Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Trying to Start A Greater Cleveland Doll Collectors Club -- Advice?

As part of a general wish to meet new people and socialize more, I'd like to start a doll collector's club for the Greater Cleveland area. I see it as being for anybody who collects dolls, and who is interested in learning about other types of dolls. At least in the beginning, we would definitely meet in a public place, and I'm thinking maybe a monthly meeting with a theme? Maybe some tutorials?

Here's my problem: how do I find other doll collectors in this area? Here's some ideas I've had, and possible drawbacks.

1. Facebook. I've done a little looking, as well as I can without having a Facebook account, and don't see many doll collecting groups that are very active, so I'm not sure many active doll collectors I'd find locally. Also wondering how I would go about looking for doll collectors specific to my area.

2. Meetup. Doesn't seem like a lot of doll collectors are using this venue. There are currently eight groups, and most of them don't have a lot of members. A few are not even in the US, which is great in itself, but not useful to meet locally. Running a Meetup group also costs money every month, more than I am comfortable with spending, especially without the hope of attracting a lot of members.

3. Google Plus. Again, not a lot of groups out there already; not sure how to find people in my area.

There is a doll collecting club already present here in Cleveland. Here is the drawback: you have to explain your collection to them. Then, a committee comes to your house to view your collection, and then they vote on whether you can join! First of all, I'm not inviting a bunch of strangers into my bedroom to view my collection. Second of all, I think they sound so snobbish, that they'd take one look at this, and run away.
There used to be a doll club on the east side of town. I know this because several years back, they invited Robert Tonner to a meeting, and a special Tyler doll was created just for this event. That club seems to no longer exist, or at least it has no online presence. Also, that's a forty-five minute drive for me. If I can't start a club local to my side of town, I'd like to at least draw from all areas of Cleveland and meet more centrally.

My only other possibility seems to be doll shows. There is one coming up near here in August, so I have time to contact the organizer, and see if I could put fliers by the door or something. Honestly, I am hoping, probably in vain, that somebody finds this post in an online search who also is a doll collector in Greater Cleveland looking for local people who collect. My pessimistic side wonders how many adult-ish collectors in this area there even are. But I won't find out anything unless I try.

16 comments:

  1. You have to explain your collection and then they evaluate it and decide if you're worthy? Well, they sound like a whole bunch of fun!
    On the upside if they're carrying on like that, that implies there are more doll collectors in the area than they're willing to accept, probably some of those would prefer something more informal and less . . . insane.

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    1. You know, I'm hoping that as well, that there are more doll collectors out there who wouldn't fit into their club and would like something else. I'm hoping this will happen; I feel a little bit better already getting this out there.

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  2. If I lived in Cleveland, I'd join your club! (I love how you have displayed your EAH dolls, by the way.) I feel the same way about my area. I'm not sure how to find other like-minded adult collectors, either! Let us know how it all turns out. My first suggestion would've been Meet-up, but it doesn't sound like much is on there.

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    1. I'd be glad to have you in my club, even without evaluating your collection! :) I got the EAH castle for Christmas 2016. It's the perfect way to display my dolls, even has waist clips and stands built in.

      I'll be sure to post if I can get something started. Yeah, I'm not seeing much of interest coming from Meetup. You can also search for people in your area who have a specific interest, and I haven't found anyone with doll collecting listed.

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  3. I would skip all that and put up a very nice flyer up at my local library... assuming they allow that at your libraries. You could also have your meetings there as well... assuming your library has meeting rooms.

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    1. The library was my first thought, and I may try that too, but Mr. BTEG wasn't sure it would work. If I do that, I'm definitely going to put a flyer at more than one library; the town I live in is relatively small compared to other suburbs around us. The idea of Facebook came up because Mr. BTEG games with someone whose wife and he are both involved in a lot of activities, and use Facebook to coordinate. Have you ever heard of the Society for Creative Anachronism? They are a nationwide, possibly larger, group dedicated to living like they are in the Middle Ages. Ironically, though, they use Facebook to keep in touch about events and stuff. Apparently, Mr. BTEG's friend keeps up with the whole Middle Kingdom that way.

      And yes, our library has nice meeting rooms. I'll probably use them if most of the doll collectors I find are local.

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  4. I don't see why a monthly meeting would have to cost anything. There are plenty of public places you can meet for free, or you could meet in members homes.I think the idea of the flyers at the doll show is a great idea.Obviously if they're at the show they are interested in and collect dolls,so it's perfect. As for the show,there is no Columbus show this year. I'm thinking it has died. Is the Cleveland show very big/good? Is it bigger than the one we met up at?

