While it may seem like I’ve been a wee bit inactive on my blog, I promise I’m still writing and trying to make sure everything is perfect before I release anything of consequence (AKA character stories). It’s something I’ve been doing in the background of everyday life inbetween actually doing hobby-related things (more to come on that soon hopefully). But I wanted to tear myself away from that for a moment to talk on an issue that burns my biscuits: recasts.
So let me go on a comprehensive tirade about what they are and why they’re a bad thing.
What are recasts?
Recasts are dolls not distributed by their original makers and sold at a cheap price. Basically what a recast seller will do is buy the original sculpt from the company, and then make a mold to reproduce.
Why are they cheaper than legit dolls?
Since the company didn’t have to work to plan or make the doll, the only cost they really incur is casting the mold. Additionally, dolls sold by recast companies tend to have more flaws and lower quality.
Where do these people sell dolls?
Ebay, Taobao, Wish and I’m sure some have their own websites (just to name a few). That does not mean all dolls sold on these platforms are recasts as there are verified sellers for different companies, but that is usually stated either on their profile/website or on the doll company’s website proper.
Why are they bad?
This will be the longest answer. I want you to think about something you’ve worked on in your lifetime. Something you’ve done that you spent a bunch of time on and were really proud of. It could be a book report, art project, or something for your company. Thinking about it? Good. Okay, now lets say someone comes along, sees all the fruits of your labor, makes an exact replica and undersells you because they didn’t have to put any work/labor into producing the exact same result.
You’d feel pretty shitty, wouldn’t you?
Well, this is what doll creators deal with when their dolls are recasted. It’s illegal, but hard to stop, especially with the recast market flourishing due to naive or just plain careless customers. Some actually buy recast dolls on purpose knowing what they are, simply because they’re cheaper. I hate that attitude.
Some of the biggest arguments for pro-recast are prices. Dolls are expensive, and I won’t deny that. They are, however, expensive for a reason.
Any form of fine art takes time, energy, passion, and a dash of love to come to fruition. This can be anywhere from a few weeks, to a few months between planning, sculpting, molding, casting, and finishing up those fine details that we all go crazy over. During that time, how do you think they keep the lights on? Anyone familiar with business should be familiar with labor costs. An employee should be paid for their time. An artist should be paid for their creative efforts. I think we all agree on that.
The hobby has grown significantly since I started collecting in 2006, which I’m actually really happy for, because more artists can pursue this as income, but with that the demand for cheaper dolls has also increased, and I believe that’s why recasts have become such a problem.
I have heard that some people consider the opposing side of anti-recast to be “pro-people”. To a point I agree with the ideology. Nobody deserves to be berated because they potentially made a mistake but it IS a double-edged blade. Someone who is pro-people should also see the issues with recasts and realize that there are people (artists) being hurt by the support of recasts.
I’m going to say this right now: it has nothing to do with elitism. That’s another argument I’ve heard. That the pro-artist/anti-recast ideology is a guise for elitism and we all just guffaw because recasts are simply lower quality. That’s ridiculous. From Bobobie to SOOM it doesn’t matter how much you paid for your doll as long as the money went to the right person. You will find that there are dolls on the less expensive spectrum that are just as beautiful. I myself own a Bobobie doll and I think she’s precious. Moreover, I have never, nor will I ever, judge a person on how much they have or have not spent on their hobby. If I’m being honest I’d be pleased as punch just to meet fellow collectors.
What if I receive a recast doll as a gift?
No. I don’t think you should throw it away. Me personally, I hate the thought of someone getting me something so expensive, but I recommend some preventative action. Everyone should do their research before delving into something expensive, and hopefully this reaches someone doing just that. If you think your family/friend/significant other might want to buy you a doll, share your knowledge with them! Tell them about recasts, where they are usually found, and that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If it happens, it happens. You can mention it to them after the fact but be gentle about it. You can always tell them you appreciate the gift, but for them to be cautious when shopping for dolls because there are recasts floating around. You don’t have to say that’s what they gave you, just give them the info they need so it won’t potentially happen again.
To sort of summarize everything, recasts are art theft, and while you think it’s a great deal, there are consequences with the easy way out. If you like a company’s work, you should support them so they can make even more dolls for you to love. Legit dolls retain their value in most cases and sometimes increase depending. Additionally, if you miss a limited doll, consider buying second hand. There’s a huge second hand market for ball jointed dolls and rarely is a doll so hard to find that you’ll never see someone selling it. Companies also rerelease their limited sculpts with frequency (especially SOOM), so don’t be discouraged or think it’s just not possible. I bought my first doll with a part time job at minimum wage. It just took diligence with my money and patience. You can do it! Support your favorite artists today.