Thank you

I wanted to say thanks for all your well wishes as I embark on the next step in my journey. Reading all your comments, texts and emails has made me feel unstoppable. I really can feel all of your support, love and well wishes – it makes me know I can do this and it’s going to be freaking amazing.

You gals, what can I say? So much love for you all. Really. What we do here is so different then something like just selling shirt or whatever. It feels unique. There is a love and a bit of magic that connects us through the dolls – I really believe it. I don’t know if it’s because of how long the doll takes to make or the natural materials absorb something special, but there is something pretty cool about the ‘life’ of a handmade doll. Maybe, you think I’m crazy. Well, as Jimi Hendrix said in one of my most favorite quotes ever ..

The past few weeks felt like a choice to me. Either I go down a vortex of self pity and shutting down or I go this way. I have to admit, that vortex of self pity can feel pretty good sometimes – like an itch you know you shouldn’t scratch. Especially when you are tired and stressed. I’m so thankful to have the support around me to be able to zoom out and see opportunity and wonderful surprises in what looks like a catastrophe. You gals out there are a HUGE part of why I’m able to see things the way I do and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I’m full o quotes lately and this one really fits the bill tonight …

xo,
Christina

ILENE CHALMERS - March 23, 2015 - 6:53 am

Absolutely love the Hendrix quote. Definitely words to live by. The Cherokee legend story is spot on. :)

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Big News. Vague, I know, but it is …

I have some pretty huge news. Huge for me – life change news kind of stuff. I’m closing down our Whippletree Studio in May and moving to Vancouver. Doll making will stay with the lovely sewing mama’s on the Island but myself, and my family are moving back to Vancouver. In case you aren’t familiar with west coast BC geography and are new to Bamboletta – currently I live and work on Vancouver Island which is about a 2 hour drive and a 2 hour ferry from Vancouver. I moved to the Island from Vancouver about 8 years ago.

It was a series of events that have pushed me to this decision. I’ve had a pretty tough few years with both my father and mother being seriously ill. It hurt my heart not to be there to drive my mom to appointments or spend time with my dad by his bedside while he waited in the hospital. I’m so close to my parents and these events took their toll on me.  But I’m not in a position to just take time off – I have an immense obligation to Bamboletta, to my team that rely on this(me) to feed their families.  Also, I am the sole provider for my family and ,well, with everyone to pay and all the expensive supplies, it’s a tight ship to say the least.  I am so heavily involved in the creation of the dolls that if I disappeared for a while, everything would shut down. Thank God I had Brooke and Brandi to handle it all with me – to essentially become extensions of me so that we were able to make as many dolls as we did with the joy and love that the dolls deserved. Then Brooke left just before Christmas to live closer to home and be with her family. She still handles some online customer service stuff but the rest of her work fell on me. Then, about 2 weeks ago, Brandi told me that she wanted to leave to travel and be free of any obligation. That felt like a big punch in the gut. As a friend, well like sisters really, I TOTALLY get it – she is at a point in her life where she is finally free and I’m so happy for her. But as a boss who relies on her to oversee what goes in and out and spending so much of my time over the years teaching her how I see what I see  – SO many little details – the news was devastating. And exhilarating. Really, really exhilarating. One thing I’ve learned in business over all these years is that when it all seems to hit the fan, there’s something really fantastic around the corner. The trick is to stay open and trust.

Although Brandi is leaving, she’s not really leaving. She will still do doll noses and come to Granville Island when I have markets. Almost everyone who has moved or left still has some part in Bamboletta – it really becomes a part of you.

The day I found out about Brandi I was talking to a good friend who happens to be an amazing coach. ‘So, now what?’ came up. Hmmm, now what? I can’t keep production up to our 80 or so dolls per week without Brandi – it would take me a long time to train someone to replace her. I knew immediately that I could not physically do any more then what I do now – after Brooke left I was working more then I ever have in my life and it was starting to take it’s toll on me.  Thankfully Bran gave me a few months notice so nothing immediate had to be done. ‘What about Vancouver?’  Chela had been listening to me lament about wanting to move back for the past year. My family, my friends. the city – I missed it all so much. Then the light went off in my head and I felt this expansive freedom – yes, Vancouver! She then told me that the apartment she was moving out of was still not rented and it is exactly in the area I want to be in (east Van – my old stomping grounds and in the catchment for the school I want the boys to attend). I called the landlord and ,just like that, I had a place to live.

I won’t bore you with the long account and revelations around keeping the dolls being made on the Island but that’s what is going on. Audrey, Jes and Andrea are incredible and have been with me for a long time – they will handle the sewing mamas, dyeing, cloth sewing. These ladies are amazingly talented and have surpassed me in the technical skills of making an incredible doll.  We will be creating about half the amount of dolls per week and I will do the faces, upload and ship from my home studio in Vancouver. Twice a month I will come over to the Island and do all the aesthetics –  hair bundles, pick up dolls, deliver fabrics to be sewn into clothing, make sure everything is running well – making sure the overall ‘Bamboletta – ness’ of my dolls stays the same.

