Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by ForestGreen on Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:38 am

This is such a sad turn of affairs. I had been hoping that they would get their act together and then start offering the 3DP bodies again. I'm completely in love with the 3 I have and would eagerly buy more if they were available.
I am slowly losing hope that they will recover from this series of setbacks.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by LisaK on Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:04 pm

So uhm, are they planning to ever open their website back up? I've been checking the official site for months now and it's been showing that same "we're moving to the USA" message for a long time now. Are they TRYING to go bankrupt? I've never seen a company shut down for months on end like that. I don't get it.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Purple_Monkfish on Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:36 pm

from what they've said on facebook, they can't find a partner.. or something. I'm not optimistic at this point. It's now mid feb, still no news. Not a good sign.
God knows what drove them out of london, but it really feels like they slit their own throats doing it.

I'm thinking our only hope of new Makies now is to find ones "in the wild" to adopt. *huff*

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Miss Heny on Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:53 am

;-; well there goes my centaur makie...
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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by nattherat on Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:57 am

@Miss Heny - Ooh, were you planning a hybrid?

I'm checking the Facebook page every so often, I agree it doesn't seem promising. If they're looking for a partner/can't find one, does that mean Disney backed out? It... wouldn't be the first time I've seen a small start-up company pin everything on backing from a larger company only to have it fall through.

I also sort of wonder if, like we were discussing back during the IM body switch, they're chasing the wrong markets. Kids and parents aren't really as prone to dropping the hard cash that collectors drop. If Makies cost a huge amount to produce, then it would seem to make more sense to work on making a fancier product they could charge much more for.

Though maybe that's besides the point right now. The longer this draws on, the more likely it is that it won't be a case of just finding a partner again, it'll be having to restart the business from the ground up (speaking from paaaiinnful experience haha)...

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Chove on Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:04 pm

Really I don't think I'd buy a £50 doll for a young child any sooner than I'd buy them a £70 one, but that might just be me. Kids break things, you know?

I assume they've done their market research and whatnot and at least think that there's potential in ditching the adult collectors to chase the parent/kid market, but maybe I'm wrong about that too.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Okore on Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:51 pm

Well, it wouldn't make sense to market to JUST collectors (there are too few of us). And it's difficult to market to older kids, what with all the phones/tablets/techy toys out there these days. And Makies are not really good for little kids. So it was going to be tricky for them no matter what.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by nattherat on Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:18 pm

Actually... I was meaning that they could do with working the product up! There are too few Makie collectors, you're right. The number of Makies that would have to be bought every month in order for the overhead costs and wages to be paid would be ridiculous.

But that's exactly why the Labs can't make Makies right now. Because their product is "cheap". Obviously it's not really cheap, but the drive is towards cheapness so that parents can buy it. That means Makies main competitors are more along the lines of playline dolls like Monster High and Barbie. I know they're not the same product, but to parents buying for their kids, they might as well be. In terms of out-of-the-box value, unless you're a customiser, Makies don't really hold up next to playline dolls. You get better clothes and accessories on a playline any day.

They simply cannot drive the price down further because of the cost of production, not without making a loss. The way I see it - business wise - is that it makes more sense to try the other direction instead. Upscale the product, turn it into something more artisan, for the higher price markets. They've already tried the middle ground of a £50-£70 price range, and obviously it unfortunately doesn't work out.

There are many many doll companies whose products are for adults/collectors only who have managed to make it by having a very high-quality and unique product. Now that they'll be based in the US, the Labs might have more opportunities to do this than ever.

I'd like to see them return to the focus on customisation (and also more ToyLikeMe stuff!). That in itself broadens the market so much more. I'd also like to see them focus on improving the actual base product, things like better body engineering, a wider array of facial sculpts and body types. If they do that, then in my opinion they already have a good ground to add another £50 onto the price. They'd be taking the product up-market, and can raise the price appropriately.

Besides, it's not like they couldn't do both! I think a lot of parents and kids would be happy if Makies offered a budget option. For those, they could probably IM the entire thing, and kids just choose the eyes and wig. I think that would appeal to parents and kids a lot. Especially since: based on the instagram tag, a lot of people don't actually customise Makie faces in the maker, and just stick with the default configuration - so for that market, having to 3DP the face actually doesn't matter at all. IM the lot of it, make a budget version. This might actually be a route they go down, if they want to go further in the direction of appealing to parents and kids.

People have been clamouring for a budget option vs an expensive option from them ever since IM was brought in. My personal thoughts are simply that I think it'd be a good idea to 100% roll with that, because that's what was vocally being asked for on the facebook. Trying to make a middle-ground obviously wasn't working out, and is what has lead to where they are now.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Purple_Monkfish on Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:36 pm

I agree with Natt completely, it makes more sense to chase the people with the real money, crazy collectors and we've kinda proven that we won't stop at one. Look at the number several of us have. One fan has a good 60 dolls accumulated in just over a year! I have 25 in 18 months!

