Building a Local Community: The Importance of Local Doll Friends

I've been collecting dolls since 2000, so I'm a longtime member of the local community.  I can remember when there were half a dozen doll shows every year.  I can remember when Dana Cain first launched her doll and toy shows and they were monthly!  (They later went to quarterly and eventually yearly.)  I can remember when doll clubs and shows were the only way to see people in the local community.

I remember when the local community all but went away.

Over the last couple of decades, local doll shows have been dropping off.  Right now Dana Cain's Toy & Doll Supershow is the only regular doll show we have left in the Denver area, and the local doll clubs (what's left anyway) are nearly impossible to find or join, because none of them have a solid online presence.

While the local doll community has suffered, the online community has grown in leaps and bounds.  Instagram and Facebook have become resources for collectors seeking doll friends, and as the online community has become more visible, dolls are gradually becoming more normalized.  It's no longer an old lady hobby; doll collectors no longer collect in secret.  Now we take photographs and post them online for all to see.  Now some of us even carry our dolls with us when we go places!

Joining the online communities was revolutionary for me.  You mean my collecting doesn't have to stay behind closed (glass, cabinet) doors?  I discovered I love taking and posting pictures, taking my dolls places with me, and talking about dolls on social media in large, busy doll groups.

But part of me really misses that in-person experience that we got from having more doll shows and stores and clubs.  I miss seeing people at shows several times a year, and catching up.  It was almost as much a reason why we went as shopping was!  I also miss our local meetups at the Denver American Girl store, before it closed in 2020.

Part of the reason for the local community's fading away is the loss of doll shows, and since many of those were run by local clubs, it's in large part due to the doll clubs dying out.  Young collectors don't tend to join clubs, and the clubs don't make themselves easy to join either, since they tend not to have any online presence.

In an effort to rebuild the local doll community here in Colorado, I've started a Facebook group called the Colorado Doll Community.  I intend for this to be a place where local collectors can make friends, plan meetups, and share local doll events.  It'll have the reach of the online doll community, with more of the benefits of a local group.  If you're a doll collector with a Facebook account and you live in Colorado or even the surrounding region, please join!



Read More