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Customs …

 

Some customs dolls we made back in 2006 came back for a visit on a recent vending stint on Granville Island.

Customs have been something we’ve been going back and forth on for YEARS! When I started making dolls 10 years ago customs were a great source of joy for me. I loved talking to the customer and then creating a special doll especially for their child. When I was at Granville Island a few months ago, Pammy Sue brought in her twin girls with twin custom dolls I made for them back in 2006. My heart just filled with joy – so sweet! Well, as the business grew I took customs in bulk form – so 100 orders at a time and done within 2 months – it was INTENSE and I really missed that one on one that came with doing them the ‘old’ way but with the incredible demand at the time, this seemed to be the only way to do it. The way I am I would stress over details to make sure the doll was just right – which is fine if you are dealing with a few, but 100 at once was just too much for me.  So, to keep the joy in my dollmaking and not feel any pressure, I made the decision a few years ago to not do any custom dolls and solely focus on our Ready to Go dolls which we could create as we like.

About a week ago I’ve had somewhat of an epiphany with my business. It can be whatever I want. Sounds weird, I know, but for the past few years I’ve felt this intense pressure to create more dolls yet still keep the magic and love intact. So, decisions like to not do customs where made to keep the ‘magic’ alive. I felt this pressure from the super intense fast uploads, from the numerous emails of people so desperate to get a doll, all the dolls being bought and then resold for profit – lately all that seems to have subsided and this sense of ease has come. So, I’m cutting back the amount of dolls we are making  so that we can work at a thoughtful and slower pace without any pressure of ‘more’. My markets that I’m doing are going incredibly well and connecting me with children again and the magic of a child/doll relationship. So, this brings me to custom dolls …

I want to try doing them again. I personally don’t have the time for the emailing back and forth like I used to (all those faces to sew on!)  BUT Brooke, dear Brooke, who has been doing our customer service and upload listings for a long time now, does have the time. I also trust Brooke explicitly as she is organized and knows the ins and outs of doll specifics like hair colors,  eye colors, etc.  So, Brooke will act as a go between myself and Brandi handling the emailing portion of the custom dolls (and there is quite a bit). I’m going to try 3 a week and they will be put on the site as listings during an upload. Three a week seems managable:)We will sort of take it as it comes, you know?

So, tomorrow, 3 listings (customs can be either a 15″ or a Sitting Doll), priced at $275. They cost a bit more then the normal dolls on the site because of all the time with organizing and emailing and stuff like that. I’m attaching Brooke’s guidelines for the custom dolls – you can peruse it if you are interested in getting one. Let’s see how this goes:)

xoxo
Christina

Custom Doll(1) Upload Specs!

 

Angie S - May 30, 2013 - 4:38 pm

So excited for you guys and the next chapter! xo

sharon - May 30, 2013 - 4:40 pm

It appears the document is still in ‘edit’ mode.

Amanda G - May 30, 2013 - 4:42 pm

Hope you do LB customs too. My 3 year old prefers small dolls right now :)

Celeste JW - May 30, 2013 - 5:06 pm

Super exciting news!!!

April Martin - May 30, 2013 - 5:08 pm

OH My Goodness I could not be more excited!! Hope I can snag a custom soon :) thank u so much for bringing them back!!!

Laurie - May 30, 2013 - 5:11 pm

Wow! All I can say is… Wow!!! I think there is some juju goin’ on over there because just last week I was lovingly admiring the RTG dolls and had a crazy thought, “I’d love to order another custom, alas…” And don’t get me wrong! The RTGs were FAB, as always. And don’t misunderstand me for greedy… I feel beyond honored to have a beautiful custom– Parker says “Hi!” But there is something wonderfully “special” about connecting to the tradition of making your dream doll. Thanks for taking on the project, C and Brandi and all you beautiful doll creators.

Laurie - May 30, 2013 - 5:14 pm

Oh excuse me, my attempt to type Brooke resulted in typing Brandi, lets just call that a momentary lapse in Dollie heart palpitations.

Karen W. - May 30, 2013 - 5:22 pm

Very exciting! We <3 our little custom Kaylee. While the doll is amazing, i really love her because my daughter helped pick out her characteristics and your mamas brought her to life. Teaching her the value of handmade with a toy she treasures is priceless.

