Saturday, September 3, 2016

Interview with Souldoll

Hello everybody! It is that time of the month, and a new interview is here! This time, the spotlight is on Souldoll, and the interview has been answered by J.H.Lee, Souldoll's CEO. As always, the interview is in both English and Spanish, and all images were used with permission.Remember you can click on the photos to go to the sales page :D

So without further ado... enjoy!


Hello! Thank you for allowing me to interview you!
Hello! Thank you for your suggestion. We would be happy to do this interview. I am J.H Lee, CEO of Souldoll, also in charge of art directing.
¡Hola! ¡Muchas gracias por permitirme entrevistarlos!
¡Hola! Gracias por sugerirlo. Estamos muy felices de hacer esta entrevista. Soy J.H. Lee, CEO de Souldoll, también a cargo de la dirección artística.


How and when did Souldoll started?
After I came across an image of ball-jointed dolls by a Japanese artist, I fell into the world of ball-jointed dolls. After doing some web search to exchange ideas and talk to people who love ball-jointed dolls, I learned that a crafts workshop exists where people make the dolls. I made friends there who love dolls, and began making ball-jointed dolls. After I displayed the dolls that I produced, the range of dolls I wanted to make widened. One day, a friend and I decided to set up a company making dolls in 2001. After preparing for the setup every day of the week, we were able to open SOULDOLL in 2002.
¿Cómo y cuándo comenzó Souldoll?
Luego de que encontré una imagen de una muñeca ball-jointed de un artista Japonés, caí en el mundo de las BJDs. Luego de hacer una investigación en la web para intercambiar ideas y hablar con gente que amaba estas muñecas, aprendí que había talleres donde las personas hacían las muñecas. Hice amigos y comencé a hacer BJDs. Luego de que mostré las muñecas que había producido, se amplió la cantidad de muñecas que quería hacer. Un día, en 2001, un amigo y yo decidimos crear una compañía para hacer muñecas. Luego de prepararnos para el arranque cada día de la semana, fuimos capaces de abrir Souldoll en 2002.


How many people work as Souldoll? Do you have a workspace to share with us?
SOULDOLL currently has eight teams:
  1. Prototype production team (4 sculptors).
  2. Doll manufacturing team.
  3. Doll makeup team.
  4. Clothing design team.
  5. Clothing production team.
  6. Website management and order management team.
  7. Product photography and editing team.
  8. Logistics management and delivery team
¿Cuántas personas trabajan en Souldoll? ¿Tienen un espacio de trabajo para compartir con nosotros? Actualmente, Souldoll tiene ocho equipos:
  1. Equipo de producción de prototipos (4 escultores).
  2. Manufactura de muñecos.
  3. Equipo de maquillaje.
  4. Equipo de diseño de ropa.
  5. Equipo de producción de ropa.
  6. Administración web y administración de encargos.
  7. Fotografía y edición.
  8. Logísticas y entregas.


Souldoll has a very unique design and gorgeous dolls. Do you have any goal or motto about aesthetics when designing dolls?
After a little while after setting up the company, we did not realize that the appearance, concepts, and designs of our dolls were on the unique side. Haha! It was only after some time passed and our horizons expanded to gain a more objective view of the field that we realized that we have a special taste. We hope that our dolls are seen as beautiful creations for the general public, as well as those who love dolls. We wish our dolls will entertain people for a long time. Some may think our dolls are scary, but our motto and objective is to continue creating varied and special dolls that are never before seen by the world.
Souldoll tiene un diseño único y muñecas hermosas. ¿Tienen algún objetivo o meta de diseño respect a la estética de las muñecas que diseñan?
Luego de que armamos la compañía, no nos dimos cuenta que las apariencias, conceptos y diseños de nuestras muñecas eran bastante únicos, jaja! Fue sólo cuando pasó algo de tiempo y nuestros horizontes se expandieron para ganar una mirada más objetiva del campo que nos percatamos que teníamos un gusto especial. Esperamos que nuestras muñecas sean vistas como hermosas creaciones para el público en general, como así también aquellos que aman las muñecas. Deseamos que nuestras muñecas diviertan a las personas por un largo tiempo. Algunos consideran que las muñecas dan miedo, pero nuestra meta y objetivo es continuar creando muñecas variadas y especiales que no hayan sido vistas por el mundo.



