Danny Choo here. Let's talk about the Pear Body.
I encourage you to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the pear body before making a purchase decision. There is likely information available that could influence your thoughts about acquiring one. It’s important to be well-informed so that your decision aligns with your expectations and needs.
In all honesty, our mission with Smart Doll 9 years ago didn't start with absolute clarity. The early years were spent grappling with a multitude of production and quality issues that took significant time and effort to stabilize. Cultivating relationships with vendors, refining workflows, and upholding quality were not achievements we could attain overnight.
As we garnered experience and our grasp on quality control strengthened, we found the bandwidth to turn our attention to an area sorely overlooked in the doll industry.
Fashion dolls can serve as powerful vessels for conveying ideas and sparking creativity. Unfortunately, trends in the industry often lean towards mass production, which can sometimes result in compromises on quality and craftsmanship.
Consequently, there existed a gap in the availability of high-quality fashion dolls that authentically represented the rich variety and inherent beauty of human forms. This limitation not only hinders the creative expression of individual creators but can also contribute to an inadvertent message that favors certain body types or skin colors.
This reality led me to a clear realization. Despite our company's size, we were determined to make a difference, however small, to address the representation shortfall in the fashion doll market. Our mission became to create dolls that represented an array of skin colors, cultures, physical differences, including dolls with limb differences and medical conditions. Now, we've made a further stride with the introduction of body diversity in the form of the Smart Doll Pear Body.
Many of our existing Smart Doll customers are aware that our products are not designed with a one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore, setting clear expectations is crucial to help prevent regrettable purchases. This practice isn't about curtailing criticism - which we actually find valuable in guiding consumers to make informed decisions - but rather about safeguarding our customers. Our goal is to ensure that they choose products that truly resonate with their values and expectations.
Moving forward, we will be designating the existing body style as "classic" and the new one as "pear." It's important to clarify that the term "classic" is used here not to imply traditional aesthetics, but rather to indicate that this style preceded the pear body. We frequently use "classic" to describe earlier versions of a character that have since been updated or succeeded by a new version.
"Shell" is a term used to describe the outer vinyl body parts that make up the body shape.
"Evolve" is the latest generation internal frame that incorporates an auditory and haptic feedback design.
The pear body girls will come fully assembled with pre-attached eyes + painted head, wig, support stand, sports bra + panties set, and a canvas bag.
The sports bra + panties that come with your pear body Smart Doll will fit bust sizes up to Medium. Your Smart Doll will look fine in the sports bra + panties at home, but if you take them outdoors, they may get cold/shy and slap you - in which case extra apparel items may prevent further slapping.
The pear girls will be shipped in the same kneeling format as the classic bodies. We've made slight adjustments to the box shape, and while there may be gaps on either side of the canvas bag, the newly designed accessory box inside the bag adds extra height, preventing the canvas bag from moving around too much during transit. Additionally, we've increased the width of the bubble wrap to provide a first layer of protection.
However, due to the larger inner cavity of the vinyl shell, the bubble wrap may compress the body somewhat while in transit. The good news is that the body is made from soft vinyl, a memory plastic known for its ability to return to its original shape. If needed, you can gently heat the vinyl with a hair dryer to help it regain its intended form. This feature of soft vinyl ensures that your pear girl can recover from the pressures of shipping and arrive in the shape and condition you expect.
When developing the pear body, our initial goal was to maintain a price point similar to our existing models. However, the reality of production has presented us with significant challenges.
The Pear Body is substantially larger, being 64% bigger in size than our classic bodies. This increase in size necessitates 32% more vinyl per doll and requires 55% more inventory storage space. Additionally, the larger components mean that fewer parts fit onto each mold, which reduces the efficiency of our casting process and unavoidably increases production costs.
Despite these challenges, we believe the pear body is an essential addition to our line. As a result, we've set the price for the pear body characters at 69,800 JPY for the standalone model and 81,800 JPY for the bundle, which includes the pear body character and a medium bust. This pricing approach aims to find a middle ground between affordability and the increased costs associated with producing the pear body.
