Category Archives: Studio stuff

A Friday Morning at Bamboletta

I know we’ve done these before, but it’s been a while since our last one and we have lots of new friends now so we wanted to share a sneek into our Friday at the studio…

Our Fridays at the studio are often a division of two moods…we’ve got the ladies chatting, stuffing, laughing and listening to loud tunes in one room, then on the other side of the studio Christina hunkers down after her week of face sewing and puts on her accounting hat. Of course there’s some serious giggles in the office, but it’s usually an octave or two lower than the roar from the ‘Great Room’!

Every Friday, some of the ladies gather around our big table in the Great Room and roll and stuff and roll and stuff all day long. Usually the day starts off with a bang and by the end of it, the ladies have gone a little crazy from the repetitiveness ..and so the laughing and the chatting and story sharing make the day pass quickly!

Fridays Brandi and our resident specialty yarn-dyer extraordinaire, Andrea, meet in the great room and start their ‘yarn dance’ for next weeks batch of hair…here are some of the colour combinations they planned out on the floor…

And here are the ladies dancing the yarns together…

The ‘fixing’ area gets quiet on fridays as the ladies are busy with rolling and stuffing…

Today one of our sweet mama’s Janice has popped into the studio to get some extra tips on hair sewing. It’s so nice to be able to sit with the mama’s who work from home and have a little chat with them…today was a treat!

Did I mention I woke up this morning to freezing cold weather and frost on my windows?! We have our fireplace going today to warm up this chilly morning…

One of our sewing mama’s, Susan, who machine sews the legs and arms, communicates with Brandi once a week to take our ‘orders’ of what we need…I found Brandi messaging her through the curtains!

Thamar and Nicole aren’t at the studio on Fridays…it’s very weird when the ladies aren’t around…it’s so quiet on their side.

Here I am still in my winter coat..always at the computer  🙂 I like to start my Friday with the ladies in the ‘Great Room’ and then by lunch I’ve usually retreated into the office for some emailing and getting to all the things I didn’t have time for the rest of the week…and of course for Christina’s company  🙂

And of course there’s Christina, who somehow manages administrative tasks with customer service and an upload! It’s pretty common to find her behind two computers on fridays…

And there we have it friends! Another happy Friday in Bamboletta Land!

I hope you all have an amazing day and weekend and don’t forget our upload today is scheduled for 3pm pst…see you then!


Brooke and Team Bamboletta




Rosalyn - November 9, 2012 - 12:40 pm

I love these peeks behind the scenes! Thanks for sharing.

Cassandra - November 9, 2012 - 12:46 pm

Love this! I was smiling the whole time reading it and felt apart of the Friday’s Team Bambo experiences! 😀
Did I see chop sticks? Simple but great invention.
Always a pleasure to get a glimps and see all of the beautiful faces.
Happy Upload Day!

Aubrey W - November 10, 2012 - 11:37 am

Great blog post, Thanks for sharing Brooke!

Brenda Bell - November 10, 2012 - 5:02 pm

Thanks for always sharing more and more about the company! I love hearing how you all are doing <3

Sara Marinara - November 11, 2012 - 10:21 am

I love your company. Seriously. It makes my heart happy to know that I own one of your dolls and all of the love that went into making her.

Linzy N - November 12, 2012 - 5:47 pm

Love the stories and the pictures… such a fun group.

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A sneak peak into something new for Bamboletta

Friends, we have been secretly working on a project that is ALMOST (SQUEEEEEEEE) ready to present in completion, but seriously, we couldn’t wait any longer to tell you about it!!!! So this post is just a little sneak peak into what’s in store…

We have been brewing up a collaborative project with one of our most all time favorite stores on the island…Smoking Lily! For those of you who haven’t heard of this wonderful little company, they are local to Victoria, BC (a 45 min drive away from our studio) and make super amazing clothing and accessories designed and printed in their small studio downtown. All their supplies are sourced locally and their goods are all sewn and screen printed in-house by a small group of mega talented women…just like us!

