|10 Tips to Collect on a Budget|
|Written by Sharon Verbeten|
|Tuesday, 01 September 2009 00:00|
Recessionary times can prompt people to rethink their expensesâand often the first thing to go is discretionary funds. Money once spent on non-essentials like entertainmentâwhether that is dinners out, movie tickets or another doll for a collectionâisnât quite as plentiful as it was in recent years.
Letâs face itâeveryone is feeling the crunch. Barrie Shapiro, owner of The Toy Shoppe in Richmond, Va., says, âI honestly donât think that there is anyone who has not been affected in some way by the current financial ups and downs. We are finding that our collectorsâÂ âneedsâ for their teddy and doll hugs are increasing, but with more caution concerning the costs.â
Weâve talked with experts in the industry and come up with a list of 10 things you can do to keep your budget in mindâand still stay active in doll collecting. We hope one or more of these tips will work for you.
1Exercise discipline. This may sound like commonsense, but itâs probably the rule most often forgotten. Whether youâre a new or veteran collector, carefully consider all potential purchases. If youâre used to buying more than one doll or accessory at a shop or store, budget for only oneâand make it one you really want. Youâll feel better with that one quality item you can afford rather than three pieces that will put you in the red.
2Sell âŠ to buy. If you really have your eye on a new one-of-a-kind or the latest Robert Tonner model, consider selling an older dollâor one you have less passion forâto buy a new one. Or, better yet, see if you can arrange a barter or swap with another collector. You might trade an Ashton-Drake for an Alexanderâor whatever your tastes desire. Everyone gets what they want that way, and it doesnât cost anything!
3Go backward. Often, a manufacturerâs latest model may be the priciest, most in-demand and hardest to get. Consider buying last yearâs model now. Youâll catch up eventually, and maybe the economy will be on an upswing by then. Dotte Kreowski of The Alcove in Shell Beach, Calif., says some dealers may discount last yearâs modelsâwhich could be especially advantageous for someone just entering the market. âTalk to the dealer,â she encourages. Frank Weinstein of Toniâs Collectibles in Pleasant Hill, Calif., says some of his customers are liquidating older models to purchase a new, more expensive models.
4Buy quality. Kreowski and other dealers are quick to note that in recessionary times, itâs even more important to buy quality dolls that will hold their valueâavoiding cheaper mass-produced dolls. âWhat Iâm finding is a lot of people who lost money in the stock market are putting their money in tangible goodsâ like dolls, Kreowski says. Shapiro adds, âWe always recommend a collector seek quality creations and to learn about the artists and manufacturers they are drawn to.â Buying a quality piece, even if it may cost a little more, may satisfy your urge to buyâand pay off in the long run.
5Get nakedâwell, not you, the doll! Los Angeles doll expert, author and collector Christopher Varaste is especially a fan of fashion dolls, such as âBarbieââand he says, âIf you like fashion dolls, look for nude dolls.â He suggests that collectors can always pick up the matching fashion laterâoften at a reduced priceâto piece it all together.
6Get creative. Along Varasteâs lines of piecing together a doll and a fashion, why not get creative and reinvent a doll you already have. Tired of the way that fashion doll is dressed? Buy or make a new outfit, and try it on with a new wig, repaint the face (if you have the skills), or simply re-accessorize or display the doll in another way. It will become an entirely different dollâand your creativity will not only take your mind off money, it may surprise you!
7Go online. No oneâs knocking the traditional route of buying from reputable doll dealers, shops and shows, but bargains and opportunities can abound at online venues like eBay and Craigslist. Varaste says those who post dolls on Craigslist under âFor Saleâ may not be knowledgeable about what theyâre sellingâand that can work to a buyerâs advantage. âItâs the same as eBay and a doll sale used to be. You can find the best stuff,â he says, adding that he scored a few cases of vintage Barbie dolls and a 1950 âShirley Templeâ vinyl doll online. â[The sellers] were not really paying attention.â Weinstein cautions, however, that buyers shopping onlineâfrom unknown and sometimes unknowledgeable dealersâshould be aware of potential risks.
8Seek layaway. More doll dealers are offering payment plans, making it easier than ever to afford that new favorite doll. Shapiro is among those. âWe guide our collectors in careful collecting and have developed interest-free payment plans for stress-free collecting. Those collectors remain happy today and have collections to be proud of. Weinstein adds, âA lot of people are using layaway. Thatâs a way of dealing with the economy. Weâve been pretty flexible. We can usually find something in any budget,â he says, adding that his shop carries $20 to $30 Lee Middleton dolls, as well as Annette Himstedt originals for more than $1,000.
9Branch out. Dolls may be the meat of your collection, but donât overlook the side dishesâthe accessories. If the budget is tight, purchase a new outfit for one of your dolls instead of buying a new doll. Or, consider accessories, such as furniture or other dĂ©cor, for displaying your dolls. One Wisconsin Barbie collector decided to start a secondary collection of paper goodsâsuch as vintage Barbie books, paper dolls and the likeâthat set her back less than $100.
10Donât panic! Shapiro warns that even amid a tough economy, âCollectors should not go into a panic at any time and sell their collections. There is always regret when their special selections are no longer in their collections and cannot be easily obtained at a later date.â DOLLS writer Lauren Mikalov of New York, N.Y., adds, âDonât be scared to spend your money now. I think prices will go back up.â
In short, be smart. Remember that your hobby of doll collectingâwhile important and vital to your soulâis just part of your life. And it, too, can survive tough times if you make it a priority.
The optimistic Varaste concludes, âMy advice is very simple. This recession isnât forever. Collect what you love, but donât let the economy stop you from living your life.â
Trackback(0)TrackBack URI for this entry