Sewer of the Week – Amanda

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time – highlight one of my sewing mama’s each week.

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This is Amanda and she’s been sewing for us for four years now – with two maternity breaks in between. A major reason why I’ve organized Bamboletta like it is is because I really want to give employment to women to be able to stay at home. To take care of their children and later on in life to take care of spouses or elderly parents.

Amanda shared this story that warmed my heart.

‘So, when I started sewing I honestly found it hard to figure out how to put Liberty down and get my sewing done. As a result of that we ended up spending many, many hours with my dad. He would play with Liberty while I got some time to sew. This work gave us more of a reason to spend time together and made the bond between Liberty and my dad unbreakable.

Now I still find it hard to put the kids down to do my sewing so it’s usually done late at night. The best part of those late night sewing sessions is that I almost always think about my dad and Liberty. I think about him singing to her and teaching her sports. I got to sit back and watch and put all that love into the dolls.

Today, we went down to Transfer Beach and sat by his memorial and I did my sewing with my kids playing around me. I love what I do because it will always remind me of him.’ 

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So much heart goes into making the dolls  – things you can never see but maybe feel. Thanks to all my lovely customers who can definitely feel the love.

xo,
Christina

 

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New Shop!

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Well, friends, dreams do come true. We just opened up a wee studio/shop in Vancouver! I’ve been pining for a storefront in the city for a few years now and now it’s happened and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

 

 

Our shop is stocked full of dolls of all sizes (including the shop exclusive Piccolina’s), loads of clothes, some yarns and other bits and pieces. I’m gathering things together to start offering workshops as well (I need to build a wall of yarn for the hair first – this takes a while).

I’ve been working out of a studio at home since last fall and it’s been great! But, the dolls are so happy to have a space to be with each other and wait for their new family to come in and adopt them! We opened last weekend, and my heart nearly burst when all the little one’s came in to look at the dolls and brought in their dolls for a visit. Ahh – I’ve missed this so much!

Our shop is located at 1723 Grant Street (just off Commercial Drive).  We are open to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s from 10-5.

Thanks so much!
Christina

 

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Blessing Dolls 2015

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If you aren’t on Facebook, you may have missed this year’s Blessing Doll giveaway. I started it as a sort of ‘anti’ Black Friday thing. Instead of discounting 20 dolls I decided to gift those dolls to families that needed some magic in their lives. I did a post on Facebook and one on Instagram and received 368 emails from people about them. I didn’t blog it because I’ve been locked out of my blog the past few weeks – there was something that wasn’t connecting with the space that I write these posts on to the place where they show up. It’s all cleared up now, obviously as I am blogging …

The entries we received were so touching and raw. There are so many I just wanted to call and envelope in a hug. So many families are fighting for their lives, for their children. I heard the most terrible of situations – people are so strong. I really consider myself fortunate that just maybe when someone who desperately needs some happiness opens that box and sees the doll a smile will cross their face.

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As you can imagine, I got overwhelmed with emotion and wanted to spread more joy. We ended up finding another 10 dolls to give so the Blessing Doll’s got bumped to 30! I did get a little stressed over the costs mounting up around shipping and getting in some extra hands to dress, blush, do the hair and then ship all these gals – it’s a lot of work. I’m a small business and the dolls, well, I’ve already paid for them in materials and such so I don’t really think about it – it’s just sending the dolls where they need to go but the other stuff – oye – costs mount up! I don’t know why but it’s really hard for me to ask for help – I have a bit of a martyr complex (ask any of my close friends). I braved it and asked my community on Facebook to help and gosh did they EVER. To make it fun I gave each $5 donated a chance to win a Golden Ticket! Then anything over the shipping costs we’d put towards sending MORE dolls out to families that need it. I have to figure out what the shipping costs are with the actual postage and then boxes and some hired labour time but I think we are able to send out another 4 dolls on top of what we are sending out. Probably more – but this is a conservative estimate!

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Then another thing wonderful happened. A customer, with a very big heart, bought 4 dolls and donated them to the Blessing Fund as well! Incredible! I am so moved by this – isn’t that incredible?!

So – I’m extending things a bit. I think to make it fair and out into the wider community (who may not be on Facebook) I’m going to take Blessing Doll nominations to put in with the other entries for the extra dolls that have become available. You have until Thursday night to email us at blessings@bamboletta.com. On Friday we will chose another 8 (at least) families to give dolls too.

And, if you’d like to help out with shipping costs and to put towards a few more dolls – you can donate here! This whole thing feels bigger then just us at Bamboletta doing it – from the stories people are sharing to the donations people are giving – it all feels like wonderful warm fuzzy magic we are spreading around. Thank you, thank you for all those who have donated.  I will accept donations until Sunday night around midnight – then on Monday we will draw a name. We are sorta old school about these ways. Allison wrote people’s names however many times they donated (so five times for 25) and put them on little individule pieces of paper – raffle style. They are currently sitting in my son’s top hat from Halloween. We’ll add new donations in there of course!