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    1. Well, no, a monthly meeting wouldn't have to cost anything, but if I tried to start a Meetup group, that would cost me money. I wonder if the Columbus show last year wasn't mainly on account of all the Tonner convention people being there. I've only been to the show in Strongsville once. I know it wasn't bigger than the one we were at. And as I remember, it was similar to the one we were at, except it had a lot more antique dolls. However, Strongsville is south of Cleveland, and just off of 71, so you might figure out how long it would take you to get there? :)

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  5. I was searching online for a particular kind of doll and happened to run across a doll blog that you followed, and then stumbled across your blog! My two-cents worth on the local doll club... Maybe Facebook would be the best bet for keeping in touch. LOTS of people have Facebook accounts. Start a Facebook page just for your group and then contact the doll enthusiasts in your area that you already know, ask them to friend you on that page and contact others they know that you might not know, etc. Facebook can send notifications when others post or request to be friends, so you can keep up that way too if you're like me and don't visit Facebook that often. At work I am on email all the time (for work), and it's handy to get notifications that something's going on with my Facebook friends. Personally I never join any kind of standalone service that has just one purpose, especially if it's going to cost money, and you have sign in to go to it to check what's going on, and it's not something you use all the time, or doesn't have high visibility or traffic, and doesn't offer multiple options for a variety of activities like chatting, posting pictures, etc. It would end up being just one more extraneous thing you have to keep up with. I'm sure a lot of other people feel the same. But because Facebook does have a lot of complementary functions, it might be a good place to keep things active, and soon you will your meet-and-greet doll club in full swing. Good luck. Wish I lived closer, cuz everyone in my family thinks I am insane because I love doll collecting. It's hard to find people you can feel comfortable with sharing a hobby. Of course I tend to go overboard with everything. But I hesitate telling anyone what I like to do because of built-in judgments about adults who play with 'toys.'

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  6. Well, the first problem is that I don't know any other doll collectors in this area at all! The closest doll collector I know lives about 2 1/2 hours away. I am hesitant about starting a Facebook page without knowing anyone already; I was on Facebook for a while and got really sick of it.

    I'm already on Meetup; that's how I found out about a local knit/crochet club to which I belong, and I do get emails about meetings, and also about new groups that start up that I might be interested in. So I do use Meetup a lot, and because I'm not running the knit/crochet group, it doesn't cost me any money. Some groups do ask for a small amount of money per month to keep the group page running, but our organizer doesn't.

    Also, on Meetup you can give a list of a lot of different things that you are interested in, and I've tried searching for other people in the area that have "doll collecting" as an interest, and come up with nothing. As far as visibility, I do get invitations all the time when new local groups start up on Meetup, and I also get a monthly calendar of events that Meetup thinks I might be interested in, based on the interest list I gave them.

    Mr. BTEG and my daughter The Dancer are both into roleplaying games, and Mr. BTEG is also a big Adult Fan Of LEGO, so we're all a bunch of adults who play with toys in my house. :)

    Thank you for stopping by!

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  7. The first think I thought of when I started reading your post was Facebook. A dolly-friend of mine has a group for London doll collectors and it seems to go well. I'm also on a social network called Doll Observers, but I'm not sure if that will help you find other collectors from your area. The other club in your town sounds pretty snob, I wouldn't join them either.
    Talk to you soon!

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    1. Here's the thing: I hate Facebook. So I am loath to start an account if it's not going to get me anywhere. Mr. BTEG runs a message board for the gaming community in the Greater Cleveland area, and I'm sure he'd set something up like that for me if I had people interested. The problem is matching up doll collectors to where they live. Most boards don't do that, which is probably good for safety and all, but I'm still thinking about how to find people.

      Glad to see you again!

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  8. The existing club sounds so judgemental...I'd rather join something more laid back just to have fun with people who share my hobby.
    So in general I think that you can use your blog to gather up people and publish dates of meetings etc. As for a spot I'd choose some small and friendly coffee shop and i a sunny day you could make a doll picnic in a park.
    To find other people in your area you could write info on doll forums and local advertising websites. I think you couls even use craigslist. Maybe printing out some leaflets is also a good idea? You could use message boards to pin them and also ask, if it's ok to put one up in places like library orhobby oriented shops.
    I wish you luck with the club! I'd definetely join, if I lived anywhere near you.
    Hugs!:))

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  9. Interesting ideas! Hadn't thought of the Craigslist one. There are definitely areas I need to explore. I wish all we doll people could all live closer to each other. :)

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  10. I've seen people talk about BJD-specific groups on Den of Angels (one was Cleveland BJD Nerds and another was Ohio ABJD Collectors - they both have facebook groups). I don't know how active either of those are, but maybe some of their members would be good contacts? I've found that in most BJD groups a good half (if not more) of the members turn out to be general doll people.

    That's wild how restrictive that Cleveland Doll Club is with their membership! I can't imagine why they'd want to have rules that meant that people considering the collecting hobby who aren't yet collectors would be excluded (never mind the implied snobbery of having a collection be approved). Wow.

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    1. Well, my husband still has a Facebook account, so I put in a request to join Cleveland BJD Nerds (you have to join the group to see posts or to posts.) There are only 32 members, so hopefully a bunch of them collect other dolls? Or maybe know other collectors. Thank you for the tip.

      The Cleveland Doll Club has been around since 1938, so I guess if you were a doll collector back then, you were only collecting antique dolls. I don't know why they haven't changed stuff since then. They do have a Junior group, but the description of the Junior group blew my mind too: "Juniors must be aged 5-17, own ten dolls and be sponsored by a CDC member who will accompany her to activities and meetings." They have a stipulation of how many dolls you have to own!!!

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