I found out via this AG Playthings thread before Summer arrived that Harmony Club buys wholesale dolls from China and restyles them. Soon they plan to develop and market their own dolls with unique faces and independent designs. For now, they buy dolls, remove the rooted hair, apply premium wigs, and style the outfits from pieces also bought wholesale from China.
I did a bit of investigation and pricing, and realized a few things: the dolls they use retail for $40 to $60 in the USA, so aren't cheap, but the rooted hair is, and is a pain to remove, so the wigs are a serious improvement; the minimum wholesale quantity for the dolls from the factory is 300 pieces, which puts the whole venture out of my financial capability; the wigs really are very good premium wigs, as I've used them myself and can vouch for the quality; the clothes are reasonably good quality and carry The Doll Clothes Store label. The dolls do as well, and I'll get back to that in a bit. Overall, I don't think I could put this same doll myself together for the same price or with the same panache--so I'm not at all complaining about the sourcing.
EDITED TO ADD: I just received an email from Karen Elliott of Harmony Club, and she graciously gave me permission to quote the following here:
While we purchase these dolls from a wholesale supplier, The Doll Store, the manufacturer of these dolls in China will also produce this same doll for other stores in large quantity. We will be discontinuing this doll, however, once we receive our own custom designed product which will be trademarked with the Harmony Club Dolls imprint on the neck. We expect it to be of even higher quality and made with similar hair. I will be receiving a sample later this week. I would be happy to send a picture to you for your site.
That picture should be coming super soon, so stay tuned!
More editing! Here is Harmony, the new doll with the dance theme:
I found also that the company was responsive to my questions, and was cheerfully willing to accommodate an upgrade change I wanted to make before the doll was shipped (from doll just in underwear, to dressed doll).
Now to Summer's arrival: the box.
...her specially ordered pumpkin outfit! How cute is this? Extremely, that's how cute.
Now, how to get her loose from the packaging?
Bavas International, although not the same size. If I tug gently on the back curls, the hair length is to her ankles. My Rapunzel-soul couldn't be happier.
Not what you don't see: the tag that should be somewhere on her side to state where the doll is made and of what, especially the stuffing. I think Harmony Club took those off, unless the factory just didn't provide them, as I also don't see an obviously torn tag or resewn seam. I'm just as happy with that, myself, but I don't know how a parent would feel about it.
Overall (--I need a catchy phrase here, I'll get back to you on that--): I'm very pleased with how the entire doll comes together, and I just love her. I really can't wait to see what this company comes up with, however, that makes it truly a unique doll line. As it is, I see her as a really nicely done modification of an existing doll, not as a singular doll vision. I'm glad I have her, though, and as soon as I get that pesky little wispy bang swoop taken care of, you'll see more of her in DBB. I do plan to change her name, btw, to something I prefer to Summer, like maybe Autumn. I'll get back to you on that, too.