I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate this. When you are part of this Bamboletta family you become part of something so much more – THANK YOU for loving and buying the dolls because it makes doing stuff like this possible. And acts of kindness and love like this have ripple effects beyond measure. And when you get a doll, or like our page you are part of this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

xoxo
Christina

Bamboletta Dolls - Vancity Mommy D - January 12, 2016 - 5:05 pm

[…] It Do It Campaign by an act of extreme kindness this past November with a sort of anti-black Friday Blessing Dolls Giveaway.  Instead of the usual discounting the 20 Dolls that they had done in the past, Christina decided […]

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It’s been a crazy few months … a Bamboletta update

As many of you know, my family and I moved over to Vancouver a few months back. Well, before the summer actually – time has flown. The dolls are still made over on the Island by our lovely sewing mamas but the other side of stuff is now done over here. Where I used to have Brooke, Brandi and Makiko handling the uploads and shipping side of things while I sewed and did things like book keeping and staying on top of the business-y stuff  – it’s now me. So, it’s been intense. And freaking awesome. And quiet with a lot of thinking. I feel like I’ve gone back to when it was just me a dozen or so years ago but with all the knowledge of what I’ve learned and the vision of what I want things to look like moving forward. Bamboletta really feels like it’s own thing, it’s own entity that has moments of growth and then hunkers down with some tea and stays put for a while. It’s seasonal and has it’s own flow. Right now, I’m hunkering and it feels like I’ll be like this until spring. I want things to settle, connect into the incredibly talented and fantastic maker community here in Vancouver and see where things go.

I looked at a studio this week that is absolute perfection and , wouldn’t you know it, is available in the Spring. This is what I’m thinking in terms of the future. I thought my home studio may work as an ‘open to public’ space once in a while but that doesn’t feel right. Anyhow, a space for a little retail, a little workshop here and there  – I have so many SO many ideas but for now I’m enjoying this hunker time and I’m marinating in my dreams for the future – this is my idea of business planning.

So, until then – no Granville Island Public Markets. I really tried to make this work but the 10 hour intense retail hours market days (tourists ALL day) are too much for me to take on along with my current work schedule and my family.

Clothing uploads will be coming more frequently. I’m in the process of hiring on a few new people here to do some clothing and have reorganized things with my current seamstresses over on the Island. So, the hope is to have more things on the site soon!

 

 

And those Forever Friends! My heart is so taken by these dolls. Something about the length of them (about 20″) and their lankiness is sweet to hug and cuddle. The clothing has been made by my friend Melissa who’s been mixing vintage fabrics, linens, tea stained laces and general fabric deliciousness to create these one of a kind outfits. She has an incredible sense of style and I can see it translated into the dolls. But, most fav part of the dolls is the little pocket in the back of the body. I’ve been slipping some quartz hearts and love notes in them before I send them off. Details like this make me swoon!

And, kits! I do plan on re releasing them back into the fold eventually. It’s something I want to move over here to Vancouver so I need to have things in place here for that to work – so many pieces and people to organize for things to click along. Heads, noses, hair, bodies, fulfillment – so many bits to put together.

It’s been nice ‘chatting’, Friday evening with a mug of tea and good music blogging? This is luxury! Thank you for reading!

xo
Christina

PS My apologies for my delayed in responding to emails lately – I’m trying to stay on top of it but it’s been a bit hard. If you don’t hear from me please bug me and resend – things are getting buried! Customer service stuff is going through Brooke but other stuff is on me and I’m not doing such a great job of keeping on top of it. xo

 

Marie M - October 9, 2015 - 11:34 pm

Everything will come together perfectly. Love and miss you C!

Barbara H - October 10, 2015 - 12:36 am

Enjoy every moment of your hunkering, you are a wise woman to follow effortlessly the path that is in front of you instead of second guessing the direction and pushing towards something that isn’t where your natural flow is going. I commend you for not being afraid of change, for always embracing the next chapter. <3

Jodi Cosper - October 10, 2015 - 7:18 am

Christina,
I think your plan of hunkering down, especially with the colder seasons among us and your new move is a fine idea. Find your space and time with family and things will fall in place! Sounds like a new studio in the Spring will be a great new beginning after a nice hunkering.
You and your ladies make many sacrifices to get us beautiful dolls and we Truely appreciate all that you all do!! So many of us are mothers as well, and we totally understand the juggling of life!

I am looking forward to being in for the long ride with you and Bamboletta.

Love, Jodi

Ps: If you need a sewing mama for clothing or a knitting mama, my very own mama would love to be part of your team. She is amazing. ☺️

Darice - October 10, 2015 - 8:55 am

I am glad things are getting back to normal for you, Ha whatever Normal is. I was getting hubby talked into a trip to Granville someday but I guess not now. I really wanted a Piccolina. Is there anywhere else you will be selling these sweet little ones?
Peace,
Darice

Ann Chizek - October 10, 2015 - 9:18 am

Your future sounds so full of promise. I am so happy for you. More clothing uploads will be so welcome. Thank you for taking such care and love with your dollies and accessories. XO

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Price Adjustment July 1st

I had all these pics done after our award last year – I think this one was for the Small Business BC website. This is my mom’s doll.

