A Saigon café gets all dolled up to serve customers

By Quynh Tran    September 12, 2018 | 09:46 am GMT+7

A woman crazy about dolls shares her passion with a café that displays a large collection, to appreciate and/or buy.

A Saigon café gets all dolled up to serve customers

The café, on Le Van Sy Street, opened around six months ago. Vu Thi Thanh Thao, 42, its owner, said: "As I collect dolls and am a member of doll collection clubs, I think it is necessary to have a space for people with the same hobby to gather. Many men also like dolls, but are quite embarrassed to admit it, so if there is a specialized café, many people will feel more comfortable playing with them.”

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The café has two floors, and dolls are everywhere inside: on the walls, on the window panes and in glass closets.

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There is a closet for the dolls in each floor. “Here we have around 100 dolls which are part of my doll collection. The dolls in this café are worth around VND1 billion ($42, 889), ” said Thao.

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A customer studies the hair of a doll.

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Dolls of girls and women from different parts of the world dominate the collection. Thao also sells dolls after some value additions.

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"The price of one basic doll is about VND1 million ($42). After buying it, I can dye, curl or replace the hair of the doll, sew new clothes and put on make-up in different styles. After that, the value of a doll is higher, usually VND2-4 million ($85-171), " said Thao. 

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There are some rare dolls at the café. These are limited edition ones or those no longer in the market, so the price could be much higher. They are preserved carefully in a locked glass box.

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The most valuable doll in the café is the “Red Queen, ” also from the U.S., worth around VND40 million ($1716).

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Customers can freely handle the dolls, change their clothes or comb their hair, but they are only allowed to make minor changes to their make-up. Hoa, a customer, said: "When I first entered the shop, I was very excited to see so many dolls. When I was young I used to love them, so coming here feels like returning to childhood."

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The owner has another room to sell dolls and clothing, shoes and hair for them.

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Food and drinks cost VND20, 000 – 100, 000 ($0.85-4.29) at the cafe. During weekends it becomes a meeting place for groups of doll enthusiasts.

 
 
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