Love your epiphany too — and watching your business evolve. (Let me know if you ever retire your sandy, curly bobbed model. She's perfect) xoxo!

pammysue - May 30, 2013 - 5:30 pm

Yay!!!!!!!!! Excuse me, my heart is full of love right now! ❤

Katherine - May 30, 2013 - 5:58 pm

Very exciting! I am so happy to hear you are bringing customs back!!! I am holding out for a Cuddle doll 😉

Cassandra - May 30, 2013 - 8:49 pm

How exciting!
I am excited on many levels and I am hoping I will be able to see custom dolls when they are done! Just too cool and please share pictures! It will be so lovely for all involved and yippee for the beauty that will be created for the kiddos and the young at heart!
Always love the photos that are shared!

cheryl - May 31, 2013 - 6:16 am

Our first Bamboletta was a custom and she is still my daughters all time favorite because she looks just like her, even now. I know lots of children will be very happy! :)

Aubrey Wyszynski - June 1, 2013 - 6:12 pm

SO EXCITING! Don’t even know how i’d begin to choose, the possibilities are endless!! <3

t shirt factory - October 18, 2013 - 12:12 am

My friend smiled and told me to look into this blog post and i noticed it relatively impressive. I will bookmark it for a future needed along with i might tell a friends to examine this blog post. Thanks plenty for writing.

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Exciting News ….

It feels like sometime I just can’t stay still. I don’t mean to always be changing and moving and such but one of the greatest lesson’s I’ve learned is to really just ‘go with the flow’, as cheesy as that may sound. Opportunities arise like kismet when it comes to Bamboletta – it’s pretty amazing. This latest upcoming change is a classic example of how things roll here …
A few weeks ago, Jennie, our sweet Jennie, who ran the Cowichan Bay shop, told me she was leaving to work for her friend down in Victoria. Of course I was happy for her and this huge life change but really unsure of our shop. You see, I pretty much opened Cowichan Bay because of Jennie – this gal has amazing energy that is perfect for a retail sort of gig. She immediately makes people feel comfy and you just fall in love with her. Well, without Jennie things just don’t feel the same with the shop.

A few days ago I posted a picture up on my Instagram on how I was toying with the idea of closing the shop and then doing a weekly market at Bastion Square in Victoria, my Granville Island stints each month and maybe doing big shows across North America.  A great thread started with people expressing sadness on the possibility of the store closing, excitement over the idea of shows and general great chat. Then Jessica P piped in wondering why we didn’t put a shop in our studio. We had a little ‘sort of’  shop put in the corner of the studio but it was never it’s own ‘thing’. Jessica’s comment did get us thinking  about where we could locate the shop within our studio that would be separate yet still a part of everything. I toyed around with the idea of moving our office into another side but where the office is  located in our building just wouldn’t quite work..

This is the entrance to our shop! Can’t you just see the sweet little Bamboletta sign hanging over the door? The flower baskets? And that little garden at the front is a teapot garden! So cute!

Oh man, this story is getting long .. So, very recently the space beside us with a retail area came up for rent. Many of you long time customers know this space because it’s where I used to take my photos, it has the red window frames. I have been coveting this space for years – YEARS – but when we expanded it wasn’t available . We ended up going the other way in the building and into the courtyard. Brooke nonchalantly brought up the idea of moving into that space and closing off the office and shifting things over. I hadn’t even put that in my mind because the thought of taking walls down and putting walls up is exhausting, lol! Well, yesterday I called Alice the landlady, had a chat and now the space is ours! YAY!!

Windows and cuteness abound! John starts painting this week! Can’t wait to get some new chandeliers!

Soooo – new retail space will open up at Whippletree Junction as of June 3rd! You can come in and browse dolls, doll clothes, some fabrics and whatever we will have in there. THEN you can come in the back and stop in so we can say hello! Jennie would always have to send people up to see up from the shop, but now you can just pop your head in! Yay! We will be having a Grand Opening Celebration sometime in mid June, I’ll be sure to announce details on here and FB! Our last day in Cowichan Bay will be May 19th and I will still continue to do the Granville Island Market, Kits Farmer’s Market and Brittany will be at Bastion Square each Sunday starting in June (all our dates will be on the calendar). For the winter I will be applying to a few bigger shows in Vancouver and Victoria – not sure what yet as applications haven’t come out yet. It’s going to be a busy year!

 

Cassandra - May 8, 2013 - 10:39 am

That is most wonderful news to read! I am so glad you can still have a shop and now it is in which I think is the perfect place.
Been awhile but I remember how sweet and to my kids, how magical the front of that place is. 😀 Love the décor and love that it all ties together perfectly!

jennJK - May 8, 2013 - 12:30 pm

How exciting! I can’t wait to “see” the new space. I hope to visit someday, I’m working on that…. 😀

maria - May 8, 2013 - 2:20 pm

The perfect location! Can’t wait.