I put something up on Facebook last week that as of July 1st we will be increasing our prices. Although many people saw this, I wanted to make sure that this message reaches as many people as possible – hence the blog post.

So,  a price increase will happen on July 1st. With rising costs of wool, yarns (I’m finding better and better ones to use – have you seen the hair lately!) and fabrics – I’m barely making it.  Not to mention the 10 or so hours of mama love that goes into each doll. I made a mistake back in February when I changed my pricing from US to CAD without adjusting the price. I didn’t realize how much I depended on that exchange to ,well, give me an income and pay for things that come up like insurance (13k PER YEAR! – isn’t that crazy?) and the government (oh the sweet CRA always wants a big huge piece of the pie). Business is not my forte (and thankfully so because if I was I’d never be in business – this whole gig is a big, huge act of faith and devotion) and I am an optimistic – thinking once I didn’t have the studio or employee costs it would work out.  I’m not swimming in pools of gold over here, haha, we live super modestly and it’s so that I can run the business with the ethics and values that I hold near and dear. I’ve discovered what is ‘enough’ in life and my heart is full – but I have to be able to pay my suppliers and not have the CRA call me because I’m late for a payment. Again.

I  just looked on my blog and the last time I raised my prices was on March 1, 2012. Three years ago and I raised them to $250USD as the price for dolls with fairy bits (it’s now $240 CAD – $194 USD). I dislike doing this sort of thing and should have raised my prices since then but I totally get sick around this sort of thing. But now my hands are tied – I have to. Like there won’t a Bamboletta if I keep prices at this rate.

As of July 1st, 2015 my prices will increase by 15%. They will still be in CAD funds and therefore be lower then what they were back in January. The doll kits will stay the same as will the clothing – but the dolls, they will go up.

I have so much gratitude in my heart for all of you who love our dolls – thank you so much for all your support over the years. Like I mentioned earlier, I posted this on Facebook and had my heart blown open by the comments and support you all showed. Bamboletta ,to me, represents a world of business I want to happen, the one that puts so much love into it’s product and cares deeply about how it’s made and by who. This is an intrinsic quality that is hard to put a dollar value on but is definitely passed onto the receiver of the product. Thank you for valuing what we do.

Much love,
Christina

 

Ginger - June 29, 2015 - 4:10 pm

Hi Christina,

I am so glad you put this information on the blog, as well as Facebook. It is important to me as a customer, that you and Bamboletta are doing well. My husband is the sole owner of an electrical business and it is critical to us, his parents (who started the business) and all of his employees, that he is being paid. Not only barely enough, but enough to be able to continue to improve, pay all the taxes, fees etc. and provide a living-wage for his employees. Throughout the years of his work, he has increased the number of employees from 2-3 to 40-50. With increase in the number and size of the jobs he bids and the service work that is accomplished, many and sizable expenses are incurred. I continue to be thankful for all he does, for not only our family, but his employees and their families.

It is important to share work, and provide opportunities for others, if one is capable and works to provide these opportunities.

Thank you for all the the work, time, thinking, energy and love that you provide with your dolls.

I am glad and willing to continue to purchase these dolls. I have been gifted with the opportunity to provide these precious dolls with several different groups, in addition to my enjoyment. May you continue to provide wonderful dolls and joyful play for children for many years. God Bless.

Briita - June 29, 2015 - 11:44 pm

So sweet of you to explain this, but the truth is you do whatever you have to, to keep this sweet company alive! The world needs more like you it would be an awful shame to ever lose it. We only have one of your dolls but she is get treasured, we have a two girls two years old and an 8 months old so we plan on more in the future!
Thank you for creating something so natural and beautiful! And for running a business on the side 😉
Briita

Sarah Lee - July 1, 2015 - 1:00 pm

I totally understand Christina! We have the same issue with our playsilks. We pay our workers a fair wage, and we have to pay ourselves some too! Not much, but like you, I believe in our work and love doing it. We raised prices this year and it is hard to do. Best to you!!
Sarah
http://www.sarahssilks.com

Caryn - July 3, 2015 - 7:58 pm

Christina,
Thank you for the explanation, but those of us who love your work will continue to love and purchase it. You need to live, and to grow– money helps that happen.

On a side note, while I was doing B-school this spring, Bamboletta was one of my companies that I focused on. Branding, ethics, customer relationships, social media– you rock it all! Thank you to being an inspiration to other small business owners. You raising your prices just gives me one more reason to look up to you. It’s not easy to charge what you’re worth, but when you do, you bring every one up with you.

All the best!
Caryn

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