steve, Darling, stick with the AD Gene dolls or the JamieShow dolls.

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  3. I wish I knew another line I could get into besides Tonner as there isn't much of a mark up on them and this is the first year I have had to borrow money to pay for my orders and some items they put on before they ship them to us and mark them down right away and then I get customers wanting the same prices. I have lost money this year big time!!

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    1. I am sorry for all the dealers who are burned by this action. It's terrible. I know several dealers personally and every last one of them is hurt by this.

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  4. This is a very similar practice to the one Madame Alexander adopted with Alex, fairly new dolls showing up at TK Maxx at ridiculous prices that hurt collectors and dealers alike, which does make you wonder what sort of shape the Tonner corporation is in, and if we're witnessing the end of mass produced vinyl fashion dolls....well, apart from collectible Barbies, Mattel are so greedy they seldom discount anything, but it seems to work.

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    1. I believe we are witnessing a company transitioning to a direct sales model. This practice will eliminate the dealers. I don't blame them for needing to marshal their forces to make more money but screwing dealers in the process is unconscionable.

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  5. I agree Terri! I have heard rumors all year that they were going to be going solo. And when you try cut your order down because of their price cuts on items you haven't even received yet, the sales rep won't let you. I am not sure what I will do as this has been my main source of income since I became disabled and I don't know of any other lines to go with. Mattel doesn't discount their items by hardly anything for retailers so I quit buying from them. Helen Kish dolls used to bring a great profit and even those have been hard to sell this year, although they are the nicest people to work with by far.

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    1. I discussed this with my husband and he asked me if the dealers could cancel their orders. You have answered my question. I'm sorry this is happening to you.

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  6. Terri, you can cancel your orders but then you can't order from them again. I pre-sell a lot of the items and so I am stuck as I won't let my buyers down by cancelling their orders. I have tried getting in touch with Robert Tonner but can't seem to find a way. Helen and Tamas Kish are just the opposite. I talk to both and needed to cut down my order on my Kish dolls and he let me do it. And I deal directly with Tamas Kish, not some sales rep who doesn't know the meaning of being compassionate or working with customers.

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  7. Just as an example the Dark Mistress doll we paid $144 wholesale for and now she is $95. Dark Soul we paid $156 and now he is $95. Plus shipping!

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    1. Why would an otherwise reputable company do this?

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  8. Terri I have no idea, but I wish I could pack up all the dolls and send them back and get my money back because of this. They have been undercutting us since early 2013 and this tops it all!!!! I know of a few other dealers who are very unhappy as well. If they are trying to get rid of their retailers they are doing a good job of it. Plus a lot of dolls don't even come with stands anymore such as the new WOZ dolls and all the basic dolls. Stands have to be ordered separately. And they have cut back on jewelry and accessories as well so some of my biggest buyers don't even buy the dolls anymore.

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    1. Did the basic dolls ever come with stands? I think that ended a few years ago. Sigh. We will do what we have to do now. I wish you luck and a peaceful evening. I don't know where you are but if you are in the NE...stay warm. :-)

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  9. I agree that it's upsetting to buy a doll and then have it seriously discounted only a few months later - especially if you pre-order and aren't all that happy with the doll when you receive it. Why doesn't the Tonner Company just offer their dolls at a slightly lower price to begin with and then they wouldn't be left with overstock. Also, as a doll collector who lives outside of the USA I prefer to use an online dealer rather than buying direct from Tonner. I get personalized service and less expensive shipping charges. And dealers will usually work with you to reduce shipping costs; e.g., de-boxing an outfit and putting it in the box with the doll you're buying. It's nice to get a bargain (especially if you have limited disposable income), but we should also be supporting small businesses, which are the backbone of the economy. And whatever happened to the dealer exclusive dolls? Thanks for starting this discussion, Terri!

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    1. I hadn't even considered that regarding the overseas postage. Thank you for your comments.

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  10. To the out of the country buyer you sound like one of my buyers. I ship Worldwide and offer 1st class shipping which Tonner doesn't offer. I will also debox items and combine them when possible to help buyers save on shipping fees. I have a lot of International customers and without them I would have been gone by now. They are about the only thing keeping my business going. But when Tonner cuts their prices by this much even International customers will pay the extra costs for shipping. I think they should offer refunds to their retailers for the amount discounted below wholesale. It just leaves us small businesses out in the cold.

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. I understand Tonner bought Wilde Imagination and maybe tonner needs more room as both are having sales. BTW Who owned Wilde Imagination??

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  13. I am upset because I paid close to retail for Tiny Kitty and Patsy. I feel sorry for the dealers, too as they are being stiffed as much as the customer. In the future, I won't be so quick to place a pre-order.