It's important to clarify that our bundle pricing is not designed to offer a discount compared to purchasing the items separately, which is a common practice among other sellers. Our intention is not to drive sales through discounts but rather to align with our commitment to quality. We want our customers to choose our products because they resonate with their values and standards of quality, not merely because of a price incentive.
Since May 1st, 2016, the price of a Smart Doll has remained constant at 52,000 JPY. At that time, this equated to about 488 USD, but due to changes in the exchange rate, customers today can purchase a Smart Doll for approximately 353 USD. This pricing stability has been maintained despite significant cost increases on our end. The raw materials for components like POM and vinyl have seen an average cost increase of 30% over the years, impacting our production expenses.
In our continuous effort to improve workflow and operational efficiency, we are always exploring ways to refine our production processes. This effort was notably reflected in our ability to reduce the price of our cyber bodies by investing in additional paint masks, which significantly enhanced production efficiency while upholding our high-quality standards.
Looking ahead, our objective is to implement similar improvements across all our product lines, including the pear body. Achieving greater efficiency in production may potentially allow us to adjust pricing in the future. However, it’s crucial to note that our unwavering commitment to quality remains paramount. This dedication to excellence underpins every aspect of our work, even amidst the challenge of rising costs.
To align our business practices with the evolving market, we are reconsidering our approach to pricing. Unlike our past strategy with the classic bodies, where we maintained a fixed price for several years, we aim to ensure that going forward, our pricing reflects the actual costs involved. This change is part of our commitment to sustainability and fairness, both in terms of the value we offer to our customers and the viability of our business in the long term.
The development of the Smart Doll pear body has been a collaborative effort with the Smart Doll community. Folks who cared about product development offered actionable feedback, such as providing reference images and even offering sketches. We shared regular behind-the-scenes updates in the Timeline.
Compared to the classic body, the pear body was brought to market in record-breaking time, unprecedentedly in Smart Doll Land. This rapid progression stands as a testament to our vibrant community, which has been a fountain of inspiration. Positive feedback has fueled our enthusiasm, but it's often the negative pushback that became the catalyst for our growth and innovation. Through the pear body, we hope not only to challenge prevailing norms but also to foster a sense of inclusivity, ensuring every segment of our audience feels recognized and valued.
I'd like to particularly express my gratitude to everyone who suggested we avoid creating belly-exposing apparel for the pear body. Feedback like this is vital as it helps shape the direction of our product line. Inspired by these perspectives, we created a range of belly-showing apparel, including bikinis.
This emphasizes our belief that everyone, regardless of body shape, should have the freedom to wear what truly speaks to them, underscoring that such belly-showing apparel isn't exclusive to slimmer figures.
In discussing the design of an articulate fashion doll, it’s essential to understand the rationale behind our choices. As a small team of 17 people, our design strategy aims for timelessness and scalability. This approach led us to utilize the existing Evolve Frame (the internal skeleton of Smart Doll) for the pear body.
There have been some concerns about the slender appearance of the arms and legs. This design choice is directly linked to our use of the Evolve frame. The current dimensions of the limbs are critical for maintaining optimal usability and articulation. Enlarging them could compromise these key features. Our intention was for the pear body dolls to retain the same range of motion as the classic bodies. Impressively, the team exceeded expectations, enhancing the pear body’s articulation, especially in sitting postures, allowing them to sit upright more effortlessly compared to the discontinued Gen 2 frame bodies.
The support socket at the back of a Smart Doll continues to be a topic of debate among doll enthusiasts. This socket allows for the attachment of a support stand, enhancing the doll's stability. We chose this design over a saddle or C stand which are bulkier and make outdoor transport cumbersome.
For the pear body, the support socket is deeper, a necessity due to the constraints of using the Evolve frame. This design aspect might not appeal to everyone, so it’s crucial for newcomers to Smart Doll to be aware of its existence and appearance when making a purchase decision.
