Once upon a time there was a Momiji super-fan named Lucy.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet up with Lucy over the years and have come to know her as one of the pillars of the Momiji collecting community. In October she got married and when we heard that Momiji had been mentioned in her vows, we wanted to know the full story. Here’s our Q&A with Lucy and a few beautiful photos from her autumnal wedding.
When did you begin collecting Momiji?
I have been collecting since Momiji was launched in 2006, however I would say I became a fully fledged Superfan in about 2010 /11 when we moved up to Scotland and I was able to pay for my collecting habits with a full time non student-y job.
When did you discover them?
I was first introduced to the Vintage Momiji collection by way of a lovely little gift shop in Exeter, where I lived at the time as a student. They had a lovely little display of dolls which I would pore over, and pick out a new dolly on birthdays and special occasions. Slowly over time I built up a little collection of about 12 dolls from various designers/seasons which lived next to my bed on a little shelf.
How many do you have?
It's actually much easier to tell you how many I don't have ! At last count it was well over 250. I'm really lucky to have a lot of the very sought-after, older dolls through collecting over the years and some eye-wateringly expensive eBay purchases. I think in terms of commercially released dolls there is only 1 I don't have (the Royal/T Chiyo blank and Hurray Blank were from workshops I think and not widely available so probably wouldn't count to most fans. Weirdly the Alex Book Club doll is my last core release hold-out!) Though i'm always on the look-out to add hand-numbered versions, or add more complete versions of dolls where I'm missing the tin or they have small imperfections, though I'd never give any away. I love them all!
What part did Momiji play in your wedding ceremony?
It's really hard to put this into words, because Momiji is much more to me than the dolls themselves. I do of course adore the designs and the artistry that goes into each and every doll. But Momiji to me is also the community of amazing beautiful and dedicated people I've gotten to know over the years and the excitement of new releases and the kindness shown by other collectors. As well as the sheer joy of owning a little slice of happiness. For example the super-fan eyes were well and truly peeled over my wedding weekend just in case there was a release. I mean I was excited to get married but what if I missed a new dolly? ... disaster.
On the day itself Momiji were an integral part to both our promises and wedding vows to each other. I am very lucky to have known my now husband for over half my life. Our lives, loves and collections have been entwined for such a long time it made complete sense to talk about the things that make us, well.. us, on the big day.
One of my favourite things was injecting a little bit of humour into our vows by saying there's nothing I would rather do more than be his wife and grow old with him, except perhaps go on honeymoon to Japan or buy more Momiji!
As every serious collector will tell you, I was very torn on whether or not to include my actual collection in our wedding reception, everyone would have instantly recognised them as being a big part of our lives, but they're just so precious to me...In the end every one stayed tucked up safely at home, I mean could you imagine if there were any breakages ?
What does your husband think of Momiji?
My husband (so exciting ^_^ to say that) sees how happy Momiji collecting makes me, and loves seeing me unbox every new box when they arrive. I asked him directly what he thought, and apparently he's all too aware as a Momiji husband, of the collector’s biggest dilemma as he replied...
"They make Lucy frenzily message me whenever new ones come out to ensure I order the hand-numbered ones, they are cute though, I especially like the big ones that come with extra characters, they are my favourites"
Do you have any particularly special dolls?
Yes! I genuinely love them all so this is a really really hard question! But if I had to pick just a few special dolls it would be...Chiyo by Joanna Zhou, as she was the start of my super-fan madness. She was the first doll i well and truly lusted over, she just HAD to be mine, and when she was I was so happy. I instantly loved her cute outfit and cheeky smile . Likewise I would have to say Dippy-D is also a firm favourite for a similar reason. I didn't collect every release at the time, and kicked myself for years afterwards for not buying the Yota Trio at release. I mean Dippy D is now the unofficial HOLY GRAIL as it were, of sought-after Momiji. In the end I bought her from another lovely collector who is still a Momiji superfan to this day, so it's nice to have that connection.
For all round cuteness and just dreamy design i'd say Kindness (2017), i love her aesthetic and beautiful auburn hair, Finally I'd have to say the first of the big ideas dolls, Emmeline (2014) I love her aspiration to Live Boldly, she takes pride of place on my dressing table so I see her every morning and she reminds me of a fellow collector and all round beautiful soul who we sadly lost this year. She was a bright light in our lives and she left behind a legacy of some lifelong memories & wonderful Momiji connections.
How do you display your dolls?
My dolls are an integral part of my everyday life, so they live in the places I spend most of my time. Some of my girls live on my dressing table, others have a special place on my desk at work, and most of my collection live in an IKEA glass display cabinet. Because we're short on space, and I have way too many dolls to display them all at once right now, (though i dream of having an entire Momiji dedicated project room one day!) I like to display them based on the season, so right now my lovely Christmas collection dolls are about to make their post-wedding debut for the duration of the festive season.
Finally, if you were a Momiji doll, what would your two 'likes' be?
Oooh can I say Momiji? lol...but in all seriousness if I can't say Momiji I would be... I like Mille-Feuille & Cosy Cuddles
Thank you, Lucy. You are always unwavering in your support for Momiji and your Momiji-fan friends. We’re all very lucky to know you. Wishing Todd & Lucy so much happiness together and congratulations on such a beautiful, genuine, dreamy wedding.
Thank you to Lucy's wedding photographer for allowing us to share these images.