Why are reborns so expensive?

I get asked this a lot. But worse, I also get asked for freebies. Or deeply discounted babies. Babies for less than I’d ever pay to even buy the sculpt itself, let alone all the extras. It’s for this reason, I felt it time to update my FAQ & this age old reborn question:

So here we go: Why are reborns so expensive?

Here is a rough breakdown of some of the materials and costs involved in making a custom reborn doll

-Basic vinyl kit of arms, legs and head – these can cost anything from $40 (a sculpt from Bountiful Baby – not their Real Born line) to $210. The average sculpt for me costs about $140 with taxes & shipping. All of BB’s I have to import from the US and I always get duty fees which makes an average BB sculpt about $90 something when shipped. I have also had to import sculpts from overseas.  I’ve bought from Australia before for a custom order too! And believe me, shipping & duties can be more than the cost of the doll kit.

-Doe suede body – $9 – 19 depending on size and make. I like the quality bodies because they stand the test of time and look the most realistic on the doll. If a torso or ball joints are involved this is often $50+ and may involve needing additional hook tools to assemble.

-Eyes – German glass eyes are $50+ depending on where I buy and how I need them shipped & again, duties.

-Hair – I root with Slumberland mohair, which is one of the best mohairs out there. It is $35 for every half ounce. A head of firm vinyl can easy break or blunt half a dozen rooting needles during the process.

-Glass beads for weighting – for about 10lbs, it cost me about $40. So each baby, give or take, is another $35 of glass. And then there is polyfil. About a half a small bag for one baby.  There will also be cable ties to secure the limbs in place, and materials such as felt or e6000 glue.

– Earth magnets. About 3 per baby. For their paci and inside their mouths. And with baby girls, they also get an extra magnet for a hair bow.

– Layette – the clothing and items they go home with. I send a 3 piece outfit with each baby, sometimes this is two onesies & pants, other times a three piece dress or sweater set. I also include a sleeper. A custom knit hat. Pacifier & hair bow (or headband). Birth certificate, diapers, and a receiving blanket. I also include a scent wafer and if I have them, baby is tied up in a ribbon – gifts are wrapped. My average layette is $50-100 as everything is brand new and chosen to compliment each baby.

So therefor, the average baby costs me about $300+ to make.

And this still doesn’t include paints, brushes, thinners, varnishes, glazes, palettes, sponges, glues, mod podge, prisma pencils, shipping boxes, printer ink, paper, bubble wrap, oven cost, energy bill from my oven cost & lighting, or all my time and skill put into each baby.

For me, it takes me 2 weeks to reborn a sculpt from start to finish. I save time by painting four at once so I can constantly move babies between bakes, bake, cool, paint, bake, cool, etc. And an additional 5-9 days to root a head from start to finish.

Then photography, box packing, shipping an extras like Etsy or ebay fees, and paypal fees, etc.They are truly a labour of love and a work of art!

So, this is why I cannot, no matter how much I would love to, offer discount or free babies. I just can’t. I do however offer affordable reborns at a very high quality, for a fraction of the cost you might find them on ebay. And in a timely fashion. And I always offer layaway too!🙂

About Shaylen Maxwell

Custom Reborn Artist, Portrait Artist, Writer, Editor, Momma of two (Sneaky & Meekly)
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