Well here I am, writing my very first blog. Ha, five years ago I never even knew what a blog is. Still finding it hard to get my head around the concept of telling all. Bad enough bragging about your successes but admitting to mistakes and failures is a whole new ball game. So far, writing for me has always been out of necessity for example, letters, emails, text messages etc. I cannot recall ever writing for fun well, not since school days that is why writing today although a little daunting, is tinged with a hint of excitement because I can talk about something I am passionate about, my dolls, Mélange Dolls.
For about the past 8 years I have considered starting my doll business. I cannot remember the exact dates or precisely what was done during that time because I never kept a diary. I am dependent on my memory. Sometimes I’ll find a sketch, letter, document, leaflet, brochure etc. which brings me back to a time when I was in pursuit of this business. I may even remember a story that’s associated with these items. Overtime, I will come back to these experiences and share them with you. For now, I just want to get started.
At the time my focus was on clothes and styles. I did some sketches here and there in terms of dolls and styles but never made any real moves into starting. The truth of the matter is I had no idea where or how to start. I attended a number of road shows, expos, business courses etc. but I could not find the confidence to take that leap into starting my business. I would make small steps but then procrastinate and get consumed with doubt and the fear of failure was sometimes overwhelming. I would then go through the cycle of motivation to demotivation sometimes over a period of weeks and sometimes within a couple of days. I always felt guilty for not progressing as I should but justified my failure by claiming to be too busy or too much going on in my life at the moment. Another truth is that I was comfortable where I am. I am working within the fashion industry and getting a decent wage. I am comfortable. Although my life is okay, I never felt fulfilled.
As my Goddaughter grew up, she accumulated a considerable amount dolls. I had a lot of fun designing and making clothes for her dolls. Sometimes, I would make matching dresses for her and the dolls. I received loads of complements. People often commented about how well made the outfits were and encouraged me to start a business making matching clothes for littles girls and their dolls. I smiled knowingly, because starting a doll business has always been on my mind but I never shared this with anyone. My goddaughters fourth birthday was fast approaching and I thought it would be nice to get her a biracial looking doll. Obtaining this doll became a project in itself. I spent several months researching online ordering and returning dolls but couldn’t find a doll that looked like her. I spoke to her parents and found that they too were experiencing this problem. During our conversation it dawned on me that she had Black dolls and White dolls but that was it. She never had a favourite doll, maybe this was because none of them looked like her.
This experience provided a new focus for my business. I was not content with producing another pretty doll. I wanted a doll that represented something, it was more than just another toy but something that gave meaning to the child and have an influence in terms of play and perception. Having spoken to many manufacturers around the world, I settled on one who could deliver according to my specifications. I received a sample doll and so gifted it to my Goddaughter complete with dresses and a matching outfit. I was overjoyed to see her reaction. She was jubilant and thrilled to bits, “mummy, mummy she looks just like me.” Her parents were equally delighted. This confirmed that I was on the right track. Believe it or not, that was the extent of my market research. I have found my niche and believe in this product. Therefore, I am going to make it work.
Personally, success is not measured in the amount of sales made but that I finally got the chance to turn my vision into a reality.