From DoA ABJD Wiki
Wishel was a Chinese BJD company, located in Hong Kong, which operated in late 2006. Leroi, the sculptor from Mythdoll, also created/sculpted the Wishel doll line. (As posted on the Wishel Q&A board: "BB WISHEL Series since June 2005 have begun to design, the birth of the first edition in August ...After many revisions...") Wishel dolls were first sold in Yahoo! Japan auctions in August 2006, and the dolls officially debuted at the Dollism Plus convention in Hong Kong on October 2, 2006.
Wishel was a sister company of Mythdoll, and its operations were located in the same warehouse, but according to Wishel's first English-language representative, Dennis, Wishel operated separately from Mythdoll.
The Wishel website, during its existence, was located at http://www.wishel.com/ . The website first appeared in September 2006, and officially opened in October 2006, following the Dollism Plus convention in Hong Kong on October 2nd. The website featured photos of blue skies and puffy clouds, with a cute angel Wishel "flying" in the clouds. A website mascot, a demon-winged Wishel doll named Alex, posted in-character in "Alex's Diary" on the Wishel Q&A board. Alex's Diary contained discussion and photos of the Dollism Plus convention, as well as information about his "brothers and sisters," and also information about website ordering procedures, etc. The website stopped taking orders in late 2006, and disappeared completely by early 2010.
The overall concept of Wishel dolls was quite unique. Wishel exclusively marketed 12cm tiny BJDs. The dolls arrived in a brown carton with gold lining. Inside the carton, the dolls were packaged in a large egg made of plaster and an inner yellow foam egg yolk; owners had to crack open the egg to release the doll. From the Wishel Q&A board: "When you receive your shipment and open the package, you will find an egg in it, your angel is just hatching in it (now your angel is not born yet!) Then your angel needs your help to let it come out. Please strike the egg with a hammer gently (if you have no hammer at hand, your fist will do either, but do be careful not to hurt the angel!) When you break the egg’s shell, you will find the yolk—a yellow sponge ball. Please press the ball gently and it will split a little. Then it comes to the most exciting moment, take your angel from the crevice, now your angel is born! When you crack the egg and take out your angel, it is the moment your angel is born, the most expected and exciting moment. So please record the memorable moment with your camera." Some owners did not want to crack the egg and ruin it, and were successful in cutting the egg in half, or cutting a hole in the flat bottom of the egg. Some of the eggs were signed/numbered/dated on the bottom or inside by the sculptor (Leroi); some eggs had no signature or numbering.
Besides their unique packaging, another special feature of Wishel dolls was their specially-sculpted headcaps with horns or halos, or bodies with angel or demon wings sculpted on the back. These features were part of the doll mold, and were not removable without modding; however, they very small, and did not interfere with the normal wearing of wigs or clothing. Not all Wishels came with the special winged backs or headcaps; ordinary headcaps and bodies were also available.
All Wishel dolls were made of regular opaque urethane resin, with single jointed, immature "baby" body types.
Due to the website's short history, and because of the randomly-assembled nature of most Wishel dolls, it is not known precisely how many Wishel headmolds, body parts, etc. are in existence. Wishel sold only complete dolls, and did not sell parts separately. From the Wishel Q&A board: "...separate parts will not be available so as to avoid piracy."
A list of parts/options known to exist is as follows:
- Around 8 heads were originally pictured in the Style Designer on the website, including a frown/pouty head.
- There may have been more than one elf-eared head.
- Known to exist:
- Fully-closed eyes (Festivous)
- Fully-closed eyes (My Wishel head #1; different from Festivous)
- Sleepy/partially-closed eyes (My Wishel head #2)
- Smirky smile (My Wishel head #3 or 4?)
- Elf-eared (My Wishel head #5)
- Sweet smile/chubby cheeks
- Slant eyes
- Angel halo
- Unicorn horn
- Demon horns
- Angel Body (asexual with angel wings on the back)
- Demon Body (asexual with demon wings on the back)
- Most hands are known to exist in both right-hand and left-hand versions.
- Known to exist:
- Open fingers
- Closed fingers (prayer hands)
- Peace sign/scissors
- Thumbs up/down
- Pointing index finger
- Four fingers raised w/ thumb tucked in
- OK sign
- Regular toes (all toes together; My Wishel Foot #1)
- Tabi toes (space between first and second toes; My Wishel Foot #2)
- Regular legs
- Advanced legs (Suwarikko/swivel capability in the upper thigh)
- Advanced legs with two-part upper thighs
- Order pages existed for three different arm types.
- As far as is known, only one type of arm ever arrived with the dolls.
- Wigs were never actually made available.
- Curl (faux fur?)
- Wave (faux fur?)
- Advertised as glass eyes; dolls actually arrived with acrylic eyes.
- Apple green
- According to the Wishel Q&A board, the resin was colored before casting.
- Some colors had higher prices than others.
- Although all the skin colors below were listed as choices, only Normal color dolls are known to have ever actually been produced by Wishel.
- Black (Ebony)
Prices of Wishel dolls started at $100 USD. (At the time, such a low price for a BJD was remarkable.) Shipping was $40-45 for the first doll, $10-15 for each additional doll.
