Saturday, March 14, 2015

… And The Drama Begins ...

All photos are the property of Integrity Toys.

Integrity Toys finally released a group of mainline dolls for 2015.  Unfortunately, these ITBE (Integrity Toys Basic Edition) girls were only available to W Club members through a lottery.   Many boards have already shared the original IT notice, so this is old news for many of you.

IT has a long history with their ITBE line.  Originally, these were less expensive dolls with unique molds on non-articulated bodies similar to the Mattel model muse body.   Their clothing was simple and they wore plastic shoes and jewelry.  They were quite affordable and some of the dolls were lovely.   Although they could wear many of the clothes available through other lines, the lack of articulation was a deal breaker.   Additionally, the heads didn't switch well to the upgraded bodies (the size was off), so many collectors failed to get on board.  The ITBE line was discontinued.  You can't even find a reference source for these dolls anymore.  Below is a photo of Romantic and Desirable to provide an example of this line.

At the 2013 convention, IT tried something new and offered a revised ITBE line.  Instead of using the old molds and non articulated bodies, they used current molds on popular bodies.  Hard Metal Lilith (left) was an instant sensation compared to Sequins Anja (right).  They both retailed for $65.  (I had to purchase Lilith on the secondary market - ouch!)
Following the convention, W Club members got the chance for three additional dolls through a lottery.  Each doll cost $75 and was released in an edition size of 300.  Although my personal favorite was Gold  Glam Adele (left), collectors' preferred Shimmering Copper Isha (middle).  Light Strike Natalia (right) never became as popular as the other two.  There was all sorts of drama following the lottery. Collectors were trying to swap dolls, trade winning tickets, immediately sell the dolls on secondary market for ridiculous markups.   W Club members who missed a doll got angry.  Feelings got hurt.  It was a mess!  (I entered for Adele and Isha, winning the chance to purchase Adele.  I was patient and waited long enough to find Isha on secondary market at a decent price.)
IT recognizes a good thing when they see it.  So in the spring of 2014, we got another round of ITBE.  Again, the price point was $75 and the edition sizes were 300.  Again, there was a W Club lottery.  Maybe some of the hurt feelings could be heeled by another chance and a different desirable doll.  This time there were four dolls.

I entered for only one, Second Skin Vanessa (left), and won!  She is the only Black Vanessa released to date.  She is very rare to find and is highly desirable among collectors.  I purchased the Night Strike Monogram (#2) on secondary market at a good price.   Morning Dove Kyori (#3) was the least favorite of this group and can still be picked up reasonably priced.  Although I don't own Red Strike Janay (right) I've considered purchasing her.   This is the first time she has been offered through the regular FR line.

Surely there were enough dolls to go around!  You'd think so, right?  But IT underestimates the greed and opportunistic nature of some doll collectors.  Several W Club members entered multiple times (for each additional membership) and for all dolls.  It was like trying to shoot the side of a barn with a shotgun - you're bound to hit something!  When the results came in, again some collectors got nothing and some got multiples of the same doll.   Some collectors got a doll they didn't want but had entered for hoping to make a good trade, so trading started at a frantic pace.  (A few collectors took advantage of the multiple wins by selling dolls at ridiculous prices.)  There were a lot of hurt feelings and upset collectors all over again.

Now, it's one year later, and here we go again.  This time the price point was increased to $99 - that's a 33% markup; however the lingerie is extremely nice.  This time there are six dolls, all using the older FR body.  All were advertised as having edition sizes "less than 500".   The W Club was in a frenzy.

Love Roulette Vanessa uses the 2.0 mold.  It's the same mold used for 2011's Monaco Royale, Dress Code, and Current Pursuits.  I believe this is an excellent mold and am excited to see it return.   I entered this lottery but didn't get picked.   Love Roulette Vanessa uses the Light Honey body tone which was introduced with last year's Vivid Encounter Adele (who will probably be a popular body donor!).   Concern has been expressed that her head color may not match the body because this was a problem with Adele.  It has also been suggested she has the same facial screening as Monaco Royale.   I am eager to see her post production photos.  According to someone who counted the winning numbers there were 350 in her edition size.
Next up is a new mold.  She is called Audacious Finley Prince.  Her skin tone is the regular FR Black.  Edition size was 300.  I am not a fan of this doll's screening but realize I may be surprised by the final result.    She has been comically referred to as "The Joker" due to her smile.
The third doll is the only obviously caucasian doll in this group.   She is Dark Side Anja.  She has the rarer porcelain skin tone.  The earlier Brides of Dracula and Tatyana used this skin tone.  A couple of my favorite dolls, Follow the Line Kesenia and Shake It Up Korinne, use this skin tone also.  The edition size was 300.  She was the other doll I entered for, hoping to win.  I was lucky and have already paid for her.  It has been suggested that she uses the same screening as Regal Solstice which I no longer own.  It has also been suggested that Purity Dasha would prove a good body donor for her.
The next three dolls were also released in edition sizes of 300.  They use the A-Tone skin tone.  That is the same skin tone as The Muse Adele, Second Skin Vanessa (see above), most Jordan dolls, and the Gloss Convention Le Smoking Adele.  The first is My Desire Isha.  It has been commented that she reminds collectors of Bodacious Adele.  As I already own Bodacious (she's a personal favorite), I chose  to not enter for this doll.  Even though there has been some concern expressed about the head color does not match the body on this promo photo, she was one of the most popular from this group.  Collectors have really been scrambling to get her!
The second A-Tone doll was Entice Kesenia.  I think those who missed out on Second Skin Vanessa last year will be pleasantly surprised by this doll.  Personally, I believe she is going to be very similar and will be the dark horse of the collection.  I think she will probably be in great demand when collectors start receiving her.  She would've been my third pick.