So clearly we have the money and WILL spend it on something that really inspires us. I mean look at BJDS. If people will drop £200 on a single doll with no eyes and no wig and no clothes, then why wouldn't they drop £70-80 on a fully customisable doll?

But who knows at this point. Besides which, according to facebook group all our "negativity" is ruining their chances of reopening or something.
So we gotta just shut up and not say anything. -_-

yeah i'm pissed off with that lot, wouldn't you be? But enough of my drama.

Suffice to say, we just gotta wait and see and hope the lab bounces back. It's not looking hugely hopeful right now and that's really sad and the stress of it seems to have turned this small community against one another. So.. i'm feeling a wee bit resentful.
It's rather sapped my enjoyment of my dolls right now. Kinda like when the Sindy people started getting really nasty and catty to one another, I couldn't stand to look at a Sindy doll for months because of the hurt feelings and anger.

It's sad because we're all damn grown ups, but we're all sad and upset and evidently taking it out on others. Who knew Makies meant so much to us small few huh?

I'm starting to come to terms with the idea that i'll never be able to design my own doll again. And who knows, maybe one that looks about right for one of my concepts will show up for adoption. Stranger things have happened.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by ForestGreen on Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:43 pm

I really like your ideas Nat.

I felt that the move to IM bodies cheapened the product without enough of a drop in price to make it worth using IM. Using full IM for a budget "play line" doll MIGHT drop the price enough compete with Barbie and MH dolls. They could still have the constancy of materials that appeals to some people too.

I always felt that they were missing an advertising niche by not promoting themselves as an entry-level priced BJD too.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by nattherat on Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:59 pm

@P_M Is something going on on the Facebook fan group?

I would have thought on the main Makies facebook that they'd have admin power to delete/hide comments posted to the page. So if the comments from people feeling fleeced over the recent troubles was ruining their chances, surely they could hide those comments? I wouldn't think of it as very honest but... I wouldn't blame them either, not at this stage where some of the comments on there are really quite angry (understandably, for the people whose goods were lost or damaged).

@ForestGreen - agreed, once IM came in I couldn't help but feel like I could really just get a better product elsewhere.

I think it's important to emphasise that at no point am I actually saying the product is a bad product, or became a bad product. I'm here on a forum for fans of it, after all! I think it simply entered markets it couldn't compete with. By attempting to make it more fully into a playline doll, all that really happened is that I felt better alternatives were already provided in the playline market. There are vinyl dolls that let you choose hair/skin/eye colours, and even with vinyl dolls with no custom choices, there's still plenty of variation.
The Barbie line alone, possibly the most famous playline doll of all, already has more choice (skin, hair, eyes, face, body sculpt, body age, sex) at a cheaper price point than Makies. Bratz had a make-your-own thing for a while that I believe cost no more than any typical Bratz, and already that would give you about the same level of customisation that most people use for Makies at again a much cheaper price point.

My personal opinion is just that I think Makies are a great product/have the potential to be an even greater product, but aren't really in the right market. Or at the very least, are being marketed/produced in a fashion that limits the profit they can make. It doesn't really matter - not to parents - whether it's a fair comparison or not, but it's impossible to not compare them to their closest intended competitors: playline dolls. Playline dolls that contain such interesting varied lines like Monster High and Barbie (say what you will about the brand, but Barbie and her careers have kind of done everything).

If you put them in an entry-level collectors market instead, the entire game changes. Then I'd start comparing them to things like limited American Girls (though AG walks a fine line between collector's and playline), Resinsoul and Mirodoll BJDs, things like the replica likeness very expensive 1/6 action figures. Suddenly, Makies can compete very well there. They have more customisation options than an American Girl and 1/6 replica figures that are deliberately intended to remain exactly as they are. They're cheaper, and again more customisable than an entry-level resin doll.

Suddenly, in that market, they look really good. See what I mean? The actual product is no different, it's the context it's marketed in that makes the difference between whether someone will pay for it or not.
If the actual product developed in a more upmarket fashion, it actually could seriously start fighting as a staple collector's doll. Whereas I don't think they could drop the cost realistically much further and compete as a playline doll.

