Monday, January 20, 2014

Review of 2014 Tonner West Coast Luncheon

I had a great time at the Tonner Doll Company and Wilde Imagination luncheon this year!  This is the second year for this event, and I went last year, too.

We lined up for registration a little before 9 am.  There was a coffee fueling stand featuring Starbucks to keep us busy while waiting, but a few pastries would have been nice.  I bet some attendees really got up early to drive in and be there by 9 am, missing breakfast.  Still, a decent cup of coffee was just what the doctor ordered, as far as I was concerned.

Amelia: the check-in mascot
I didn't pre-order any of the dolls this time, so the wait to get into the room was a little long.  I did have a chance to say hello to friends and acquaintances and check out the show dolls as everyone opened their boxes.  The new joints on Patsy look great!

After choosing our seats, we rushed to get first pick of the sales tables.  Here's a quick peak at some of their offerings.


This Basic Pru is the one I let get away-- I decided not to get her while I waited in a super long line.  But I did get my first Amelia Thimble!  She is a basic, so she needs clothes, and maybe eyelashes, too.

After checking out the sales, I headed over to the new line preview.  Last year, photos were prohibited, but we could take pictures this year.  So I have photos to share with you.  Most of these dolls already have promo photos released, but sometimes it's nice to see other photos of the dolls that are not so staged and shopped.

 I have completely fallen for Patience!  She has and oversized head and the old flirty eyes-- they are weighted and move in reaction to the tilt of her head.  She's got the same, very posable body as Marley and Hermoine Granger (12 inch child body).  I love all of the offerings in this line so far.  And these new ones are great, too! There are 2 dressed dolls- one is a take on Red Riding Hood and the other is called Prom, but I think she is Totally Audrey.  And I LOVE the white and pink coat set-- I pre-ordered that one-- it's just an outfit.  Her outfit first so far.

 These are the Sad Sally dolls.  They are resin, ball-jointed dolls from Wilde Imagination.  I don't have one of these yet, but I really like them.  I hope to get one soon.  I pre-ordered a basic one.

These are the new basic Ellowynes.  There were more dolls in this line, but I didn't get pictures of everything. 
 And Tonner is doing a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz for the film's 75th anniversary this year.

A very sparkly Wicked Witch.  This dress is wonderful!

This is another Wicked Witch dressed doll.  And there are 2 basics pictures in the bottom of the group picture.

 There were only two offerings in the Patsy line this time.  There is a bedtime sleepwear outfit and a new doll Half Pint.

Robert said that Half Pint is a new sculpt and has a storyline to go with the Patsy line.  He hinted that we will be seeing more of her.

 These are new offerings in the Tiny Kitty line.  This line will be revisited this year with new dolls and outfits.
Robert mentioned that he really like to design outfits for the 22 inch American Model dolls.  The doll in the pink chemise is the new Basic doll.  And the white ensemble is a separate outfit.

 There were a lot of dolls in the Evangeline Ghastly line on display.  I guess that she is one of their most popular dolls.   I only have one dressed doll from this line. I do really like these dolls, but I can't collect everything!
But I especially love this doll out of the collection.  The detail in the outfit and the face-up is really astonishing.  So beautiful and delicate.  And gold. . . 

And last of all-- these are the two, tiny Amelia Thimbles that they brought to the event.

For lunch, we were served salad and bread with chicken, mashed potatoes and vegetable.  And the Westin has a very nice iced tea.  During the lunch, I began to regret not getting the event exclusive Patsy, so I went to buy one.  However, I got distracted and bought an Ahoy Patience instead!  So now I have two.  I really love them.  I think that I will start to sew for them.

After lunch, Robert presented a program recapping last year's events and discussing the coming year.  The dolls on display are only a portion of this year's offerings.  And Wilde will be debuting their line this week.  Here are a few of the highlights.

A very fruitful and pleasant relationship continues with DC Comics, so there will continue to be more in that line.

The new reproductions of Sindy are hotly anticipated by collectors.  But none were at the event on display, which disappointed some attendees.  Robert cited problems with the recast process as the reason behind the long wait.  It sounded like a tedious process and a current source of frustration making molds of old factory molds.

The company is still in negotiations with Carmen Dell'Orefice.  Carmen recently signed with Loreal cosmetics for their European campaign, but it seems that Tonner and Carmen are still in negotiations at this point.

 And here's a surprise. . . licensing has been secured for dolls based on The Big Bang Theory.  He will be releasing two this year, with more coming until all of the characters are completed.  Wow!  Huh?  I didn't see that one coming.  I do like the show, so this will be interesting.  And I wonder what kinds of cross-over interest there might be in these dolls?

Another surprise for me was Patsyette.  She will be a reduced head mold of Patsy on the Tiny Betsy body.

Robert also said that in this and the coming years, he will be moving away from licensing.  And there are plans to revisit past popular lines.

Finally, he concluded with a list of the year's coming events.  It looks to be a busy schedule!

 There was a surprise at the end of the day. . .  A Factory Sale!!!!!!!!!!!!

the factory sale
We went up 2 tables at a time and were allowed to chose 2 dolls per person.  Each group was allotted 2 minutes to make their choices at the tables.  After everyone had a chance for first pics, then the tables were opened up for free choosing.

I ended up getting 3 more dolls!  ---  Glinda complete set, Basic Marilyn, and Little Miss Matched!

 At the close of the day, Robert signed dolls for us.  I had him sign all the dolls I bought that day (aside from Amelia, who is Joe's doll), plus a doll I brought -- the introductory Patience.

This is a very fun event, and I look forward to attending again next year.  Robert did seem to be very open to the idea of this as a regular annual event.  Some people at the event were pushing for a longer weekend type of event with several parties.  But I think that it is perfect as it is: a whole day of shopping, food, presentation and connecting with friends.

Judy (left) and Ms Cholong (right)

At the end of the day I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Judy of the Doll Peddlar and Ms. Cholong of BJD fame.  I really recommend the Doll Peddlar-- it's a great source for all kinds of dolls from a dealer you can trust.  I have shopped there for years.  She can usually offer great advice on size and options.  And Ms. Cholong is organizing a Korean BJD event weekend in Los Angeles in April.  It looks pretty exciting and very affordable for a multiple day event.  It's exciting to finally have another BJD event on the West Coast again.  I hope that I can make it to that.

Robert Tonner with my Patience.

See you next year!