Promoting Sales in a Quiet Market

Ladies, I haven’t been on much lately and I am being naughty here at the moment because I am supposed to be hand stitching a final row on a yoyo quilt I have made for my mother’s birthday that is supposed to go in the post tomorrow but I just scanned a couple of topics and wanted to see if I could maybe give a little encouragement as well as help so here we go…

I have read where sales are down, people are getting discouraged etc.

One mentioned about people pricing their dolls lower affecting the markets…We all have opinions about that but I will just make a few comments based on my experience…(This is not a brag situation but just to qualify myself so that some of you who don’t know me won’t think I am just gasbagging - Not only almost 8 years in reborning but I have been over 30 years in Retail Management, District Retail Manger, Profit and Loss, Loss Prevention, Business Owner, etc so am speaking about market analysis here based on that experience…)

Addressing the people pricing too low issue:

Some people sell cheaper because of lack of confidence, but many because they love the hobby and can’t afford to do the next doll (get the next fix…hahaha) without a sell. Others are in it for the love of it and the sales are just a bonus being paid for something they love to do anyway so I don’t think anyone should feel guilty for selling at whatever price they are comfortable with. If you get what you want for a sale, who cares of someone on-sells it for more…it is still a credit to your talent and you already made what you wanted so where is the problem? If you wanted more you should have asked for more so whose fault is that, right? …To worry about such things is like going in for a job and accepting the wages offered then after you get paid you start complaining about your wages?..You accepted it so be happy that you have the job or move on elsewhere where you will be paid for what you think you are worth…

IMO - I think overpriced dolls are having more of a negative impact on the reborn market at the moment than the under priced ones. I personally don’t mind the over priced ones because it sends business my way so I will be the last person on the planet to discourage over priced dolls-…heehee…

Seriously though, I have had more people in the last 6 months tell me that they don’t even bother looking at Ebay or other doll sales sites any more because people are asking way too much now for their dolls…I don’t agree that they’e asking “way too much” considering the time and money we put into them but unfortunately because of cost, prices have sky rocketed and many sellers who are use to doubling and tripling their cost are finding that they can’t still do that and have sales too…Sometimes our egos and over pricing can be as great a hindrance as low self esteem and underpricing.

When the markets have a downturn in sales, I can be stubborn and it 'profiteth me nothing" or I can adjust with the markets and my sales continue, or increase …it is my choice.

Putting a doll up at $500 and then reducing it week after week till it is at “give away prices” is bad marketing, pure and simple. It publicly degrades your work, it makes the doll look undesirable!..

REASON: Who wants to buy a doll that went from $500 down to $200 after it has been on the market for 4 - 6 weeks and it still hasn’t sold. (It would be different if it was a clearance sale on a pair of shoes that went from $100 down to $10 because $10 is not a lot of money - $200 is still a substantial amount of money for many people to consider spending so just because we see it as cheap, they still see a 3 digit figure.)

The general publics mentality is that 'if no one else wants it, I don’t either." It’s nuts but that is how they think. You are better off putting your doll up at a reasonable price and selling it a bit less than to have to drop your price later when you get desperate for a sale. It may not be exactly what you want but if it is something you can life with, it may be the difference between sale or no sale

Once you determine what you need to make…yes, I said need to make - not so much want to make - price your doll and leave it at that price…If it doesn’t sale…you have a choice…you can be lazy and let it sit and sit and sit and it will probably still sell eventually or you can be industrious and innovative and change the gender or redress, put up new photos or you can pull the baby down and let it rest and put up another one in its place and relist that one again later

REASON: People get tired of looking at the same doll over and over and over…again if it sits too long, people think it is an undesirable and are less likely to purchase. Have you ever gone into a shop and every time you go in there is nothing new…same old, same old? How long before you stop going to that shop? Same concept.

Pricing your baby is probably the hardest part for all of us. In the past we could pretty much price them based on how popular the kit was or how rare or what everyone else seemed to be pricing theirs at…Not so in the current market.

