When we mention reborn dolls, you probably think that these products are relatively new; like something that was invented in the last few decades. However, you would be surprised to learn that the first models were created at the beginning of the 20th century.
Over time they changed and improved. Nowadays, some of them have advanced technology and parts such as heat packs, voice box and so on.
The first reborns were rather simplistic though. Artists were focused on creating dolls that were mimic real babies. For some people, these first babies felt much more alive than some of the models you can find on the market today. Perhaps, due to technology, we have gone away from that initial simple concept.
With that, we come to Jose Berenguer, one of the biggest doll makers of his time.
Who was Mr. Berenguer?
Mr. Berenguer always had a passion for dolls.
Officially, his company started in 1944 when he tried his hand at creating the first pieces. Jose was situated in Spain and like any other country in the world, there was a big demand for dolls and similar collectibles.
After starting slowly, Berenguer dolls became renowned for their quality. Around the 1950s, he became increasingly popular not only in Spain but in other European countries as well. The company started producing lots of different dolls among which Pepin and Chelito were the most popular ones.
The business stayed in the family. When Jose couldn’t go anymore, he passed the torch to his son Salvador. Like him, Salvador was very passionate about dolls and doll making. This is the reason why Berenguer dolls are still popular to this day and why many reborn artists are looking up to these awesome models.
Salvador's focus was on the child’s beauty and innocence. He didn’t only want to create dolls that would be used as toys; he wanted to create timeless items that would remind us of everything that’s pure. Salvador experimented with different looks, feeling and facial expressions bringing us a vast collection of highly popular and collectible dolls.
Transition to JC Toys
As it usually goes with successful companies, Berenguer was ultimately bought out by JC Toys. However, Salvador remained an important part of the company and retained his creative input. Salvador had a perfect model for creating these premium dolls: his own kids. He would observe them for hours, look at every facial expression and later on, he would try to recreate it through the dolls.
Salvador took over for hose during the 1960s and continued creating amazing pieces for the next 40 years. Even today, he has his say. His main title within the company is Head Sculptor. He oversees operations through Hong Kong, Florida and Spain offices.
Introduction to the US market
The main reason why JC Toys Group decided to buy out Berenguer is so they could sell their products on the American market. All of this started in the early 1980s when the first dolls were shipped. At that time, Berjusa was the brand name in use. This was pretty strange as the company could’ve also gone with Berenguer name.
Anyway, Berjusa dolls still managed to make a considerable impact on the market. Their lifelike features were quickly adopted by other companies which drove the whole market in a specific direction. Needless to say, each doll was made with lots of details and passion. Even when the same type of doll was being made, you would get a different end result. Such approach differed from your traditional manufacturing principles. Among others, Berjusa’s most popular brands were Minene and Tunene. The evolution continued leading to the inception of La Baby and La Newborn brands.
Both JC Toys and Berenguer live today. They are still joint and Berenguer does business in the same way as it always had, focusing on quality before anything else. Today, JC Toys are proud to have one of the biggest doll assortments in the world.
And that’s that!
This is the story of Jose and Salvador Berenguer and how they managed to change the world. If you’re interested in buying these babies, you can find them all over the web. Make sure they are in good condition if you’re buying used ones!