Saturday, December 10, 2016

Why are American Girl dolls so expensive?

I am sure most of my friends have already decided that I am crazy for letting Skylar have American Girl.

I was once told by a person who was my friend that she would never spend that much for an American Girl, then she turned around and bought the Girl of the Year from American Girl. She said 1 doll is all they need. 

Sure, I don't even think dolls are a need per say. Who needs that kind of negativity in their life? LOL However in my family we have almost 40 American Girl brand dolls not including the mini dolls. We have 9 Girl of the Year dolls. We have 15 historical (two of Samantha), 4 custom dolls, 4 Bitty Twins, 7 Just Like You/My American Girl/ Truly Me dolls. 2 Our Generation that have never been played with. and 2 Play Wonder 18-inch doll, 1 Magic Attic doll. So, my friends or may think that is excessive... Especially when they see the retail price tag for $115-$120. The thing is I rarely pay retail for my dolls. I can't afford to. I do have limits to my collection. My rules are 1) If we can't take care of them then we don't get anymore. 2) We have certain items out of their collections we want to collect (Dolls, Meet Outfit, Birthday Outfit, their toy doll, and their Holiday dress). 3) I don't go buy a doll just because they just released it but after the Kanani craze I do try to get all the dolls before they retire so I don't have to spend over retail for that certain doll. Look at the secondary market prices for Kanani and McKenna dolls it is mind blowing. We do not own a Kanani because we got on to the AG scene after Kanani was archived. I haven't yet found a deal on her when I have the money to afford her. I haven't been lucky enough to score on that one but I have made several really good scores which I am very proud about not to sound braggy.. 

Anyways I digress.  So, if you take a big box store doll, let’s say Our Generation sold at Target and put her next to an American Girl- even an older American Girl you can literally feel the quality difference in their vinyl. It's like feeling the difference in cashmere compared to wool. You can look at their hair. The Target doll's hair is rooted where American Girl dolls have wigs on. Yes, I am biased overall I like the way the American Girl's look aesthetically more so than the Our Generation and My Life dolls. Some other brands are cuter than OG. I like the Madame Alexander line and the Play Wonder line. Even the Journey Girls tend to be cute and fashionable. I guess it's all in what you prefer isn't it though? American Girl is what I grew up with. American Girl is just as much part of my childhood as the Cabbage Patch craze of the 80's... Yes, I still have my first Cabbage Patch doll too.
Here is an example of three different brands of dolls. Skylar didn't start wanting 18 inch dolls until she was 9 years old. She knew if she ever ever couldn't take care of one I wouldn't let her have one so she took care of most of her dolls. Can you see the difference in their hair? Yes all three haven't been brushed before I took this picture so there was no favoritism toward the American Girl brand.  My Pleasant Company 20ish year old Samantha still has her curls. I was hesitant about when Skylar should get her first AG because I knew the vinyl could be delicate. It can get rub marks and bruising. Since she started with her first American Girl which I got off of Craigslist for $60 thankfully none of them have incurred major damage at her hands. Not many are scuffed, abused, or maimed. One of my best friends whose daughter had one long before Skylar told me they are so delicate but I haven't had that issue myself with the American Girl brand. I have seen a lot of abused American Girl dolls but none have incurred abuse under my watch.  

In my opinion (completely of my opinion) we come from a disposable society of disposable diapers, TV's are cheaper to replace than repair and dolls are no exception. $30 Our Generation dolls once they get makeup on their face, dye transfer from their clothes or matted hair you can simply give them away or throw them in the trash. Then just go to Target and get the newest model. American Girl dolls have a long-standing history of quality, great customer service and great secondary market prices. So, if you pay retail for an American Girl and take decent care of her you have an 80% chance of reselling her for as much as you paid for her or more. Can you do that with Our Generation? My Life? Or even the Madame Alexander 18 inch dolls? It's not likely you can sell one of those for $100.

Hey I know what's expensive. I know the value of money. I am not rich as a matter of fact I was a widow and a single mother for 4 years living off of welfare and working two jobs supporting my daughter. I have learned the art of bargain shopping due to not having enough money to barely cover groceries or bills much less have an excessive amount like having $100 in my bank account to blow on a doll. I am married now and my husband has a great job and right now I couldn't afford an American Girl from the store.. I have less than $100 in my bank account at this moment. 

We have about 39 dolls and I can probably count on less than my 10 fingers that we paid retail for these dolls. Most were bought below retail. I haven't been the lucky one to find American Girl at a thrift store like Goodwill but I have seen brag posts on the AG groups of those who do. I guess the deal is if you're on a budget or you just really don't see the value in spending retail on a doll you have to change your mindset and realize that their is a jewel in the rough with a doll that may be in your price range. First of all almost any American Girl doll can be repaired at the American Girl doll hospital and they can make her look good as new. Sure sometimes that comes at a cost but depending on the services a inexpensive second hand doll + American Girl Doll hospital visit can still be cheaper than buying her brand new. Or there are plenty of resources on this blog and all over the web on how to make your doll look like a star yourself :)

I got this Josefina for $25 at a yard sale.. I believe the previous owner had posted her for sale in my AG group and had her out at the yard sale the next morning. I traveled 30-40 minutes to the yard sale and grabbed her up. She has had her hand chewed off by some shameful puppy more than likely but I ordered her a replacement part on Ebay and I have watched a youtube video on how to replace limbs (link here). Her outfit is just missing her undies she even has her hair bows in. She's gorgeous otherwise and now my husband's favorite doll. So Total cost for Josefina is $40
This is a Just Like you doll from the 90's I believe and she came with extra outfits for $25 the only flaw is her silvered eye which is free to fix with AG. We have opted to not fix any silvering eyes unless they are really bad.

Mia and Nicki both go for well over $100 on Ebay each as they are archived and have been for some time. I got them for $60 with extra stuff for BOTH. Both were nude but I have Mia's full outfit anyways. Nicki's meet I am still working on as it hasn't been a priority I like her Gala Outfit better and I completed that outfit :)

I bought this Just Like you fairly cheap under $50 and just had to replace her wig as she had a haircut. I bought her original wig from the AG Facebook groups and I plan to glue it down myself. Good as new :)

If you're diligent and look (or even ask) on Craigslist, yard sale groups or the AG Boards you can find a good deal but seeing a doll with a scuff, ink mark on their limbs, loose or broken limbs, a bad wig or whatever see the beauty underneath and a few inexpensive repairs she can still be cherished by your little girl. 

Its true American Girl quality isn't what it used to be. It's still top rated as the company is still trying to survive in these hard times and people who think $100 is too much for a doll. An American Girl doll is meant to be played with from the time your daughter is a child and then passed down to her child and grandchild as I have several dolls over 20 years old and still in really beautiful condition. Price is really not the thing here. I buy Mattel Barbies for my daughter that aren't necessarily cared for like her American Girl that her brother now dunked in the tub numerous times and their hair is still relatively nice. a $12 Barbie you can get anywhere. So I don't think price is necessarily the issue.

So why chose American Girl?  1) Educational, 2) It could be an heirloom and an investment 3) an experience -going to the store 4) the dolls (GOTY and Historical) encounter challenges they overcome 5) quality 6) wholesome you won't find really skanky clothes on them 7) Equality 8) body self image... AND the doll hospital is available for all their repairs. Our Generation doesn't have a doll hospital because they are cheap enough to dispose of...

Here are some resources that may help you choose which brand to go with..

No comments:

Post a Comment