2007 Barbie Convention Salesroom - Dallas (Grapevine), Texas 

 How to Buy Barbie

There are many ways to purchase Barbie related items. In this section, we will list some of the best resources we have found. You should always buy with care and use a safe payment option.

Buying in Person: 

Many people prefer to buy in person. This allows you the opportunity to inspect the items you are purchasing personally. However, many of us don't have a great deal of local options. 

Doll Stores - Some of you may have a local doll store. You can do a search online at the Barbie Collector website for Gold Label Dealers by state. It is often a good idea to ask other collectors for their opinions about the stores. Make sure you check their refund policy before buying. Many do not provide refunds and only offer store credit for returns. There are some doll exclusives that are only sold at Gold Label dealers. In 2011, there was an dealer exclusive Francie doll. Along with Barbie Collector, dealers were also the only other source for the Basics Metallic dolls.

Mass Merchandisers - For those of you without a specialized doll store, check your Target, Wal-mart, or Kmart. The availability of collector dolls varies by location. In North Carolina, the Super Targets carry a small line of collectibles. Some Wal-mart stores have collectibles while others have removed them from the shelves. Kmart has also started carrying collectibles in some locations. ToysRus has a selection of collector dolls are well. Lately, the prices at Target have been higher than those at Barbie Collector.

Close-out Stores - Stores like Big Lots, Tuesday Morning, Marshalls, Ross, and TJ Maxx sometimes have some good deals. Big Lots and Tuesday Morning advertise their big doll sales and you can sign up on their sites to have their sales emailed to you. If you know the item number of the doll you are looking for, you can use the free Store Locator number to search nearby Tuesday Morning stores. Check doll forums for the item numbers. Collector sightings at Marshalls, Ross and TJ Maxx are more rare but some of the stores did recently carry the silkstone stationery and Basics dolls. If you live in Texas, Wisconsin, California or Canada, you may be near a Mattel outlet. The Mattel Toy Store Outlet has closeout deals year round. Check here for locations: http://www.matteltoystore.com/locations.aspx

Doll/Toy Shows - Doll shows were once the main resource for collectors. Unfortunately, many of the shows are no longer featuring many Barbie dolls and instead focus on other collectibles. The dealers do tend to charge more than you would pay on eBay but can be a great resource for items that are either large and heavy or of lower dollar amount and you don't want to pay for shipping. We don't have any shows in Raleigh.

National Convention - Even if you don't officially attend the National Barbie Convention, you can still come for the shopping. On the last day, the salesroom is open to the public. There is an admission charge. You can also come by earlier in the week for room shopping. Some people sell items in their hotel room. We have found that room sales tend to have some of the best prices but the salesroom has a huge variety of items for sale. You need cash as many don't take credit cards or checks.

Mini-Conventions - Some Barbie clubs host mini-conventions through the year where they have a salesroom. 

Garage/Yard Sales - Check those newspaper ads for local sales and watch for those posters in your neighborhood. You never know what you might find but you do have to go through a lot of junk sometimes to find a real treasure.

Thrift Shops - Do you have a Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other thrift store in your area? Check them regularly for dolls. We have found vintage dolls for very low prices.

Craig's List - You can search or post an ad on Craig's List and then go in person to check out the items. Many of the prices are higher than you will find on eBay but you can find some good deals. It is especially helpful if you are buying large, bulky items like a Dream House. Make sure you arrange to meet in a safe location and thoroughly inspect the items before paying. 

Buying Online:

Doll Stores - Many doll stores have an online presence and some are only online. Check the Barbie Collector website for a list of Gold Label Dealers and ask other collectors for references. Make sure you read all the terms and shipping costs should be thoroughly disclosed.

Mattel - You can buy directly from Mattel at two sites - Barbie Collector and Mattel Shop. We highly recommend joining the Barbie Fan Club at the Barbie Collector site. You pay $24.95 but get $80 in quarterly rewards to use towards purchases as well as access to online boards, exclusive dolls, and exclusive content like designer videos. Mattel previously had been offering two great sales per year - one in mid-March for Barbie's birthday and one towards the end of September (they skipped it in 2012). During these sales they have offered 25% off almost everything for sale and in September they have reduced prices on may of the items so you get additional savings. The last couple of years they have more frequent sales but not as high a discount offered. There is usually a sale around major holidays.

Mass Merchandisers - Your favorites often sell more dolls online than in the store. This is the case for Target, Walmart, and Kmart.  You should also check out Amazon, Kohls, Overstock, Entertainment Earth and Toys R Us for sales. Check those shipping charges and refund policies. Target offers cardholders a 5% discount and free shipping on all orders. Walmart offers free store pickup. ToysRUs has some items available for store pickup too.

Auction sites (eBay, Amazon, Goodwill) - Auction sites can have some of the best selections. eBay is the one with the most listings. You can set up saved searches and then eBay will email you every time a related item is listed. You can also browse the listings and do searches by title and description. Be careful - you are dealing with individual sellers. Some are better than others at clearly detailing their items. Ask questions when in doubt. Watch those shipping costs. Look at completed auctions to see what price is right. eBay offers Buyer Protection but always use a credit card through PayPal to pay to give you additional security.  Goodwill has a site www.shopgoodwill.com. Individual stores offer items for sale. The shipping costs can be quite high so make sure you check before bidding. They also don't give very detailed information on the condition of the items.

Online Boards/ Posting Sites - There are many online doll boards. Some of the posters offer items for sale. Get references and use a credit card through PayPal to pay for your purchases. You are dealing with individuals at this site so make sure you check out their policies and references. www.etsy.com offers many custom made outfits and other crafts. Most sellers accept PayPal but not all do so proceed with caution.