Less dolls for me feels super right.  I can pick up my kids, be there for my family and be in a city that makes me thrive all while still doing what I love to do most which is to create the dolls.  This has been one of the hardest and easiest decisions of my life. Hard in the details (the who, what, where – and moving a 2700 sq foot studio PACKED with stuff) and hard in leaving my studio (I LOVE my studio) – but easy in how the answers and solutions have flowed to me and how it’s just happened. But then again, I should not be surprised by this at all. This business has always flowed in an organic way.

So, starting in May there will be less dolls available. I’m aiming for about 40 a week and still do the Monday, Wednesday and Friday uploads (I love the smaller uploads).  I will be working out of my home (John and Acorn will stay on the Island for the next year while he does a course) until I find the perfect little studio spot. I’ll do the uploads, faces, hair, styling – all the fun stuff that I love most. I want time to devote to work with women’s shelters teaching doll making classes and I do more of the philanthropic stuff that makes my hear sing.  I’ll have time for my family, to blog, to do some workshops – oh man – so much time is opening up for me I’m so excited!

Totally didn’t think this would be such an epic blog post. Thank you – all of you – for loving my dolls all these years and seeing the ebbs and flows of my business. I’m excited to have you all along to share this next chapter of my story – who knows what it’s going to bring?

Much love,
Christina

 

Kat - March 21, 2015 - 4:06 pm

You will be really missed over her but what a fantastic decision for you!

Bless you and Brandi in your new adventures. Two sweeter ladies I have never met.

K

Judith Rotruck - March 21, 2015 - 4:20 pm

Good luck, Christina! I’m glad things are working out for your family and Bamboletta. I love your dolls. They are adorable. I have never been able to buy one, but I was so inspired that I made two for my precious grandthings. Keep up the great work and take care.
Judy Rotruck

A - March 21, 2015 - 4:21 pm

Thanks for sharing. Enjoy every minute of your new adventure!

Brenda Simpson - March 21, 2015 - 4:25 pm

Whippletree will miss you. Good luck to you and your family.

Kelly - March 21, 2015 - 4:31 pm

Congratulations on the changing of seasons in all of your lives. It sounds like the right paths for you all. I think the clarity, happiness and peace will show in the dolls beauty and life force. I pray for continued success personally and professionally for you all. Enjoy!

Jackie - March 21, 2015 - 4:34 pm

im sad that the store will be gone. I never did get to come over and experience it. But I am so very happy for you! I’ll get myself down to Granville island since its close. The dolls will still be there and we will all still LOVE Bamboletta and the way it makes hearts sing. And you – your heart will sing, too, being where you want to be. Serendipity, when it happens you have to follow the path to the joy it brings. And, well, there’s a chance now I just might be able to take a class with you. How awesome is that?!?

morgan - March 21, 2015 - 4:34 pm

Wow! You’re amazing! I love the way you’ve come through it with excitement and joy and love that you’ll be closer doing fun stuff. Hopefully that means we will see more of you!

Dawne negrin - March 21, 2015 - 4:53 pm

Wonderful things are in store for you, I just no it. Congratulations on a whole new amazing time in your life!

Kelsey - March 21, 2015 - 4:54 pm

I can’t even say how excited I am for you! So many amazing changes to get you right where you want to be <3 It's pretty incredible when huge scary things happen that kinda knock the wind out of you and you're able to take a step back and see it's the universe giving you the push you have needed. Good luck with the move and all the changes to come C!

Jenn - March 21, 2015 - 5:22 pm

I love that this post conveys your emotion so well! Sounds like a big but great decision for you and your family! As someone who covets a Bamboletta for her little (who is so little it’s mostly for me), I’m sad that there will be fewer dolls, but happy that I can hear through your words just how happy this move will make you! All the best!

victoria - March 21, 2015 - 6:03 pm

SO excited you are moving back to Vancouver. And a workshop?!?! Hooray!!! Please let me know if I can help in anyway. I’m in Deep Cove. I hope that doesn’t sound too stalkerish:). Congratulations and warmest wishes on your move.

Ayla - March 21, 2015 - 6:58 pm

Enjoy the journey!

Susie H - March 21, 2015 - 7:29 pm

Wow, I have loved everything about the way you handle yourself and your business from the get go. No doubt you will continue to inspire and find inspiration all along this journey called life, because you are so open to what you hold true! Thanks for being such a positive and shining example. xo, from a longtime fan in Wisconsin, USA.

