Goodbye Tonner Doll Company; Hello Phyn & Aero!

A letter from Robert Tonner was sent out a few minutes ago. This is not a surprise to me. There has been so many changes made to staff and lines recently that I knew something was going to happen.  I am sure that other collectors as well and myself wish him huge success. It was Tonner's creations that set me on the path to doll collecting.

Tonner’s 25th Anniversary Year re-cap: 2016 has been, perhaps, the most momentous year of my life. Celebrating 25 years of creating dolls and accessories was really kind of humbling. Culling through photographs of past events and seeing the faces of people getting so much joy out of the dolls and events we’ve produced was truly heartwarming. It reminds me yet again of how lucky I’ve been to enjoy a hobby that turned into a career and a business.
I’ve frequently been asked what have been the greatest accomplishments of my last 25 years in this business and there are definitely some standouts:
-My first New York Toyfair, sitting at a single table in our tiny booth and selling out everything I brought in the first few hours.
-The first Tyler Wentworth dolls arriving at our warehouse and eventually shipping to retailers.
-The Betsy McCall and Mary Engelbreit licensed products that were so cherished and charming.
-Being the only company to produce Harry Potter dolls for six years.
-Ellowyne Wilde and the creation of Wilde Imagination, which allowed me to move in an entirely new direction.
-All of the employees who have supported me along the way, whether they believed in what I was doing, or not!
Currently, I’m spending a great deal of time learning (and hopefully mastering) some very new computer sculpting programs that, combined with state-of-the-art production capabilities, provide an entirely new method of creating dolls. I call it the “New Art of Doll Making™” and I’m really excited about what we’ll be doing in 2017 and beyond. It’s also awakened a pioneering spirit in me again and I’ve decided it’s time to completely re-think what we offer to collectors. Therefore, although Tonner will continue to make all of our established licensed products such as DC, Gone with the Wind, Outlander, etc., all of our proprietary lines, as well as those of Effanbee and Wilde Imagination, are being discontinued.
A new company is being launched and it’s called Phyn & Aero. We will be introducing three new lines in 2017 in collaboration with innovative (and incredibly talented) new designers. I really feel it’s time to broaden our perspectives and see what some fascinating (and younger!) designers create for our collectors. I believe the collector market needs a major shake-up and I’m quite sure this will be it!
As always, I’m so grateful for all the love and support you’ve shown to me over the years. I am also terrifically excited about the direction we’re heading in and hope you will join us along the way in this new, incredibly exciting adventure!

       To Robert: 
Thank you for all the beautiful dolls and clothes over the years. Thank you for being a kind and humble man. I wish you all good things.
 Most Sincerely,


  1. WOW!! There seemed to be a change coming with all that we've heard over the past year or so. Just hard to take it all in, isn't it? Wondering if the upcoming dolls will exist in the 15 1/2" size or 11 1/2"? Tyler can now join Esme in retirement, but somehow, it won't seem the same in the doll world. We should look at this news with excitement, even though some old dollie friends have retired.

  2. Good for him and good for us!

  3. Kinda sad to hear of the end of the proprietary lines, but I certainly agree with "I believe the collector market needs a major shake-up", and I'm looking forward to seeing what Phyn & Aero brings us :)

  4. What happened with his merger with One World? I think it's time for a shake up! Thanks, Don

    1. So- based on the announcement, -I'm going to guess that One World bought out Tonner/TDC and he has lost too much owner equity- and One World only wants to create what makes money which are licensed dolls, which have a higher valuation. This happens in fashion all the time- loke Donna Karan who left the brand- which only produces frangrance and DKNY and she creates only under 'Urban Zen.''

      Tonner likely walks clean with quarterly dividend from the company he started- that bares his name, and the ability to create something new- but not the original intellectual property of his old company- aka Tyler.

      I have a feeling Phyn and Arrow will not be all that different than his previous work- because over that last 30 years- from the porcelain days with 5 points of articulation to now- a Tonner sculpt is a Tonner sculpt- and you can tell it a mile away.

  5. I wonder if they will be doing something similar to IT - more cutting edge sculpts and fashions. More modern and haute couture. They are saying they are working with young designers and that makes me wonder if this is the direction they will take.

    I admit I have never liked Tonner. I found their faces to be a bit too bland and "milkmaid" like. The bodies are not toned and refined as IT and some other 16 inch Resin dolls and the outfits always looked too fantasy, frilly and rather tacky to me. Feather boas and feather hats and feather parts and frills and such. It always felt like something from Medieval Times or something.

    And then the shoes. It all just looked a little dated to me. I can see why they are revamping and completely redoing everything. I think they want to compete with Mattel/Barbie and also IT. I am curios to see where they take it....

  6. On the one hand, I liked their Ellowynes and the Deja Vu lines, but I didn't exclusively buy them- as I am more into Integrity and Silkstone, and my purchasing has decreased on the Silkstone line of Mattel. Tonner's lines are not for everyone but I did love some of his fashion dolls. I could see this when he merged, it was just a matter of time. Other doll companies are more refined, have dolls with more edgier sculpts, and more articulation. Reading some of the boards, some of the collectors are simply devastated, I do feel badly for the die hard collectors of those lines. Here's hoping the new company can deliver an exciting product.

  7. I agree R Tonner dolls were beautiful but a little "dated" sometimes .

    But i also Think Mattel/Barbie shold also work more on their dolls . It seems they are doing less dolls , and less interresting dolls .

    It is IT since the begining but they "try" more , they taste water with a lot of new lines , sometimes it works sometimes not , but at least they try

  8. Wow, I can't wait to see what he comes up with! I was expecting a retirement announcement, not an entirely new company! Very excited to see what he comes up with