Blythe 101: A Guide for Newbies

Written on September 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article with tags:

Welcome to Blythe 101, part 1 of a 5 part series directed towards people who are new to Blythe!

In Blythe 101, I will be going over the shortened history of Blythe and how to go about buying your first Blythe.

History of Blythe
I clip ALL the things!! (Good grief...) Blythe first came out in 1972 from the toy company Kenner. They were produced for one year and disappeared from shelves after doing poorly on the market. One of the theories behind why Blythe didn’t do well on the market is because her features (oversized head and eyes, changing eyes) were deemed creepy by children.

This is Blythe by Gina Garen came out in 2000. The following year, the toy company Takara came out with the Neo Blythe dolls. They started producing Petites shortly after that and the Middie dolls in 2010. Takara has been successful in bringing Blythe into Japan and then into the international market after the following that came after the release of the This is Blythe book.

Ashton-Drake Galleries came out with their own reproduction Blythes, modelled very closely after the original Kenners. ADGs were produced from 2005-2008 and reproduced the original 1972 outfits, boxes and hair styles.

Hasbro introduced Blythe Loves The Littlest Pet Shop dolls in 2010, commonly referred to LPS Petites by collectors. The major difference between LPS Petites and Takara Petites is that the Takaras have sleep eyes (the eyes close when the doll is laying down) while the LPS eyes do not move.

Buying Your First Blythe
A lot of people buy their first Blythe online, either through the forums or a website like eBay. I bought my first Blythe in a retail store that had a few Blythes in stock and I picked the one that I did because she was the only one who was not priced higher than on eBay at the time.

Simply BUBBLE BOOM! Forums are a great way to go as you are more likely to find used dolls (second hand, gently used)  if you’re not too picky. Some fellow collectors also sell new dolls through the forums as well. Generally speaking, many fellow hobbyists will price their dolls to sell – generally not to make a profit.

On eBay, you could run into people who try to sell for a profit and those who overprice their items by several hundred. Be wary of high pricing, it doesn’t mean that they sell at those prices. If you’re truly interested in a specific stock doll, I would recommend watching the listings for the doll you want and seeing the prices that the auctions really end at. Doing your research for a Blythe is a good idea, considering the expense of one.

You can also find Blythes through online retailers. Some offer pre-orders for new releases and others carry releases that have already come out that they’re trying to sell. The thing with online retailers is that they’re less likely to mark down pricing for customs (which is the legitimate thing to do…) but also they’re not likely to haggle with you. You do have the option of haggling when you’re buying via the forums, if you feel comfortable doing it.

First meeting If you’re looking for your first Blythe doll, about half of the people that you meet will encourage you to buy a cheaper doll ‘just to see if you like Blythe’ and others will encourage you to buy the one that you really want. Some of the less expensive stock dolls include the Simply Vanilla and Simply Chocolate dolls (both FBL). Some of the RBLs are still fairly inexpensive (eg. Simply Lilac, Simply Peppermint) as well as some EBLs (eg. Love Mission, Very Cherry Berry/Cherry Berry). It all really depends on what you want to get. I’d recommend getting the doll that you want, provided that you can stomach the cost. If I had went out and gotten a Kenner for my first Blythe, I probably would have had sticker shock over the final bidding that it would close on. So there is no “perfect” first Blythe for everyone. Some people do get Kenners as their first Blythe, others get the cheapest Blythe that they can find and others find a Blythe somewhere between those two.

Some things to note about Blythe is that the head does not seem as big in photos as it does in person. I thought that the head was massive when I first saw her in person. I’m used to the head-to-body ratio now (and other dolls look strange to me, or just ‘off’ somehow), and they’re quite charming. And it’s okay if you don’t like Blythe all that much after seeing her in person – some people just like Blythe to look at in photos on the internet and that’s okay too.

15 Responses to “Blythe 101: A Guide for Newbies”

  1. Rhea says:

    This series is really helpful for beginners, thanks Michelle!

  2. Goddessence says:

    Thanks so much. I am in the market for a Takara Blythe. My faves are Casual Affair and Raspberry Sorbet. I think it is definitely their hair style and colour, but I love their fashion looks too. I’ve got searches in eBay to notify me when those dolls come up. There are those dolls available right now but they are priced out of my reach – mainly due to our disastrous AU$ exchange rate. I’ll keep waiting till the price is right.
    In the meantime I’ll learn as much as I can about Blythe because I’m not even sure I’d be happiest with these exact dolls. LOVE the hair. Love the fashion. But those can be changed.
    My question: I want the best working durable eye mechanism. I don’t want the smirky smile. I don’t know if I’ll like shiny but I don’t want customised. All the info is still confusing to newbie me so wondering can you recommend dolls that fit my criteria?
    Thanks so much for all the info and any help you offer ??

    • Michelle AKA @blythelifecom

      Pretty much all of the Takara Blythe dolls should have a working eye mechanism. I definitely think that you should opt for a doll that you prefer (like Casual Affair or Raspberry Sorbet). The dolls aren’t cheap (as for poor exchange rate, I’m in Canada so I know what you speak of!), my recommendation is to save up and look both on eBay and on Blythe Facebook groups and maybe you’ll get lucky. 🙂

      Welcome to the crazy world of Blythe!

  3. Goddessence says:

    Thanks Michelle. Apparently not all eye mechanisms are the same according to articles I’ve read. After a certain year Takar redesigned the eye mechanism to be “lighter and easier to manipulate”. Do you know about that? Thanks for your reply. Appreciated

    • Michelle AKA @blythelifecom

      If you’re not looking to customize the doll, that really won’t matter. If you are looking to customize the doll, I would look into a doll that is in either the RBL, RBL+, or FBL bases because those are the easiest to take apart.

  4. Goddessence says:

    Thank Y?u

  5. Goddessence says:

    I just bought original Very Vicky with 2 extra outfits, extra shoes etc and original packaging box for $110.00 from a downsizing collector. She is not my ideal Casual Affair or Raspberry Sorbet but I can get them later when I have more $$ to spend. I wanted a blonde with a side part anyway, but didn’t know which one so I guess she is okay.
    Is that an okay price to have paid?
    Thanks for your help ????

  6. Karen says:

    Dear Blythe lovers!
    I am new to this hobby and have just received a brand new Takara Neo Blythe doll in box. Her hair is very heavily coated in wax or oil.Can up you advise me on how to remove this as it is so greasy. I have tried very hot water and dish soap twice in a row and it is still very greasy. Am I missing something important in hair care?

    • Michelle AKA @blythelifecom

      If you’ve already washed it with hot water and dish soap, chances are that any actual grease or oil has been washed out! It may just be the texture/feel of the hair. Which doll is it? I have a Love Mission and her hair has always felt oily and greasy, despite being washed. It’s just the materials used.

  7. Cathy says:

    Hello. I just purchased my first ever MIB Takara Blythe Bohemian Peace. I am looking forward to a lot of fun. I don’t know if she is an FBL, RBL or RBL+. Can you tell me? Also I am seeing some interchangeable head caps with hair. Will these fit my Neo Blythe? I am still learning so much.

    Thank you,

  8. 1minniebunny says:

    Would you please list some of the Doll Forums that sell Blythe?
    Thank you for this very informative blog for us newbies!

  9. Mrs Duffy says:

    Thank you so much for making this post as it is absolutely brilliant as a continualreference point to beginners and established collectors. Brilliant! 🙂

Leave a Reply