The final doll in the collection is Buxom Veronique.  She uses the 1.0 mold.  Personally, something still feels off about the shape of this doll's head.  After the lottery results were announced, there seemed to be more interest in this doll than during the period of time when members were entering the lottery.  Several collectors who missed out on her were making all kinds of offers to add her to their collections.
Now that the results have been announced, the drama has again started.  Dolls are already showing up on e-bay at escalated prices of over 150% markup.  (Shameless!)    Collectors that missed a doll they really wanted are begging and pleading to take over payments or make trades.  Some collectors won nothing, while others won multiples.  Tension is high and emotions are raw.   Is this really how you are supposed to feel about your hobby?

I only entered for the dolls I knew I would truly enjoy.  Having won one lottery, I am very happy for that fortunate opportunity.   I refuse to take on the anxiety of trade jockeying or trying to sell dolls I didn't want in the first place.  I feel better about myself as a collector knowing I let those dolls go to individuals who actually wanted them.

I hope each of my readers is as blessed as I feel that I am.  I hope you were fortunate and are excited about your collections.


Storm said...

Well, this time I didn't try for any of the girls. They are pretty, but I haven't been crazy about any of them, I still feel the same. A few years ago I would probably go for all of them, but now (having around 50 FRs) I think I choose more wisely... Seeing all the drama and markups makes me feel even better :)

Farrah Lily said...

What a wonderful and informative post. I am new to doll collecting and these dolls are stunning. It's so sad that there doesn't seem to be enough to go around though and it really is a shame that you can't be guaranteed to get the doll you want at it's original price. I love the photos you posted as it's great to see all of the different ones that are currently out.
I also just read your guidelines for collecting and I think they are fabulous!

Lisa Neault said...

I too saw the edition numbers and only tried for Anja and thought about Roulette because of budget. I did not win and don't regret it. Sometimes I wish they would just do the lottery on the outfits themselves with maybe a mannequin display, at a $75 price point, that would be so much better. They are pretty but I have so many now and have to decide what dolls debuting that I want to make room for....seeing all of this makes me feel better I didn't win.

AG Lanc said...

Great background history on all the releases. I guess I like the "unpopular" dolls. I own Light Strike Natalia and only entered for her. I also own Morning Dove Kyori, who is lovely irl, and Red Strike Janay, whom to my surprise is very photogenic. I entered for Second Skin Vanessa unfortunately did not win her. She is gorgeous! I won Audacious whom I think will be cute in person. I like her spunk! I am hoping she will not be too cartoonish, her eyebrows are a little over the top. I limit myself to only buying dolls that will fit into my future dolly stories. I wanted Entice and Buxom but did not enter for them due to budgeting reasons.

Troy said...

This is my first year as a W Club member, so I appreciate hearing the history of these lotteries. It sounds like I was lucky to win a few of the dolls. Unfortunately, neither Isha nor Anja were among them. Those secondary market prices are outrageous as you mentioned, but I'm waiting to see how things shake out. I'd also like to wait for the ones I did win to arrive to see what they are really like before committing to tracking down those two. More than 100 percent markup is indeed shameless. ;-)

Anonymous said...

As you know, patience is always good, there is always a frenzy, wait a few months and most dolls go back to normal prices with the rare few exceptions, and sometimes even lower than retail...I learned my lessons the hard way!

I really didn't like any of them..and with all the issues I have had with defects (and all the very large price hikes in the last two years), I am waiting til I hear from other collectors whether to seek out a doll or not as dolls are being more pre-orders for me.

I am looking forward to seeing owner pics, it is always a pleasure to see others enjoying their dollies!

Vanessa said...

Very interesting backstory. I liked the first line of ITBE dolls. Didn't like the bodies, but it was refreshing to have totally different sculpts that weren't part of the regular IT dolls.

Vin said...

This is an awesome and insightful write-up Ms Robyne!
I especially enjoyed the coverage on the now defunct line of ITBE's...I had forgotten about them - it was fun to revisit the short-lived forerunners of todays ITBE collection!

Suz said...

Hi there,

Fascinated with these dolls! Do you sell them??

Much love from Ireland :-)


Anonymous said...

This year was my first time in the club and doing a rough calculation I thought entering for three of the dolls would net me at least one. It netted me two... I didn't get Anja who would have been my first pick but I got Van and Isha. At first I thought Van was more beautiful but after spending a few days studying them both, I believe Isha comes out top... Now I need to find some clothes for them...