And regarding the dolls, do you have a ‘design’ process? Would you share it with us?
We do research and organization of various data before production for any doll begins. When planning a doll, we begin with the head of the doll paying attention overall concepts (especially for limited editions) that are heavily influenced by a wide range of painting, photos, illustrations, movies, books, and many other sources. When making decisions on clothing or makeup, we attempt to reflect the overall atmosphere and harmony of colors from inspiring images. That is why we sometimes regret after completion, thinking about better decisions we could have made in the process. We record these shortcomings on our notes, and make efforts to apply what we learned from our mistakes.
Respecto de las muñecas, ¿tienen algún proceso de ‘diseño’? ¿Lo compartirían con nosotros?
Primero investigamos y organizamos la información antes de comenzar cualquier producción. Cuando se planifica una muñeca, comenzamos con la cabeza, prestando atención a varios conceptos (especialmente para ediciones limitadas), que están ampliamente influenciadas por un amplio rango de pinturas, fotos, ilustraciones, películas, libros y muchas otras fuentes. Cuando tomamos decisiones sobre la ropa o el maquillaje, intentamos reflejar la atmósfera y armonía de colores de imágenes inspirados. Por eso es que a veces nos arrepentimos tras completarlo, pensando en posibles mejores decisiones que podríamos haber tomado durante el proceso. Guardamos estos problemas en nuestras notas, y hacemos un esfuerzo en aplicar lo que aprendimos de nuestros errores.



Is there a ‘most popular’ sculpt?Or a favorite among Souldoll’s artists?
Because customers have a very segmented and varied tastes in dolls these days, it is difficult to say what the majority opinion in the market is. Because the prototype makers in our company also have varied tastes, they also prefer different doll types. I personally love the Swinte & Mewo sculpts, which was recently launched.
¿Hay un molde “más popular”? ¿Y algún favorito entre los artistas de Souldoll?
Dado que actualmente los clientes tienen un gusto muy variado y segmentado en muñecas, es difícil decir cuál es la opinión mayoritaria del mercado. Dado que los escultores de prototipos también tienen gustos variados, ellos prefieren diversas muñecas. En lo personal, me encantan los moldes Swinte y Mewo, que fue recientemente lanzada.



Sadly, the hobby is suffering a lot from recast. What is your statement on this matter?
Recasting is a very sensitive and important issue. Any product requires much effort and time on many people’s part. Recasting sets back such efforts by so many people in one instance, and eliminates the very reason for which many companies exist. In addition, recasting do not care for the quality of the dolls, customers who are tricked into buying a copy may turn out to have a negative image of the original maker. When we first encountered this problem, our disappointment and despair were too big, and could not figure out how to overcome this problem. Many companies, in addition to ourselves, are suffering vast financial and mental damage because of recasting, but we are feeling the extending grasp of the illegal copyrights piracy market in the past few years. (*Websites that sell illegal copies were only found in China in the past, but now we see U.S. And European websites, blogs, Facebook pages, and Instagram accounts that sell copycat products.) We found some of such illegal websites through our own searches, but many others were found thanks to customers that love our dolls, as well. We send warning e-mails to the illegal copy sites whenever we find them, but the sad reality is that it is almost impossible to eliminate them because the operators of such sites close the first one and open another in matter of days. Under such circumstances, we came up with twelve-digit alphanumeric code that certifies our product, as well as holographic stickers that help us keep track of the data. This, however, is not a perfect solution. Despite such setbacks, we are always thinking of new ideas to certify genuine products and provide high-quality dolls and services through continued efforts. We ask for the support of doll fans so that our efforts count for something.
Lamentablemente, el hobby está sufriendo mucho por los recasts. ¿Qué opinan al respecto?
El recasteo es un tema muy sensible e importante. Cualquier product require mucho esfuerzo y tiempo por parte de varias personas. Recastear arruina esos esfuerzos hechos por muchas personas, y también elimina la razón por la que existe la compañía. Además, los recasteadores no se preocupan por la calidad de las muñecas, y los clientes son engañados a comprar una copia que puede tener una imagen negativa del creador original. Cuando encontramos este problema por primera vez, nuestra decepción y desdicha fueron muy grandes, y no podíamos encontrar como sobrepasar estos problemas. Muchas compañías, además de nosotros, están sufriendo amplios daños mentales y financieros debido a los recasts, y estamos sintiendo el daño extensivo de la piratería ilegal de derechos de autor que ha aumentado en el mercado en los últimos años. (*En el pasado, sitios que vendían copias ilegales sólo se encontraban en china, pero ahora vemos sitios de Estados Unidos, Europa, sitios web, blogs, páginas de Facebook y cuentas de Instagram que venden copias). Encontramos tales sitios web ilegales a través de nuestras propias búsquedas, pero muchos fueron gracias a clientes que aman nuestras muñecas. Enviamos e-mails de advertencia a esos sitios cuando los encontramos, pero la triste realidad es que es casi imposible eliminarlos porque los operadores de tales sitios cierran el primero y abren uno nuevo en cuestión de días. Bajo tales circunstancias, armamos un código alfanumérico de 12 dígitos que certifica nuestros productos, así como stickers holográficos que nos ayudan a rastrear la información. Como sea, esto no es una solución perfecta. A pesar de todos estos inconvenientes, siempre estamos pensando en nuevas formas de certificar los productos genuinos y proveer muñecas y servicios de alta calidad a través de nuestros esfuerzos continuados. Les pedimos que nos apoyen para que nuestro esfuerzo valga para algo.