In summary, regarding our design choices for the pear-body doll, we acknowledge that while a significant portion of the design was shaped through community input, it's not feasible to cater to every single voice. Opinions among community members often vary and sometimes directly clash, making it challenging to satisfy everyone.
However, I believe our team has done an excellent job in striking a balance and creating a design that reflects a broad spectrum of ideas and preferences. We understand and appreciate that our final design decisions might not mirror everyone’s ideal vision of a pear-body doll. We are also encouraged to see other manufacturers offering their interpretations to meet different needs and tastes.
I want to end this section with some fun trivia. The identifier on the pear body's mold funnels is stamped "り," which is short for "Ringo," meaning "Apple" in Japanese. This came about as a practical solution to avoid confusion between the phonetically similar "pair" and "pear" during our interactions with the casting studio - because we need to order body parts in "pairs." While the final product will still be called "Pear," folks who think the body looks more like an apple can find comfort in the backstory ;-)
The pear body, with its larger contours, presents a few unique characteristics compared to the classic body. One such feature involves the elbow joints. When bending the elbows on the pear body, the thickness of the outer shell (or the "skin" component) may sometimes push down the lower arm, as indicated in cell 1 above. We often address this in the classic bodies with a simple "reset" – pushing the lower arm back up into the upper arm (as shown in cell 2).
While the pear body design allows for upright sitting, its considerable thigh thickness can lead to a unique characteristic: when seated, the buttocks may compress, causing a noticeable gap between the torso and thighs, as shown in cell 7. This is an inherent aspect of the design that is important for potential owners of the pear body to consider. Fortunately, any compression is typically temporary. The vinyl generally resumes its original shape once the doll is no longer seated. In instances where it doesn't, applying warm heat with a hairdryer to the affected area effectively remedies any warping.
The pear body's larger inner cavity results in all body parts wiggling more compared to the classic body parts - cells 4 and 5 demonstrate the thigh being wiggled back and forth. This increased size of the cavity can make attaching and detaching the arms a bit more challenging. To facilitate this process, it's necessary to grasp the shoulders and compress them firmly, which helps to stabilize the frame inside, making the attachment or detachment of the arms easier - refer to cell 1. However, the arm shell usually reverts to its original shape after being grasped and compressed without the need for a hairdryer.
If the arms detach after rotation, this indicates they haven't been properly slotted into the shoulders. Ensure a secure fit by listening for a distinct 'click' when attaching the arms. A clear clicking sound should also be heard when you turn the arms forward. If you don't hear this, it means the arms are not correctly inserted.
Cell 6 demonstrates a specific aspect of posing: when the thigh is locked backward for standing positions, the top of the thigh juts outwards. It's important to highlight that this is not exclusive to the pear body; it also occurs with classic bodies. However, due to their smaller dimensions, it's less noticeable on the classic bodies compared to the more pronounced effect seen on the pear body.
Check out the introductory video covering more about pear body articulation.
Additionally, the larger thighs mean that both the haptic and auditory feedback become more pronounced due to the hollow cavity within. This could be a significant factor for those who prefer their Smart Doll experience to be more subtle and quieter.
Despite being 64% larger in mass than the classic body, the pear body's most noticeable difference is in the thighs, which are significantly larger. In the classic body, the thigh shells partly stay in place due to their snug fit around the internal frame. However, for the pear body, the thighs are so large that they are essentially held in place by the shins. If you remove the shins, the thigh shells will likely fall off. To prevent this, we've modified the Evolve frame in version 5.7, making the shins quite challenging to remove. Should you manage to detach the shin frame, you'll need to remove the shell from the shin to properly reattach it to the thigh.
Design, inherently subjective, invites a wide array of perspectives on aesthetics and functionality. My personal affinity lies with the wabi-sabi aesthetic, a philosophy that finds beauty in imperfection and transience. This leads me to seek out products like reclaimed wood and pottery inspired by wabi-sabi principles.