We get asked a lot about making children’s clothes…I mean, the doll clothes are so dang cute, who could resist?! I have a two year old daughter myself and often wish we made clothes to fit her, so pairing with Smoking Lily to make matching girly dresses and doll dresses has felt right from the get go! Yes, that’s right friends, we are in the throws of producing an exclusive run of Smoking Lily and Bamboletta matching girl and doll dresses!!!!! ACK! The Smoking Lily team has been working hard at producing a small line with their most popular prints, and then yes, making tiny versions for the doll frocks to match!

I was at their studio this evening picking up the printed doll frocks to be completed at our studio…sewing doll-sized clothing is not as easy as it may seem, so our ladies will put their expert finishing touches on these…then hopefully in the next little while we’ll see these sets in the uploads. I’ll give you friends a better run down of colours/prints/sizes once we have everything completed…this was really just a quicky blog because it seriously feels like Christmas we are SO EXCITED! Ok, Ok, one more pic…here’s all the prints…

Christina and I basically live in Smoking Lily clothes so it’s been a real pleasure working with them…basically we’re star struck! To find out more about them go here, and heck, if you want to check them out on Facebook, go here!

Now that the secrets out, we will keep you all in the know!

Lots of Love,

Brooke and Team Bamboletta

(I should add too, that Smoking Lily now has 3! locations to serve you; in Victoria on LoJo @ 569A Johnson Street, in Vancouver, BC @ 3634 Main Street, and their newest shop, The Milkman’s Daughter @ 1713 Government Street)

Skye C - October 24, 2012 - 9:29 am

EEPPPPP!!! I see bicycles!!! That is so fabulous ladies, and exciting!! I can’t wait to see the finished products. Now, can we discuss making some in adult sizes too?? He he

Kelly - October 24, 2012 - 9:29 am


Renee - October 24, 2012 - 9:48 am

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!!! I have been a big fan and supporter of Smoking Lily for years! There is an adorable store in Cumberland that carries their products 🙂

jennifer - October 24, 2012 - 9:54 am

holy smokes lily. this sounds amazing

Sara Marinara - October 24, 2012 - 10:10 am

I love their Octopus print. This is one more reason I have to move to Canada!

Chantal - October 24, 2012 - 10:15 am

OMG this is awesome news!!! So exciting! My 2 year old will be getting her first Bamboletta for Christmas and I’d love to get matching outfits!

Barbara H - October 24, 2012 - 10:38 am

Please, please, please make sure there is a size 6 set of the pink bunnies… Willow would LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE a matching Smoking Lily set with one of her dolls! Squeeeeing here with you!

michelle - October 24, 2012 - 10:59 am

very awesome! fingers crossed for size 7 or 8!

Becca - October 24, 2012 - 1:30 pm

Very cool! Keeping my fingers crossed for size 8!!!

Dora - October 24, 2012 - 3:10 pm

WOW! This is great, Congratulations I’m so happy for you!

Lisa Bloomer - October 24, 2012 - 7:27 pm

LOVE smoking lily! Wish I still lived in BC. Can’t wait to see the goodies!

Rickiann - October 26, 2012 - 9:54 pm

I love it !!! So cute !

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Little site update and music list …

After months of anticipation we finally launched our new site last week and I think it went pretty well. A few snafu’s with Paypal, but other than that things seemed to pretty smoothly. I’m so proud of Brooke and her sweet design – it’s perfect! So, our doll uploads will continue to happen on our new site – it’s all good there! We will continue on Big Cartel for our Frocks uploads – everything will link on our main site – but we are going to keep it on there for now. We set up Shopify to have no cart – just a straight checkout so you are forced through with only one item .. one isn’t able to cart a multitude of dolls at once. If we had our Frocks set up like this .. omgoodness, it would mean you’d have to check out with every. single. item. Not good. This is where Big Cartel and their 30 minute cart time makes more sense. You can peruse items at your relative 30 minute leisure. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to combine the two carts into one but the way people shop for these products is entirely different and ,right now, need a different cart solution. I’m sure someone new to Bamboletta may read this and think ‘what the heck is she talking about?’!

I’ve had lots of time in front of a computer lately and have had time to get into some new and old music. Because I haven’t made up a playlist for a LONG time I thought it would be nice to put one up tonight.  This is a very eclectic music list, with some cussing (so mind the kids!). But these are my fav 10 songs at the moment.

