Confessions of a Doll-shop-a-holic

by Alison Rasmussen


Talking Julia, from my favorite vintage Barbie dealer,
Kathie. And yes, she talks--her voice is TDF!
Are you looking for good deals on dolls? Let me share my tips with you.

Now that I have your attention, I’ll open with my biggest secret: I’m probably the worst bargain shopper in the world when it comes to dolls.

My main problem is loyalty. I have a couple of favorite dealers, even when I come across a better price elsewhere (which rarely happens these days, I have to admit). However, there are benefits to frequenting a favorite dealer:

  • Customer loyalty programs. Repeat customers often get the best prices from dealers, especially on newly released dolls.
  • Dealer insider specials. If my dealer goes to a convention or show, often she can pick up a special doll or outfit she knows I'm looking for.
  • Patronizing the smaller shop. I feel good that my dolly dollars are supporting small business.

A part of my collection is unusual and narrow in focus, and I have commissioned several unique outfits from artists. While this may not be the best way to get a bargain, I am sure to find exactly what I need this way. I’ve found a few people whose work I admire, and I have returned for more pieces later. The benefits are:

  • The artist is familiar with my taste.
  • I’m familiar with the artist’s needs and work habits.
  • The second commission will most likely fit in with my collection, since the artist’s former work is similar in style.

In my collection, I’ve found I really enjoy one-of-a-kind creations. And I really like supporting individuals--be they seamstress, doll artists or repainters, or doll shop owners. To me, this is definitely worth the small additional cost!