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We Won!!

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As I’m sure many of you know we recently won Small Business BC’s  Best Community Impact Award. We had to complete a pretty intense application and then I had to do a 10 minute presentation in front of a panel of judges – a wee bit intimidating! Everyone was great and I had a blast doing it, so glad I went through all this. On Thursday night we had the award ceremony and gala followed by a cheese plate and tea at Chill Winston .. us Bamboletta gals really know how to rip it up!

You know what really struck me during the whole thing? It was how all these men in suits came up to me and were telling me about their wives that made dolls or their moms that made sock monkeys or their daughter that does stuff on Etsy. They just melted and I felt deeply honored to be at the receiving end of it. When I made my speech I said that by putting community at the heart and center of Bamboletta, I built a product that had love in it. It felt like I was maybe being a bit cheesy by saying that but so many really responded to it. It was tweeted and commented on many times throughout the night. It was nice to have the opportunity to say what I feel about business and how I believe it can and should be run and it obviously hit a cord.

So, thank you to all my gals at Bamboletta. I’m in Vancouver at the Market right now and haven’t had a chance to tell them how much they mean to me. Everyone that works at Bamboletta is so rad – these ladies really care about what they do and infuse them with so much love. You know, I was out for dinner last night with some good friends and was telling them about how we hire. It is not based on skill – with enough time and perseverance anyone can learn how to sew a doll if they have the desire too. We’ve been making dolls for so long now that we have the whole thing down pretty pat and know how to teach ;). When we hire it’s based on a feeling, on a certain something that the sewer has. Like I just said, these women are awesome. And you know what happens to that awesomesauce they have? It goes into the doll. Well, not literally, but something does transfer over. This sounds crazy, I know, but when something is made by hand there is a transfer from maker to doll. Once in a while Rachel will pick up a doll and just by looking it over will say ‘Is ‘S’ having a bad week?’ and sure enough ‘S’ had her basement flood and is stressed to the max. It’s nothing really in the construction – it looks fine – but to us it’s a feeling. The reason why I’ve been able to get to this point of making as many dolls as we do is because we’ve hired on from our community of ladies, and we’ve hired on ladies with a certain something something. And I KNOW this is one of the big factors of why so many of you can feel it in your dolls. We are pretty sensitive beings 🙂

Whoa, I totally digressed there. NONE of this would be happening without you gals out there that are buying our dolls. Thank you all so much. We are showing that there can be another way of doing business and every doll bought is making this message louder and louder. With love. LOTS of love 🙂  I want to leave our kids  businesses that are run by caring about people and the environment.

xoChristina

PS Its been a bit biz heavy lately on the blog. Cute doll stuff coming up soon 🙂

Belinda - March 4, 2014 - 9:08 am

Congratulations to you all, it’s a well deserved award! xxx

Ilene Chalmers - March 11, 2014 - 6:25 am

No one deserves this award more than you wonderful ladies do. You are so right about how the dolls make us feel. They give off a real sense of love and caring. It’s so hard to explain, but it’s there. I know I keep saying this, but I can’t wait to come to BC this summer and visit the shop. It’s just one stop on our week long vacation, but to me, the most important and super fun to look forward to. Again, Congratulations on this great accomplishment! 🙂

Dana Williams - March 11, 2014 - 10:50 am

Congratulations, Christina! So well deserved. I love supporting you, your dream, and all the families that share their love with our dollies.

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One of  the comments we get here at Bamboletta is ,why do the dolls cost so much? I totally get it – $250 for a doll is a lot. We are used to seeing a doll for a lot less. I’ve talked about this in a bunch of blog posts, but today I want to touch on the real cost of things. So many people talk about wanting to buy local and handmade but then balk at the price because we are conditioned to seeing such low prices on things.  Those low prices come at a heavy cost to the environment and to the people making them.

I’m continuing this post to sort of go along last night’s one, which is the possible affect that the business part of Bamboletta may have on our kids. When a sewing mama takes a doll home, her child sees the 2 hours or so it takes for her mom to put the doll together (and that’s about a 3rd  of the actual labour part of the doll constructions – not including the clothes), then she can see how much her mom is paid and make the connection between work and time and money. With what that sewing mama got paid for one doll, you can buy 2 finished dolls at Walmart. Somehow, somewhere, someone is paying a very heavy price for that  Walmart doll. When I see the pictures of the factories that dolls and toys are made in, oh man, it’s rough conditions.  I get it, people in other countries need to work too and I applaud businesses that have found an ethical and helpful way to do so – not all factories are the same.  But that seems to be the minority and it’s sickening what conditions people are put through to make a cheap plastic doll.

There is so much more I could go on about , this is a topic I feel very strongly about. Why are we making people so expendable? What is wrong with us?  You know, when I was in highschool I was voted ‘Most likely to be arrested at a protest rally’ and ‘Most likely to become a famous artist’ Haha – not sure about the artist part (well, doll–artist, I suppose 😉 ) but I do get fired up when I see injustice in the world. The older I get the more passionate I feel about this – maybe this is what my side gig will be – an advocate for local commerce and business? Anyhow,  I digress, I just felt like sharing this with you all.

Much love and thanks for your business. I see the impact your business has on the people who work here and it’s amazing – I am in deep gratitude to you all.

Christina

Crystal - June 4, 2015 - 10:00 pm

Thank you for writing this post! I am a kids clothing designer/maker and I sometimes worry that my prices are too high, even though I have yet to make a living wage doing this job. Your business is one of the ones I think about when remembering that you can ask people to pay what is a product is worth and feel good about it.

