Personalized Bobbleheads, What’s the Buzz All About?

custom bobblehead dolls wedding giftThe most unlikely gift in this digital era we live in seems to be getting more popular every day: personalized bobbleheads made by hand to resemble their owners. This seems something that’s highly unlikely to happen, and yet it is happening. Thought we’d write a few words to explore what the buzz is all about (even Groupon seems to think its worth to run daily deals for them), what the product actually is, and why people can’t get enough of it these days.

Bobbleheads themselves have been around for a really long time. There are records of ancient China and Japan producing them in bamboo, and in case you were wondering, yes, their heads bobbled already back then. The entry of bobbleheads into popular culture took place during the 1960s when sports leagues in the United States created series of them, especially around baseball and American football. The style and material of these bobbleheads was significantly different from the ones we’ll be referring to in a moment. Back then they had cherub-like faces, simple blocks for a body and they were made of paper-mache.

While all this took place, the tradition in Asia of making bobbleheads of actual people, was never really lost and lay dormant for a few decades. Then the love for popular sports increased and bobbleheads were revived and with it, the idea was expanded to reproduce famous TV stars, politicians and the odd brand mascot (the Taco Bell bobblehead and Churchill dog from the American insurance firm being the most heavily advertised in the media).

This laid the ground for personalized bobbleheads to enter into popular culture. Nobody knows exactly how it happened. Most likely a personalized wedding cake topper maker or wedding couple thought it would be an idea to make the heads of their personalized cake toppers to bobble around. Whatever the actual story, there is now a myriad of companies that for around 100 USD will create a personalized bobblehead of pretty much anyone. The product itself seems quite simple at first glance, but the devil lies in the details.

What is common across all custom bobbleheads out there is they are somewhere between 5 and 7 inches, the head is somewhat cartoonish and oversized in nature and they’re not the cheapest thing in the world.

From there on the differences begin, with some bobbleheads having a base as a standard and others standing on their own feet, some being only carved in polymer clay and others molded in resin. Believe it or not, some producers are starting to create their bobbleheads by machine instead of the hand-made industry standard. To make matters more complex, the style of the artist that makes them is imprinted in each of them and so comparing is a task on its own.

How to tell which the good ones are? Well, there’s a few tips and tricks that will help a newby navigate the bobble head choices with confidence.

First and foremost you must look beyond marketing blah blah. Every single custom bobblehead site will argue they sell the ‘real ones’ or ‘the original’, a big pile of lies, since we’ve established that they were well known way before any of our forefathers walked the earth. They will all say they have been around forever, been on major TV channels, created bobble heads of extremely famous people, etc, etc, etc.

Try not to read, and instead follow your gut feel. How reputable does the website look? Is it providing you with rich, accurate information about the product, or is it full of hype? Have they invested in a clean, excellent looking shop or is it a guy in his garage who cannot give you guarantees about quality, timing and customer service? Secondly have a close look at the bobbleheads they show, how well are details like fingers and clothes made? Does the paint job look accurate or amateuristic? How many examples do they have to showcase the resemblance they can offer you? Too few examples could mean some serious cherry picking has taken place and you’re likely looking at what retailers call ‘halo models’ shown only to create excitement at the side of the buyer, but never accurate representations of what you will really get.

Then there is the all important satisfaction guarantee. If you do nothing else, do not purchase a personalized bobblehead from a site that does not guarantee your satisfaction. Remember, this is a hand made product, made in 3D, based on nothing but photos you send. The margin for error is large and the price is not cheap, so take no risks on the purchase of your bobble head. Beware of vendors who claim 100% likeliness (resemblance) because the figurine is made by machine. This only guarantees that the machine will make a bobblehead that is identical to the digital file it is fed. However there is still human intervention and technical interpretation between the photo you send, and the file that the machine reads. The results can sometimes be a figurine that looks rather…..well, lets be kind…. awkward.

Personalized bobbleheads are here to stay, that much is clear. Their popularity as wedding cake toppers is unprecedented and they are immensely versatile. We attribute their popularity to the fact that they are so very personal. They speak directly of the person being made, their life, hobbies, things they love or experiences they have shared. The hand made element may not be their most exciting aspect, but it brings a special feeling to the bobble heads, in a time when even greeting cards are digital. It represents time, personal dedication and uniqueness embedded in them.

Finally there’s the surprise element these bobbleheads bring. We often struggle to find a gift that will please, and we’re surrounded by friends and family who seem to have it all.

Personalized bobble heads provide a personal, funny and tasteful solution to the age old question: “What should I get?” ¬†Article Source: