Friday, December 23, 2016

The transformation of Tonner Dolls and a new company: Phyn And Aero

Yesterday Rober Tonner e-mailed registered Tonner Doll members the following letter:

Tonner’s 25th Anniversary Year re-cap:
2016 has been, perhaps, the most momentous year of my life. Celebrating 25 years of creating dolls and accessories was really kind of humbling. Culling through photographs of past events and seeing the faces of people getting so much joy out of the dolls and events we’ve produced was truly heartwarming. It reminds me yet again of how lucky I’ve been to enjoy a hobby that turned into a career and a business.
I’ve frequently been asked what have been the greatest accomplishments of my last 25 years in this business and there are definitely some standouts:
-My first New York Toyfair, sitting at a single table in our tiny booth and selling out everything I brought in the first few hours.
-The first Tyler Wentworth dolls arriving at our warehouse and eventually shipping to retailers.
-The Betsy McCall and Mary Engelbreit licensed products that were so cherished and charming.
-Being the only company to produce Harry Potter dolls for six years.
-Ellowyne Wilde and the creation of Wilde Imagination, which allowed me to move in an entirely new direction.
-All of the employees who have supported me along the way, whether they believed in what I was doing, or not!
Currently, I’m spending a great deal of time learning (and hopefully mastering) some very new computer sculpting programs that, combined with state-of-the-art production capabilities, provide an entirely new method of creating dolls. I call it the “New Art of Doll Making™” and I’m really excited about what we’ll be doing in 2017 and beyond. It’s also awakened a pioneering spirit in me again and I’ve decided it’s time to completely re-think what we offer to collectors. Therefore, although Tonner will continue to make all of our established licensed products such as DC, Gone with the Wind, Outlander, etc., all of our proprietary lines, as well as those of Effanbee and Wilde Imagination, are being discontinued.
A new company is being launched and it’s called Phyn & Aero. We will be introducing three new lines in 2017 in collaboration with innovative (and incredibly talented) new designers. I really feel it’s time to broaden our perspectives and see what some fascinating (and younger!) designers create for our collectors. I believe the collector market needs a major shake-up and I’m quite sure this will be it!
As always, I’m so grateful for all the love and support you’ve shown to me over the years. I am also terrifically excited about the direction we’re heading in and hope you will join us along the way in this new, incredibly exciting adventure!

It looks like the company we knew and loved is no more. It will continue to produce only the licensed dolls (who know for how long, until the licences expire? And will we finally see Empire dolls?) but no more fashion dolls, no more Tyler Wentworth, Marley or any other fashion doll line. It is quite an unceremonious end for Tyler and family and it makes me feel sad as she was one of my first, if not the very first fashion doll I got. The new company, Phyn and Aero, will probably have new fashion dolls, so I am curious to see how that goes. 


  1. I love fashion but I was never in love with the "fashion" unrealistic dolls. I love the new resin realistic dolls (such as Dollshe Craft - also making fashion dolls now) and yet we have no real designers making clothes for most of these dolls. I know that Mr. Tonner's doll repair person had resin dolls early on so why Robert did not venture into resin dolls with his fabulous clothing - I will never know. For awhile I purchased his Wilde clothing for my MSD size dolls but when I moved up to the 60+cm line - no lovely Tonner clothes to purchase. I think you can have a realist figure and still have wonderful fashion -just don't understand the schism between Fashion vinyl and Resin fashion?

    1. Pirce is the main factor - you cannot compare the vinyl doll and fashion prices with the resin ones, especially the large 60+cm dolls. No commercial company can support that segment of the market with such a limited purchase base.