Barbara H. - May 8, 2013 - 2:32 pm

I’m working on it too with Jenn, we will all be up for a visit someday when the stars align! I am so excited for this new chapter in your life, what a dream to have everything so close together… everything happens for a reason and I am just thrilled for you girls! Can’t wait to see the “after” pics when you guys sprinkle your magic charm on everything! <3

Kat Thornton - May 8, 2013 - 2:38 pm

This is so exciting! I may have to make a pilgrimage with my daughter this summer or early fall… It’s so great your studio and shop will be right together!

Adrienne - May 8, 2013 - 9:37 pm

So thrilled you are opening your shop at Whipple Tree!! Just always seemed like the most sensible thing to do. Can’t wait to see you at bastion square!!

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Sitting Doll Progression …

We’ve been working away at these new sitting style dolls, that I think I’ll call Sitting Dolls because we are calling them that around the shop. It’s been about 5 weeks that Sam and I have been working on patterns and trying different things. We really want to get the proportion right and then worked in the feedback we got from our fabulous testers! Anyhow, I thought it would be fun to show the progression. I’ll have a picture of the latest draft up tomorrow on our Facebook page (we are currently sewing the head on and the face). Fun times, I LOVE doing this sort of thing!

These dolls should be showing up on the site in a few weeks and as far as pricing (we’ve had a few questions about this) they will be the same if not slightly lower priced then our traditional 15″ doll. We have to figure out the timing on the sewing part of it ..

xo
Christina

Cassandra - April 4, 2013 - 7:34 pm

LOVE! LOVE! Just love seeing this collage of what goes on and how this new body style of doll is put together.
Very exciting and super excited to see pictures of the cuties when they make their way into homes all over the world.
So wonderful how the process is shared and makes you feel like you are a part of it even though I am just getting to watch.
xo

Studio Style » Bamboletta Blog - April 5, 2013 - 11:02 am

[…] There’s been many a round table discussion about our soon-to-be launched new ‘Sitting Dolls‘!! Lots of perfecting and testing and stuffing and unstuffing. The end result dolls are […]

cheryl - April 8, 2013 - 1:27 pm

Love seeing the creative process at work and I imagine they are just as squishable….right?

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Bamboletta Downloadable Wallpaper!!!

Hello Friends!

In the true spirit of Valentines Day love, we have something exciting for you…downloadable wallpaper with the classic Bamboletta background!

We have it in 4 sizes, 1600 x 1200, 1440 x 900 (Mac laptop size), and iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 sizes. Simply click the file size you would like, and then when it redirects you to a new page, hit the ‘Disk’ icon to save it to your computer or phone…and enjoy!

1600 x 1200 Bamboletta

1440 x 900 Bamboletta

iPhone 4 Bamboletta

iPhone 5 Bamboletta

I hope you all have a wonderful and love-filled Valentines day today!!!!

Love,

Brooke and Team Bamboletta

xxoo

 

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Breathe In, Breathe Out .. Happenings at Bamboletta!

Yes, there are 4 mason jars full o smoothies on our table – we love smoothies in the morning! And Brooke looks so lonely over there in the corner answering emails .. she regularly pipes in with good one liners and funny remarks, she’s seriously one of the funniest people ever.

I am really loving 2013 so far – it feels like I’m getting right back to the heart of what I love about creating the dolls. 2012 felt like it a whirlwind of sorts and we were trying hard to fulfill the demand for the dolls. As autumn approached things felt like they were levelling off a bit, uploads weren’t quite so frantic and the reselling of dolls had calmed right down. By winter there were dolls available in the shop – it’s what I’ve been wanting to happen for years! For the past few years I’ve been wanting that someone could go online and there would be a few dolls available, it feels , I don’t know, peaceful to me. Because I feel like the online demand is calmer I’ve now got the opportunity to build up some stock and hold on to some inventory. So, now we have our wee shop in Cowichan Bay so our local Island peeps can get a doll and I *just* found out that I’ve been accepted to vend at a few of the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market in Vancouver in the summer. Gals, you have no idea how happy this makes me. Craft fairs and markets were my ‘fuel’ to start Bamboletta – seeing kids and the dolls, them choosing and finding ‘their’ doll and then a few years later having their sibling come and choose ‘their’ doll – oh man, it’s kinda the best thing ever. It feels like magic to get to be a part of something as special as a child’s relationship with their doll. I think this is why I TOTALLY love and understand my online customers as well – I *know* what it’s all about because I’ve been a part of it for years ‘in real life’ and this translates over onto online. Because even if I haven’t met you in real life , I feel like I have – it’s hard and weird to explain – but it’s how I feel.  So, that I get to do markets again ,well,  it’s heaven!