REASON: Reborns, though ever collectible and ever changing do not have the same draw as in the boom years. Many people have gotten too many of them and selling them off so you’r competing against new and used dolls. Many used ones in new condition, maybe from reputable artist at a fraction of the original cost, etc. Also, many buyers were caught up in the moment and bought one because someone else had one or they thought it was a cool conversation piece but they are not true doll lovers and one was enough…after 20 years, many homes already have at least one reborn in them and the novelty has dropped off. Some of those people are still out there but not the hoards we were use to…

There are always die hard collectors but they are getting more and more selective so we have to consider all these things when we are pricing our dolls…Gone are the days of triple your cost unless your name is Jacky Kramer or Silvia or MGDolls, etc…We may pull off a sell like that from time to time but it is not the norm. You have to start pricing with a realistic and conservative view of your work. If you are only in it for the money…the days ahead will most probably become more and more discouraging if you aren’t able to adjust your mindset and your price.

Can we really expect to be making regular hourly wages for something we are calling a hobby?. Probably not…I just put a basic fee on top of my cost…but you will have to decide for yourself what you are willing to do…and that will probably be based on your real reason for reborning in the first place…

Selling older Sculpts…hmmmmmm…these are probably not the way to go if you are wanting to sell dolls in today’s market, unless you are selling cheap or to the younger generation OR if you have a custom order for one which is rare but does happen from time to time…(case and point, I just did a Cutie for a customer…hahaha!)

REASON: Most collectors already have one or two renditions of them in their collections. The market is saturated with the kits for sale on the secondary market and every new artist has half a dozen of them in their stashes and are usually the sculpts of choice among new artist so they tend to saturate the market at the lower priced end…People who are regular reborn shoppers or window shopper will have seen those kits a thousand times and usually scan past them without a second glance.

Ultimately ladies, we are in a different market currently and it will continue to change…If we want to be reborning dolls this time next year we have to learn to change with it…

My Tip for the day: If you want to keep the joy and love of reborning…we have to stop looking solely at our bottom line and look at those smiling faces of the people our dolls bring happiness too instead. Not saying the money is not important because it is but it is easy as we get better and better with our reborning for our priorities to change places Where before, when we first started out, it use to be ‘not so much about the money but about the happiness they bring’, it becomes “all about the money and to blazes with people if they don’t want to pay me what I think I’m worth”…and with that attitude, the joy dies and there is no longer beauty in our creations…:disappointed:

Ok I am off to finish my mom’s quilt…

Big hugs to everyone!!!:smile:


That was great! That definitely helped me for sure! Thank you so much for doing that, Starr!!! :smile:


Excellent, EXCELLENT motivational speech and marketing strategy post!!! Just EXCELLENT!!!


Your post was right on!! Thank you for taking the time to write and share your thoughts!:heart_eyes:


Beautifully written! Thanks for all the teaching-sharing on this forum. The training of new artists/friends may saturate the market, too. I see the advice as angels at work sacrificing for others. Thank you and all the beautiful ladies here.


Well said, Starr! I suppose it is hardest for those that are into making reborns for profit. Personally, I enjoy this as a hobby, and selling them is a plus that enables me to buy more kits.


That was just great Starr, thanks for reminding everyone “why” we should be doing this------for the Love of it!!!


Excellent post, thank you! I have 0 experience with the reborn market (and probably never will because this is a hobby for me), but as someone with plenty of business experience, corporate level sales and marketing ect., I agree with every word you said.

When you were speaking about the market changing and the need to change along with it, something occurred to me. May be a little different, but this kind of reminds me of one of my other hobbies: real estate. Like anything else, the market fluctuates: it goes up, it goes down, it becomes over saturated, it crashes. Some people are able to make money regardless. Is it because their houses look better? Is their landscaping prettier? Not necessarily. It’s more likely that they’ve branched out and learned to roll with the punches so to speak. There’s different tactics for every kind of market and the most successful people in real estate have learned them all.

All of this being said, housing is a necessity while doll collecting is not. This means that people are spending their disposable income on collecting. As it stands, people in general seem to have less disposable income lately for quite a few reasons. There are tons of huge companies downsizing or restructuring through bankruptcy, so I would imagine that may also be putting a squeeze on reborn collecting… all the more reason to tweak the business plan.

Okay, off my soap box now. :slight_smile:


Starr is an awesome lady, with a lot of good information here, but I’m going to play devil’s advocate, and come at the pricing issue from another angle.

