Weigh in, when, if, and how deal with a bad baby

First I want to say this isn’t a thread meant to be dramatic, tear anyone down, call anyone out, I know where I stand, just curious what everyone else here thinks as collectors, artists, hobby painters, doll lovers.

A friend of mine bought a reborn (expensive in my opinion) from someone in our community who claimed to be a high end, highly trained professional artist. A baby with painted hair sells for over 900.00. She has a beautiful website, the babies are beautiful, really nice babies. This was not a custom order, nor was it advertised as a boo-boo baby.

My friend has been waiting anxiously for this baby and was so excited to get it. She asked me about the artist before she ordered. I knew the name, I loved the website, but I have never seen a baby of hers in person, I didn’t know anyone who had purchased one but I had not heard anyone voice complaint on a forum.

Well the baby arrived.

She sent me some photos, just quick ones with her phone.

I was a little confused, she was a little confused. The baby really didn’t look anything like the babies on the website. The coloring is unusual. It is hard to say just by looking at quick phone picks what the whole story is but it was disappointing and not expected.

She did what I think you should do in this situation (not everyone will agree) and she sent the artist a quick respectful email letting her know the baby had arrived and that there were some issues she would like to discuss, get some clarity about. The artist quickly sent a return purchase label, told her she would be refunded and kindly thanked her for her business.

I think that is awesome.

She isn’t out any money, there was no back and forth, she can start looking for a different baby.

I was thinking:

-Maybe the artist got overwhelmed and rushed the baby out.

-Maybe she has more business than she can manage and has someone helping her out who hasn’t developed the skills needed?

-Maybe she tried a new technique and thought it was really a good baby?

-Maybe her photography is better than her painting skills.

-This could be a scam but you would think that someone would have called this out. In this community clients who spend that kind of money can be vocal on social media and on forums, it can get brutal.

My friend doesn’t feel that going public in a nasty way would be helpful for the artist or for her and the artist was kind and issued an immediate refund.

I am thinking this thing to pieces mostly because her disappointment was palpable and I was sad for her. Some people waiting for these babies really, really, really want and need this experience and are so happy to have a dream dolly.

When we make these babies we make some great babies, some not so great babies, and some down and out uglies. It is just a part of reborn life. I think if you are a person of integrity and you are aware you know when you have an off baby, and you adjust the price. You also don’t try to sell a baby not ready for prime time at prototype prices, and hopefully you are delivering what you advertise. I mean that is fair right?

In the beginning you take a loss, as your skills develop the more you can charge. As you get better and start selling regularly you are able to afford better supplies, offer more in the way of sold out or limited edition sculpts, premium mohair, or a sweet layette if that is your thing.

What if…you claim to have skills you don’t. Should you be called out for charging top dollar? and I think 900 dollars for a baby with painted or penciled hair is a lot of money. Someone had to work really hard to earn that money and we owe it to them to do our best to delivery what we promise. Correct me if I am wrong.

I think it is the buyers responsibility to research their artist, look at reviews, ask around, ask the artist questions, look at photos of past babies…

-but what if people are too afraid to come forward and complain because they are worried about the repercussions?

How do you do this respectfully?

If an artist says, “Hey it was an off month, I had my SIL helping me out so I could meet deadlines and some babies slipped through the cracks, this does not represent my work, here is your refund, please give me another chance to make it right” then you have something to work with.

Not sure where I am going with this, it makes me sad a little. I don’t like thinking people set out to disappoint, hurt, and take advantage of other people.

I would hope my clients would be honest with me, feedback is humbling sometimes but it helps you grow, most especially if people do it kindly. If I send off a bad baby I would totally make it right. A bad baby to me is a baby that isn’t the baby you promised and marketed not a baby that you didn’t “bond” with or it wasn’t as fun as exciting as you thought it would be after a midnight “Box Opening” binge on You Tube, or getting your credit card statement and realizing you over spent.

As artists I would hope we all take last looks at a baby before we send it out, take care of touch ups, make sure the baby in that box is the baby you said it was, and you disclose everything you could like

  • I am still a beginning rooter.
  • I just started painting this year.
    -This baby is very newborn pink.
    -I am not terribly happy with this painted hair so I adjusted the price.
    -I melted the pinky finger, I adjusted the price, here is a close up.
    -I am a messy painter.
    -I paint very light, or thick, or only use the primary method.
    -This is air dry.
    -This is my dogs hair.
    -This is my first baby and I didn’t have everything I needed but I did my best with what I have.
    -This is a hobby for me, this isn’t a top of the line baby but it is sweet and I had a great time.

