Thursday, January 23, 2014

Via-E Alexis Doll: A Collector's Review


First of all, I want to emphasize that this is a collector's review, and that this doll is not intended at all for collectors, but for little girls. Okay, disclaimer out of the way, let's get started!

If you haven't heard of her, Alexis is a new doll in the 18" category, made by the Via-E company. The company is newer, and I got a "first run" Alexis, which the collector in me couldn't resist.
Meet Alexis

Alexis is fully jointed and made completely of vinyl. As a collector, this is a huge selling point for me, since I love being able to pose my dolls the way I want for photos and whatnot. She comes in an outfit, which I happen to think is absolutely terrible. I love cats, but this just doesn't do it for me. I'm sure little girls love it, but the only piece of her "meet" outfit that I like is the boots. And when I say I like them, I mean I love them. 
John Wayne ain't got nothin' on her fringe game...

The boots are really high quality, and the zippered back makes them super easy to get off and on. I will definitely be pairing these boots with some other outfits later in Alexis's life. Since I hated her original outfit, I had to buy an extra outfit, into which I promptly changed her. 
Alexis in the Loving Sao Paulo outfit

The outfit has a dress, a reversible vest, a bandanna, and ribbon sandals. The dress is tagged Carpatina, which I'm still trying to work out (I'm not sure if Via-E purchased some old stock, or they have a deal with Carpatina, or what, but I would think they would be tagged Via-E). One thing I really like about this company is how much they stress learning and creativity, particularly because I'm a teacher. The dress is designed to be styled in many different ways. Why would I care about this as a collector? Well, I am one of those collectors who doesn't sew very well, so my dollies usually only get new outfits if I purchase them. The fun thing about this outfit is I can switch it up and it feels like a new outfit.
Reversing the vest, and using the bandanna as a belt

I really appreciate this versatility in the outfit, and it's easy to create the new looks. Another thing that's striking about Alexis is the attention to detail. 
Separated big toe, and killer pedi!

The mani to match.

Alexis's big toe is separated from the rest of her foot, allowing her to wear more realistic footwear. I love this touch and think it adds so much personality to the doll for such a small detail. Alexis also has a great mani and pedi, and has blushing painted on in all the right places. For a $95 doll, it is really hard to figure out how much profit could have been made from this first run. You are getting a lot of small details and high quality for that $95. You won't see an AG with blushing on her hands and feet, and especially not a mani/pedi. Her face mold is also full of character. If you're looking to add something new, fun, and different to your 18" collection, Alexis is a good choice, particularly for the money. 
Side view of her face mold

Alexis's face mold is very different. My mom said, "I don't like her, she has a snout." Well, she does, sort of, but I think it's precious and it adds some diversity to the Sea of Sameness, where the rest of the 18" world seems to be drowning. Alexis has rooted hair, which I generally don't prefer, but on her it's quite nice. The hair is high quality, and easy to brush. The color is also very complementary to the doll's skin tone. There were some manufacturing issues with the doll's hair originally, and Via-E sent them back to the factory to have more hair sewn into the head. 
Back of the hair

In all of the confusion, according to a Facebook post made by Via-E, the dolls' hair were never trimmed in the factory. Alexis was actually supposed to have a couple of inches less of hair, but I have decided to leave mine like she is and not trim it up. I think it's gorgeous and long, and I will be able to make quite a nice Katniss braid when I get around to it. 

The last thing I want to say about Alexis is not actually about her, but about the the company, Via-E. The lady who founded the company is named Ellen, and she's very transparent about everything Alexis through Via-E's Facebook page. During the production process, she constantly kept everyone updated on what was going on in the factory. Even as an adult collector, this made the excitement palpable, and I felt connected to the doll before she ever arrived on my doorstep. She also frequently posts activities, games, and creative things that can be done with the Alexis doll. While I don't normally do any of these things, as a teacher, I think that shows what a commitment Via-E has to its customers, and to the children who have Alexis dolls. One last commendation is that Via-E even offers a discount for good grades.
10% discount for good grades!

But please Via-E, it's "I before E, except after C", so hopefully they'll fix that "receive" on the good grades image, because that drives me nuts! 

Does anyone else out there have an Alexis doll? What are your thoughts? Please leave them in the comments!

Obsessed with Engel Puppe Disney Dolls


So the title says it all. I'm completely obsessed with these dolls. I have been trying to collect them all, and have added two to the collection in the last couple of months. First, let me present Alice:

Now, you may be saying, "Wait a sec, that's missing something...". Well, yes, she is missing the embroidery on her apron. Let me explain. I finally got so tired of waiting for an Alice to appear for sale, I contacted the Engel Puppe company directly. I asked if they happened to have any of the dolls or outfits left over from the Disney Parks. Mr. Engel wrote me back and told me that, unfortunately, the only thing they had left were some of Alice dresses that had not yet been embroidered, but he would be happy to make me an Alice doll and put her in the dress. Of course, I said yes!! 
Markus Engel's signature on my Alice

I was thrilled to be able to get this doll custom made and signed especially for me. If you have never ordered from Engel Puppe directly, I highly recommend them. The customer service is great, and the quality of the doll is incredible. There is actually only one issue I have with the dolls, and that is their inability to stand on their own. Otherwise, they're absolutely perfect!

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I found this beauty for sale. 

She loves Minnie, I love Minnie, it was a match made in heaven. 

She was a little dirtier than some of the other dolls I've gotten, so I washed her dress in ice cold water. I was really afraid the red would run into the white polka dots. I didn't even think about the black bleeding into the collar, which it did. Before it dried, I used some OxyClean and was able to rinse all the black ink out of the collar, then I blow dried it so the still damp bodice wouldn't run into it anymore. Worked like a charm. 

 I'm so happy with my additions to the collection, and eventually, hopefully I'll have them all!