Before heading to Dollism Plus in New York, Jim Chan of Mint on Card talked to BJDcollectasy about the exciting changes that 2014 has brought to him and Lindsey. This interview is on Aimerai, a new doll company co-owned by Lindsey and a group of artists in China. (Part 2 of a 2 part interview. Part 1 may be found HERE.)
Q: I remember that you and Lindsey were interested in creating more Mint on Card exclusive dolls. So how did this eventually lead to where you are now?
A: Aimerai came to existence because working on Mint on Card doesn’t satisfy Lindsey’s creative mind. We had previously done exclusive dolls which she was able to give advice on how a certain character could work, or certain BJD companies would come us for advice and directions. We always gave generous suggestions and guidance that led to a very large degree of successes. While that was satisfying on its own, Lindsey wants more control over the creative process and taking on a little more business risk on our own.
Q: So how did this lead to creating the company Aimerai?
A: We actually had the idea of having our own design studio for several years and haven’t gotten the ball rolling because we knew we wanted this to be a global collaboration. Because most BJD casters and BJD fashion designers are located in southern China, we have been actively looking to find partners and talents in that area. Finally after years of traveling to China, we cultivated personal relationships with a group of artists in Hong Kong and GuangZhou, and made a formal pitch to propose to that we form Aimerai Designs. It’s truly East meets West with our two cultures fused into our creations.
Q: Why was the theme for the first dolls based on the Wizard of OZ books? Was the theme chosen by Lindsey? Will more characters from the stories be introduced?
A: The decision to do OZ was simple enough. Lindsey has always been a huge fan of OZ. It would be a dream come true to have OZ characters come alive in BJD form. Aimerai will conduct our business resemble more a true art studio. We will be release collections of dolls with certain themes, instead of individual dolls without a direction. OZ will be an on going theme, and we will have future collections released under this theme, possibly until we have exhausted all the characters from OZ (which could be a while considering the thousands of characters that exist in that world)! We are working on other collections that are themed other than OZ right now, but we are not yet ready to disclose what they are.
Q: When will new dolls be released? Will more sizes be added?
A: The next collection to be released will continue to be OZ theme dolls. Our social network team already “leaked” some clues as what they are. Yes, 1/4 dolls are going to be added with the new collection.
Q: What does the name Amerai mean? How was the name chosen?
A: “Aimerai” is a French verb (singular first person future tense) meaning love, as in “I will love” (Je t’aimerai). It has a lot of meaning for us. But mostly we want our company to be about love (not just romantic love, but all kinds of love). I first learned about the word from a long time friend’s husband who’s a Frenchman, and is has been one of my favorite words since. When we needed to decided on a company name, we needed a word that’s short, has meaning for us, and we can easily get the domain name for. The fact that it’s a French word bears no significance.
Q: Will Mint on Card be an exclusive retailer for Aimerai?
A: Mint on Card and Aimerai are separate entities. MoC is part-owner of Aimerai, among other principle owners. MoC is a dealer for Aimerai for the Northern American market, as a part owner. Lindsey will operate the Aimerai booth at Dollism Plus New York.
Below are all of the dolls released, plus teasers for a new release.
Five Wizard of Oz-themed dolls were included in the first release of dolls by Aimerai, including 57cm tall Glinda and Scraps, 60.5cm tall Oscar Diggs and 25cm tall Jinjur and Ojo. Basic dolls are sold blank,r with a with a face-up and eyes, or as full-sets.