UPDATE 10/2016: The Makies brand seems to be dead right now. The site never re-opened and social media hasn’t been updated. As of this update, I am considering Makies out of business. Brands have been known to surprise us before and come out of oblivion, so you never know what will happen. But, for the time being, I would try to find a Makie second hand if you’re looking to add one to your collection. The fandom is still alive and well on Facebook, so I recommend searching Makies there and joining one of the fan groups.
If this first week of 2016 is any indication, it’s going to be a whirlwind year for doll collectors. Fresh off the heels of Mattel and their Monster High reboot fiasco, Makies has announced a quick change of their own. Operations are moving from the UK to the United States. Shocker, right? Part of the fun of Makies for me has always been that they weren’t produced by a US based company. Knowing this doll was printed and shipped from the UK made the wait for her very exciting. It was like my Makie was already having an adventure, even though she hadn’t yet arrived at my doorstep! On top of that, the 2 week shipping promise was usually on point, which is a very short wait for a custom doll from another country.
I first became acquainted with Makies back in November of 2013. A Facebook ad for Makies had popped up on the sidebar of my timeline and it stirred my curiosity. 3D printed dolls that you could design? How cool was that? Shortly after, I sent out an e-mail to Jen, who was the Communications Director at the time, asking for more information on the line. Honestly, I didn’t expect an e-mail back. Not many companies care about tiny blogs like mine. But surprisingly, shortly after sending the message, Jen replied back and answered all my questions. That’s when I realized that MakieLabs wasn’t your typical doll business. Since that original correspondence, I’ve tried to keep track of Makies and have tried to add one to my collection every few years. Most recently, I posted an interview with Christina, current Chief Marketing Officer, in an effort to understand some of the recent changes Makies has been going through this past six months.
The most recent bombshell from the company happened the other day, when the website displayed the following message: Makies are moving to America! Things are afoot and so the MakieLab is moving to the USA. The land of opportunity awaits. Will they be back online soon? Have they gone back to the future? Watch this space…
The line, “have they gone back to the future” makes me wonder if they’ve devised a way to keep the new price, but still have fully 3D printed bodies. The new plastic bodies they introduced a few months back look like they have a lot of kinks to work out still, so maybe they’re going back to the original concept of having your doll be 3D printed from head to toe? I’d be more than okay with that!
There are a few reasons why this move could be happening, but honestly, it’s all speculation at this point. All the company has officially posted is the blurb on the website. Does it have something to do with being accepted into the Disney Accelerator program for 2015, a program where they receive funding and mentorship? Maybe, but I don’t see any rule stating the companies need to be in the US full-time to be accepted. Could it be that the US has allowances for businesses that the UK doesn’t? I have literally no idea. It’s a huge question mark as to why this move is happening.
What I can safely deduce, though, is that most likely the move has very little to do with the fan base or competitive sales (US vs UK). There are a lot of collectors here in the States, but the UK collectors are far more boisterous about the line. In fact, most of the people I’ve talked with who own Makies are based somewhere in the UK, not the US. At least, that’s how it seems based on the doll shows I’ve attended with my Makies, where people tend to ask me lots of questions about them, because they have never heard of the line and/or weren’t sure if they could trust it.
The move itself is frustrating to me, because it seems to have come out of nowhere. Thank goodness I didn’t buy anyone gift cards this Christmas! With no re-opening date posted and no idea what this new Makie store will look like and offer, I would hate to think I gave someone a gift that they couldn’t use for who knows how long.
Those in the UK have even more reasons to be frustrated, I’d imagine, because I’ve heard the horror stories about the fees that are tacked onto packages from the US and elsewhere. I would hate for Makies to be hard to get in the country that they originated in. I also feel bad for the people who helped build MakieLabs (the brand), who may not be able/want to move their entire lives to the USA.
My hope is that MakieLabs will give us a bit more information as soon as they can. Collectors young and old would really like to know more about the future of the line or, at the very least, when the shop will reopen. And then there’s the weird boys in the website screenshot (ie: the guy with the beard). What’s the deal with him? I don’t dislike him, but I’m hungry for information.
What do you think of Makies and their move to the US? Pros? Cons? Share your thoughts in the comment area!