I was expecting to begin the new year with happier news, but unfortunately that is not the case. Robert Tonner announced in an email that Tonner Doll shut down with the end of 2018. Of course it was to be expected, after the restructuring of his business and his focus on Phyn & Aero, which left Tonner Doll only with licensed product, which was obviously not as commercial as it should. Licensing has the fees sucking out most of the profits, and if a company deals only with such a sector, it needs to have mass production and a wide array of product to be sust, something Tonner Doll had not. I’ll always cherish the Tonner dolls I own, and hopefully will acquire some more in the future. From now own, doll collectors will follow his endeavours with his other company, Phyn & Aero. Below is his letter.
My Dear Friends,
I was lucky enough to start Tonner Doll at a point when it seemed that everyone was collecting, making, buying or selling dolls. At the same time, the Far East was willing and eager to produce whatever we wanted at a price that couldn’t be beat. High demand and inexpensive, quality production led to the golden age of collectible dolls and great success for Tonner Doll.
It’s often said that the only thing you can count on is change; I whole heartedly agree with that statement. I could go on and on about the changes in the collectible doll industry, but in short, the business model that I used to build Tonner Doll is no longer viable or sustainable. Therefore, Tonner Doll Company (including the Tonner Doll web site, doll hospital, phones and emails) was closed as of December 31, 2018.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.”
― Jenna Evans Welch, Love & Gelato
I’m very excited that Phyn & Areo will continue with a brand-new business model, one that addresses some of the changes mentioned above and we will be exploring new ways of doing business. Through Phyn and Aero, I’ll be working directly with our favorite retailers to create unique and exclusive dolls (look for the first Ellowyne out this Spring). I will continue to design for and attend events throughout the year (Dollology, Shaker Doll Club, Doll Circle and UFDC to name a few). At Phyn and Aero I will also continue to develop new product; we’ll be doing small batch, design driven products. Rayne, a new character with unique (and I mean unique) accessories will debut around Toy Fair. In addition, I am working on design projects with other companies (I just did a huge amount of work for FAO; that was both a challenge and a delight). I think it’s going to be a very busy, very exciting 2019!
Over these past 28 years I have had to honor to meet, work with and befriend some of the most wonderful people there are—doll collectors, doll lovers and doll retailers. I want you to know how deeply I’ve appreciated our journey together—and here’s to a bright, exciting, shiny, new future!
P.S. Starting today, please visit our website at www.phynandaero.com or call us at 845-802-5552. You can also reach us through firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos courtesy of Tonner Doll.