Tuesday, February 10, 2015

They Never Grow Up Nursery~The first 3 years: Dolls

Wow, where do I ever begin?  I guess with Abby, who we talked about just a couple of weeks ago.

Abby was the first doll I created.
My business opened up in February of 2005 but Abby was not ready for sale until near the end of March!

I stripped this 16" Berenguer doll THREE times before  I was happy with the paint.  
Her pictures did not do her skin tone justice~she did have visual texture.

And that is why I stripped her.  Following a tutorial of the day, it did not make sense to me just to keep brushing on layers of flesh colored paints.  I was using Scuola Artist Oils at the time.

All I saw was flat.  No texture or visual appeal.  It was then, right there in the beginning, that I started experimenting with sponges to create visual texture.  

I was so pleased with my discovery and I haven't turned away from sponges ever since.  
Abby was a giant learning doll for me~she opened up the doorway to so many creative adventures.

She was also my first sale on eBay and my first international sale at that! 

She sold for $85.50 (I think I posted $87.50 a few weeks ago but this time, I looked at my record I have of her).

I made 17 dolls that I sold that first year (2005)~all of them were Berenguer and Ashton Drake manufactured dolls which I stripped, sanded the heads and had new bodies made for.

I was working 2 part time jobs that year as well as starting this new business.

The last one sold for $350...I was moving up the ladder! 

In 2006, I made...WOW!  55 dolls! 
  Most I sold, a couple were for family gifts.
HOW did I do that???  OH I know, back then, it took me about 5 hours to root a head~LOL
I had quit one of my part time jobs to devote time to the other and to my business.

Many of those were "crib cap" and 5" Berenguer dolls.  I made dolls from just 3 kits that year.  

My favorite doll that I sold that year was Kylee, a chubby baby I made from a large Berenguer doll.
She went to what became a very dear friend in the United States.

I also customized one of the dolls in my personal collection for me to keep that year.
He is Michael the Little Slugger from Ashton Drake.
I gave him new lashes, a new body and rooted pale blonde hair into his head.
I like his coloring so I left it original.
This little man has been the delightful subject of many picture stories!
And yes, he is still with me and no, he is not for sale  :)
My highest sales that year were $450 and I sold 2 dolls at that price.
 2 babies went to Canada that year.
2 babies went to the UK that year.
1 baby went to Switzerland that year.

I also started learning how to process angora goat hair for my own use.

I began using Genesis Heat Set paints that year and cried...a lot!
LOL  Once again, I had to find my own techinque with them and once I did, I was very pleased.

In 2007, I made 54 dolls.  
My eBay sales were increasing into the 600-700 dollar ranges.  
About the 2nd week in January, I had my highest sale yet...
This was my husbands favorite doll to date and he sold for $910 on eBay auction!

That was such a blessing because later that month, in January of 2007, I was going to be attending my first IDEX show in Orlando Florida.  
That sale helped me cover the expenses of that trip and wow...was it an AMAZING trip!
I met so many artists including Adrie Stoete who created "Saskia", the above high selling kit!

IDEX was....incredible.  I met Laura Tuzio Ross, one of my all time favorite artists since I began collecting in 2002.   I cried.  
And I adopted my first artist doll from her, and my first silicone, Giovanni.
Yes, I still have him and nope, he is not for sale  :)

I made and carried this doll with me to the IDEX show (even on the air plane which started a tradition for when I travel)
A Capuchin monkey at the Seattle airport thought he was real and kissed him! 

I think my favorite doll that I made and SOLD had to be Gracie.
She was a custom order and I think she was my favorite because I still had her here when two of my collectors who became dear friends came to visit and we had an awesome time playing with dollies.  The dolls went on a picnic and hike around the lake, (with Gracie's mommy's permission of course).
3 of my dolls went to Australia that year.
2 went to Switzerland.
1 went to Canada.

I had a HUGE amount of repeat buyers that year  :)

In November of 2007, I quit my part time job to run my business full time.
 I felt confident that I had been in the industry long enough to at least allow the business to take care of itself.  It hasn't disappointed me yet!

Mohair processing was going well and I began to sell my hair worldwide.

I made a couple of portrait dolls by then, one including the one I made of my granddaughter, Jenalyne (Jena) at 2 months old.

2007 was an AWESOME year!

In 2008, I made 45 dolls, including my first prototype, Sandy by Tinneke Janssens:

3 of my dolls went to the UK.
1 went to Canada and 1 went to Germany.

My highest sale that year was for a custom order toddler~$1200:

Again I attended IDEX in Orlando.
I sure was getting used to Florida weather in January, leaving behind my frigid Oregon weather for a week!

I always attended 1 or 2 classes while at IDEX.  This year, I took a short photography class sponsored by Doll Reader. 
McAllister ("Haily kit by Natalie Scholl) was my subject. 
The entire class was permitted to use the photo boxes and other lighting scenarios to photograph the doll they brought, using their own camera. 
Doll Reader then ran a contest for the best photograph of the class.
I was THRILLED to find out that I won!!
And I found a place in the pages of Doll Reader Magazine.
The picture I submitted:

 In the magazine!

I started using LDC air dry paints that year, taught classes and also made a tutorial for the air dry paints!

MY favorite baby was Brittany, who I later bought back as my collector had to re-home her and well, I loved her!

Again I had many multiple sales to collectors who had become very dear to me.

I reborned my Matthew manufactured doll by Laura Tuzio Ross 
(Laura signed him for me at IDEX in 2007 when I took him with me).
He became the worlds most loved Cowboy finding himself in many picture stories and on doll and horse forums around the world.

I was going to do the first 5 years of dolls in this post but gosh...2009 was such an incredible year that I better stop here before my computer crashes (it's been feeling pretty sick after about 30 minutes worth of use and I've been working on this post now for almost an hour so I better quit while I am ahead!)

So tomorrow I'll do the next 3 years:  2009-2012

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