Well, it's been a long time, hasn't it? I keep thinking about using this blog, again, but I haven't been sure how or what to use it for. I've also been a bit intimated as most blogs, these days, seem to have high-end fashion magazine quality photos and I just don't have the energy nor the inclination to produce those at present. But I decided to test the waters again and focus mostly on my toy collection(s) and cosplay over here. All of that leads to what inspired today's post!
One thing I get asked a lot (especially about my Enid Coleslaw doll) is 'Where did you get that?' so I thought I'd do a post on where I get my toys. The immediate answer is 'anywhere I can!' I'm always looking, online and off, for toys to add to my ever-growing collection. But that's not a helpful answer so I've compiled an annotated list of where I do my looking.
I won't go into too much detail on where I buy my Blythes as there is already this great post on the topic, so if you want advice specifically on purchasing a Blythe, I'd check that post out. Everywhere I've bought one online is listed there.
Also, I won't go into whether or not supporting certain companies or buying particular products is ethical, or not. It's an important conversation to have but I also think a lot of that is very personal and decided by each individual (though being informed is important, of course).
One other point is that not all of these options are accessible to everyone but I won't go over that, either. As I said, it's just a guide of where I buy, in hopes it might be helpful.
At one time, I must have had 20 or so saved searches set up on eBay that I would check daily to see if anything I was looking for popped up. These days, I just check occasionally because I'm trying to sort out my doll room before I buy too much more. But eBay is, nonetheless, a goldmine for collectors. It can be a minefield, too, dodging unscrupulous sellers (or buyers, on the other end of the transaction) but I've never had any real trouble on there. I try to buy mostly from sellers with nothing below a 99% rating and always make sure to read the negative reviews, gauging if buyers are just being ridiculously unfair or if there is truly an issue. I usually look for vintage dolls on eBay but have bought Blythes and other new collectibles, as well.
Keeping search terms simple or trying variations of wording are the best ways to find anything, I've found. And I always try to see if the seller has more things I'm interested in, to save on postage (which, unfortunately, doesn't work with the blasted global shipping program - I avoid any sellers who use that completely).
I used to use only to buy vintage clothes on etsy but there are so many different collectibles to be found on there as well. I now use it to find vintage dolls as well as new handmade clothes for my Blythes (one day I might do a post on my Blythe clothes collection).
I always select the option to show only listings that are already set up to ship to Australia as it's just easier than messaging back and forth, for me.
If you are interested in fake Blythes, I would suggest Aliexpress over eBay as it's cheaper. I've never had an issue with anything I've bought on there before. I've also bought doll clothes and other bits and pieces.
I try not to buy a lot from Amazon but sometimes it's my only option as particular retailers don't ship internationally, and it's easier to get it from Amazon than fiddling about with mail redirecting. I tend to buy playline and collector Barbies that don't make it to Australian shelves (or which I'm too impatient to wait for). My latest purchase was the 50th Anniversary Star Trek Barbies, which I am anxiously awaiting.
Buying locally is my preferred method, for many reasons. For one, it cuts down on shipping costs. Secondly, when they're also locally owned businesses, I feel better for supporting them. And, lastly, I'm too impatient for online shopping, sometimes!
The most obvious place to look for toys is, not surprisingly, toy shops! Of course, this depends on what kind of toys you are collecting but I've definitely bought plenty of pieces of my collection(s) from Toys "R" Us and Toyworld in the past. If I'm looking for new playline toys, I'll also check places like Target, Kmart, Big W and pretty much anywhere that sells toys, just to compare prices.
If I can, I prefer to frequent local collectible shops, such as Kollectable Kaos and Mad Zombie. Kollectable Kaos sells Barbie as well as the usual sorts of toys these collectible places usually stock.
Op-shops have probably been my greatest source of toys, locally. I've been lucky to find some really great things at various places over the years. But it does take dedication and a lot of time (as well as being at the right place at the right time) to build up a collection this way.
The Mega Toy Fair is the only one I frequent, which happens annually. I got some really good items this year! Checking for local toy fairs is a good idea for the avid collector. A quick google search might be a good place to start.
Markets are few and far between over here, these days, but there are still a couple of permanent markets running (such as the Fisherman's Wharf Markets) as well as the occasional event market. Checking local markets is a must for the bargain hunter, though.
I suppose this is also online, but as I have never bought anything that requires postage from there, I decided to include it under local. I think I've only bought one or two things from Gumtree but I do check it every now and then to see if there's anything worth taking a look at.
I don't visit garage sales very often but they are another option for the toy hunter! I've found a few things at them in the past, but I generally don't have the energy for them or feel too awkward to look around.
Whew, that's a lot of places, isn't it? I think it's fair to say I've got my toy-dar on everywhere I go. But hopefully this post was somewhat helpful. Oh, and on the subject of my collection(s), you can check out this 'Talking Toys' post at Lemon Freckles, that I did a while back.