Prices for additional features were posted on the Wishel website as follows:
- Normal Make-up: USD25.00 (WISHEL’s normal make-up) [Also quoted as $15 elsewhere on the website]
- Appointed Make-up (+ seam removal + spray coating): USD100.00 (Make-up on customer’s requirement)
- Seamstresses [sic] Removing: USD25.00
- Spraying Protecting Paint: USD25.00"
"Festivous Wishel - Opening Memory" was a special Wishel with the Angel Body, Halo headcap and fully-closed eyes, released in a limited edition of 100 to commemorate the opening of the Wishel website. As posted on the site, "October 2nd will become a memorable day for Wishel and Wishel's lovers--Wishel finally debuts on the day. To express her thanksgiving for all the lovers and remember this special day, Wishel is to release 100 memorial angels." Festivous Wishels were premade and (supposedly) ready to ship when the order was placed. Their original name was Festival Wishel, but it was changed to Festivous Wishel mere days before their release. Festivous Wishels cost $100 USD + shipping.
Unbeknown Wishels were created from a combination of body parts chosen at random by the company. Owners did not know what their doll would look like until they cracked open its egg. From the Wishel website: "The head,body,limbs,hands,feet,eyes and wig are selected at random. The angel is hatching in an egg. Before its birth no one knows what it looks!...All parts (head, limbs, body, eyes, wig) of doll and fittings are selected at random. Only on the day of the angel’s birth can you find our what your angel looks like." Skin tone was also random, but as far as is known, only normal skin Wishels ever arrived to owners. Some buyers worried about mismatched skin colors with the various parts, but it was stated on the Wishel Q&A that all parts for Unbeknown dolls would be the same color. Unbeknown Wishels arrived strung, with acrylic eyes and faceups; some also had random-color faux fur wigs. Unbeknown Wishels cost $100 USD + shipping.
The Unbeknown Wishels were made up of parts also intended for the "My Wishel" order system (see info below).
This concept, although never actually implemented, was intended to allow the customer to choose a combination of doll parts in the "My Wishel" section of the website, and doll would be assembled as selected (similar to Volks Full Choice System). Prices were to range from approx. $115 - $188 USD + shipping.
Wishels are 12cm tall, and wear 8mm eyes and size 4-5 wigs. They can wear most clothing and shoes from older/wider Mattel Kelly/Shelly/Tommy dolls, and also some Wee Patsy, Baby Bratz, Jun Planning Ai, Baby Licca, Mini Madame Alexander and Mini Baby Born clothes. Wishels can share some clothing/shoes with Orientdoll So and Blue Fairy Pocket Fairy tiny BJDs. Wigs for Pocket Fairy also fit, as well as some wigs intended for Barbie and Volks Dollfie Plus. Re-Ment miniatures are proper scale accessories for Wishel.
The official company measurements for Wishel dolls are as follows:
- Circumference of Head 10.0cm
- Circumference of neck 3.2cm
- Circumference of chest 6.5cm
- Width of shoulders 3.5cm
- Length of "from shoulder to wrist" 3.2cm
- Length of "from elbow to wrist" 1.5cm
- Length of back 3.0cm
- Circumference of waist 7.0cm
- Circumference of hips 7.5cm
- Length of "from hips to kee" 2.0cm
- Length of "from knee to ankle" 1.6cm
- Circumference of ankle 2.4cm
- Foot size 1.4cm
Wishel, like its sister company Mythdoll, started out with a bang, but was plagued by controversy throughout most of its brief existence. Some of the problems Wishel and its customers encountered are described below.
Initially, some BJD collectors felt the concept of Wishels (tiny dolls with sculpted angel wings) was too similar to Volks Sei Tenshi. However, Wishels proved to be much smaller than Sei Tenshi, and their design was ultimately very different.
As reported on the Wishel Q&A board by Alex, the Wishel website mascot, at least one doll was stolen from the Wishel display at the Dollism Plus convention in Hong Kong on October 2, 2006. Only the headcap of the stolen doll was ever recovered.
It was reported by Leroi (creator of Wishel) that black-market bootleg Wishel dolls, complete with plaster eggs, began appearing on the market in China even before legitimate Wishel dolls began shipping. Also, it is believed that the doll stolen from Dollism Plus may have later been used to make unauthorized Wishel copies. Wishel posted a warning on their Q&A page on Nov. 12, 2006 about pirated bootleg copies of their dolls: "Recently been discovered in mainland China because pirated copies of angels appeared...following notice: WISHEL series of BB is MYTHDOLL INTERNATIONAL LIMITED. All rights reserved...For piracy, MYTHDOLL will take legal action and to take measures to protect the interests of consumers...[if anyone is] found buying [dolls for the purpose of making] pirated [copies], personal data and information on their activities will be published online..."
It was also speculated that the Wishel concept was being copied by Orientdoll for their winged So dolls; this ultimately proved to be false. Additionally, there was speculation that the Bobobie Tiny dolls named Eric and Erin might be recast or modded Wishel dolls; they seemed similar in company photos, and Dennis, the manager of Bobobie, was formerly employed by Wishel/Mythdoll. However, owner comparison photos proved that the Bobobie tiny dolls were actually quite different from Wishel dolls.
