These beautiful and expensive dolls cost a lot of money to produce as the artist has to perfect and experiment with each new sculpt (sometimes for several years) before they can even get to the casting stage. As someone who has dabbled with trying to learn to make one of my own, let me tell you it is a time consuming and exacting process. One I have yet to master! BJD are sold at a high cost perhaps but at a very low profit margin. That cost makes wanting to own a particular doll something you think carefully about and then scrimp and save for. They should not be a whim purchase unless you are seriously well off. I am not well off and have always thought long and hard before buying any doll.
The hobby has changed almost beyond recognition in the last 2 years or so and not for the better. Take a look on Ebay right now, type in BJD in the Dolls and Bears section and you will find a flood of people openly selling 'recast' dolls. In case you don't know, recasting is theft, plain and simple. Someone takes one of these beautiful legitimate high cost dolls and takes a cast from it and then reproduces it. As they have had to put in very little time, effort or expense to get that copy, they sell it on undercutting the original artists price. Sometimes the cost of a recast can be a mere fraction of the original, sometimes I am guessing the thief expects to get handsomely rewarded for their minimal effort and charges almost as much as the legitimate artist does. I am just guessing there because some of the recast secondary sellers on Ebay are asking not much less than the price of the legitimate doll.
When this issue first came to light it seemed as though it would just be a small blip, and that recasters would target only the most popular sculpts. A few years on, the sheer number of people willing to knowingly buy recasts has grown to a frightening proportion. They have face-book clubs and are very vocal and aggressive at asserting their RIGHT to own recasts and to not give a damn about the artists who create them. Their tastes are changing and they are requesting specific sculpts be recast. They seem to exist in this topsy-turvey world where those of us who support the original artist are greedy and aggressive for not accepting them into our forums, for speaking out against "their hobby" which they incredulously claim is harming no-one. We are all elitist rich snobs because we are trying to keep these poor 'art lovers' from being able to have a beautiful doll that they simply cannot afford to buy legitimately, where is the harm?
For anyone out there still sat on the fence, for anyone who thinks there are no victims in this crime or that all BJDs are created by vast Asian companies who can write off the dip in their profits (completely false, a lot of Asian BJD companies are just 1 or 2 people)... read this and put a human face to the story. If you support recasts then read that statement and think long and hard about what you are doing Here is just one of the many people you are hurting; she happens to be French, but could just as easily be Korean or Japanese, that still wouldn't make it OK to crush her dreams. The vast majority of artists are ordinary people trying to scratch a living from their talents.
This is a link to Lillycat's (Rachelle) shop where you can see her stunning work.