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  14. Well the Virtual Factory sale ended but the sale is continuing. I don't think they sold as much as they wanted to probably due to pissed off customers who paid full price and retailers who they have screwed over completely. Everything that is on this sale is well below wholesale and the retailers such as myself are left with dolls and outfits we can't sell and nothing we can do about it. I don't think I will continue with Tonner and I am sure several other retailers won't either!

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    1. I do believe that was their plan. Unfortunately they went about it in a destructive way.

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  15. Tonner didn't buy Wilde Imagination, Tonner has always owned, is and has been Wilde Imagination. Tonner built their business selling to and having hundreds of dealers nationwide build and grow their brand, now without any word, they are just sticking it to the few dealers who have hung on and supported them until the end. I will remain anonymous, but you can trust that what I am telling you is the truth. This company has become irreprehensible and does not deserve public support.

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    1. I think you meant reprehensible.

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    2. Yes you are right, thank you for correcting that.

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  16. I agree that us retailers have built their business and now they are stabbing us in the back!!! I can only hope buyers will continue to support our small businesses as we try to clear out their items and move on and not support Tonner by buying from them. I see they have raised the prices on some of the items but they haven't put them back to full price. The sales reps are rude as can be and I hope Robert Tonner can sleep at night knowing how many small businesses he has put out of business!! I am one of them!

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    1. Let's not gut the entire operation. I've been a strong fan of the company, if not the dolls, from the get-go. I hope your anger subsides and I do hope they try to correct their error in judgment.

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  17. This entire thread is very upsetting, and I appreciate the honest dialogue the anonymous dealers have contributed and Terri for supporting the forum. That said, Robert Tonner revolutionized the doll industry in a way that no other doll maker has and in a way that is entirely unique and distinct from any other. He has never been a conglomerate toy maker like Mattel or Madame Alexander, offering marginalized products but he has also never been an artist like Helen Kish. While Gene may have been the break through 15-16 inch fashion doll, it was made by a conglomerate. It was, and has been, Robert Tonner, and Robert alone who has truly advanced the industry in American doll making. Kish and Co would not be where it is if it were not for Robert, this much Helen herself has said.

    This all to say, we do not know why they have made the marketing choices they have made. The simple answer could be direct sales are better for Tonner, but there could be other reasons. Like fewer dealers to meet supply, which to me, actually makes more sense. If TDC did a five year growth plan in 2009, and lost 1/3 of dealers (which economically is very feasible) then TDC might find themselves with committed inventory that would need to be unloaded. And If TDC contracted in advance that every year, over 5 years they would manufacture so many dolls annually then regardless Tonner is screwed. So selling direct could be the only way they make overhead. Just a thought.

    Lastly, here is a thought. Robert is fairly accessible. Maybe not on the phone like Tamas but if people asked, if Terri asks, I am sure Robert my be transparent.

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Erick. It is upsetting. The answer to the relevant question can only be 'to make money.' This is why every company is in business. It's not a charity.
      I posted my opinion and gave dealers an opportunity to anonymously post theirs. I have not posted all the comments that were sent.

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    2. Thats very sentimentally, but Robert didn't do it alone, if it weren't for all those dealers buying his line, promoting it, putting it in their stores, taking them to shows to sell and expose them to thousands of people there would never have been the growth that there was.

      For many years, when Tonner did not sell direct his customers were his dealers. They didn't sell direct, and you can look at when they did start selling direct that they started almost immediately to lose dealers. No dealer wants to buy thousands of dollars worth of dolls only to find they could have bought them for less from the same manufacturer as a consumer.

      Several years ago Tonner made a statement they would only produce numbers of dolls based on orders, so there should be no reason why they would get stuck with any dolls. If doll stores stopped buying their dolls it was because they could not compete with Tonner selling the same dolls for lower prices or in many cases below wholesale. You have to remember when Tonner sells a doll below wholesale he is still profiting, when a dealer does that, he is actually losing money. So it may be they are better off selling direct, but the point here is they were not honest with dealers, sold them goods and then stiffed them by undercutting them. There may even be fair trade issues at play here. PS I am not the same anonymous as above.

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  18. I am not a dealer. As a small time collector I actually find this discussion inetersting yet disturbing - a kind of "look behind the scenes" at the business end of a hoby that I love. Here is an advise from a total non-expert, perhaps to minimize losses dealers can shelve the dolls they have and refuse to sell them until they become sold out at Tonner and then offer them for sale when they are no longer available. I know the Wilde Imagination dolls that are sold out do really well on E-bay a year or two later.
    Are the Tonner dolls also offered in limited quantities like the Wilde dolls (most are produced in only 1000 pieces or less)?

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    1. One must consider the fact that the dealers have money tied up in this product. Yes, Tonner dolls are produced in limited editions.
      Thank you for your comments.
      Terri

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