Why are those convention dolls so darn expensive?

by Alison Rasmussen


FR: Monogram Completist, from The Premiere convention
If you're like me, you might wonder why the heck those convention dolls go for sky-rocket prices, and why the [blank] collectors think they can charge so much for convention exclusive. Well, high demand aside, I thought I'd put together a simple cost analysis for those of you planning to attend convention yourselves next year, which, quite frankly, is the easiest (though not the cheapest!) way to obtain them yourselves.

Click to enlarge
As you can see, it cost me a little over $3000 to attend convention this year.  YIKES. I went with my daughter Kate, and roomed with her, but I'm not including her registration, or any of our outfits.

Convention registration is only 14% of the overall cost. It's $425 per person. I have only included the cost of my own registration, and not the cost of the W Club luncheon or workshops, which were optional. Historically, these can be good investments, if you can sign up before they sell out.

The hotel cost is steep. It's $169 per night, plus an additional 15% room tax. It was a beautiful hotel and a great location. This is typical of IT conventions, I have to say. The more you pay for a hotel, the more expensive on-site amenities. You can split your room up to four ways, if you dare--so keep this in mind, as this can cut expenses. I have to tell you that I have heard some horror stories about hotel room splits. If you are a sound sleeper, you should be fine. If you are picky about snoring, how cool or warm you like your hotel room, or if you are sensitive about gossip, this probably isn't a good option.

Travel was ideal for me this year, since the convention was in California. Parking, however--wow. But again, this is totally typical. Ride sharing helps. I sure did enjoy being able to drive this year! I really hope to see IT in California again.

Food--well, I eat on the cheap, and tend to bring some breakfast items with me. Except for coffee, which I can't seem to go without for too long. I probably over-estimated my food expenses on this chart, as I'm including any alcoholic beverages and incidentals as well.

Finally--the dolls. They were amazing. When you "win" the centerpiece, you actually win the right to purchase the centerpiece. (Unlike Barbie convention, where you are given the centerpiece.) You could also spend money on raffle tickets as well--I didn't include that in my estimate, either. And you could spend less on table gifts for your table mates, too. I didn't purchase every convention doll--about half of them. I came home with three of the bonus salesroom items (both ITBE specials and the bonus Poppy Parker doll).

All in all, it was an expensive convention. However--what did I actually get from the convention? Well--all in all--I came home with the 14 dolls I purchased, plus the 2 convention dolls, and then 3 additional dolls as well. (I'm not counting the W Club luncheon.) So if I received 19 dolls for $3000, that averages to about $158 per doll--that's not too shabby, right?

I'd say, overall, it's worth it to attend convention. I'd go again next year. You'll want to keep in mind a few other things before you go, too--the expense of costumes and outfits (yes, you'll want them), for example. Also, if you tend to be a little introverted, it can be taxing to go to an event like this for an extended period of time. But all in all, totally worth it--even if I were just keeping the dolls, which I really, really wish I could do!