This is all very easy for me to say though, as a consumer of things and not as somebody actually trying to manufacture a 3D doll myself - I totally get that, and I totally wish them the best of luck whatever they try to do.
I'm not waiting for them to fail, as unfortunately criticism is so often interpreted; I'm rooting for them to succeed.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Chove on Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:05 pm

The "official makies fan page" or whatever it's called (?) has had a few people leave over whether or not we're all too "negative." Someone posted that we're preventing the Lab reopening if we complain about things or ask the wrong questions and then... I dunno, it got a bit dramatic there for a while. Hopefully it's blown over by now though.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Purple_Monkfish on Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:03 pm

I missed the majority of the drama as I left as soon as the first comment was posted to that "stop being negative" complaint. It triggered my anxiety and made the nasty depression troll in my head pipe up with "it's all your fault, the things you love die because you suck and are a terrible person" and so on. I'm not well, i'm also on new meds which are messing with my emotional state so.. yeah..  having it implied that something's my fault well.. it doesn't do good things to my fragile mental and emotional states.

So was there more drama after I left? Yeesh. Kinda glad I missed it then. I don't deal well with conflict online, it seeps into my real life and stops me sleeping and all sorts. The amount of times i've sat sobbing for days because someone online "said something mean". It's ridiculous.
As it stands i'm feeling a wee bit upset because it's like fighting with a real friend, it hurts.

So yeah, there was drama, I left. I'm hiding with my head buried in the sand till it all blows over and my emotional state evens out a bit.


On a more positive and less angsty note, I agree with everything Nat has said. She puts it better than I ever could, but says very much what i've argued all along. Kids and playline are totally the wrong market and parents are freaking stingy about toys. I'm pretty sure i've had long rambles about it before.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by nattherat on Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:10 pm

;D Psst, P_M, I'm not a girl!

Wow, I'm sorry to hear there was drama going on on the Facebook group! That sounds pretty unpleasant to deal with. It would make me feel very anxious too, though Facebook in general did so I certainly don't miss it.

I think the only place where negativity could potentially harm Makie Labs is on their official Facebook page, because right now that's more their home page than the actual site is, and comments are very public there. I can't imagine that tweets or any forum posts would have impact at all, because you'd have to very actively hunt for them. I highly doubt they'd be taken into consideration by a potential partner. Only the facebook page would really be scrutinised, and I'm relatively sure that the Labs would have admin control with which to delete comments if necessary.

Even then... I'm not convinced any actual damage has been done unless a company representative was the one who asked for complaints and conjecture to be held back.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Purple_Monkfish on Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:13 pm

oh man sorry!

But yeah. draaaamaaaa. Nothing divides a community like hard times. The reboot is ripping the monster high fandom apart for instance, it happens all the time and it's a bummer.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by ForestGreen on Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:47 am

The drama in the fan group has died down. It was explained that Alice was mostly concerned about the comments on the official Makie FB page and not our closed group. The fan group has pretty much decided to post Makie projects in an effort to be more positive.

Nat: I agree that the entry level collector's market is where Makies should be. The play line market is over saturated with cheap dolls although your idea of a completely IM "starter doll" for the kids is a good one. Personally I would prefer to have my Makies fully 3Dprinted, because I like the texture and the constancy of materials.

I think having more clothing options for the Makies could help them sell too. The clothes they have now are ok, but it would be fun to see some separates too. Since Makies aren't a standard play doll size, it might help parents decide to buy if they know they can find clothes that are the right size. Pattern packs for crafty people might help sales too. The lab already had a pretty great selection of footwear.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by jupiternames on Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:05 am

Purple_Monkfish wrote:I missed the majority of the drama as I left as soon as the first comment was posted to that "stop being negative" complaint. It triggered my anxiety and made the nasty depression troll in my head pipe up with "it's all your fault, the things you love die because you suck and are a terrible person" and so on. I'm not well, i'm also on new meds which are messing with my emotional state so.. yeah..  having it implied that something's my fault well.. it doesn't do good things to my fragile mental and emotional states.

So was there more drama after I left? Yeesh. Kinda glad I missed it then. I don't deal well with conflict online, it seeps into my real life and stops me sleeping and all sorts. The amount of times i've sat sobbing for days because someone online "said something mean". It's ridiculous.
As it stands i'm feeling a wee bit upset because it's like fighting with a real friend, it hurts.

So yeah, there was drama, I left. I'm hiding with my head buried in the sand till it all blows over and my emotional state evens out a bit.


On a more positive and less angsty note, I agree with everything Nat has said. She puts it better than I ever could, but says very much what i've argued all along. Kids and playline are totally the wrong market and parents are freaking stingy about toys. I'm pretty sure i've had long rambles about it before.
I've actually been meaning to write you about the "negativity" drama because I really thought this was about the worst time ever for you to be reading that sort of sentiment and I felt awful for you, especially given how much you've contributed to the Makies community. I wanted to say that I think you've done some great stuff for all of us in making this forum and propagating information. While I can't claim to know how you feel, I have a lot of sympathy for how much the Makies and MH changes have affected you.

I was really sad to see what happened that day too because I really hate emotion policing. It's been done to me in my personal life and just no. And "negativity" is such a vague word! AND where else can we complain about doll-related stuff if not to our doll friends!? Because not everyone's got IRL shoulders to cry on about doll stuff, given how stigmatized it is as a hobby.