There is nothing wrong with doing what you love every day, what you can’t ever imagine not doing, while simultaneously expecting to bring in a sustainable salary. I got into reborning as a therapy from my stress, not as a method of making money, however it fit my situation perfectly. Most of us have families or pets to provide for, and not everyone’s situation is the same. Some of you may have husbands or wives who are able to financially support you, or still be living at home, and you may not need to make any money from reborning. But there are others (myself and at least two other mamas on here) who have special needs children on the autism spectrum. Our children need more of us, and this allows us to make an income around their care.

Traditional jobs are not always desirable, and don’t always work for everyone. I happen to have a BFA in art and art history. This makes me no better or worse, than the next artist. In fact, there are some of you that have never taken an art class in your life, and have far surpassed my skills, and those who have been doing it ten years+. But what is does change, is that we paid a lot of money to attend good colleges with the commitment to making money from our work. Reborning is definitely an art. It’s amazing to see how differently each of us can interpret the same sculpt.

At first I was astounded at a $2000 price tag on a reborn. Then I broke down the time, and materials that went into it, just as you would in any industry. If you spent 60 hours painting, and rooting a big toddler head, that comes out to about $30 an hour, but that doesn’t account for supplies, or the time it takes to communicate with customers, shop for baby clothes, overhead of energy for lighting, oven usage, kit, body, hair, eyes, shipping,and extra costs. When we subtract all those expenses, we are looking at somewhere around $20 an hour. And isn’t an experienced artist’s time worth that? Say you’re not as experienced, and want to sell a toddler doll for $1000. You’re making around $10 an hour. I had friends managing fast food restaurants while in college, for that amount. There is nothing wrong with us wanting to make $10-$20 an hour based on experience.

I think it’s unreasonable that it’s become the standard in this industry for prices to be negotiable. I can’t go into a dress boutique and offer $100 for a $350 dress. Nor can I go to The Four Seasons and expect to pay Pizza Hut prices. Why have we allowed the art/reborn industry to suffer such a fate?

Here are some things I think are important to remember:

  1. There is no shame in doing what you love whilst making money.
  2. Wanting to make a reasonable wage for your talent is not synonymous with greed.
  3. We have different circumstances than one other, and that’s okay.
  4. We need to stick together and ask for what we are worth. This will vary of course, but as a whole we should take pride and confidence in what we do, and realize that this is a gift we are sharing. If you do it just for fun, why not donate to a cause you know would benefit?
  5. Don’t let customers bully you into feeling that you work is worth less than minimum wage. You are sharing a unique gift that differs from everyone around you. <3

I agree with your view also. But the fact of the matter is… Some dolls just sit and don’t sell, and sometimes we need money to go on. I would love to charge more, and the ones I have " set and forget" the prices on… (Because I don’t want to take a penny less. ) Sit. And sit. Even through Christmas. I only drop my prices when I really need to. Trust me, I dont want to! But, when I need fast cash it gets things done. I know they are worth more, but I also know I loved doing it. So, I take the loss out of necessity.


Ultimately it’s your decision. You do really beautiful, solid work. My post wasn’t so much aimed at the exact amount that someone charges, but more about not underpricing yourself for the wrong reasons…i.e. bullying customers, self-doubt, feeling bad about making money from your art, not considering costs or knowing how to put a price on what you do, or considering everyone who reborns a “hobbyist”. (in using you, and your, I just mean reborners as a whole). :slight_smile:


Thank you. I try super hard😉 this market is a killer! I do wish there was a set standard!


Wonderful words of wisdom, Starr! Thank you for sharing.

I think this is my personal problem. When my doll doesn’t sell, I see it as undesirable and I don’t want it either. So I drop the price to get rid of it. That’s pretty sad isn’t it?


@westernstarr. Starr you are AH-mazing


I absolutely agree with some of what you are saying…though I sort of think you missed the main point here as it is not so much about how a person wishes to price their work but more as to whether the market will support those prices or not…so no self esteem issues, bullying customers or being paid what we think we are worth…Heavens to Murgatroid…as women in general, to pay us what we are worth… who could afford us? We are priceless…hahahahaha!