In Japan, creators of these items often provide detailed information about potential imperfections to buyers. For reclaimed wood, considerations include warping, non-uniformity, asymmetry, color variation, age marks, and the potential for splintering. Similarly, pottery that embraces the wabi-sabi aesthetic may feature blemishes, irregular shapes, uneven glazing, and textural inconsistencies. These features, integral to the wabi-sabi philosophy, are often highlighted due to diverse customer expectations and interpretations of what is deemed acceptable in design.
Our product parts are handcrafted using the traditional method of Slush Casting, a detailed and meticulous process. This technique involves multiple stages, such as using air chambers and centrifugal units to minimize air bubbles, followed by baking and cooling in vats before the solidified vinyl is extracted from the molds. As a result, each piece bears unique marks, similar to stretch marks and birthmarks.
The molds themselves are created through electroplating, contributing to asymmetry and additional blemishes, including dents and rough surfaces. These characteristics, inherent to the mold, are naturally imparted to the cast parts. We aim to educate potential buyers that these features, which might be seen as flaws by some, are in fact intrinsic to our handcrafted approach. They are not indications of poor quality, but rather the essence of traditional slush vinyl casting, lending uniqueness to each piece.
To explore the unique attributes of our doll's shell (the skin part), we invite you to zoom in on the photo displayed above, particularly when using a mobile device. This enhanced perspective will reveal the intricate, natural effects that our specialized slush casting process imparts. Noticeable features such as stretch marks, and the distinct surface texture characterized by dents, tiny pinpricks, and pockmarks, are hallmarks of this technique. These elements, emerging as a result of our manufacturing approach, endow each doll with a distinct and authentic character, underscoring the individual beauty inherent in our slush vinyl process.
It's important to note that the specific textures may vary depending on the slush mold in use and the timing of the casting. This means that even if you own another Smart Doll with minimal markings, a subsequent doll may exhibit these distinctive marks, adding to its uniqueness and charm. This variability is a testament to the bespoke nature of our dolls, each bearing its own set of characteristics and personality.
Dents and stretch marks tend to be more visible on darker skin tones, while birthmarks are more apparent on lighter ones. The photographs provided above are intended to highlight areas that might be perceived as lesser quality. We emphasize these aspects to establish clear expectations and prevent potential disappointment for customers at the time of purchase. By transparently showcasing these traits, we ensure that customers fully understand and appreciate the unique nature of our products before making their decision.
Lastly, we understand that the ultimate judge of our work is you, the customer. Our commitment is not just to create dolls, but to ensure your satisfaction and appreciation of the artistry involved. We hope that by transparently showcasing these traits and embracing the wabi-sabi philosophy, we not only set clear expectations but also deepen your appreciation for the unique nature of each doll.
A customer raised concerns that the photos showcasing the blemishes were too small, potentially leading to a misleading impression about the product. In response, I've resized these images to be as large as possible while maintaining clarity. My aim with this adjustment is to enhance transparency and ensure that customers have a clear understanding of the product before making a purchase.
The unique asymmetrical design of our dolls naturally extends to their limbs, leading to variations in the lengths of the arms and legs. This isn't a deliberate choice to make one limb longer than the other but rather an outcome of the asymmetry in each part of the doll. However, it's important to mention that in some cases, if the shin is not properly attached to the thigh, one leg may appear longer. This can be corrected by bending the knee, which facilitates the proper attachment of the shin.
Despite this, the asymmetry can be creatively used to enhance the doll's posing capabilities. Especially on uneven surfaces, subtle adjustments in the limbs can achieve more natural and dynamic poses.
In addition to this, the legs and ankles of our dolls are designed for extensive mobility. The hips allow the legs to tilt outwards, inwards, and move back and forth, providing a wide range of motion. This is complemented by the ankles, which can also be tilted inwards, outwards, forwards, and back. This level of articulation greatly contributes to the versatility and realism of the poses you can achieve.