You get where I am coming from. I think I have written a variation of this post a couple times, now it feels personal, my friend was so happy to finally get this sculpt, painted by skilled artist and she shopped for this baby… her heart was broken. I don’t want her to lose faith and trust in this community. Most of us are good people, really good people.

I think I just wanted to put this out there for any of you selling babies. When we all work from a place of integrity, kindness, and we are fair, it lifts us all up, we all win.

It is ok to make a bad baby, just be honest, be fair with your price, or donate it.

I tell my eight year old I am like one of Santas elves, my department in charge of making baby dolls for grown ups. I tell him just because we grow up doesn’t mean we don’t need things to love and collect and dream of having, we are still little kids we are just taller and have long commutes to work, laundry to fold, and kids to take to school. I get to help make people happy and I love my job.

To all my sister (and brother) elves, let’s spread a little happiness.


Beautifully written Gina and I’m so sorry for your friend, I can ‘feel’ the disappointment of hers in your post. I hope she finds a new baby to purchase and love—one that makes her Sooooo happy!! I’m totally in agreement with you----be HONEST about your skill level and PRICE accordingly!!


This is so on point! I recently sold a custom - he gave me problems, and there were things I picked him apart about - real, imagined or otherwise. Bottom line, I wasn’t happy with him, and I told the customer I was unhappy and why. She thought he was gorgeous, but at the end of the day, it’s my reputation and integrity at stake. I gave her a $200 discount, which is huge, BUT she felt I was way more than fair and she appreciated my honesty, and ordered another baby. The last thing I would ever want is someone to think I was trying to take advantage of them. It’s terrible that your friends had that type of experience but I’m glad the artist took care of her.


Is air dry considered inferior? I’m not into that. Less toxic and faster, yes. But I don’t think a well done air dry baby is less valuable than a well done GHSP baby.


I wouldn’t think they are any “less” valuable, like everything else, it depends on WHO painted it and whether or not it is “well done”. There are some Fabulous air dry artists out there, if I was someone who had the money to buy ‘reborn dolls’ I would be fine getting a beautiful air dry baby!


Well it’s weird it was listed on with clearly inferior criteria like dog hair used for rooting or messy painting.


I don’t think air dry is inferior. That baby wasn’t listed with dog hair used. That was @Gabriell saying if dog hair is used, or there is anything else about the baby that a buyer should know, it should be disclosed.


I have to tell you that I was wondering about that as well. Also curious about primary method being up there, as a lot of artists use it with beautiful results.

You all know I love my Golden paints, I’m always talking about them here. It’s disclosed on my listings for anyone who cares, but most don’t. What they do seem to care about is honest reporting of major flaws, which I definitely do, providing clear photos. They can buy or not buy.


I think if this person was a scammer she wouldn’t have issued a refund so quickly, but as a seller, I would have wanted to know what those issues were.


It does make we wonder if the artist knew it wasn’t her best work. Most certainly will not offer a refund for any reason. I think it was admirable that she chose to, it must have been apparent that your friend was completely unhappy and that it wasn’t just buyer’s remorse over the cost.

Often reborns look different than their photo shoots, as the photos are made to sell the doll and present it in the most positive, flattering way.
It’s part of the business.

Sometimes this hobby is so strange, there are reborners out there who have never even seen another reborn in person that wasn’t their own work.

Because of all these reasons, if/when I’m less than thrilled about details of a reborn when they arrive, I won’t discuss it with the artist.

I want to believe they did the best they could. It’s very likely if something is off about it, the artist honestly didn’t know better. I’ll seek out someone else to fix/change it if it bothers me that much.

I don’t think this is the main point of this post, but it’s good to know what kind of paint was used on a doll in case of future repairs.
I’ve only been in this scene for about a year, but I’ve never heard that air dry paints are inferior to heat set, (not in this day and age) but of course craft paints are to be avoided for long term quality issues.

One of my reborns has a mole that covers a blue spot on his arm. That’s a lot of transparency that came from the artist, and I love knowing that if I chose to strip him I wouldn’t be disappointed to find that out.