Basically I think the whole affair confused a lot of people (myself included). I can understand why they've all been pushing the creativity photos. I feel like it's a good way to reconnect with the dolls. And it doesn't leave you asking, "what did I just miss?!"

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Purple_Monkfish on Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:57 am

thanks Jupiter. m I the only one who left?

It's not really appropriate to discuss this here anyway. Just to say, honesty is usually the best policy and I really am very very unwell. I had hoped being very open about that would allow people to cut me a little slack when I was being unreasonable by explaining "i'm all kinds of crazy, just ignore my more bratty moments i'll bounce back eventually" but sadly it just annoys people.

I hope i'm on a bit of an upswing now though. I have been coming to terms with the idea of no more Makies and no more new MH I actually want. I don't think the reboot is "that bad" it's just astoundingly BLAND and boring. But it won't make my existing dolls disappear and it won't stop me being able to pick up older dolls to fill in the gaps in my collection.
I've decided that i'm going to focus on filling in those mh gaps, track down my childhood Littlest Pets (my favourite toy growing up) and Living Dead Dolls because they're stinking cute if not a bit macabre. I love the two I bought earlier in the month, they're sweet.
I also have another Hujoo action doll to buy and paint up. Husband wants a Yumi so i'll end up painting that too, I have a whole bag of customs I need to fix up and finish and of course there's always that hope of finding Makies to adopt. I still haven't learned Misty and Noah's backstory, I need to sit down and force them to talk to me.

So don't worry too much about me guys. I'll survive. I always drag myself back up eventually.

I also know i'm not alone, when I brought up the topic in the group many admitted they too used dolls to escape mental health issues so i'm surprised we're not all much more compassionate to one another given a lot of us seem to be in the same boat. I hope the drama didn't upset or trigger anyone else.

We'll get through this. Hopefully together as one big family rather than segregated and divided.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Chove on Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:31 pm

A few people left, but it seems to have calmed down now.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by IndigoAndAsh on Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:59 pm

I left a while back, because it was just frustrating me rather than being enjoyable. So now I just hang around here - it's a lot slower paced, but I prefer it.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by MissRead on Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:09 pm

PM, I have sent you a message :-)

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Purple_Monkfish on Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:04 pm

I notice Tammy was made admin? Was that a recent occurrence?

Got it Read, thanks!

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by jupiternames on Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:03 am

Yeah. That was maybe yesterday or the day before that.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by JRyu on Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:05 am

Lol, somehow my post managed to post its self before I'd finished writing it, so I removed this unfinished post.Very Happy


Last edited by JRyu on Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:35 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by JRyu on Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:27 am

Yes, first she was going to leave the group, then after she had time to think and read people's comments asking her to reconsider and come back, she decided to stay.  That's when Marti(?) asked her to become an admin, I guess.   

Apparently Linda decided to stay as well, since she seems to have posted a few comments on people's projects and photos since then.  


I don't know half of what went on, as I wasn't online when everything happened.  I read all the comments, and tried to make heads or tails of the whole brouhaha...but it didn't really make a lot of sense.scratch  Kind of made me wonder if some people had deleted or edited their original comments.scratch

Anyway, the "storm" seems to have blown over now, and as Jupiternames said people are avoiding any discussion/speculation about the future of MakieLabs.  Everyone is trying to stay upbeat and positive, posting photos of their Makie related projects, or just cute pics of their Makies.

ForestGreen is right, Alice's main concern is with negative comments and criticisms being left on their public Facebook and Twitter pages, since a potential business partner/financier can potentially access those pages in the course of researching Makies. 

 Although, so far all the negative comments I've seen on the Makies Facebook page seem to be from casual customers, who are not members of the O.M.F.G. or our little forum.  (Lol, do you think the Facebook group realizes what their group's initials also stand for? Very Happy)

I think one thing we might could do to help, would be to post some positive comments on the Makie Facebook page. That might counter balance some of the "negative" comments, and would show potential partners that Makies are popular and that there is already a market established for the dolls.  You know, things like sharing a picture of our dolls, and telling how delighted and/or impressed we are with them.  Maybe say how much we are looking forward to MakieLabs reopening, so that we can buy more Makies, etc.  I don't think it would hurt, and it could help. ^_^

Also, since Alice is pretty much handling everything on her own right now, if we happen to see a comment from someone asking about a refund or missing shipment, etc., we could probably help by politely directing that person to the appropriate email to use to contact MakieLabs about their problem, and possibly giving Alice a heads up about them too. Wink

Hopefully, there won't be too many more of those missing shipment and refund type comments posted.


P.S. 
Hang in there Purple_monkfish, those of us who fight similar battles do understand.I love you *hugs* I love you

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

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