If anyone is interested, here is a review I did for Sybomania…
We arrived at the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood around ten and after standing outside to enjoy the amazing sunshine for a few minutes we entered the museum where clear signage directed us to our registration area. There was already a sizeable line but everything moved swiftly and was really well organised so we neared the registration table very quickly!
From there we could see an unoccupied table at the end of the room near the windows so we taxed Daniel as possibly the agilest amongst us to run and reserve it as soon as he was registered!
It turned out to be a great location with a bit more space and air than most of the tables – and a front row location for Charles’ presentation later in the day.
A huge amount of effort had gone into making the room feel like a perfect location for a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Customised bunting and flags were all over the room, tables laid with accessories and pictures – we were the Mad March Hare table – and throughout the morning more and more props like teapots, top hats and flamingos were added! Occasional music too but not so loud as to making talking tricky.
There were several displays set up in the main convention room, the raffle prizes, the eBay charity auction dolls, backdrops for selfies for both dolls and humans and a huge display including some great multi doll dioramas comprising a massive selection of different dolls belonging to the organising team. It was quite cool for me to see the Gene who was my first ever fashion doll purchase amongst the dolls displayed although I no longer have her!
There were actually two sales rooms and a good variety of stuff on display.
The morning passed much quicker than expected….it was a lot like sitting at a table in a coffee shop enjoying chattering about dolls! With the advantage of travelling by car and a husband to help me carry stuff I had elected to bring a few travel dolls with me and Charna kindly agreed to have them around her space as well!
We had fun setting these up with the help of Charles and Desmond to pose them appropriately and had a lot of interest from collectors not familiar with the sybarites.
A quick trip to the excellent museum cafe and then it was time to congregate for the official events part of the day.
Along with Charles, Desmond and Lucrezia our superdoll contingent included Daniel, Charna, Susan, Barbara, Julia, Giulia, Philippe and a few others…..it was great to realise how far some people had travelled!
After introductions and some info about the various competitions, it was time for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
A lot like traditional English Afternoon Tea with sandwiches, cakes and scones with jam and cream…all served on mismatched traditional bone china plates! This was served buffet style which did lead to a bit of a queue (perhaps sending people up by table would be better in future) but fresh cool sandwiches were brought out to the table right until the end.
Tea and water were provided and it was easy to fetch coffee or whatever from the cafe in the museum. Of course, we added some rather more sparkly refreshments in the superdoll area lol!
After we had all sated ourselves Simon introduced Charles who gave a very informative question and answer session, the real highlight of the event for many of us. Simon asked the questions that had been posted on Facebook and then opened the floor up for audience questions. Many of the answers were very interesting with Charles talking about inspiration, his and Desmond’s training in couture and how he loves to see the ‘Christmas morning fresh’ doll in her box at the end of the design and production process. He also stressed how superdoll are responsible for each part of the finished doll, designing and making components like jewellery and wigs to work within their total concept.
It was interesting to hear questions from people unfamiliar with superdoll and after the formal session Charles invited people to our table to come and see and handle sybarites themselves….it was great sharing our enthusiasm with new people.
I must admit by this stage I was feeling a bit hot, tired and sticky….a few more presentations and competition announcements and then the sales room reopened.
As the final part of the main convention drew to a close the organisers completed the raffle draw – judging by the shrieks and shouts from parts of the room some people were really thrilled with their prizes. I think the proceeds were to be donated to the museum, who were very gracious hosts and of course open for anyone who wanted to view the collections during the day.
Then the last moments of the charity auction on eBay to benefit Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital were shown on the big screen. I’m a little embarrassed to say that although I would have loved to support this great charity there was nothing to arouse even the slightest interest in bidding from me…I am afraid I was rather more interested in my fresh cup of coffee!
Then the final activity was handing out our gift sets, which we could pre-choose in a choice of 12″ or 16″ size. Just like all the programmes, posters and tickets, everything was presented in a professional and thoughtful manner – I was surprised to see the sets were boxed and in shippers rather than the ziplock bag I would probably have expected! I’m actually very happy with mine and love the included doll tote bag.
Again this was handled smoothly and quickly and then the organisers had the difficult task of shooing those not booked to stay later for the superdoll reveal out of the room. Everyone was having so much fun they wanted to continue chatting and admiring dolls rather than getting ready to go home!
Those of us who had registered for Absolem were invited into the selfie area and presented with welcome glasses of chilled champagne. Charles spoke a little about designing a doll for the festival and then apologised that the actual dolls were still in customs at Heathrow – despite frantic rushing around London and endless phone calls during the day from their team. I think some of us were actually quite relieved that we didn’t have to carry more boxes home in the heat….and she really will be with us very soon!
Then the doll selfie area was shuttered behind white curtains until Charles and Desmond unveiled the prototype of the amazing Absolem!
Gasps of delight and a moment of drawing breath and then we all crowded in for a closer look and chance to take pictures. Everyone sounded totally thrilled… I know I am!
Charles explained that the prototype was very similar to the production doll with the only main difference is that her hair is a little more off her face on the one side and that she comes with an additional special accessory.
Excited, happy…but tired…we piled into cabs to go back to hotels or stations.
Several of us still hadn’t had enough dolly chat and enjoyed dinner together before finally calling an end to a great day.
Thanks, everyone for all the likes and nice comments…though of course the thank yous should go to all the organisers of this great event and to the doll companies who joined in…..especially to superdoll for creating the amazing Absolem!
I’ve only just had a proper look in my goody bag….we received custom printed tote bags containing a fabulous high quality programme including pictures of all the auction dolls, an A4 custom folder with a couple of high quality Kim London event themed photos, lots of postcards and publicity material, miniature teacup, saucer and spoon, superdoll sunglasses, local info like tube maps and proper lanyards for ID….they were nice enough that I left mine on and I hate wearing name tags LOL! Those of us staying for the superdoll session also received extra publicity things and a handbag from “other” fashion doll makers.