I have done reborning as a business since 2011 so I know both sides of the coin and I have to say I have no problem adjusting my prices to meet the market. It assures me constant sales no matter what economical environment I am selling in so it is just good business in my opinion…but everyone has to make that decision for themselves

There are lots of talented ladies and really a person has to do what they feel is right for them, that was never in question…The point here is more to do with whether the current markets are generally supporting the higher priced dolls,(not the occasional one or a specific artist but the general reborn artist) it really makes no difference how good a person is if they are not able to achieve sales because of price or because with the market changes come changes in the type of buyers we are dealing with…We have currently entered a market of bargain hunters and die hard collectors…The general buying public have started dropping back as family budget considerations have become an issue because of a slowing economy…

We all would love to make more money but there are times when we have to make decisions based on what is going on around us and sometimes a little less money is better than no money at all IMO…It is not a reflection on our work…it is a reflection on the economy and how it affects the sales of our work…if we are flexible and roll with the punches without allowing the quieter sales periods to discourage us, we are more likely to be reborning into the future.

This was just meant as encouragement to the majority of us who love doing the reborns and help us keep in perspective why there are times we may not make all the sales we’d we don’t become disheartened.


I didn’t overlook all those things. You definitely gave lots of valuable information! I just wanted to address one of the ideas from a different vantage point, and since I tend to be long-winded, didn’t address all the things that I agree with and find very useful. :slight_smile:


Hahaha, you and me both…Me more so than you though I think…lolololol:kissing_heart:


I adore the long winds of you BRILLANT and talented ladies!


Very good information stated from a lady who knows the ropes, and is taking time to help us to understand in more detail just what is happening…all very well written and factually accuracte I believe…It all makes perfect sense and does explain what is going on with the market for reborn dolls at the moment.

Personally I love to reborn, and I enjoy selling …!!..I realize that in order to continue to reborn, sales are necessary…this is such an expensive hobby that I think few of us are able to just reborn for the fun of it…!!..Sales aren’t coming as easily as we are used to for reasons our eloquest friend stated, and we must sink or swim…

Being able to still create and allow others to experience the happiness of having a reborn baby IS the bottom line…at least for me anyway…!


I havent been selling that long but have sold other things often.Some things about sales are the same across the board…
A friend bought her first reborn through an ad sent to her email It was $150 She wanted one and thought $150 was a LOT for a reborn doll…but took the plunge
Was willing to pay that amount but truth would she for first reborn have paid more ?$250? $300?i doubt it
Some people in medium or low medium incomes dont feel justified in spending a lot on a luxury except maybe christmas or birthday…Too many bills today incomes not rising less disposible income.all factors…
Now you can wait for more prosperous buyers or price to appeal to the masses up to you.
Some of these people want a reborn or their child wants a reborn have never had one and need to be introduced to the market before they are willing to spend more and more on each doll.
That doesnt mean they ALWAYS will be unwilling to spend ONLY $89 or $150
.I have had more than one sale lately and NOT to long time collectors but to ladies who want a first reborn and to them $250 or more is too high for a none esential item especially for themselfves.I understand that as Im retired on SS
Also i have sold to ladies who have pre teen children that wants a reborn…I feel like in my lower sales prices i am giving a first spark to flames that will grow to people who will eventually collect more exquisite more expensive reborns and maybe some of the 11 year old girls will continue to collect also .I am hoping my ability grows as well to be able to supply them better reborns for more money one day.
I know it can work like this as it happened to me years ago when collecting sugar and creamers.I was spending $5 a set…thought $10 for a set was way too high but eventually spent it .Then spent $25 on a beautiful set later paid $65 an outrageous price for a set…i thought but .went on eventually didnt bat an eye on $200 for some sets so i know this collecting upgrading can work

Reborns…you can say its not fair maybe not but as my husband use to tell my kids .LIFE isnt fair! lol China is selling nice looking reborns for $89…
Ours are more than that but im sure some beginner collectors dont think of china nor of poor mass produced quality dolls they think … i can get i a reborn cheap here! .
You will NOT change the Chinese from mass marketing theirs so you will never see across the board prices everyone charges where you want to sell yours at to pay for all your time and supplys .
.True we want compensation but as stated above If you hang on to an old price you feel you should get and dont sell you can stay there or price more in line with the market… your choice.
In real estate ive heard if its really nice and doesnt sell then the price is too high. plus depends on demand .
What wasnt said about this is every month that goes by with no sale you are actually LOOSING MONEY

If its a hobby you enjoy doing anyway i guess doesnt matter a lot …but to sell you have to be flexable also said above

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