Finally, is there anything more you’ll like to share with us?
When I first set up the company with my friend, I knew that making dolls was an extremely difficult task. In spite of that act, we laughed with each other, saying that we would not have started if we were going to say that even one of us was going to quit. Fifteen years have passed, and my friend and I are still enjoying the task of making dolls with our colleagues, as people who love dolls. We will continue to make dolls with the best we have got, as long as we have the strength to do so. Please send us with any ideas that you wish to propose. We wish to be a doll company that continues to exchange ideas with doll lovers and grow together as partners. Thank you.
Finalmente, ¿hay algo más que quisieran compartir con nosotros?
Cuando empezamos la compañía con mi amigo, sabíamos que hacer muñecas era una tarea muy difícil. A pesar de hecho, nos reíamos, diciendo que no hubiéramos empezado si íbamos a decir que uno de nosotros abandonaba. Han pasado quince años, y mi amigo y yo aún disfrutamos la tarea de hacer muñecas con nuestros colegas, como personas que hacen muñecas, Continuaremos haciéndolas con lo mejor que tenemos, mientras tengamos la fuerza para ello. Por favor, envíen cualquier idea que quieran proponer. Quisiéramos ser una compañía que continúa intercambiando ideas con los amantes de muñecas y crecer juntos como colegas. Gracias.


Thank you so much for doing the interview! :D
It was a very interesting time to us. Thank you so much.
¡Muchas gracias por hacer esta entrevista! :D
Fue muy interesante para nosotros. Muchas gracias.



And this is all for today! Feel free to share the link to the interview, but do not repost it. If you want to translate it to yet another language, contact me first.

You can find Souldoll at their official website: http://www.souldoll.com/

Have a great weekend and a perfect new month!

14 comments :

  1. Mis preciosos!!!

    Lovely interview as always! So glad Souldoll wanted to do it too, so many nice photos! Their team is bigger than I thought, no wonder their work is always so delicate.

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    1. Thank you so much! And yes, they shared so many photos!
      I love their work, I have a Souldoll on my wishlist :D

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  2. I'm really happy to see this interview about Souldoll, they're one of my current favorite companies! ♥ Loved seeing some photos of their workspace, it looks so cool *o*

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    1. Happy you liked this! I love their work too!

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  3. Oo, a very interesting read indeed! :) I also liked seeing "behind the curtains" pics of their working and company building areas. It'd be super interesting to read more about production and maybe get an interview with a professional Korean and/or Japanese doll sculptor. (if you've done one in the past and I've missed it, please feel free to link that post! :)

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    1. Thanks, glad you found it interesting!
      I have interviewed J.Baek, who worked with Iplehouse and DiM, and now is the owner/founder of Dollits.

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  4. Great interview, as always. My, what an elegant work space! Love the doors with their name on them. I am surprised by what a large staff they have, although they don't say how many people are on each team. SoulDoll dolls have a very distinctive look to them--it's impossible to mistake them for any other company's dolls. I am currently eagerly awaiting my first Soul Kid boy.

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    1. Thanks, glad you liked it!
      I was surprised by the size of the staff too! I hope your SoulKid boy arrives soon!

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  5. Muy buena entrevista!! Me encanta esta marca, mi preferida es Justitia aunque la nueva Mewo también me gustó mucho. Gracias por darnos a conocer a tantos creadores

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    1. ¡Gracias! Sí, la armadura de Justitia es impresionante. Muy hermosa :D

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  6. Hi Musume,
    This is probably one of the most interesting interviews you have done. (Even though I always enjoy your interviews) However, this one managed to procure some interesting responses from J.H. Lee which particularly interested me.

    There were gorgeous photos there too! Well done! :)
    Hugs,
    x

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    1. Awww, thank you!! I'm happy you liked this so much!!

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  7. This was a really cool read! Thank you so much for sharing. Souldoll was one of the first companies I found when I first got into BJDs, so it's really cool that they're still going and making such extraordinary dolls.

    I did want to add though, while it might not be a problem, I do worry about fully displaying their CoA like this... my paranoia is saying that it makes it easier for recasters to be sneakier. <3

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    1. Thank you!! I'm very happy this interview was so well received!
      Yeah, I worry about the CoA too, but oh well.

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