Ilene Chalmers - March 21, 2015 - 7:31 pm

My Dearest Christina.
I am so happy for you, John, the children and your family. It sounds like a dream come true that you are starting a new adventure. I am just so glad that David and I where able to visit the charming studio in Whipletree Junction. You are getting the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. I wish you all the wonderful things that life can hold. You are such a dear person. I am proud to call you my friend. Love and Hugs.

Jennie - March 21, 2015 - 8:27 pm

Heart in hand

Erin - March 21, 2015 - 8:45 pm

This is so good. What a great example that there are no rules, and that you always get to do what feels right. Love it. Good luck in the next months :)

Monique Lam - March 21, 2015 - 9:00 pm

Hi Christina!

I am so happy that you and your family are moving back to vancouver. I wish you the best of luck in your new adventures. I hope we can get together when you are back in the city xoxo

GennymMartin - March 21, 2015 - 10:41 pm

New beginnings are so exciting!! You are a special lady Christina Bamboletta and I feel lucky to know you and own so many of your precious dolls. ❤️❤️

Ingrid - March 22, 2015 - 7:39 am

knew you were an East Van gal at heart. Welcome back for good! Maybe you can do my hair when you move back to town

Elaine Tupniak - March 22, 2015 - 9:22 am

I am very happy for you !!! Its important to keep your passion alive, and to be close to your parents in their time of need. For you and for them. I hope to meet you and your
dolls at Granville Market.
Elaine Christina

Sarah Eccles - March 22, 2015 - 10:04 am

I’m really sad i cannot just come by your little store and Visit and see the dolls.You will be missed i think less is good and it opens up more opportunities for you and your family. Family is so important. You will still visit the island and that’s good. Even though it may seem scary new beginnings can be fun and exciting. I love what your dolls have brOught to our Community.
Be blessed

Dot - March 22, 2015 - 10:25 pm

Congratulations on this big change!!! I hope you experience so much peace through it all <3

Kimbrah Gonzalez - March 23, 2015 - 10:30 am

Im so happy for you! It will be amazing to see what adventures come from these changes! So exciting! Here’s to a new chapter of your story! ❤️

Jennyroo - March 23, 2015 - 1:08 pm

I was just reading Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider…. So much good stuff in there about intentional living (as an aside, my I am so far away from that in my own chaotic working full time single mom of three young boys life right now, but I digress.). One thing she included was a parable about a Mexican fisherman. I googled and found it in many places on the internet, so with apologies I will copy and paste it here in case you have never seen it before. I think it perfectly sums up your current choice. Congratulations! I am sure it will go amazingly well. Enjoy your siestas, sipping wine, and playing the guitar… ;)
*******************
An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”

The tourist then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”

The Mexican said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”

The tourist then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.”

The tourist scoffed, ” I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

The tourist replied, “15 to 20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the Mexican.

The tourist laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions?…Then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Rosalyn - March 24, 2015 - 8:26 pm

I’m just now getting around to reading this. SO happy for you! I’ve never known anyone to suffer for having made the best decisions for their families. Thank you for having the courage to embrace the change and the faith to know that the shake ups meant that something different and better was coming! Congrats and here’s to a relatively easy move. ❤️

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Good news for all …. a currency story

Made in Canada – and now priced in Canadian! Finally!

Canadian friends, have you tried to buy anything in US funds lately? OUCH – the exchange right now is brutal. We’ve been hovering at about par for a long time, the Canadian dollar even coming in stronger than the USD for a while there but currently the exchange rate is  crazy ($1USD comes in at about $1.24 CAD). And I can tell how high it is because my tide of Canadian sales over the past year has come to a crashing halt. (it’s moved from about 90% US to about 10% Canadian orders to about 50/50 this past year). So, I want to do something about this.

I kept my prices in US because it’s a currency everyone understands. Although I am in Canada, when you are online the world is your store. When I first started years ago I had my prices in CAD funds and would field many emails asking ‘What is that in US?!’. But this was a LONG time ago before I could link an exchange convertor in the listing so people could figure it out on their own.

So, aside from the obvious financial sadness it is causing my Canadian customers it’s also making my accountant want to pull her hair out when she does my books. Trying to figure out the daily exchange rate from Paypal and then doing all the conversions so that everything balances has become a nightmare. I want to keep Tracy happy and make life easier on all of us.

So, as of Monday Jan 26th I am changing my pricing to CAD funds. This is a big bonus to my customers on both ends. Canadians will save on exchange and my US customers will currently save about 24% with exchange – everyone is saving. I’ve been wanting to do this for a bit and have had some lovely customers raise concern that I will lose out on exchange. Yes I will currently,  but I’ve been doing this for long enough to know that the dollar will come back to about par (hopefully – if the whole economy doesn’t tank!) – it all evens out in the long run. I feel like the timing is right to make the change now.

