Staff Pick!!

We’ve had a wee break from our weekly feature Staff Pick, but it’s back again this week! For those of you who don’t know, our ‘Staff Pick’ features one of our lovely Bamboletta team members choosing their favourite doll from the weeks upload. This week, our sweet Madeline got the lucky pick and she chose the sweet-faced Clementina, who’s charm is definitely held in her pretty eyes and soft curls 🙂

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Clothing styled by: Christina

Hair styled by: Shauna

Likes: Iced tea and jokin’ around

Dislikes: Gluten and pine nuts

Why she chose her: “I chose her because I think she’s super pretty and I love her sweet freckles”

The upload is scheduled for today (Friday) at noon PST on our website.

See you then!!

xo

Brooke and Madz

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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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Little Seeds …

I grew up listening to stories of my dad’s workplace in Italy. He worked at a mill there where wool was woven into beautiful fabrics. Most of my family worked at the mill and they speak of it with great fondness. The owners would do stuff like close down in August so the whole factory would go to these cabins on the water that the factory owned, the owners cared and took care of their employees like family. And in turn the employees would stick around forever and generations of families worked there. I’d like to think that their work became ingrained in their family’s cells, passed on from one generation to the next. This took the craftsmanship to a whole other level, their fabrics and woven materials were world renowned.  These stories stuck with me and I often thought of how lovely it would be to have such a big ‘family’ because essentially that’s what this was. You never know what idea or conversation will affect a child and this one resonated with me on a very deep level.  It’s really only now that I’m realizing the scope of what are doing may have on future generations. How we run our business and how we make our products might be planting little seeds in our children, our future business owners and entrepreneurs, that business can be done differently with heart and caring and love at it’s core. Like I read somewhere – that the business owner seeks an inner attunement rather than attainment.

It was when I was doing a presentation for the  ‘Best Community Impact’ award that I first thought of this. I thought of all the homesewers that I’ve had throughout the years, sewing dolls at home with their children playing and watching and growing up with that reality. Then I think of all the children out there receiving their dolls and the parents that can proudly state where they are from, show them pictures of the hands that sewed them and perhaps open up a discussion on another way of making things. Who knows what little seeds are being planted out there? Doll by doll, stitch by stitch, it makes me teary to think of what effect this may have on our little ones.

I’m off to Vancouver on Thursday to see if we won the award. I’m excited that we got to this point because it really made me look deep and hard at Bamboletta from different angles and points of view. What a gift to have been ‘forced’ to do this. I’m usually so deep into the running of things that this reflection time was inspiring. Either way, award or not, I’m so proud to get into the top 5. I could not have done this without my ladies (and John!) around me, moving Bamboletta to where it is one stitch at a time.

Kim Giovannini - February 26, 2014 - 4:40 am

I’ve often given accolades to Bamboletta and to you Christina for inspiring me to keep going with my Etsy shop. Even when “friends” looked down on what I was doing since it didn’t fit the “cubicle-farm” profile of what they considered a good, respectable job, you told me to keep going. As a little business owner now, I’m thankful and continuously inspired to see Bamboletta’s posts, photos, and now the BCI nomination >AWARD (???!!!). I know it’s cliche to say this but keep up the great, creative, empowering work you’re all doing in the studio. It means more than you think for you fans and future entrepreneurs. <3

Ilene Chalmers - February 26, 2014 - 5:34 am

What a beautiful blog entry. I am a bit of a writer myself having spent years as an English teacher. Your words touched my heart. It is obvious what a great company, or should I say “family”, Bamboletta is. The impact you have made on your customers and their children and grandchildren can’t truly be measured. You are an inspiration to us all. I am so looking forward to my visit to your studio on July 8th when my husband and I make the journey to Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver. It will be amazing to see just what you do in person, and meet all the lovely ladies that I’ve come to know via email and Facebook. My fingers and toes are crossed that you get this award which you all so richly deserve. Hugs to all! 🙂

Genny Martin - February 26, 2014 - 10:57 am

In all of our hearts you are already the winner Christina Bamboletta (that is what Lauren and Michael call you) ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Katharine - February 26, 2014 - 3:38 pm

I love this story!! Wishing you the best of luck – you’ve built something so beautiful, heart & hands that have touched so many! I agree with Genny, you and your girls (and John!) are already winners! 🙂

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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 …

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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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