Furthermore, the hips have a locking mechanism that can be engaged to tilt the hips backwards. This feature is particularly useful for counterbalancing the asymmetry in limb lengths, allowing for even more stability and variety in posing. By utilizing these features, you can create lifelike, expressive poses that add to the doll's charm and character.
However, it's important to note that due to the asymmetrical lengths of the limbs, those who wish to pose their dolls in a rigidly straight stance, akin to a royal guard at Buckingham Palace, may encounter difficulty. The unique design of our dolls lends itself more to dynamic, natural poses rather than perfectly straight alignments. Potential buyers should consider this aspect when making a purchasing decision, to ensure that our dolls align with their posing preferences and expectations.
All hands (both default and option packs) and feet (with the Evolve frame) are interchangeable between the pear and evolve classic bodies. While classic heads can technically be attached to the pear bodies, they tend to look a bit out of proportion. Plus, due to the wider neck on the pear bodies, these heads aren’t as secure. So, we advise against coupling classic heads with pear bodies, unless you’re up for constant vigilance. Otherwise, you might just find the head taking an unexpected flight across the room.
Please be aware that option busts designed for the classic body are not compatible with the pear body.
As of now, we offer three bust sizes for the pear body as pictured above from left to right: "small," "medium," and "XL." The pear body comes standard with the "small" bust. The "medium" and "XL" sizes will be available for separate purchase. Please note that the availability of the "XL" bust size will be sporadic, similar to the current situation with the busts that feature headlights. There are no plans right now to release other bust sizes for the pear body.
Currently, we are labeling pear body-specific parts with "(pear body)" for clarity. However, we do not have plans to retroactively label existing option parts designed for the classic bodies. It's important to keep this in mind when selecting option parts for your Smart Doll.
We are committed to ensuring that our product detail pages clearly indicate whether a part is compatible with the classic body, pear body, or both. This should aid in making informed choices when purchasing additional parts.
The pear body heads feature a wider face design, but we've maintained the top of the head at approximately the same size as our other Smart Dolls. This ensures compatibility with our existing range of wigs. The same compatibility applies to our semi-real range of acrylic eyes and eye cradles.
All the medical devices we offer are compatible with the pear body. However, we've made updates to the crutches to ensure that the lower arm can rest comfortably. It's important to note that for optimal use of the crutches, we recommend using them with the grippy hands available in Option Hand Pack 2. This adaptation ensures a secure and comfortable fit, enhancing the overall experience with the crutches.
We initially aimed to launch with a comprehensive range of apparel suited for the pear body shape. However, to maintain focus and quality, we've decided to start with a foundational selection. Alongside this, we're offering free patterns for those who wish to create and potentially sell their own designs.
Please note that apparel designed for the classic body type may not suit the pear body shape, unless specified on our product detail pages. Items with a looser design, like the Oversized Knit Sweater, might accommodate the pear body, though the fit and look will differ from how it appears on the classic body type. Accordingly, we will be renaming such products to better reflect their fit on different body shapes.
Our website will feature a dedicated category for pear body apparel, but these items will also be integrated into our existing categories: Tops, Bottoms, Innerwear, Footwear, and Accessories. Each item will be clearly labeled to indicate the intended body type, along with compatibility notes for other body shapes. Updates to product descriptions will be made progressively, starting with items currently in stock.
Regrettably, we can't provide guidance on the fit of discontinued historical apparel for the pear body shape, as we no longer have these items for reference.
Moving forward, we're committed to continuously replenishing and expanding our apparel range, always mindful of our team's well-being.
Speaking of team well-being, in the interest of transparency, I want to address a common concern regarding our Smart Dolls' customization options. Many customers have expressed regret after purchasing a Smart Doll, only to find a limited range of readily available option parts for customization. This has led to comparisons with other companies known for their extensive customization offerings.