10. Fireshrine – Purity Ring
9. That’s What’s Up – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s
8. Dougou Badia (feat. Sanitgold) – Amadou & Mariam
7. New Light – Great Lake Swimmers
6. We are Fine – Sharon Van Etten
5. Charlie Darwin – The Low Anthem
4. How do I Know – Here We Go Magic
3. Fences – Phoenix
2. We are Your Friends – Justice vs Simian
1. Galvanize – Chemical Brothers

I also really, really am LOVING songza. I promise you’ll love it! Music is such an important part of my life. I’m a pretty busy lady between the kids, John and Bamboletta I don’t get much time to myself. What mom does, really? Anyhow, late at night there are few things I love more than throwing my headphones on and cranking the tunes – it’s such an escape and time just for me. When I was in my early 20’s I lived in downtown Vancouver with my best friend Sarah and I swear we went dancing every night .. hehe she even ended up marrying a DJ! I look back at those times fondly and my music now brings a little of that back 🙂


Cassandra - October 21, 2012 - 9:17 pm

So wonderful that things went well on the new site! 🙂 Very cool and all makes sense!
I will check the music out! I love music too!

P.S.: I have to share…..eeep! The Strawberry pocket doll arrived with the two other pocket dolls from the upload and it was a SUNDAY! lol! Mail never came for me on a Sunday in Canada.

Michelle - October 21, 2012 - 9:27 pm

GO Chemical Brothers! 🙂
Congrats on the new site, good luck!

Erin Ladybug - October 22, 2012 - 2:45 am

Thank you SO much for suggesting Songza! Finding new to me music has always been a hobby, but with a very busy babe, I haven’t had much time to do it. This is awesome! 🙂

Kim Giovannini - October 22, 2012 - 5:55 am

I think half of that song list are regulars on my iTunes too. Songza is taking me away from Pandora..but it’s cool – I can juggle two crooning relationships. HAHA! The new site is rockin’!

Erin Ladybug - October 22, 2012 - 4:48 pm

I had to come back and thank you again for recommending Songza. It brightened up a horrible, no good, bad day. My 10 y/o son went to leave for school and realized that his bike lock had been cut, and his bike stolen. 🙁

I found a We Day playlist for him when he got home from school, and that cheered him a bit, as he’s hoping to attend our local We Day event.

Thanks. 🙂

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The Return of Thamar!

We are SOOOOO excited at Bamboletta because our dear sweet Thamar is coming home from her Netherlands trip and will be back in the studio MONDAY!!!!! EEP!! We all miss her so much and it just hasn’t been the same without her quirky Holland ways  🙂

So, I asked her to write me a little blog post while she was gone, and she sent me this photo she took on one of her first days home with the caption “Polka dots follow me wherever I go!”.

So, the countdown is on! Only 3 more sleeps till we get to embarrass her with all of our love and hugs!



Lisa W. - August 31, 2012 - 4:26 pm

First of all I love the “three more sleeps” comment….it melted my heart!! My now 8 year old grandson always explained time with how many sleeps were left, when he was a toddler….

Secondly, Yay!!! so excited for Thamar’s return!! Can’t wait to hear about all of her adventures, and really crushing on that cute polka dot car in the pic!!

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Eyes, Eyes, EYES!

I always have my basket of dollie heads with me .. even stuck in a ferry line up a few weeks ago! It’s sort of like how women knit all the time – it’s just what I do.

As most of you know I put the eyes on all the dolls. I spend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday’s sitting in my cozy chair meeting each doll and putting on their faces. I’ve had Bamboletta for almost 10 years now and feel so lucky that I’ve been able to narrow my ‘job’ down to thing I find the most fun .. bringing the doll ‘alive’. I’ve tried training someone else before on eyes – we always have training dolls around the shop (it takes a LONG time for someone to learn to sew the dolls) but, to be honest, I abandoned the effort because they just didn’t look ‘right’. They didn’t look like Bamboletta. I sort of get to a point where I think ‘Gah! It’s only me that can do the eyes! No one else!’ and ,well, that’s why I’ve been doing them for 10 years! I like looking over my eyes through the years to see how they’ve progressed and changed and the sort of ‘phases’ I go through with them. Sometimes closer, sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller and sometimes in between.