Thanks, friends!

xo,
Christina

PS – If you bought a doll this week and are thinking ‘Dang it! I just missed that!?!’ I feel your pain. So, in your boxes this week you will be getting an extra outfit in there – it will be something cute, I promise;-)

 

Barbara H - January 26, 2015 - 4:58 am

You rock. And are brilliant. That’s all, carry on. <3

admin - January 26, 2015 - 9:44 am

Thanks so much, Barb :) xoxo

Chanda P - January 26, 2015 - 11:30 am

This is GREAT news! Even when our dollar was on par with the USD, there was always something a little jarring about a company based on local and community values, etc., pricing in a foreign currency. I understand why you did it, but this change makes so much sense on a few levels. Thank you!

Drie - January 26, 2015 - 12:43 pm

That’s great news! I just paid my visa bill and the Canadian exchange on bamboletta purchases was $95, crazy!

nyla - January 26, 2015 - 5:36 pm

So great!

But just one note… your math is wrong. The savings is actually closer to 19%, not 24%.
The exchange rate is 1USD=1.24CAD. But 1CAD=.81USD.
So you are saving (1-0.81)*100=19%

Still a great discount and and wonderful gesture!

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Update and new things …

October. That was the last blog post. Ugh! I am the worst at keeping a blog! It has been a super crazy few months. Brooke, one of my main helpers with online stuff, left to be closer to her home and little girl, we started working on kits, website redesign and , oh yeah, holiday madness. It’s now finally starting to calm down – feels nice to be able to do this. Blog, say ‘hello’ and let you know what’s going on.

So, first off. KITS. Yes, doll making kits. Our Piccolinas are uber popular when we do markets and at our studio store, thing is, we only make a few and it doesn’t make sense for us to sell them online. It’s a cost thing – it’s an incredible cost to sell things online the way I do, individual listings, pictures, shipping. Anyhow, we’ve just kept them at markets so we can have a smaller doll under the $100 range. We’ve  done a few Piccolina Workshops over at the studio and they have been so much fun. I feel like I will burst with excitement as I watched people make their dolls – it’s a feeling reminiscent of when I made my first doll. The uncertainty of how it would turn out and who would appear out of the pieces and bits of wool and cotton and yarn. So I decided to make the Piccolinas available via a kit. We got all the instructions together and have been working with the super talented, and hilarious, Karen Page at One Girl Circus so that my instructions are clear and nicely illustrated. Seriously, if I tried doing that it would be a hot mess! I can teach people to sew dolls but to do it via instructions – oye. A few more weeks and tweaks and we should have the kits available soon. Now, these kits are geared towards my friends – I have an audience in mind. Crafty, but not too crafty. The body will be made for you and partially stuffed, as will the head. It will come with a dress and underpants. You assemble the doll, sew on the eyes, put on the hair and voila – you have a doll. We will be releasing a doll clothing pattern pack soon (for the piccolina) for you crafty folk that want to make a wardrobe. I’m going to set up a Facebook Page that you can join and we’ll have some tutorials and where you can share your creations. Gah! I am so excited about this!

Love getting stuff like this ready! Hang tags for the kits ..

Karen having a ‘Bamboletta Moment’ after telling me she just wasn’t really into dolls.  Ha! I see this love happen all the time. Karen and I met at The Makers Retreat last fall.

Second, Granville Island. It was a bit hit and miss last year with timing. John, who usually went for us, was working at the kids school and it was too hard for me to get over all the time. We are planning on making it over every six weeks or so this year. Brandi is going to go over to set up and then I’ll join her after I get all the upload stuff and payroll done – so on Friday. We will be there this week Thursday – Sunday. Bring us macaroons (Mak-a-RON – a fancy lady told me) and we will love you forever. We have 24 Piccolina’s coming with us this time .. it’s going to be a cute fest!

Third, THANK YOU ALL for loving the dolls and continuing to support Bamboletta. I’ve had this new peak of love for Bamboletta .. it never wanes, it just builds and builds, but the past few months it’s just been so amazing creating the dolls. We have such a fantastic group of women working with us and the dolls are filled with so much love and care. None of this would be possible without you all – thank you so much!

Much love,
Christina

 

 

Monica - January 7, 2015 - 6:13 am

After all these years, your blog posts still make me smile. FB gets too busy for me….but this small part is my size. Wishing you only the best, Christina. You’ve done so well. <3

Ilene Chalmers - January 7, 2015 - 7:49 am

As always you are the masters of the doll world. It always makes me smile whenever you post something on Facebook. My visit to BC and the shop/studio will always remain special in my heart. Love you all!!

Jennifer Branscome - January 7, 2015 - 12:38 pm

I love reading your blog posts, and will always be a lifetime fan. I’m so excited for you for Bamboletta’s growth and successes. The piccolina kits sound amazing & fun! Have a great time at the market :) xo

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