Crystal - June 4, 2015 - 10:01 pm

Thank you for writing this post! I am a kids clothing designer/maker and I sometimes worry that my prices are too high, even though I have yet to make a living wage doing this job. Your business is one of the ones I think about when remembering that you can ask people to pay what is a product is worth and feel good about it.

Thank you!

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We *Love* Local

Many of you know sweet Leola, she is the lady that spins some of the yarns we use in our doll hair. This afternoon she brought in this wonderful yarn telling us that it reminded her tulips and daffodils. She also told us that this particular yarn came from Twilley, a sheep belonging to a friend in Qualicum, BC.

This is Twilley …

twilley

And after Twilley was sheared, her wool went into this carding machine…

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In the carder it’s then combed out again and again and made into these lovely wool ropes, called roping. I don’t have any pics on hand, but after this, Leola dyes it and then spins it on a wheel to make the yarns. I’ll try to get a pic of her working on making yarn in the next bit of time.

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Details like this about the making of the dolls make me swoon! There are so many hands that take part in making them – I love sharing little stories like this and I hope you enjoy them too.

Christina

Nicole D - February 19, 2014 - 9:14 pm

I love this! Amazing and Twilley is adorable. :0)

Ida - February 24, 2014 - 5:52 pm

Really neat to see! We live in California and have black faced sheep. We sheer them every year. It’s fun to see how you turn her wool into yarn! Really enjoyed this blog! Twilley is so cute! Glad to have seen her!!

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Shipping Rates Note

Canada Post has raised their rates. Again. Last time they did they increased rates we absorbed it but just can’t do it this time. We are a small company and don’t qualify for the rates the big companies get. I really want you to know that we aren’t making money off shipping, we are just covering our costs. We don’t inflate our prices to cover shipping costs – it’s a personal pet peeve of mine when companies do that.

Here are the new rates ..

15″ Classic, Sitting Dolls and Baby Doll
CAN – $18 (no change)
USA – $26 (up $2)
INT – $43 (up $3)

Cuddle Dolls
CAN – $16 (up $2)
USA – $20 (up $2)
INT – $36 (up $8)

Little Buddies
CAN – $14 (up $2)

USA – $18 (up $2)

INT $26 (up $2)

I’m ever so grateful that you are supporting our little company!

Thanks so much!

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Introducing a New Addition to our Doll Family

A long time ago, back in 2007, I was playing around with making a weighted baby doll with limbs. I had been making weighted dolls for our local Waldorf school for them to use in the classrooms and really fell in love with the concept. Those dolls were essentially a head with a sack full of millet . Weighted dolls are sometimes used in therapeutic environments as they are thought to comfort and ground a child (and adults, too!). Anyhow, I’ve been wanting to create something for a while now, it’s always been at the back of my mind, but that pesky lack of time kinda got in the way.

A few months ago Jes came to me with a baby design she’d been playing with – it was amazing – my doll dream had come to life! Jes is one of our lovely ladies who sew our Cuddle Dolls and she used construction techniques from those to make the baby. When I tried working on the pattern, I always got held up in the limbs area but now with our new pattern Jes figured it out in a snap! It is so awesome working with this group and watch how ideas are hatched, incubate and come to life. It’s like a beehive of creativity.

So, this is our new baby. I don’t think I’ve fallen in love with a doll this much – I LOVE them. Originally we weren’t going to do hair but when we put pics up on Facebook and Instagram we had quite a few comments asking about hair. Again, here’s where our creative flow comes in because it comes from all of you too. After a conversation with Leola, we brainstormed on making a little crocheted cap with boucle or mohair to give the baby a little fuzzy hat. It’s just so cool on how these things evolve. THEN just this week we started really trying to make an indent in the top of the head (this is where I put the threads through to make the eyes) so it would feel like a soft spot on the dolls head. This only works on some of the dolls though, depending on a few factors on how John makes the heads. Ohhh, how I love handmade!

Then there was the weight issue. I didn’t want to use any sort of foodstuff, like millet or rice. And I totally didn’t want to use those poly pellet plastic weight things – that just seems totally wrong to put in our dolls. I’ve always loved crystals, seems like there’s a bit of magic whenever I go into a crystal shop. My kids are so drawn to crystal shops and are constantly collecting different stones  – I think there’s something to it that they can feel. So, crystal chips are what we use inside the doll to weight them. It’s mainly Rose Quartz, which is thought to be the stone of love, and Amethyst which is supposed to assist in calmness. We put the chips into a bag that’s sewn up nice and safe and then wrap it in wool and put it in the doll. It gives such a lovely feel to the dolls. Those little round bottoms are kinda the best!

We are doing some dolls with the regular open eyes and some with a sweet sleepy eye. I wanted to do them all with a sleepy eye (I love the look of the sleepy baby) but got a bit of feedback from people wanting an open eye, so I decided to do both. Jes then designed a sleeper, diaper, cap and swaddle to complete this sweet little package. They are about 14″ long, perfect for little mama’s. I hope that you all will love them as much as we do here!

 

Janet Cook - January 24, 2014 - 4:30 pm

They are lovely. Would be great if they could smell like a baby too.

Ilene Chalmers - January 24, 2014 - 5:51 pm

My sweet baby Peyton is on the way. Can’t wait to experience it for myself. So excited!!

Barbie Harwell - January 24, 2014 - 7:47 pm

I love these! So sweet!

Natasha - January 25, 2014 - 4:37 am

Thank you! I was thinking to myself, “Wouldn’t it be so great if Bamboletta made heavy baby dolls too? That would be so perfect!” And you have! I actually shouted when I read your blog! Now to try for one next week!

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