This is usually muttered by husbands when their wives are talking about getting their little ones a doll. It's also sometimes (very rarely, but once in a while) said by a person at a craft fair to their friend while looking at the dolls, usually loud enough for me to hear it.
So, why do the dolls cost as much as they do? Well, lets look at the time that goes into one of these sweeties.
Head making, shaping and covering 30 min.
Tracing, Sewing and cutting body 15 min.
Stuffing 15 min.
Assembly 1 1/2 hours.
Hair 2 to 2 1/2 hours (boys take a lot longer for the hair).
Face embroidery 20 minutes.
Clothing 1 to 2 hours (depending on what it is ).
Sweater knit about 3-4 hours.
Dressing, cutting hair, blushing, getting ready to ship 30 minutes.
So, a doll can take about 12 hours to make.. that's just the 'lady love' that goes into it. (Well- lady love minus John love... he makes all the heads!)
Now there are the supplies. I could get my wool for a better price. I know I can - but I am so incredibly anal about my supplies and what I use. The wool we use is from western Canada and comes from very happy and well taken care of sheep - it's even processed here! There is over a pound of wool in my 14" doll. Then there is my cotton knit for the 'skin' that I import in from the Netherlands, all my quilting fabrics for the clothing, and then the hair. I usually mix between 3 and 6 different yarns, we use all natural fiber yarns from mohair to alpaca. I use an insane amount of yarn for the hair. I'm not going to price it out because it is a tad embarrassing how much I spend in supplies, but you get the gist!
So there you have it. Keep in mind that these times are fast, I don't want any beginning dollmaker thinking - 'jeesh' it takes me 20 hours! What am I doing? It took me 20 hours too in the beginning. Myself and the girls have been doing this a while now. We've got callouses to prove it! Another thing to keep in mind is that you are helping families - you really are. There are 23 of us doing the clothing, sewing and knitting. We are a little group, this isn't a big company, we are a small company that really love and care about what we do, the people that work with us and our awesome customers. You are also helping to keep crafts alive in North America one doll at a time.
Thanks and peace out.