Dennis, the English-language rep for Wishel, announced on Nov. 8th, 2006 that he was leaving the company: "My dear friends, for some reason I will leave Mythdoll Company, leave my lovely Wishel! I am truly sorry and sad. I am so thankful to all of your support to Wishel and my work...I am thankful to Mythdoll company. They made so many lovely things. I hope Mythdoll will supply more beautiful dolls and offer better service. And I hope your will go on support and love Wishel and Mythdoll." It was later speculated that Dennis left due to some manner of disagreement with Leroi, the sculptor of Mythdoll and Wishel. Leroi commented on November 9th, "...we would like to wish Dennis good luck. Due to personal reason, he decided to leave Wishel. We are really regretted for his leaving...And, Shirley will take the job in future, please believe us we will continue our service as good as Dennis was here."
Some Wishel owners reported that the yellow foam yolk was sometimes melted onto the doll upon arrival, and/or had stained the doll; the problem could apparently be rectified with water. Also, sometimes the eggs were already broken upon arrival, presumably due to postal mishandling. Unbeknown Wishels were advertised as coming with glass eyes and random wigs; they actually came with acrylic eyes, and few, if any, arrived with a wig of any sort. Some owners also reported a problem with how the heads fit on the necks, and that the S-hooks did not sit properly into the heads. There were also complaints that the Wishel headcaps lacked any sort of mechanism to hold them on; upon arrival, headcaps were held on with bits of eye putty in two notches on either side of the head and cap. Still other owners complained that the resin seams were too pronounced, the stringing was too loose (they were strung with jewelry elastic), the stringing came undone easily due to knots at the hands and feet, extra bits of resin from molding remained on the doll, and that the faceups were basic at best. Many felt that the quality of dolls improved between the first batch of dolls (Festivous) and the later dolls (Unbeknown).
The Paypal payment system on the website was unreliable at best. Some people placed orders and made payment, but their orders were never acknowledged. The payment system was taken down from the website and re-added several times. At one point, orders could only be made by email and bank transfer payment, and only in minimum orders of at least 10 dolls. Later on, payment had to be made in two steps: Dolls were paid first, and shipping had to be sent as a separate payment. It was speculated that the reason there were so many problems with Paypal is that Wishel shared a payment address with Mythdoll, who was having problems delivering dolls at the time; this resulted in many chargebacks and a frozen account on Paypal. Wishel was unable to issue refunds for many of the chargebacks due to their frozen account status. In November 2006, an alternate Paypal address was created for payments.
By late December 2006, Wishel ceased accepting new orders; however, the website ordering system remained intact, so customers could go through the motions of ordering, but would only receive a blank screen in the end, and the orders were never acknowledged or filled by Wishel. No notice was ever posted on the website that they were no longer processing orders. The website remained in place for several years, but disappeared for good by early 2010.
On the Wishel Q&A board, it was originally stated that dolls would be shipped within 4-10 weeks. As with Mythdoll, orders were often greatly delayed, and communication from the company was spotty at best. Mythdoll, and later Wishel, blamed their shipping delays on piracy issues. Wishel also mentioned at one point that the delay was partially due to them not receiving the proper glass eyes for the Unbeknown Wishels: "As qualified glass eyes are not delivered to us yet. We will not send out Unbeknown Wishel. We believe we will send out all Unbeknown Wishel in one to two weeks." (Dolls were eventually shipped out with acrylic eyes, rather than the glass eyes which were advertised.)
There was much speculation that the dolls were simply so popular, Wishel could not keep up with the demand. By early December 2006, Wishel stopped responding to email inquiries and messages on the Q&A board. In early February 2007, Leroi posted on Den of Angels to offer thanks to those who loved Wishel, and acknowledged at that time that "...our work has come to a standstill for such long time." No further explanation was ever offered.
It is thought that all ordered dolls were eventually shipped, and no orders were left outstanding, though some shipments were mistakenly sent to incorrect addresses.
The End of Wishel
It is believed that ultimately, Leroi from Wishel/Mythdoll decided to focus on retail sales and the use of distributors to sell dolls, rather than direct web sales. Some Wishels were later available through a dealer in Taiwan, on a Taiwanese auction website. Mythdolls (and perhaps also Wishels) also eventually were offered for sale in physical doll stores in Asia and Australia. Leroi also started another BJD company, Abio Angel, and those dolls were available through a number of distributors, though ultimately Abio Angel also suffered from communication and shipping issues.
In October 2007, one of the Abio Angel distributors reported that Leroi "...has been tweaking the resin colours over the past several months...doing resin colour tests using the Wishel molds when I met her this past summer..." The Abio Angel distributor also suggested they might be able to pre-order Wishels if a large enough quantity was requested. This injected some hope that Wishel dolls would become available again, but ultimately, nothing came of it, and Wishels have only been available on the secondary market since that time.
As of early 2010, the Wishel website link leads to a non-existent page.