I just feel SO excited about Bamboletta! I’ve cut the amount of 15″ dolls available online back so now I can put them together for sewing mamas, do their hair and dress them and do all those fun bits with them. Of course I love the Little Buddies too but the 15″ dolls are where my heart lies. It’s been great to now have so many LB’s available, their size and price point really works for so many people – and they are just so dang cute and wee. But there is something about those 15″ that allows us to do a bit ‘more’ – with clothing and hair , they are just bigger and easier to add in details with. I’m going to be more involved again with clothing – taking it back to what I love most. Those cardigans, kimono’s, classic dresses, leggings with boots, jeans and maryjanes are pretty cute and my favorite. Of course we will still have Thamar’s fab designs but more of the ‘classic’ stuff in there too.

Even our physical studio space has changed. 2012 saw us expand TWICE into more rooms and by the autumn we were pretty separated within the studio.. Thamar and Nic where in the cavernous sewing room, then there was a shipping room and then a long hallway sort of room that lead to the space where myself, Brandi, Sarah and Rach would sew. Poor Brooke would be way on the other side in the office. It felt right at the time – this feeling of having to get bigger to meet demands but to be honest, we felt separated. I could go all day sewing faces and not see Thamar aside from our lunch break. I would make up things to do just so I could hang out with Brooke in the office .. haha, we totally love each other and were sad to be so apart! On Fridays all of us could come together for stuffing day and the studio was just filled with happiness .. you could feel it in the air. Late December I realized that the space was NOT right – just too much of it. A few weeks back I closed off almost half the studio and moved us all in closer together. Most of our stock is back at my house and we’ve had to put up lots of shelving and it’s ‘cozy’  but we love it.  I now get to see and visit with all the sewing mama’s that come in and out on Monday’s – it’s been so nice! We’ve had the best couple of weeks at work and the cohesiveness between the different ‘parts’ of Bamboletta is fantastic – just like the ‘old’ days.

I remember in Ben’s Waldorf kindergarten class that his teacher ,Ms Ruth, would talk about expansion and contraction being a natural state of being, starting with our breath. She would start the children in the morning outside to ‘expand’ and then inside to ‘contract’ and the day’s rhythm would be based around this natural movement. I feel like I’ve done this with Bamboletta too, with 2010- 2012 being my expansion and now in 2013 I’m entering into a contraction – to where the heart of Bamboletta  is and to where the joy lies.

Lots of love to all of you my sweet customers! I thank you all so much for being on this journey with me! I feel all weepy thinking about how much love is out there and how much we care about you and your little ones.

xo,
Christina

And I will end this with our rendition of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ .. I posted this on our Facebook wall but want it on the blog too for future reference for myself. This just sums so much up. <3 It has been SO nice blogging tonight!

 

 

Rosemary - February 2, 2013 - 10:21 pm

I really enjoy reading through these updates. And I really like your 15″ dolls the best– please don’t cut production back by too much. Especially the 15″ boy dolls, you need more of them!!

Monique L. - February 2, 2013 - 10:30 pm

Great blog Christina and excited that you will be at the Farmers Market!

admin - February 2, 2013 - 10:43 pm

Oh don’t you worry Rosemary – there will still be many 15″ available – just not the 50 – 60 I used to put up. Maybe like 20 – 30? :) -C-

Claudia - February 2, 2013 - 10:45 pm

It’s great reading your blog, I feel like I know you and would so love to pop over to Canada to visit! I just love dolls and always have done. I was a kid of the seventies so cabbage patch kids were my obsession then too so I could really relate when I saw the picture of you and your Eliza Elisa! Mine was called Phil Arthur then I was lucky enough to get a girl, Violet Karleen! Funny how you remember those things! I hope my daughter has the same passion for dolls, she is only one at the moment but loves looking at bamboletta dolls on line and kisses the screen! When I’m lucky enough to get her one just like her I’ll take a picture. I have already bought Miracle from 2 weeks ago as temptation just took over and I’m so excited to have a play with her when she arrives! Thankyou for these beautiful dolls, you are so talented, all of you, keep up the great work xxxx p.s sorry to rabbit on, it’s only 6am and I’ve been woken up extra early by my 4 munchkins who are now quietly watching some tv, satisfied that mummy is awake!!

