Thoughts on… Region Exclusive Dolls

Written on November 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Musings

It honestly seemed like everyone was bouncing off the walls over the idea of the Anna Sui Blythe collaboration doll (if you haven’t seen the promotional illustration yet for this doll, click here!), who is due to come out in January 2017. While I’ve gotten more selective with the additions that I make to my Blythe collection, I had the feelings of grabby hands when I first saw the doll’s illustration (much like what I felt when I first saw Devi Delacour’s promotional illustration images).


So what does this mean if a doll if region exclusive?

The doll is only officially sold/shipped to retailers within that region. In the case of the Anna Sui doll, it was reported by Tuesday that the doll is a Japanese exclusive. The doll will only be officially sold to retailers in Japan. Anyone outside of Japan will have to either a) travel to Japan to buy the doll, or b) buy it secondhand at a marked up price.

With the doll being region exclusive, and likely quite limited as it is a designer collaboration, the doll is likely to be quite expensive after everything is taken into consideration (cost of doll, mark-up, shipping, potential for customs/duties). A doll that is tentatively priced at 29,300¥ (~$265USD) might end up being closer to $500USD by the end of the purchase due to the difficulty in getting it to other countries, the cost of (registered, tracked) shipping, and just price inflation based on popularity.

As a fan of stock dolls (nearly all of my dolls are stock or mostly stock), I can see why the Anna Sui collaboration doll will be popular – when I first saw the images, I send it to my family to go “This is what I want for Christmas”. Now that I know that the doll is region exclusive, it makes it a lot more difficult (and more expensive) to justify the purchase. Of course, there will be those in the community who will rise to the challenge to bring that doll to areas outside of Japan (and truthfully, I do hope people are successful because I want to see this doll in person!).

Keep in mind that CWC pays for and licenses the right to use the Blythe trademark from Hasbro (an American toy company) and they pay for the licensing rights for Japan and Korea only. Hasbro utilizes their Blythe trademark in North America with the Littlest Pet Shop mash-up.

What do you think about region exclusive releases? Share your thoughts below!

5 Responses to “Thoughts on… Region Exclusive Dolls”

  1. Andi B. Goode AKA @andibgoode

    Junie Moon have said they’ll have a limited number for international customers 🙂

    But I think region exclusives are fine, if sometimes frustrating. Especially if the licensing just costs too much – I think Blythe is still a relatively niche product? So it may well just be too costly to license certain brands, etc., for an international market. I don’t think, as some have suggested, they do it just to make the doll more exclusive and therefore more expensive – they’re only going to get the retail price, after all, not the eBay markup. But I’m also not very business minded and don’t 100% understand all those nuances. Haha.

    I live in Australia so I’m very used to having limited access to dolls or other collectibles I want, though. It’s frustrating, for sure, but it doesn’t seem to happen very often at all with Blythe, comparatively speaking.

  2. Kirsten AKA @lady_kire

    I think region exclusives are fine. Yeah, it can be frustrating, but if it costs that much to have the license for certain brands, and it is uncertain if the international market will like it, it’s really hard to say if they’d make their money back. It’s like me trying to get some exclusive Hello Kitty collabs in Asia. If there’s no guarantee that international audiences know what Japanese brand that Hello Kitty is partnering with, I have little chance in getting it.

    When the My Melody girl came out, I thought her hair colour was nice. But for me personally, I don’t have a strong connection to My Melody. So learning that she was region exclusive didn’t really concern me as much.

  3. vlar says:

    Hate it! And it does beg the question as to why they’d want to do this anyway. Blythe has a lot of international fans who have elevated her to something well beyond the stock dolls. I also just don’t like it from a business and trade perspective. It’s bad enough legit retailers in the US and other countries can’t get Blythe wholesale to resell in their own shops, but to flat out say “Japan Only” is ill-advised and unseemly. Despite it all I still love that big eyed doll!

  4. Sam says:

    I have the opportunity to purchase one of these dolls, phew it’s expensive!!
    I know it’s limited edition but is it worth it? Do they hold their value?

    • Michelle AKA @blythelifecom

      I would never recommend someone to buy a doll in hopes that it’ll “hold” the value. Later down the line, who knows if the doll will still be sought after?

      However, given that it is a limited edition doll, chances are that you should at the very least be able to resell the doll for what you paid (especially if you keep all of the stock clothing/pieces and the box).

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