I get why most artists won’t take returns, but it sounds like it was a good choice to do so in this case. It will probably help preserve her reputation.

This actually turned out well, your friend isn’t out any money and can continue reborn shopping. Most unhappy customers aren’t so lucky.


That’s very disappointing, after being so hyped about receiving a reborn.
It’s one of the reasons I don’t do customs. I’m never 100% happy with my work, so I just make reborns and post as many close ups as possible.

I also don’t see why air dry is on the list of bad stuff. It’s not inferior in any way. Especially to a client, it won’t make a difference. People have told me before that air dry isn’t as good, but when you ask why none of the arguments make sense. I think it’s an older sentiment that just isn’t true anymore.

I do always list what paints I used in case they want to do touch ups or something like that.


Yes…this is me…I have no desire to do customs.

I am never quite happy with my work…and do tons of closeups so that people will know what they are getting.

I cant believe how many people list auctions with only a couple dozen or even less photos…and no closeups :roll_eyes: (some of them prototype artists)


And 900,00 for a reborn with painted hair i find way to mucth !
But how the seller responded i find a little bit weird to ?
So sad this happend to your friend so you lose your trust in people !


I will never do a custom. The last baby i painted and sold was for a former assistant manager of mine and she let me have total control. I made the choice to root strawberry blonde hair which she loved since her own real baby had the same color hair. Every time i made progress on her baby i would send her pics. I only charged her $160 which was basically the cost of materials. She absolutely loves her!!. I have the thought that the next time i finish a baby im gonna try and sell it locally that way the customer can see it in person.


I thought we were here to build each other up, not break each other down. So much judging on this thread. I paint with primary colors. Strike 1, guess. And I was thinking about switching to air dry since so many people are having trouble with ghsp curing. But that switch would be strike 2. And I also want to learn to paint hair since so many customers prefer it. But now I see that would be strike 3. Good to know that it’s a myth that art can be created however the artist feels right. Could someone please print out a thorough list of what’s acceptable? I guess we need a one size fits all, paint by number approach. :woman_shrugging:t2:


And 900,00 for a reborn with painted hair i find way to mucth !

Not only have I sold dolls for more than this with painted hair, they were 100% painted in air dry. :sweat_smile:

I have a dear friend who sells babies for over a thousand dollars, sometimes closer to $2,000, all day long. ALL with painted hair.

Anyone can root and technically anyone can paint or draw hair. But to do it well takes talent, and in some cases (like mine) A LOT of hard work and practice. Some hair painters spend as much time on their hair as rooters spend on theirs. Collectors do not mind paying the big bucks for a doll with painted hair, as long as its well done.

P.s. There are only painted hair babies in my collection. I don’t want to do my own hair half the time, much less a doll’s. :sweat_smile:


The best advice I ever got was “take what you need and ignore the rest”. I try to keep that in mind daily. I don’t get offended. I just do me. :slight_smile: I don’t consider myself a high end producer, but my babies sell ok, so…I’m good.


I thought this too but then Ive found a lot of pictures in the descriptions

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I used to feel the same way. But some people don’t understand how fragile it is and abuse the hair and it ends up breaking and or falling out and then it’s the artists fault?

Painted hair won’t have to be conditioned, styled, won’t be eaten by bugs etc.

Everything boils down to the art. So many are painting babies and each have thier own style. Some prefer the sweet nostalgic dolly look. Some want a ultra high color. Other prefer a realistic look. The whole idea of reborning wasn’t to make realistic looking babies but to improve the original doll. Then as with everything else technology and creativity keep bumping up the techniques and expectations and most artists are never completely satisfied with thier work even though they may have invested hours and hours into it. I’ve seen some questionable babies on reborns and the listing describes them as beautiful sweet ultra realistic etc. to that artist at that time it may be thier most amazing work. And they are so proud they pop a $500 price tag on it because that is what everyone else is selling for and they don’t see a difference. Then you have amazing high quality looking babies in the same price range and wonder why the artist is selling so cheap :pleading_face:


Well painted hair takes lots of time and worth $900 and up, IMO.
I know artists who spend same amount of time to paint hair as other people spend time to root. That painted hair is perfection.

I also own a doll painted with air dry paint. I would never know that comparing by my Genesis dolls.

Quality is quality - doesn’t matter what you do if high quality materials are used.