About a year ago I ended up in the hospital for a few days. The second thing I told John to do was to get the heads so that I can do the eyes for the dolls.  Because of my rate of growth and because we now have so many women who depend on Bamboletta for their income – it’s on me to make sure the dolls are ready to go for the Friday uploads. I’ve never thought of this in a bad way – gosh – I just love how each doll comes out and putting on their sweet faces. Eep – there’s that point that I put on the little smiles that makes my heart go a flutter!

Dang – I hit my mid 30’s and that was it .. all over the reading glasses now! I have about 10 pairs scattered throughout my house and studio because I keep losing them. I need to go get a proper pair with one of those cute beaded things that hang around my neck.

But, with 70 – 80 dolls going into each upload, it’s quite a bit of work.  I also always have a basket of heads with me all the time that I work on during the week as well as doing the complete dolls – it’s just what I do!  The thing is – I sometimes lay awake at 2am thinking ‘OMGosh – what happens if I break my arm?!’ ‘OMGosh what happens if I get really bad carpel tunnel and can’t move my fingers?’ and ‘Gah, I can’t really go on a vacation because I have to make sure the eyes get done.’. Like I said before – not complaining – this is just where I’m at right now. I sort of get freaked out once in a while about the what if’s.

Where the heck is this going, you may ask?  During a little staff get away in  Sooke a few weeks back we got to talking about what we can do about the face sewing and the obvious answer was Brandi! The answer to my conundrum is Brandi!!  She has been working with Bamboletta for about 5 years now – first a few hours a week in my basement to now beyond full time at the studio. She is almost as in love with Bamboletta as I am and she’s really like a sister to me. For YEARS she been saying ‘OH – this is a really cute face!’ when she does the doll hair on Thursdays – so she knows a good face. So ,for a few hours per week, she’s been my Karate Kid and I’ve been her Mr. Miyagi. We have about 250 plus ‘booboo’ dolls – these are dolls that the gals trained on when they learned to sew, dolls that get stained, not stitched right, holes – whatever really – these are the dolls that I end up giving to hospitals and charity toy drives. (As a side note – I gave all our 2011 dolls away – these dolls are just from 2012). So, slowly but surely, Brandi has been going through these dolls one by one with me basically looking over her shoulder. Poor thing – every stitch is scrutinized – I’ve told her countless times to ‘Take it out and do it again’. And , sweet Brandi, smiles and tries her very hardest. She is doing such a great job – amazing actually – they look just like my eyes! She still has another 200 or so dolls to go through before she can help me with upload doll faces so this is her training. This will take months and months before she can do upload doll eyes but it’s the most important job at Bamboletta – it really is – and it will take time.  There is no one more perfect to help me out than Brandi. It’s quite serendipitious actually.

Just snapped this pic of what I have in my basement at home. We have 8 more of these bins at the studio. When these dolls get eyes they end up going to different charitable organizations and hospitals. I may , just may, do a local sale somewhere around the holiday’s. I really miss doing markets and fairs. We’ll see how it goes!

So, what else does this mean? Well, Brandi is no longer doing Frock stuff or shipping stuff. My ‘Make it Hap’n Capt’n’ Brooke has taken over Frock stuff and customer service stuff. It’s so cool to figure out where everyone ‘fits’ as we grow .. nice to see where people can shine!

So, there we have it – the newest development at Bamboletta. This has been one of the biggest things yet – crucial to our sustainability – and it came about so perfectly and at exactly the right time. It’s yet another thing I am so grateful for with how Bamboletta has unfolded .. it’s never been with a plan, it’s always just ‘happened’.


Brandi working on a group of ladies! They are so happy to get faces!

deborah b. - August 23, 2012 - 11:12 am

great news, i can imagine how scary that’d be to be the ONLY one doing eyes. i’d have what-ifs, too! that little lady whose eyes the lovely brandi has finished is beautiful!!!

linda jt - August 24, 2012 - 8:41 pm

go brandi–it’s your birthday….
now brandi used to work at the post office, right? the one where you would take the dolls to ship off to all of us. but you stole her away–first as part-time and now as more than full time. that’s a sweet story for a very sweet woman. we heart brandi!! and her eyes look fantastic. love this new chapter in the little bamboletta book. 😉

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