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Custom Plushie Conundrum


Overdrive
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I've been a closet fan of MLP:FiM for a little while, and it was only recently I let the cat (or pony) out of the bag about my Brony side. I've only recently begun collecting merchandise, and I have a particular soft spot for plushies.

 

I am absolutely impressed and in love with the 4DE Twi and Pinkie I bought; I think they're absolutely fabulous and by far my favorite pieces of merchandise.

 

My problem is I really want a high quality Dashie plush, and what I mean by high quality is 4DE quality or equivalent, something extremely show accurate. I've been looking at a lot of custom/commissioned plushies, but I'm not really in the position to shell out a decent amount of money for one.

 

I just don't understand why custom/commissioned plushies are so expensive. I do realize that they are extremely detailed, and aren't the smallest in size, not to mention they're usually constructed on refined, private designs. I also can't imagine the costs for materials are that much either. I'm just think that the wonderful and creative artists who craft these masterpieces could make a bit more money if they lowered their prices a bit.

 

My question is, should I wait until 4DE releases their new plushies, or should I try to find a custom plushie that is somewhat affordable?

  • Brohoof 1
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Being someone with a couple custom plushies and a friend who makes them, let me try and explain why they are as expensive as they are... 

 

First of all, there's the cost of materials.  Minky costs about $15-20 a yard after shipping, so for a pony like Rainbow Dash where there are several colors, materials can end up costing a bit of money.  On top of this they have to pay for the other materials like filling.  Then they have the start up costs... most of them have to buy not one, but two sewing machines.  One of them is a machine for actually sewing the plush, and the other is a separate machine designed for embroidery.  Some have one machine for both jobs, but since they can't do anything else while the embroidery is going on, they usually need two.

 

Then you have the patterns.  The patterns are extremely hard to develop and perfect, and they go through lots of materials testing out pattern designs to try and perfect it.  On top of this, any character they haven't done before like an OC will require custom mane and tail designing which adds a bunch of extra work to the project.  A plush maker can spend months working out patterns before they have one that is good enough to actually start selling their work.

 

And then you have the time that goes into actually making the plush.  It's not as simple as just cutting things out and sewing them together... embroidery alone can take several hours of time, and while it's largely an automated process you still have to babysit the machine to make sure it doesn't run out of thread or get stuck or anything.  Then you have to cut out all the pieces perfectly, sew them together, and stuff it.  All of those steps are much harder than they sound... if there's just one clump of stuffing that's not done right it'll throw off the plush and they have to start over.

 

The whole process of making a plush by hand is a very long, time consuming process.

 

To put it in perspective, my friend vended at Bronycon and began making his plushies about 6 months before the convention.  He already had his basic patterns for bodies, but had to do a lot of refining and perfecting, along with some mane and tail pattern designing.  He worked hard and ended up getting 17 plushies done in that 6 months which means he spent over a week working on each one.

 

Also keep in mind that plush makers are trying to make art, not just a toy to play with.  Most of them treat them more like sculptures that are meant to be displayed than something to hug, so limiting the amount they make keeps the pieces as a form of art instead of just a mass-produced item identical to a thousand others that they sold.

 

At the end of the day what it boils down to is that it's a very long, tedious process that's very expensive.  Sure they could sell more plushies if they lowered their prices, but that would mean they couldn't spend as much time on them, and most plush makers simply aren't willing to sacrifice quality for the sake of extra profit.

 

Now I'm not saying custom plushies are right for everybody, because they aren't.  I just wanted to explain why they cost as much as they do.  Hope that helps! 

  • Brohoof 6
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Why not both? Look for an affordable custom plushie and if you can't find one, wait for the 4DE ones. 

 

I do hope thsoe come out soon. Seems like its been a long time since they announced them.

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Also keep in mind that plush makers are trying to make art, not just a toy to play with. Most of them treat them more like sculptures that are meant to be displayed than something to hug, so limiting the amount they make keeps the pieces as a form of art instead of just a mass-produced item identical to a thousand others that they sold.

 

And that is exactly how I see them -- as art pieces. I'm not a plushie guy, but when I see some of the designs I can't help but admire the quality and craftsmanship. In fact I considered commissioning a Pony Tones Rarity at one point because I was stunned at how well made they looked. Unfortunately, at the time the commissions were closed. Anyway, the cost of quality art may price some people out of the market, but there are mass market alternatives. But, Simon is correct, the work and effort that goes into each piece is worth the asking price for most pieces.

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Fortunately for you, 4DE is supposed to be spamming us with pretty much every pony but Pinkie and Twilight soon - from Rarity ( :wub: ) to Rainbow Dash, they'll be released soon - I advise you to wait until then, since those are the best plushies you can buy in terms of a balance of pricing and quality - show accurate and not stupidly expensive. I plan on picking up 2 Raritys and a Trixie, myself :please:

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Fortunately for you, 4DE is supposed to be spamming us with pretty much every pony but Pinkie and Twilight soon - from Rarity ( :wub: ) to Rainbow Dash, they'll be released soon - I advise you to wait until then, since those are the best plushies you can buy in terms of a balance of pricing and quality - show accurate and not stupidly expensive. I plan on picking up 2 Raritys and a Trixie, myself :please:

Have you heard they will actually be released soon? 4DE doesn't exactly have a good track record with releasing on time... -_-

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Have you heard they will actually be released soon? 4DE doesn't exactly have a good track record with releasing on time... -_-

This article from Equestria Daily has pictoral evidence of all the ones they plan on releasing, and it was released almost two months ago. Better yet, they had a tweet announcing the release of a Rarity one at the beginning of June :D

 

I don't think it's supposed to be until October or November, I think I read that somewhere. Regardless, they're coming, and that's what matters :D I've had the money ready for at least 2 Rarity plushies from them ready since they made the tweet :wub:

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