Notes from the Integrity Toys seminar at IFDC

by Alison Rasmussen


Though this may not be news to anyone who is a member of the W Club, I took a few notes from the Integrity Toys Q&A seminar at IFDC last week. Alain Tremblay, David Buttry, and Vaughn Sawyers were the hosts of this evening presentation, and unfortunately, the wine was given to the group prior to ours, and there weren't any leftovers.

Here are my notes from the seminar, which was presented in a guest question, host answer-as-best-as-he-was-allowed format, but I was exhausted:

  • Valia will no longer be produced.
  • There are no current future plans to produce any additional Hollywood Royalty dolls.
  • The new Dynamite Girl bodies are taller than they were, in addition to having improved knees. (Yes, this was actually new to me.)
  • The question about why dealers often offer W Club dolls for twice the original purchase price, when other club members would have liked the chance for the doll, was asked. The answer: dealers can also be W Club members, and the two aren't distinguished in lotteries.
  • Vero may likely return at Dark Romance convention (or so the hint was dropped). Also story cards are tedious to produce, so there is some talk of closing the current story at convention, and adding online story cards to the website next year.
  • There are no current plans to add sculpts to the FR Monogram line.
  • No furniture is planned, as production costs are too high.
  • Production costs on accessory packs (purses, shoes, jewelry) have increased substantially. The question was asked, "Would you be willing to pay $20 more for an accessory pack?" I was surprised to see that over half the attendees ( maybe even close to 75% of 80-90 people) said yes.
  • The question was asked, "Why don't you cut down on shipping boxes and packaging?" The answer was that shipping is very rough on dolls. They have cut costs on shipping as much as possible, but they must be packaged securely for overseas shipping, and also for non-deboxers.
  • At convention, there will be four skin tones for the Design-A-Doll seminar. It's a wigged doll this year, and a new head debut. (Really makes me want to go to convention!)
  • Someone asked when flat shoes for the AvantGuards would be created. All three actually laughed (in a friendly way) and said, "Does it look like we're going to make flat shoes? We make heels."
  • There may be plans to make more 12" AvantGuards (clones).
  • There has been talk of releasing a little bit of each collection at a time, rather than each brand all at once, due to production issues. Vaughn visits the factory in China personally at least every two months to oversee production.
  • Someone asked about the famous bolt inside FR dolls. Alain basically said he's sick of hearing about the bolt. For quite some time, he said, he was quite tired of hearing about the bolt. 
  • Integrity's warranty does not extend to dolls with, say, thin rooted hair spots when you take down the original hairstyle. The hair has to be thin to make some of the complicated hair styles. For example, True Royalty. (Oops.) You take down hairstyles at your own risk.
  • Some one asked about making replacement bodies with the Handspeak system. Apparently, the last replacement bodies are nowhere near sold out. So, there are no plans to make replacement bodies. Also, new hand sculpts are planned to be released with new dolls (so you can share hands among dolls).
There was quite a bit of "we can't confirm or deny that," and so forth, due to W Club first-to-know regulations, and many of the attendees were almost offended by this policy. But I was shocked and surprised at their honesty, forthrightness and humor. I found the seminar very interesting and fun. I would have enjoyed a glass of wine--better, Long Island iced teas, for the sake of the crabby people--to make things go more smoothly for the guests. But I really enjoyed seeing the designers and how they work together in person.
    They were all really pleasant, too. Plus, they had a great sense of humor, seem to really enjoy their jobs, and really be anxious to make dolls their collectors love. (Frankly, I was surprised to see how many Integrity "fans" were offended by some of the company offerings. I mean, you don't have to buy every doll a company offers, after all!) But maybe my collection is more eclectic that some.