It's crucial to understand the context behind these differences. The companies often referenced for their customization capabilities typically have substantial resources, exemplified by their large workforce. For instance, one such company has hundreds of employees, as stated on their Japanese recruitment pages. This significant wo/manpower undeniably contributes to their ability to offer a wide array of customizable parts, an aspect we truly admire.
Our team, however, consists of less than 20 members. To match the level of customization options provided by these larger companies would mean requiring our team to work longer hours, a demand that goes against our company ethos. We prioritize the well-being of our team and believe in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Nevertheless, we approach customization differently. Instead of focusing on sales through off-the-shelf options, we foster a creator-driven environment. Our lineup includes free apparel patterns and 3D files, empowering our community to create, modify, and even sell their unique designs without incurring fees to us. This approach aligns with our vision to not just sell products, but to encourage learning and creativity within our community. We're committed to this philosophy, even if it means fewer sales, as empowering our users to learn and thrive is our paramount goal.
For those contemplating the purchase of a pear body Smart Doll as their first, it's important to carefully weigh our customization offerings against those of other manufacturers. We encourage you to consider which approach aligns best with your personal values and expectations. This thoughtful consideration will ensure that your choice reflects not just a preference in style, but also a commitment to the ethos and creative possibilities each brand offers.
Live and Let Live will debut in our three human skin tones as our first release. Following this, we plan to release other characters like Fortitude Pear, Future Pear, Marvel, and more, but there is no ETA for these additional characters.
While we are indeed planning to create an anime-style sculpt for the pear body, the sculpting process has presented some challenges. In the interim, we have decided to release the 3D data for our latest attempt at an anime pear head sculpt. This data is available for free, allowing enthusiasts to modify and experiment with it as they wish. This step reflects our commitment to engaging with and supporting our community, even as we continue to work on perfecting our product line.
Although the initial releases of our pear body girls may sell out quickly, we are dedicated to making this body shape a prominent part of our lineup as a frontline existence. We're committed to allocating the necessary resources to produce more of these models. This increased focus on the pear body might temporarily impact the availability of our classic body characters. However, I believe that offering a mix of both classic and pear body characters aligns more closely with our mission and represents the diversity we strive to bring to our Smart Doll collection.
We've received diverse feedback regarding our pear-bodied dolls, and I'd like to address some key points:
Our mission with the introduction of the pear body doll is to foster an environment where every body type is celebrated and respected, reflecting our dedication to inclusivity and positive representation.
There's a common misconception that our goal in setting clear expectations is to shield ourselves from criticism or negative reviews. In truth, we embrace all forms of feedback, including critical ones, as they often play a crucial role in guiding our products towards individuals who resonate with our commitment to quality and unique craftsmanship.
Many of the grievances we receive are from customers experiencing buyer's remorse, especially concerning product aspects we've explicitly highlighted beforehand. This underscores the value of our transparent communication regarding what customers should anticipate.
Our small team size and the detailed handcrafting that goes into our production mean we can only create a limited quantity of dolls. It's essential for us that our dolls are cherished by those who share our appreciation for meticulous craftsmanship and the soul infused in each Smart Doll. Selling to someone who expects industrial perfection would be contrary to our ethos and deceptive on our part. Our aim is not just to sell, but to form a bond between our creations and those who truly value the artistry and philosophy each Smart Doll represents.
Another common misconception is that our sole purpose as a business is to generate profit. While it's true that generating revenue is essential to sustain our operations, as we have for over a decade, it's important to understand that our primary mission extends beyond just selling products. Our core objective is to promote and sell a concept.
This concept revolves around encouraging individuals to live life on their own terms, without feeling compelled to alter their appearance or beliefs to conform to societal norms. Our products are more than just items; they are embodiments of this philosophy. Our ultimate goal isn’t merely to make sales, but to disseminate this message. Even if our products don’t sell as much as we hope, as long as we can effectively communicate this idea and influence perspectives, we consider our mission accomplished.