Julie Kay - February 2, 2013 - 11:10 pm

Christina you and your gals are so AWESOME!!! You have come so far and yet still close to home and all from the heart with integrity and always so much love! Make sure to post when you will be over at Trout Lake and I will most definitely be coming to see you! So proud to say that once a ‘Bamboletta Gal’ always a Bamboletta Gal! Happy New Year and a wonderful bog Miss Christina!

Danielle - February 3, 2013 - 12:26 am

Awesome blog C! It’s so great to read and I can definitely see more of you in the 15” dolls in the past few weeks. <3 Keep on keeping on. It's such a journey and it's wonderful how you are responding to your customers. We sincerely hope to one day come to the Bamboletta shop and let our children choose their own dolls. I've already mentioned it to them!! Xx

Aimee C - February 3, 2013 - 3:50 am

The 15″ dolls are definitely my favourites too. I just love them so darn much! They definitely have a special spark of personality. I love that you’re going to be doing farmers’ markets again, that’s really awesome (I love doing it for my own work)! But it’s too bad I’m all the way on the east coast of the country so I can’t visit your booth! lol.

Be - February 3, 2013 - 3:58 am

I am still hoping that one day you do an all dark tan/brown upload. It is so impossible to get those (I’ve never been successful). I’ve seen my “unicorn” dream dolls in the uploads and shortly thereafter on the resale market but that is not a financial feasibility for me. And if speedy Internet never cooperates, I love the idea of traveling to your shop and letting her pick out her first Bamboletta. Thank you for creating beautiful dolls.

Rosalyn - February 3, 2013 - 6:00 am

This is awesome, thanks for sharing! I love hearing more behind the scenes, it makes me love the dolls that much more. I agree, the LBs are cute and a good price point and size, but I too love the 15″ dolls the most. It’s nice to see your learning process and watch you grow and adjust and end up right where you need to be. I’m so glad you are able to do what you love and be with such a great group of women!

Jill Cruz - February 3, 2013 - 6:24 am

What a wonderful update!! So nice to hear how close you ladies are and love working together. You have a wonderful little business here and I am always happy to support it :)

Brenda Bell - February 3, 2013 - 6:29 am

Such a joy to read and glad that you are going back to where it matters and that is the happiness your dolls bring to new families all the time. Love to hear that you all get along wonderfully and have tons of fun when you are all in a group! Thanks for always making my girls smile xoxo

Kim G. - February 3, 2013 - 6:33 am

Outstanding. I love your blog and have been so inspired by your support and creativity – through all of the ladies at Bamboletta. AND to know that John supports you and loves what you do is sooo cool too! It gives all of “us” small, home-based tinker-ers that “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” that if you keep your vision and hold onto it, good things will come through hard work and determination (oh, and a crazy bit of chance). I can’t wait to see what happens for the future of Bamboletta – you know we’ll be cheering you on!

Barbara H. - February 3, 2013 - 6:48 am

Great blog C, I love to hear the glee come through in your words. <3

Leah Killian - February 3, 2013 - 7:36 am

Beautiful. I love the concept of expansion and contraction :-)

And, to be totally honest, the 15 inches have my heart as well. Especially the 2 you made special for me waaaay back in the day. I see people re-selling dolls, and I just could never imagine re-selling my Christina-made Bambos. I love my new ones too, but those are just too special. Glad you are able to slow down and get back to the heart of what you love.

Cassandra - February 3, 2013 - 7:50 am

I am thrilled for you on many levels and so happy that Bamboletta is coming to the point for you to do the little things you have missed and loved. Love that people can see a doll in your shop and have a chance to pick and choose.
Congrats and enjoy this year.

Morgan Nahanee - February 3, 2013 - 7:59 am

Yahoo! Congratulations on being accepted into the farmers market. I’ve been trying to squeeze in a visit to the island but the farmers market will beer so easy and fun!

Jennifer B - February 5, 2013 - 8:59 am

I am truly, truly happy for you!! You seem lighter in this post and very fulfilled, and that is terrific. I wish you all the best, always…

Shelly Gudmunsen - February 6, 2013 - 5:02 am

I just love you, Christina and Team Bambo <3
It was such a treat to read this and feel like part of the conversation. Your company is amazing, your heart is true. Here's to many more years of creating forever friends for little ones (and big ones, too)!
xoxo

Jennifer P - February 7, 2013 - 8:44 pm

I felt your joy and lightness reading your post…so happy that you are doing what feels best in your heart/soul…
It has been a crazy ride for you with the expanding so rapidly, but it seems that you are finding your groove – that is really fantastic…
All the best during the ‘contraction’ phase…

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