Robert Tonner announced that he would be cutting his ties with the Phyn & Aero brand March 15, 2019. Tonner has been in the news since the start of the year when he announced the closing of his eponymous Tonner Doll Company. Tonner has been a force to be reckoned with in the doll world for decades, and his decision to shutter Tonner Dolls sent shudders through the doll-collecting community. Today’s announcement is equally as surprising.
“As much as I’ve always loved manufacturing, on-going production issues have continued to wear me down, and as a result, Phyn & Aero will cease operating as of March 31,” the announcement read. “Please know, when I refer to production issues, I’m referring to continuing rising costs and ever-growing lead times. I’ve always been proud of the fine work done by the factories — they care about the product every bit as much as I have — and the wonderful people we work with are as disappointed as I. Please know that this was not an easy decision for me or for us, nor a decision made lightly.”
According to Tonner, the Phyn & Aero website will remain active until the middle of April, allowing collectors to screen-shot images and descriptions for their files. In the meantime, fans of Phyn & Aero can shop the site and can secure discounted merchandise. Recently arrived dolls, such as Nancy Ann designs, Kadira, Lila, and Annora will still be available for purchase. In many instances, their prices will be reduced. Because of the company’s closing, refunds will not be permitted and returns will no longer be accepted. This is a golden opportunity for collectors who had hesitated about buying a Phyn & Aero doll to finally make that pocketbook decision.
Fellow Phyn & Aero designer Andrew Yang will continue to work on his Kadira doll. He will continue to develop new clothing, accessories, and designs for the shapely creation. Yang can be reached at his gmail address for orders: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tonner, likewise, will continue to remain active in the doll world. Currently he plans on overseeing a website that will act as a cyber portfolio and will give visitors a glimpse at his past handiwork and his future plans. It is not operational as of press time, but will hopefully launch before the end of March.
In addition to his roberttonnerdesign.com address, Tonner will have a design store on 3D-printing site Shapeways. Working under the handle of R. Tonner Design, Tonner will be offering clothing, jewelry, accessories, wigs, costume enhancements, and historical foundations for his newest doll creation, Rayne.
Despite the fact that there will no longer be a Tonner Doll Company or a Phyn & Aero, Tonner has high hopes that his 16-inch fashion doll Rayne will strike a chord with adventuresome collectors. According to Tonner: “Rayne arrives in a basic set of sport underwear and shoes, just like a normal basic doll. However, that’s where the similarities with other commercial fashion dolls ends. How you dress and style her is up to you.”
Purchasers of the Rayne doll will be able to go to Shapeways and custom order the doll’s wardrobe and accessories. As Tonner explained it, “Pick the accessory you’d like for Rayne and order it in the material that suits Rayne’s style. How about a pair of purple pumps? Or a transparent, formfitting breastplate? Jewelry in real gold? Sure, why not? You can even order a plastic accessory that you can paint, decorate, or even bedazzle! It’s easy and fun to do.”
New styles will constantly be added to the Shapeways inventory, and once ordered and paid for, the completed creations will be shipped directly to the customer’s home.
The beginning months of 2019 have been a whirlwind for Robert Tonner and his associates, and he will continue to notify his followers about his upcoming plans via his soon-to-launch website and Instagram account (@tonner.robert). In addition to his doll work, Tonner has been tapped to design handbags and jewelry for real-life women consumers. He has also been hired to design dolls as a freelance consultant for myriad companies. Stay connected with DOLLS magazine to learn more as the Robert Tonner story develops.