Why are reborn dolls so expensive?
There are several reasons that authentic reborn art dolls are expensive. The minimum cost to make a reborn art doll with fully rooted hair, on average, not including labour costs, is $333.34USD. That's if the blank reborn vinyl kit is only $109.99 and shipping is free, which is not always the case.
Anything sold for less than $333.34USD means the artist is only recouping some of his or her expenses or, aren't using the same materials as I am. I too, used to price my dolls between $85CAD and $300USD when I was a new artist, in order to gain reviews and trust in the community, and to build my social media following. If I had completed my business plan before starting to sell, I never would have done this, but, you live, you learn.
Once I felt I was good enough, I started to charge for my labor as well. First I paid myself $7USD/hour, then I increased it over time after each reborn tutorial or course I completed.
So you might be wondering, then why do I see reborn dolls on AliExpress or Etsy for $150USD or less? Well, some babies are pre-loved, meaning: they have been pre-owned and handled. In these cases, you'll want to see the original sale photos as well as some current photos, in good day light, to make sure the art peice is still worth what they are asking for it.
Sometimes, new artists also charge less as they build confidence in themselves and learn about cost recovery.
Some artists who live in the United States score great sales from Bountiful Baby, and since their shipping is cheaper than ours to Canada, they can sell reborns for $100USD or less.
Then there's the dark side of cheap reborns....
A lot of sellers on AliExpress, Etsy, Wish, and Amazon will steal a real reborn artist's photos, and use them as their own. The reborn art doll will be slightly painted and possibly rooted, but what you receive in the mail will not be what was shown on their website because reborns are one of a kind, and can't be made identical every time - unless the artist started with twins. Typically, an add will look like this:
The photo above is stolen from a real reborn prototype artist. What you will receive in the mail is something more like this.
Sometimes, the "doll" will come looking better than that, but you never know what you're going to get. It's a gamble. It's also not the same vinyl that real sculptors use, and can be toxic. Check out this article by Genes 2 Teens for more information.
Another thing to consider besides cost and labor, are materials, office supplies, equipment, business maintenance, and startup costs.
Attached below is the cost to make a reborn art doll.
Then I added a list of supplies and business expenses I'm required to pay, just to have a legal, trustworthy business.
Lastly, I've included just some of the items I paid for in order to start-up my business. I did not include the fact that I started painting originally with RebornFX Air Dry paints, and eventually switched to Genesis Heat Set Paints.
These prices and costs are based on my own personal experience, and research. I definitely recommend purchasing a tutorial before buying any reborn supplies, so you only purchase what is needed and absolutely necessary.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Thank you for reading if you made it this far 😆